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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

October 28, 2022

Where Chefs Eat: Common Market’s Geoff Bragg

The Oakwold chef and his family sample the world’s cuisine when dining out

By TM Petaccia

Folks in the restaurant industry know good food, so we want to know where they eat when they’re not cooking. In this series, we ask a local chef, bartender, restaurateur, or food artisan to share their favorite restaurants in town and what they order there. 

This week, we interviewed Geoff Bragg, “Minister of Food Affairs” at Common Market’s Oakwold location. When he’s not serving up dishes at the popular restaurant and grocery on Monroe Road, he lists the following six area restaurants as his go-to spots, including some recommendations of his wife, Sara and son, Braxton. “We always eat out together. The little bit of time that we have with our busy schedules. We find it’s one thing we can all make time for,” Bragg says.

Lempira Restaurant, Plaza Midwood (three other Charlotte locations)

Mexican, Salvadoran, and Honduran cuisine with breakfast, lunch, and dinner service
Bragg’s family’s order: Baleada #5 (Honduran sandwich with steak, beans, cheese, and avocado) for Geoff, Mexican ceviche for Sara, quesadilla mixtas (shrimp, chicken and beef)  for Braxton. “We find ourselves going back here a lot,” Bragg says. “There is something everyone in my family loves on their menu.”

Taqueria Los Altos, East Forrest (Monroe Road)

Casual restaurant featuring many Mexican specialties
Bragg’s order: Chile verde. “They make homemade tortillas and killer little tacos but what we get — and what they really crush — is the chile verde,” Bragg says.

Roppongi Ramen Bar, Sardis Woods

Combination ramen and Korean fried chicken spot
Bragg’s order: Spicy miso ramen, gyoza, and pork steam buns. “Sara and I always get the spicy miso ramen. My son gets the gyoza and steam buns,” Bragg says. “I’m so glad my wife hates eggs. I get two eggs for my soup every visit.”

Customshop Handcrafted Food, Elizabeth

The preparation of the burrata changes often at Customshop. Kristen Wile/UP

Classic treatments of local ingredients
Bragg’s order: Octopus and burrata. “As the menu changes constantly, it’s hard to nail down a specific dish. Suffice to say, it doesn’t matter — whatever we get is great,” Bragg says. “It’s hard to go out and eat fine dining sometimes. Like a lot of others in the industry, we’ll go to fancy restaurants and drop hard-earned money on underwhelming experiences, but Customshop always delivers consistently.”

Jasmine Grill, Rock Hill

Classic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes
Bragg’s order: Kofta shawarma and koba (kibbeh). “I’ve been spending more time in Rock Hill lately and often stop here on the way home,” Bragg says. “It’s a little out of my way from the CM to my driveway but completely worth it. The koba is so fresh.”

Ben Thanh, Matthews

A variety of pho and other Vietnamese dishes
Bragg’s family’s orders: #1 (spring rolls), #3 (garden delight rolls), and #60 (pan fried rice noodles sautéed with vegetables and tofu) for Geoff, #71 (pork chop with crushed rice) for Braxton, and #78 (beef lemongrass curry) no lettuce or sprouts, add broccoli for Sara. “We go here a lot. A lot a lot,” says Bragg.

More from this series:

Supperland’s Chris Rogienski
Counter-‘s Sam Hart
Community Matters Cafe’s Ashley Anna Tuttle

Your Farms, Your Table’s Sam Diminich
Para’s Alex Verica

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