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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.

January 22, 2021

Where the Industry Eats: Idlewild’s Vince Chirico

This relative newcomer has found the city’s most underrated spots


Beef ‘N Bottle has moved from its original location, but the decades since opening haven’t changed much else. Peter Taylor/Peter Taylor Photography

Folks in the restaurant industry know good food, so we want to know where they eat when they’re outside of their restaurants and bars. In this series, we ask a member of the culinary industry to share their favorite local restaurants (not including their own) and what they order. Vince Chirico, owner of cocktail bar Idlewild in NoDa, has only lived in Charlotte a few years, but has found some of the city’s most underrated restaurants. Here’s where he eats.

Mal Pan, South Park
This taqueria takes classic Mexican cuisine and adds a chef-y twist
Vince’s order: Surf and Turf Burrito

Musashi Japanese Restaurant, Pineville
One of the most frequently named restaurants among chefs
Vince’s order: Tonkatsu Ramen and Chicken Karaage

New Zealand Cafe, Southeast Charlotte
Fresh sushi in a small, warm dining room
Vince’s order: Sake Nigiri

Lam’s Kitchen, Matthews
Authentic Chinese cuisine unlike any other in the city 
Vince’s order: Singapore Noodles

Beef ‘N Bottle, South End
Chirico is officially a Charlottean for naming this old-school steakhouse on his list
Vince’s order: Ribeye steak

Pro tip: Go out earlier. “People seem to still be in the mindset of normal operating hours,” Chirico says. “Take advantage of no waits by going somewhere closer to opening time. Going out at 8 p.m. when everything stops at 9 doesn’t really make much sense.”

More from this series

The Stanley’s Paul Verica
Sweet Lew’s BBQ’s Lewis Donald
Sweet Spot Studio’s Jossie Lukacik
McNinch House’s Matthew Shepard
The Goodyear House’s Chris Coleman

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