Food guide to the University area for the non-college student

Food guide to the University area for the non-college student
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share by Email
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share by Email

Living in the University area can be quite exciting for college students. It’s like living in their own little town within the bigger city. But what about those of us who have aged out of late night burger trays from Cookout?

Living in the University area as an adult, a non-college student, can be tricky to navigate. The area has quite a few restaurants that basically turn into bars at night, hookah spots and sports bars for the everyday college student to enjoy.

If you’re looking for a more mature vibe, or just to get away from the barrage of green and yellow T-shirts—consider the following restaurants. Before you get into it, keep in mind that University is lacking in the kind of sophisticated spots you’d hope for (more on that later).


So you’re looking for a grown and sexy date spot? Firewater is the place. With low lights, a beautiful ambiance and a classy menu, Firewater is mature and chic. Perfect for drinks after work with the girls or a sophisticated date night, you won’t be disappointed.



Bar Louie

Out of all of the restaurants on the list, Bar Louie might have more college co-ed’s frequent their spot than others. However, it made the list because of the adult vibe that it possesses. One night I went in and there was a live jazz band playing. When big event’s come to the Queen City, Bar Louie is one of the places in the University area that people frequent. You might be down for a ladies’ night out or maybe you want to catch the game and have some time to yourself. This is your spot.



It’s ironic that this restaurant is on this list and located on the boardwalk. The boardwalk is a perfect hangout for college students. It’s a beautiful area with a lot for college students to do, but Ciro’s is prime for adults. I went there on my anniversary and loved the experience. This Italian restaurant has a delicious menu with great food that isn’t pricey at all. The atmosphere is quiet and peaceful, and the romance enters the room when the violinist comes to your table to play for you and your boo.


Captain Steve’s

OK, so technically Captain Steve’s isn’t in the University area. It’s in Harrisburg. But, seriously it’s only like a two-minute drive from what is considered “university” and it is well worth the drive. Located on University City Boulevard, Captain Steve’s is far enough away from UNC Charlotte that the college kids don’t frequent this spot. It’s a seafood restaurant with an extensive menu. This is a perfect location for a Sunday afternoon dinner with family or a good spot to take your parents for lunch when they fly in for a visit.


If you’re in the mood for a family night out or an after-work dinner spot for you and your co-workers, Cheddar’s is your place. The menu is full of tasty food and drinks that won’t break the bank. The atmosphere is chill with good service. If you aren’t sold yet… think croissants. Flaky on the outside, gooey on the inside and slathered with a generous amount of sweet honey butter—Cheddar’s croissants are something of a legend.


On any given day, all of these restaurants are viable spaces to socialize, grab food and drinks and get out of the house. The problem is, that’s just not good enough.

The University area lacks sexiness. It is hard to identify those spots and spaces that just make you feel like an adult—those with mystery, newness and intrigue. For some time, the mood around this area of town has been “good enough.”

Now, add on the extreme confusion and the eyesore that is the construction right around the university, and it even less appealing.


However, wrapped up in all of the dust and debris, there is a glimmer of light. Maybe the addition of the light rail and all of the new aesthetics bring in some new, sexy restaurants, bars and places to hang out for the young professionals and older population in the area. The list of the places above should get us by for the time being, but in the long run, something has got to change.

Story Views:
Join the 113,656 smart Charlotteans that receive our daily newsletter.
"It's good. I promise." - Emma   Emma Way