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5 Reasons To Visit Leah And Louise, One Of Charlotte's Best Black-Owned Restaurants

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

From an impeccable bar program to a low-waste kitchen serving food that will make you come back again and again, Leah & Louise is a must-visit gem in Charlotte.

I recently traveled to Charlotte for the inaugural BayHaven Food and Wine Festival, a Black food and wine festival held in October. Before heading to Charlotte I asked trusted folks for recommendations and every single person noted that I should visit Leah & Louise.

So I headed to Leah & Louise and upon first bite, I knew. While I was in the city for just a few short days I dined at Leah & Louise twice, ending up there two nights in a row without hesitation. This Black-owned spot is one you absolutely cannot miss when you're in Charlotte, NC.

Video Description: Scenes from Anela's visit to Leah & Louise with clips from interviews with owners Gregory and Subrina Collier and bar manager/mixologist Justin Hazelton. Disclosure: I didn’t pay for some of the food here. My first meal was comped and then I went back again and happily paid for another spread!

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5 Reasons Leah And Louise Is One Of Charlotte's Best Black-Owned Restaurants And One Of My Favorite Spots In The US

A plated catfish dish on the table, with fish over rice grits at Leah and Louise, one of Charlotte's best Black-owned restaurants
The Mud Island, a blackened catfish dish at Leah & Louise

1. Black-Owned Business Intentional About Storytelling And Inclusion

Leah & Louise is Black-owned and honors Black stories, history, and culture through the menu and design of the space. The result is a warm and welcoming environment which just might cause you to rethink your conceptions of Black food and what Black food folks are capable of.

The owners are also founders of the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival in Charlotte, a multi-day event that features Black makers, chefs, mixologists, and more from across the country. It's amazing to see their intentionality extend to Leah & Louise and far beyond.

2. The Food Stands On Its Own!

Esquire named Leah & Louise among the Best New Restaurants in America in 2020 for good reason. The menu is at once playful and traditional, offering creative takes on Southern cuisine that you won't find elsewhere. Don't skip the Arthur Lou, a Tang custard pie, or the River Chips, crispy fried chicken skins you won't be able to resist.

3. Pays Fair Wages

Leah & Louise has done away with tipping in favor of a service charge that supports stable wages and benefits for their staff. Tipping is a controversial practice rooted in slavery in the United States. Given that history I think it's vital that Black-owned and Black centric businesses and spaces are part of the conversation about what the future of the service industry can or should look like.

4. Low-Waste Kitchen

Leah & Louise works to reduce their kitchen waste! By turning excess ingredients into various powders, vinegar, and other concoctions, Leah & Louise strives to use up all elements of ingredients in creating their menu. Why should we care? Food waste is a contributor to climate change as it produces greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Excellent Cocktails And Drink Program

At Leah & Louise the bar program is as strong as the food program. No fab meals but meh drinks at this spot. The cocktails are great and, as other elements of the space and menu do, the menu draws on elements of Black history and culture to tell a story. Head mixologist Justin Hazelton was also recently named best in Charlotte.

Next time you're in Charlotte, make sure you stop into Leah & Louise. It's my favorite Black-owned restaurant in Charlotte and one of my absolute favorites in the nation period. If you have any questions, drop them below!

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