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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.

June 3, 2022

Where Chefs Eat: Rocksalt’s Travis Hearne

Chef/GM’s favorite spots cover old-school and new-school Charlotte

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 Travis Hearne, part of the team that opened The Dunavant and is now overseeing operations at Rocksalt. When he’s not on the clock, Travis heads to one of these restaurants.

Counter-, Wesley Heights
High concept tasting menus that change constantly
Travis’ Order: “Counter- is one of the places I get excited to go to every time I’m there. I never know what I’m going to get,” Hearne says. “Sam Hart’s menus never disappoint. I tell myself I’m going to take pics and notes for inspiration and I never do as I’m always lost in the experience no matter how many times I go.”

The tasting menu at Counter- rotates themes. Kristen Wile/UP


Yume, Wilmore
Ramen and sushi bar
Travis’ Order: Chirashi don, spicy toro hand roll, and six uni nigiri (when available). “This is my celebration sushi spot,” says Hearne. “I’ve eaten sushi everywhere in this city and this is consistently the best experience I’ve had.”

Green’s Lunch, Uptown
Popular breakfast and lunch counter open since 1926
Travis’ Order: Two hotdogs all the way and a large sweet tea. “I grew up in Charlotte and from the first time my father took me here as a child it has been a staple for me,” Hearne says. “For less than 10 bucks, you can’t go wrong.”

(After 97 years in business, Green’s Lunch closed on June 28, 2023)

Leah & Louise, Camp North End
Modern interpretations of classic Southern dishes
Travis’ Order: Leah’s cabbage. “Aside from the cabbage, I never order the same thing twice,” says Hearne. “On multiple occasions, I’ve ordered more than one entrée and have yet to bring home any leftovers.”

Moosehead Grill, Montford
Casual tap room and restaurant
Travis’ Order: Bee sting chicken wings (honey and habanero), the small nachos, double Macallan 12 Year, neat. “If you know, you know.”

Customshop, Elizabeth / Flour Shop, Montford
Classic treatments of local ingredients at restaurants owned by chef Trey Wilson
Travis’ Order: Varies. “Again, I never get the same thing twice,” Hearne says. “I have never been let down – not to mention the fact I always ask an obnoxious amount of questions and the waitstaff really knows their stuff.”

More from this series:

Julia Simon of PlantJoy
Kyle Gaddas of The Wine Loft, The Vintage

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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