Note: This is an update to our 2010 story with closed restaurants removed, websites updated, and some great new spots for getting your good times rolling.
The Cajun Queen
1800 East 7th Street
Charlotte, NC 28204
Not far from the Center City, this stalwart on 7th Street parties on into its 28th year. The New Orleans cuisine here is very authentic, from genuine BBQ shrimp, sauteed in butter, beer, garlic, and spices to etoufee full of chicken, shrimp or crawfish (or all three). Live jazz music plays seven nights a week in the upstairs music room. The bar upstairs is the perfect spot for a bowl of seafood gumbo and a Sazerac.
Cajun Yard Dog
Arboretum Shopping Center
8036 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC 28277
This Arboretum spot offers an extensive Cajun menu including gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, shrimp or crawfish creole and fried oysters plus po' boys stuffed with fried catfish or oysters, blackened salmon, or crab cakes. A couple of unique items, including Jalapeno Deviled Eggs, hail from the Yard Dog's origin as the sister restaurant of Dakotas (now the New South Kitchen), helmed by Chris Edwards, one of the city's top chefs.
New Orleans natives, Martine and Lucius Johnson, brought authentic Nawlins flavors to Charlotte when they relocated after Hurricane Katrina. After an attempted move to a location along the light rail line in South End, they've returned to their original take-out spot in the Randolph Medical Center serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now renamed Barre ("BAR-ray" Martine's maiden name), the restaurant's menu now features more homestyle items including Meat & Three plates, but check the specials for New Orleans standards such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp Alix pasta, crawfish eggrolls and more. And don't miss the delicious desserts - red velvet cake, peach cobbler, and banana pudding. The grab-and-go cooler is stocked with items perfect for a meal at home, including gumbo, soups, shrimp and grits, stuffed crab and a to-die-for white chocolate bread pudding, all guaranteed to be made with New Orleans pride.
Eddie's Place Restaurant
617 South Sharon Amity Road
Charlotte, NC 28211
Originally the sister restaurant of late, lamented Hotel Charlotte formerly located just across the parking lot, Eddie's Place serves many New Orleans specialties including chicken and sausage gumbo; red beans and rice; creole with with your choice of smoked sausage, shrimp, crawfish tails or grilled chicken; fried shrimp, oyster or flounder Po-Boys; and a classic Muffuletta sandwich made with the essential olive salad. Casual family spot has a bar and a row of tvs for single diners as well.
Boudreaux's Louisiana Kitchen
501 East 36th Street at North Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC 28205
Hot spot in the NoDa arts neighborhood features gumbo three ways, gator bites, po boys and muffulettas, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and numerous other Cajun specialties, including a knock-out bread pudding. Boudreaux's New Orleans Sunday Brunch, served 11:30 am to 3 pm weekly, is locally famous for its Eggs Benedict with tasso ham and half-price Cajun Mary's.
e2 emeril's eatery
135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, Suite 100
Charlotte, NC 28202
Emeril Lagasse has deep roots in New Orleans where he opened his first restaurant in 1990. His Charlotte eatery, e2, offers many of his "New New Orleans" dishes, classics with a gourmet flair. The regular menu features a gumbo of the day, as well as New Orleans barbecued shrimp, New Orleans-style mussels with crawfish, andouille sausage, corn, potatoes and roasted garlic, and housemade boudin and andouille sausage with black eye peas, peppadew and caramelized onion, among many others. The bar serves classic New Orleans cocktails, including the Sazerac, said to be the original cocktail, and the Ramos Gin Fizz. E2 also celebrate spring every year with an authentic Louisiana Crawfish Boil served al fresco on the restaurant's patio.
Razzoo's Cajun Cafe
8011 Concord Mills Boulevard
Concord, NC 28027
This national chain with a location near Charlotte Motor Speedway hits all the Cajun high notes, from grilled gator tail to a fancy fish stuffed with shrimp and crab and topped with a crawfish butter sauce.
321 South Church Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
While not quite a Cajun restaurant (no gumbo on the menu), this diner on Brevard Court in uptown features Cajun style red beans and rice for lunch on Mondays and Fridays; your choice of chicken or shrimp creole on Tuesdays; and a lively after-work bar scene with plenty of "bon temps" Monday-Friday. Strategically located between Panther Stadium and the new Knights ballpark, this spot, a survivor founded in 1986, is enjoying a new popularity.
440 E. McCullough Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28262
Moving from old favorite to the newest kid on the block, this brand new entry in the University City neighborhood offers a wide variety of shellfish, from the signature crawfish to Maine lobster, boiled and topped with a garlicky sauce adjusted to your desired level of spiciness. Owners Mike Nguyen and Michelle Tu, who hail from the West Coast, opened their restaurant in February, 2014, basing it on a concept that is growing in popularity on both sides of the Pacific. Sides are the traditional ones found at Louisiana crawfish boils - corn, potatoes, sausage - plus some Oriental additions such as steamed rice. The rest of the menu is an eclectic mix, with fish tacos, grilled oysters, fried shrimp, chicken wings and shrimp eggrolls sharing the page with a variety of combination rice plates.