8 Charlotte restaurants that operate in historic houses — and what to order

Photography of McNinch House by Jess Bentley

The Queen City has a good mix of extraordinary chef-driven restaurants and eclectic eateries to choose from. Are we a foodie city just just yet? Perhaps not, but we’re working on it.

If you’re looking for a dining experience with extra charisma and charm, pencil-in a meal at one of these 8 restaurants operating out of historic houses in Charlotte. They’re a unique option for those who are seeking an out-of-the-ordinary dinner.

300 East

300 East Blvd.

This rehabilitated 1900 Victorian-style home has been family-owned and operated for over 30 years. The atmosphere is classy meets casual with a menu of classic American fare with a locally-focused flair.

What To Order: Grilled Heritage Farms Pork Tenderloin ($24); Fattoush salad, feta, mint and black pepper-goat yogurt tzatziki. Make sure to save room for dessert, Ashley Boyd always has something on her sweets menu that’s almost too pretty to eat (try the Buttermilk Tres Leches).

Alexander Michael’s

401 W. 9th Street

Serving Charlotte’s historic Fourth Ward since 1983, this restaurant operates out of a renovated home that’s been standing in Charlotte since 1897. It’s warm and inviting, with dark wooden-paneled walls and cozy booths where you can tuck yourself in for a good meal.

What To Order: The “Al-Mike’s” specialty, What It Is ($16.75), is simply a bowl of comfort food at its finest. Blackened chicken breast over fresh rotini in a Cajun cream sauce. It’s not fancy… but it’s satisfying and familiar.

Cajun Queen

1800 E. 7th St.

Where “every day is Mardi Gras”, this vibrant eatery is situated inside a 100-year-old house in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood. The restaurant has been around since 1985 and offers live jazz music every night of the week.

What To Order: Transport your tastebuds to the bayou and try their New Orleans Platter ($25.95). It comes with catfish, shrimp, scallops, oysters, red beans and rice.


311 East Blvd.

Operating out of The Mayer House of South End, this turn of the century bungalow serves modern Indian cuisine in an intimate setting. It’s very popular for birthday parties, first dates or a craft cocktail on their patio.

What To Order: I always try to order something different with each visit, but the Chicken Mirchi-Malai ($17) is always a good option: Chicken breast chunks in a roasted onion-cashew sauce with kashmiri chili paste.

The Fig Tree Restaurant 

1601 E. 7th Street

This dwelling is known as the Lucas House, a 1913 craftsman-style bungalow in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood that was named after its original owners, Paul and Alice Craft Lucas. There are four brown Turkish fig trees on the premises, which add to this restaurant’s elegance and charm.

What To Order: The Escargots ($10) are a great option here if you’ve never had the pleasure of trying them before. This classy restaurant cooks them perfectly. They are Burgundy Helix Snails with bacon, leeks, tomatoes and cremini mushrooms in a garlic-lemon brown butter sauce with parsley over crostini.



224 W. 10th St.

Originally owned and occupied by descendants of Dr. Robert Hall Morrison (founder and first president of Davidson College), the Young Morrison House was build sometime in the late 1800s. It’s been renovated into a Peruvian tapas restaurant by co-owners Lucia Zapata Griffith and Bruno Macchiavello — read more about this restaurant’s atmosphere and menu in their CharlotteFive spotlight.

What To Order: There are so many addicting tapas and boards to choose from, you really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose to start with. As for entrees, go for the Camarones Al Ajillo ($16), garlic shrimp over Peruvian mashed potatoes and peppers in a white wine garlic sauce.


715 Providence Rd. 

The Reynolds-Gourmajenko House was designed by New York architect William Lawrence Bottomley in 1925 and stood as Charlotte’s first Tuscan-style villa. Learn more about the home’s history by reading its bio here.

What To Order: I’m a huge fan of the Potato Gnocchi ($32) as it pulls together flavors that I personally would never think to serve together – it’s fantastic. Pillows of tender gnocchi are surrounded by butter-poached lobster, summer truffles, blistered local tomatoes and pickled corn in a black garlic wine sauce.

McNinch House Restaurant

Tucked away in Charlotte’s historic Forth Ward, The McNinch House is a Queen Anne style home of Victorian-era that was built in 1892. They concentrate on French continental fare with a Southern twist. Get an insider’s peek at their seasonal menu and meet Executive Chef Matthew Shepard by checking out their feature on my blog.

What To Order: The Rosemary & Dijon Crusted Rack of New Zealand Lamb was developed by owner Ellen Davis when she stood as executive chef 29 years ago – and the lamb recipe remains the same today. A four-course menu is $95 per person and comes with your choice of two opening courses, an entree and dessert.

Summer season is in full bloom… Join us & celebrate the summer season!

A post shared by McNinch House Restaurant (@mcninch_house_restaurant) on

Did we miss one of your favorite home-based eateries in the city? Let us know your preferred restaurant (bonus points: tell us your favorite dish) in the comments section below.


  1. interesting list but to nit even mention carson mccullers when speaking about the mayer house and writing about the historic houses in charlotte makes the piece seem incomplete and half-hearted. if you are going to write about it do it right. it seems overall charlotte five is rehashing and throwing stuff together haphazardly with little thought. it would be nice to see a bit more effort and content.

  2. Where’s Ru Ru? Decent Mexican style food for a lot less than these other “second mortgage meal” dining places.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here