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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.

March 24, 2023

Where the Industry Eats: Billy Sunday’s Annie Stevenson

This general manager prefers the camaraderie of local pubs

by TM Petaccia

Annie Stevenson of Billy Sunday. Photo courtesy

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 Annie Stevenson, general manager of Billy Sunday’s at Optimist Hall. Stevenson came up through the ranks, starting as a bartender at sister concept Spindle Bar before moving to Billy Sunday as a bartender, then bar manager, assistant GM, and finally GM. Her hands-on approach keeps her fully involved in all aspects of the bar’s operation, including still occasionally working the bar. Her affinity for the bar environment is evident even when she’s not on the clock. She lists these five go-to spots:

Workman’s Friend, Plaza Midwood
Irish-themed spot is both a quiet pub and hip nighttime destination
Stevenson’s order: Sliders, potato wedge style “chips,” espresso martini (made with Giddy Goat coffee)

Thomas Street Tavern, Plaza Midwood
One of the OG Plaza Midwood spots offering classic tavern dishes
Stevenson’s order: Ribs, Chantilly wedge sandwich
“It’s definitely more on the ‘divey’ side, but the ribs are a guilty pleasure,” she says. “I also like that they have a great back patio area with all the outdoor games (ping pong tables, ring toss, cornhole) and they have nice fire pits. I love all the lights they have strung up.”

The Common Market, multiple locations
Combination deli, bar, convenience store, and bottle shop
Stevenson’s order: Alabama (grilled chicken) grinder, pasta salad
“There is a Common Market around the corner from my rock climbing gym, so I stop there very frequently to grab a sandwich after climbing,” Stevenson says. “They also have a great selection of beer and wine that you can drink there or take home. It’s an all-around fun vibe.”

Fin and Fino, Uptown
Focus is on seafood (especially oysters) and other American fare
Stevenson’s order: “Tower of Power,” cajun roasted oysters, furikake fries
“I am a sucker for anything seafood,” Stevenson says. “The drinks on the menu are well balanced and they never disappoint with the dealer’s choices.”

The Public House, Uptown
The “local’s spot” in center city known for pub fare and craft cocktails
Stevenson’s order: Shrimp toast, cabbage rolls, Brussels sprouts
“All of the food here is so good,” she says. “They also have a great cocktail menu and a wide variety of good quality whiskey.”

See where other Charlotte chefs and industry pros eat

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