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Fresh Air Fare: Where to Eat Lunch Outside in Uptown

Whether you live or work in Uptown or are visiting during the lunch hour, we’ve got your guide to the best fresh-air fare for that oh-so-important midday meal. From patio dining to packing a picnic or grabbing an order to-go, these lunch spots in Uptown are sure to hit the spot.

Patio Paradise

Looking for the perfect place for a power lunch? These patios are on point in Uptown. 

At the bustling intersection of Trade and Tryon streets, you’ll be in the middle of the action on the covered patio at Essex Bar & Bistro, a gastropub and lounge featuring global cuisine with Mediterranean, Asian and Spanish influences. Overlooking the Wells Fargo Plaza, Mimosa Grill features an expansive covered patio and a chef-driven menu with global cuisine, Southern inspirations and local ingredients. Explore other internationally inspired meals like Italian at Angeline’s, Mexican at Que Onda Tacos + Tequila or Japanese at Red Ginger, all featuring streetside patios.

For some Southern comfort food, fill up on the patio at Tupelo Honey or Mert’s Heart and Soul*. If a juicy steak is more your style, enjoy outdoor dining at Dean’s Italian Steakhouse or The Capital Grille.  

And if you want a few different options to choose from, grab a spot on the picturesque patio in Brevard Court, home to Valhalla Pub & Eatery, French Quarter*, Queen City Bites & Crafts and more. 


If you prefer to grab a quick bite to eat at a bench or table in the community, we’ve got you covered.

Choose from more than 30 sandwich or wrap options at The Sandwich Club, a quick go-to spot in Uptown for a filling and tasty to-go lunch.

For a one-of-a-kind experience, head to the bottom of the Two Wells Fargo building in the College Street Shops for a California-style burrito from Johnny Burrito (don’t forget that Tuesday and Friday are tamale days). Craving something from South of the border? Sabor Latin Street Grill* serves up authentic cuisine from El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia.

Another lunchtime favorite, Little Village Grill features an American-Greek menu with pitas (order the lamb and beef gyro with French fries inside), subs, burgers, sandwiches and salads. The no-frills local quick-service spot has two locations: 710 W. Trade St. near Johnson & Wales University and 901 E. Fourth St. behind the large hand sculpture. 

Grab a hot dog topped with secret homemade chili from Green’s Lunch, Uptown’s oldest restaurant, which has served Charlotte since 1926. Or try a fresh and fully customizable salad from Salata Salad Kitchen, one of Uptown’s newest restaurants. 

Pack A Picnic

These Uptown markets are a must to find everything you need for a tasty picnic-style midday meal.

With locations at Trade and Tryon streets and the Levine Avenue of the Arts, Reid’s Fine Foods* features salads, sandwiches, wraps and sides perfect for a picnic at one of Uptown’s pocket parks, like Thomas Polk Park or the Third Street Linear Park.

An urban grocery store with a deli in the back, Rhino Market & Deli* has everything you need for a delicious spread. Grab a sandwich or salad from the deli and sides and drinks from the store before heading across the street to eat at Romare Bearden Park. 

The Market at 7th Street* is an urban food hall, retail space and meeting place all in one. Choose from a diverse selection of culinary vendors and then head to the patio overlooking the LYNX Blue Line light rail or First Ward Park just across the street.

Try one of the specialty food stations, including a pizza bar, taco/burrito bar, sandwich station, sushi station and stir-fry station, at Whole Foods Uptown Charlotte. There’s also a hot bar, salad bar and prepared foods to choose from. Pick your favorites, grab a drink and head just down the street to The Green for lunch in the literary-themed park.

*These restaurants participate in the QC Cash Program, a digital gift card for Uptown businesses sent directly to you as an email or text message. Buy QC Cash for yourself, your team, friends or family and use it during your next culinary adventure in Uptown. 

Looking for more ways to experience the culinary scene in Uptown? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get updates and ideas for things to do, see, eat and explore in the heart of the Queen City. Share your favorite lunch spots by tagging @uptown.clt and using the hashtag #UptownCLT.