Food and Drink

Inside the Food and Wine Festival Celebrating Black Chefs in Charlotte and Beyond

Dig into Black food traditions and dine with top chefs.

Photo courtesy of the BayHaven Food and Wine Festival
Photo courtesy of the BayHaven Food and Wine Festival
Photo courtesy of the BayHaven Food and Wine Festival

For many people, Charlotte has come to be known as the South’s hidden gem. While it is home to several major sports teams, museums, galleries, and many Fortune 500 companies, the Queen City still maintains a small-town charm. In addition to the growing list of activities and landmarks that can be found in North Carolina’s capital, it is also the site of the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival, a five-day event dedicated to Black food traditions and dishes from the diaspora.

The husband-and-wife duo behind Leah & Louise, three-time James Beard Award nominated chef Gregory Collier and Subrina Collier, started the festival in 2021 to highlight Black culinary experts and those new to the hospitality industry. From October 4–8, attendees can enjoy creations from more than 75 restaurateurs, cooks, and bartenders from across the country, while learning how to promote diversity through economic empowerment and community development.

Photo courtesy of the BayHaven Food and Wine Festival
Photo courtesy of the BayHaven Food and Wine Festival
Photo courtesy of the BayHaven Food and Wine Festival

The theme of this year’s festival is “Wild and Free 23,” an ode to the days of Woodstock. Over the course of the festival, there will be a community feast, oyster roast, symposium, live music, food and cocktail tastings, and brunch to wrap things up on Sunday afternoon. Throughout the years, Charlotte has become a true melting pot, drawing folks from around the world to this beacon on Southern Hospitality so check out the festival and see what else the Queen City has to offer.

Drive time:

About 3 hours and 45 minutes from Atlanta, Georgia

More things to do in Charlotte

Though it’s always a popular tourist draw, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a must-visit this time around as it is celebrating 75 years of exciting races and unforgettable moments. If you’re still in the mood for some history, you can head to Mint Museum, which has the distinction of being North Carolina’s first art museum and contains one of the largest collections in the entire Southeast. The Bechtler is also a go-to establishment for art enthusiasts because along with featuring some of today’s best contemporary pieces, you can find works from legendary artists like Warhol and Picasso.

Thrill seekers have plenty to do in Charlotte as well. With 14 roller coasters, 15 other rides, and an over-the-top Halloween celebration, Carowinds Amusement Park is the place to be. Charlotte is also home to the National Whitewater Center, the largest man-made whitewater river in the world and the training ground for Olympic hopefuls in the US. Adventure goes beyond the rapids as the 1,300-acre space is filled with zip lining, rock climbing, ropes courses, and more than 50 miles of trails.

Located in the city’s Uptown neighborhood, AvidXchange Music Factory is an entertainment hub with nightclubs, bars, an outdoor amphitheatre, and The Fillmore Charlotte, modeled after the legendary San Francisco venue of the same name.

Photo courtesy of Leah & Louise
Photo courtesy of Leah & Louise
Photo courtesy of Leah & Louise

Where to eat in Charlotte

While the food and drink festival will cover most of your meals, Charlotte is home to a number of great restaurants worth squeezing into your trip. The Colliers’ own Leah & Louise features modern interpretations of Southern classics. Supperland is a notable steakhouse set in a restored mid-century church-and another draw of the space is the opportunity to saddle up to the speakeasy bar. For a quick breakfast before hitting the road, grab the famous donuts from milkbread or swing by El Toro Bruto for hearty breakfast tacos.

Where to stay in Charlotte

The majority of Charlotte’s lodging options are established chains like the JW Marriott or Ritz Carlton. But if you’re looking for something a little different, check out the Grand Bohemian from Marriott’s autograph collection, where vibrant colors and art cover every wall. For something decidedly local, smaller properties like the swanky Ivey’s Hotel or historic Duke Mansion pair a bed & breakfast feel with upscale accommodations.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Okla Jones is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about food, fine arts, and entertainment. His work also appears in ESSENCECreative Loafing Atlanta, and Consequence of Sound. Follow him on Instagram at @coolhandoak.

Food and Drink

Red Rooster Is Serving Free Chicken and Piping Hot Cash This Christmas in July

Get your early dose of festive cheer.

Red Rooster Christmas in July
Instagram / @redrooster_au

The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.

From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.

Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.

Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.

Terms and conditions apply. Visit Red Rooster’s Christmas in July to see all the deals.

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