Big Daddy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
An old school fish camp delivering much more than average fried seafood
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.
It’s time to map out your 2023 in-town and day trips
by TM Petaccia
Spring and Summer mean two things in Charlotte and all of North Carolina: Food and festivals. Often, it’s one thing: food festivals. We’ve compiled the fun and tasty days you can put on your in–town and day trip calendars in the coming months. More will be added as particulars are finalized for those still in the early planning stages.
All of these can also be found on the UP Calendar – along with other food, beverage, and related educational events.
Saturday, April 15 / Sunday, April 16 – 4–9 p.m.
Moo, Brew & ‘Que Music Fest
Avidxchange Music Factory Festival Grounds, Charlotte
Over 25 local, regional, and national breweries showcasing over 75 beers with fifteen local restaurants and food trucks competing for best burger and best barbecue trophies. Also includes local, regional and national music artists. $35–$100. Click for details and tickets.
Saturday, April 15 – noon – 3 p.m.
Charlotte StrEATs Tasting Tour
Gateway Village Promenade, Charlotte
Restaurants representing iconic Charlotte neighborhoods will serve a dish representative of their communities. Guests can visit each tasting tent and enjoy cocktails while taking in intimate demonstrations from our stage. General Admission: $85 – grants access to the tasting tour as well as craft cocktails created by leading Charlotte mixologists. VIP: $140 – adds early 11 a.m. access, the Official StrEATs Recipe Book featuring recipes from participating restaurants, and StrEATs goodie bag. Part of the Charlotte SHOUT! celebration. Click for details and tickets.
Sunday, April 16 – noon – 5 p.m.
Charlotte StrEATs Festival
Gateway Village Promenade, Charlotte
Celebrate the city’s culinary scene with feature vendors, a celebrity chef presentation by Food Network’s Alex Guarnaschelli, cooking demonstrations by local food experts, food trucks, live music, art, and more. Wristbands available to participate in our craft cocktail tasting of six cocktails by local mixologists. The StrEATs Neighborhood Cook–off, curated by The Plaid Penguin will pit chefs head–to–head in a cook–off to win the title of StrEATs Neighborhood Champion. Free to attend, but registration is strongly recommended. Items at food trucks and vendors available for purchase. Part of the Charlotte SHOUT celebration. Click for details and registration.
Tuesday, Apr 18 – Sunday, April 23
Charlotte Wine & Food Week
Charlotte, NC (various timed and locations)
Back for its 35th year, Charlotte Wine + Food Week (CW+FW) combines fundraising with a wine and food pairing for every taste. Event includes wine tastings, wine dinners, seminars, and auctions. Proceeds benefit four local children’s charities: A Child’s Place, Augustine Literacy Project, GenOne, and The Learning Collaborative. Various locations. Details and tickets.
Saturday, April 29 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
NC Pickle Festival
Downtown Mt. Olive, NC
A joint effort by Mt. Olive, the town, and Mt. Olive, the company, the NC Pickle Festival is part street fair, part community festival, part family reunion. With pickles. Includes free pickle tastings, pickle eating contest, pickle recipe contest, pickle train, mascot race, helicopter race, butterfly garden, beer garden, concessions, carnival rides, live music and more. Additional kickoff festivities on Friday, April 28. Click for details.
Saturday, April 29 – noon – 6 p.m.
Charlotte Grilled Cheese Festival
CATS Light Rail – South End Station (S. Tryon Street), Charlotte
Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month with bites of melty, cheesy goodness paired with drinks from Bloody Mary and Mimosa bars. $22–$37. Click for details and tickets.
Friday, May 5 – 5–9 p.m. / Saturday, May 6 – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jiggy With The Piggy BBQ Competition & Festival
One of the largest sanctioned events by the Kansas City Barbeque Society in the United States. Named a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society, this festival includes a People’s Choice Pork Tasting Contest ($10), 5K Walk/Run, fireworks, concerts, food stalls, craft vendors, and kid’s zone. Click for details.
Sunday, May 7 – 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Carolina BBQ Festival
Camp North End, Charlotte, NC
Pitmasters from all over the Southeast will be celebrating the whole hog tradition while raising funds for local and national charities that support and feed our communities – complete with live music, vendor activations, wine, beer, and cocktails. VIP: $150. General Admission: $75. Click for details and tickets.
Saturday, May 20 noon – 10 p.m.
The Cheerwine Festival
Main St., Salisbury, NC
A street carnival in cooperation with the city of Salisbury, NC showcases the signature N.C. beverage. The day includes “Taste of Carolina Originals” food tastings, Cheerwine tastings, local breweries, kids activities, live entertainment, and more. Additional details to come.
Saturday, May 27 noon – 5 p.m.
Camp North End, Charlotte
An exploration of empanadas with vendors and food trucks representing multiple countries. Free to attend. Food purchases via vendors. Click for details and registration.
Saturday, June 3 – 1–4 p.m.
Crave Charlotte – Grand Culinary Celebration
The Barrel Room at Triple C, Charlotte
A wide variety of offerings from local chefs, mixologists, and brewers, plus world class wines. $55 general admission. $65 early admission. $85 VIP early admission. Details and tickets.
Saturday, June 10 – 2–7 p.m.
Eat Blk Charlotte 3rd Annual Food & Culture Festival
Victoria Yards, Charlotte
A celebration of community and culture featuring some of the best black-owned food trucks in the city along with kids activities and music. Free to attend. $25 for early entry. Details and tickets.
Saturday, June 24 – 4–7 p.m.
Appalachian Farms and Food Festival
Shipley Farms, Vilas, NC
This festival aims to raise awareness of farm loss in N.C., especially in western North Carolina. Features dishes created by a dozen N.C. chefs along with and N.C. beverages from three breweries, two distilleries, a winery, and a meadery. $125. Details and tickets.
Friday, July 14 noon – 10 p.m. / Saturday, July 15 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
NC Blackberry Festival
Downtown Lenoir, NC
Two days of celebrating North Carolina blackberries. Festivities include the world’s largest patchwork blackberry cobbler, eating contests, parades, live music, and more. Click for details.
Saturday, July 29 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival
Fair Bluff River Walk, Fair Bluff, NC
A day of celebrating North Carolina watermelon. Festivities include awarding the state’s largest watermelon, watermelon eating contests, live music, festival food and games, and pageants – including the NC Watermelon Queen.