All About The BayHaven Food & Wine Festival + More Black-Owned Restaurants To Visit In Charlotte!

Updated: 6 days ago

I attended BayHaven with a free media pass. In addition, I was paid an honorarium for speaking on a panel at the festival in 2022. I've also spent my own money to travel to the festival and stay in Charlotte for both years of the festival. I'm sharing about it here as it's an event I really enjoy.

 

Heard about the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival?


After attending this incredible Black food and wine festival for two years in a row, I can safely say that I've added it to my calendar as a MUST every year. It's already penciled in for October.


The multi-day festival showcases incredible Black talent and brands from around the country and attendees can really curate the experience they want depending on which events they attend.


I'm a big fan of the festival and format, so let me get into the details for you. If you're curious about BayHaven, whether it's for you, and how to get tickets, I got you.


Also, BayHaven is held in Charlotte, North Carolina. There's a whole lot of Black talent in Charlotte outside of the festival. So if you do attend and want to turn it into a weekend or longer of exploring all-Black everything in the area, you can do that.


Keep reading below for all the details, including some suggestions for other Black-owned restaurants to visit while you're in Charlotte!


Scenes from both years of the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival, including a portrait of Anela taken by Clay Williams, a fried fish sandwich, and a delicate peach dessert Anela still thinks about!



What Is The BayHaven Food & Wine Festival?

The BayHaven Food & Wine Festival is a nearly week-long festival held in Charlotte, NC. BayHaven focuses on elevating and providing opportunities to Black food and beverage professionals and brands.


Founded in 2021 by Gregory and Subrina Collier, the dynamic duo behind BayHaven Restaurant Group and award-winning concepts such as Leah & Louise, BayHaven Food & Wine Festival is Black-founded and Black-centric.


Festival events range from casual to more formal occasions, with a bit of something for everyone. While events change every year, the 2022 festival included:


  • A farm dinner held at Nebedye Farms, a Black-owned farm in Charlotte.


  • A half-day panel symposium held at Johnson & Wales University, covering everything from Black food media to Black restaurant ownership.


  • A six-course plated dinner featuring all-female talent led by chef Zoe Adjonyoh, author of "Zoe's Ghana Kitchen."


  • A homecoming gala where a wide array of chefs showcased their craft and attendees had a moment to dress up.


  • A tasting tent event with more than 75 chefs, mixologists, caterers, and more showcased. There were so many booths at the tasting tent event that people STRUGGLED to try them all.


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Where And When Is The Event Held?

The BayHaven Food & Wine Festival has been held in October in Charlotte, NC two years in a row. Events are spread throughout numerous locations in Charlotte, including a number of events hosted at Camp North End, a 76-acre historic site that is now home to multiple businesses, restaurants, and creative ventures.


Festival events are typically held in locations central to the city. That makes it convenient to also spend some time exploring Charlotte while you're in town for BayHaven. Keep reading below for Black-owned restaurants you can also check out while you're there!


How Much Does It Cost And Who All Gon' Be There?

Anela stands in a brightly floral skirt and crop top in front a brick wall smiling at Camp North End in Charlotte, NC
Anela at the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival in 2021

For the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival, you can purchase tickets for individual events or purchase packages that include entry to specific events. In 2022, tickets for some of the less formal events such as the tailgate party or the tasting tents ranged from $115-$150. Tickets for more formal events like the gala and plated dinners varied from $275-$315.


BayHaven offers a menu of activities and you get to choose based on your interests and budget. And on that menu, there's an impressive roster of talent as well.


A sampling of the food and beverage professionals participating in BayHaven in 2022 included Tiffany Williams, Adrian Lipscombe, BJ Dennis, Zoe Adjonyoh, Keith Rhodes, Greg Collier, Ricky Moore, and so many more people! The festival attracts talent from across the country, so it's a great opportunity to sample people's work, try new brands, and see what incredible Black food folks are up to from coast to coast.


I've also been asked numerous times about whether you have to be in the food industry to attend, and the answer is definitely not! BayHaven is open to the public and so many of the attendees that I met just wanted to enjoy some good food and let loose.


Let's Get Into The Food Though

The food and beverage options at the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival, down to the craft cocktails available at events, were outstanding. Expect each event to leave you very full, with creative dishes that draw on a range of influences from all over the world. You'll get fancy bites, comfort food, bubbly, spirit-forward sips, and everything in between.


I was also so glad to see that in 2022 each event contained more vegetarian and vegan options than the year before. In addition, the 2022 festival included an entire vegan and vegetarian plated dinner. I'd look to future schedules to see if that trend continues.


Want to see what the festival is really like? Click to take a look at my recent recap of the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival on Instagram!


How Can I Get Tickets To The BayHaven Food & Wine Festival?

Tickets typically go on sale three to four months in advance of the festival. The best way to stay up to date on the festival, tickets, and more, is to visit the BayHaven website and subscribe to the email list there. That way you'll be notified when ticket sales begin!


Beyond the official BayHaven site, I share about this festival and others on my platform, along with numerous other Black creators like KJ Kearney of Black Food Fridays. Follow along with our work on social media and you'll see details go out as we get them!


What About Other Black-Owned Restaurants In Charlotte?

As BayHaven is held in Charlotte, NC, you can definitely check out some other local Black-owned businesses while you're in the city! Below are a few recommendations that I personally enjoyed and a few sent to me by friends!


Archive: Check out this Black-woman-owned book cafe for coffee, treats, and to grab a few new reads!


Bird Pizzeria: Order ahead at this casual pizza spot! Their crust is outstanding and there are vegan options available.


The Pauline Tea Bar: Head to Pauline's for a moment to relax, step away, and enjoy a pot of tea from the wide selection available.


What The Fries: I've only had What The Fries during the BayHaven festival, but I can see why they have such a following. They do have a standalone restaurant in Charlotte as well so be sure to get your comfort food on at this casual spot that cuts its fries fresh and makes its sauces in-house.


Leah & Louise: So historically this award-winning spot has not been open during the BayHaven festival, as the team is deeply involved in running the festival. But if you're in Charlotte a few days early, stay after the festival, or just happen to come to town I cannot recommend this place enough. In my view, Leah & Louise is one of the best Black-owned restaurants in the USA and one of my favorite restaurants in the country period.



Have any questions about the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival? Feel free to ask them in the comments. And let me know if you're planning on attending. I'd love to see you there!