Food & Drink

Best Places To Eat Before The Show In Charlotte

September 25, 2013 8:00 AM

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It’s showtime in Charlotte with performance in full swing at venues all over town. Veteran show-goers make an evening of it, grabbing a bite to eat or checking out a new restaurant before the show. Many shows are held in the Center City at Time Warner Arena or one of the Blumenthal family of theaters, including the stages at the Blumenthal Center, Spirit Square and Knight Theater, next to the Bechtler Museum. Both the Blumenthal and the Charlotte Symphony offer special dining deals for ticket holders. And if you plan your evening right, you may score free parking as well. Here are some suggestions to get your party started.

Aria Tuscan Grill
100 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 376-8880

Located on the ground floor of Founder’s Hall, in the same building as several theaters of the Blumenthal group and two blocks from Time Warner Arena, Aria is one of the flagships of the local Sonoma Restaurant Group. Known for its rustic Tuscan cuisine and impressive wine list, the restaurant is a popular stop both before and after shows and offers those with Blumenthal tickets or stubs a 10-percent discount on the night of the performance. The menu ranges from pizzas to classic Italian pastas and entrees, with a $5 appetizer menu available at the bar after 5 p.m. Complimentary valet parking, beginning at 6 p.m., adds to the attraction for theater-goers.

Blue Restaurant And Bar
Hearst Building
206 N. College St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 927-2583

Just a block from the Blumenthal Center, Time Warner Arena and Spirit Square, Blue is a popular stop for those on their way to a show, thanks to the complimentary valet parking that extends through the show hours. Many opt for the special $34.95 pre-fixe menu available for pre-show guests. The three-course meal features a selection of Mediterranean favorites from Blue’s regular menu including chicken tagine with apricots and dates, seared jumbo scallops or vegetarian ravioli, choice of salad or appetizer and one of the restaurant’s famous desserts. A late-night menu and live jazz heat up the after-show scene. Hint: If you’re attending a concert at the North Carolina Music Factory, check Blue’s sister restaurant Osso, known for its fine Italian cuisine, for pre-show specials.

Related: Best Clubs with Valet Parking in Charlotte

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza
225 E. 6th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 347-2749

This popular spot on the lowest level of the Seventh Street Station parking deck, just a block from the stages of Spirit Square, serves casual pre- or post-show family-friendly meals. The reasonably priced menu features pizzas baked in a wood-fired brick oven, along with entrée salads, sandwiches and pastas. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available. Kids love the s’mores pizza dessert, while adults appreciate the full bar, two dozen craft beers on tap and tiramisu. If you have tickets to the Charlotte Symphony, you’ll get 15-percent off, and Brixx validates for parking in the Seventh Street Station deck above.

Dandelion Market
118 W. 5th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 333-7989

Strategically placed a block from the Blumenthal’s Belk Theater, this welcoming Irish-style pub makes a great stop for a grown-up snack or romantic meet-up before a show. The dinner menu features a variety of small plates meant for sharing, ranging from charcuterie right up to lamb “lollipops” and mac-n-cheese. Interesting lists of two dozen, mostly local, beers on tap and 25-for-$25 wines by the bottle star in the large bar area. After the show, come back for some high-energy DJ dance music.

Halcyon, Flavors From The Earth
500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 910-0865

One of the city’s hottest restaurants, this sleek spot occupies a super location on a high balcony at the Mint Museum, just across the street from the Knight Theater. One of the big players on the farm-to-fork restaurant scene, Halcyon features meals showcasing artisanal cheeses, produce and wines, much of it locally sourced from the Carolinas. The grazing menu served afternoon and evening makes this a great choice for a quick bite and glass of wine before a show. Guests at Halcyon qualify for the special Mint Museum discount at the adjacent Levine Center for the Arts parking garage, even during special events.

Related: Best Places To Eat Before The Game In Charlotte

With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at

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