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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.

November 29, 2023

Where Chefs Eat: Rare Roots Hospitality’s Scott Hollingsworth 

Group’s executive chef has a world view when satisfying his dining cravings

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 interview Scott Hollingsworth, executive chef for the Rare Roots Hospitality restaurant group, which includes Dressler’s, Dressler’s Improv Kitchen at Middle C Jazz Club, Fin & Fino, The Porter’s House, Chapter 6, and upcoming Joan’s Deli & Bakery. In his role, he oversees a wide range of cuisines and restaurant experiences — which is reflected by the places he visits when he’s not on the clock. He lists these six go-to spots:

Saigon Palace, Madison Park
Family-owned restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese dishes since 2002
Hollingsworth’s order: Pho Tai Chin Number 44 — phở with medium rare steak and brisket
Hollingsworth’s take: “I have been ordering the same thing here for over 20 years. Maybe I should try something else? Nah.”

Yafo Kitchen’s Israeli Hot Chicken Sandwich. Photo courtesy

Yafo Kitchen, Dilworth, Plaza Midwood, SouthPark
Fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant featuring bold Middle Eastern flavors
Hollingsworth’s order: Israeli hot chicken sandwich
Hollingsworth’s take: “Hot is the understatement of the year. Be careful. Makes your eyes water, but it’s damn good.”

Benny Pennello’s, NoDa
Popular pizza spot known for immense pizza slices and whole pies
Hollingsworth’s order: Cheese and pepperoni slice
Hollingsworth’s take: “A great way to end the night after The Neighborhood Theater.”

Thai House, Cotswold, University City, Cornelius, Pineville
Authentic Thai cuisine served in some of the prettiest dining rooms in the area
Hollingsworth’s order: Green curry with extra eggplant
Hollingsworth’s take: “It’s like eating fire, but it’s hard to stop. Getting take out from here is on point.”

Masala Mastee, Davidson
Indian street food using their own custom spice blends
Hollingsworth’s order: Aloo Tikki Chaat — chickpeas & aloo tikki (potato patty) doused with mild yogurt, tamarind and mint chutney
Hollingsworth’s take: “Slightly spicy with a fresh herb flavor from the mint chutney and tart from the tamarind. The people always have a smile and are extremely friendly. Great place to visit.”

Brooks Sandwich House burger. TM Petaccia/UP

Brooks’ Sandwich House, NoDa
Iconic roadside burger spot serving takeout since 1973
Hollingsworth’s order: Burger all the way with a Cheerwine
Hollingsworth’s take: “Maybe get two. That’s how good they are. Don’t forget it’s cash only; don’t look like a rookie. And now I’m craving one!”

See where other Charlotte chefs and industry pros eat

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