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'Most of all, go have fun' | Over 70 restaurants featured in Queen's Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week and we have a list of them

This 10-day event is perfect for a date night or for someone who is interested in exploring new restaurants.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Arguably one of Charlotte's favorite week-long events is back for their winter 2022 edition and WCNC Charlotte has a list of the participating locations. 

Queen's Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week started Friday, Jan. 21, and will last until Jan. 30. Started in 2008 by operator and creator Bruce Hensley, organizers say this event has been able to generate over millions back into local restaurants in the Charlotte area as well as provide an opportunity for customers to experience new restaurants, explore other nearby counties, and create lasting memories with friends while dining.  

Hensley told WCNC Charlotte this year's winter edition will include an expanded list of participants from Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Iredell, Gaston, Catawba, Stanly, York, and Lancaster counties. 

Cajun Queen has been a staple in the Charlotte community, serving patrons for nearly 40 years. 

"This is the one that has a lot of heritage to the city," Matthew Brenner, a customer at the restaurant, told WCNC Charlotte over the weekend. 

The restaurant is just one of the businesses excited the influx of customers, and focus on supporting local endeavors during the pandemic. 

"The restaurant business is a hard business in the best best of times," Tim Freer, co-owner and general manager of the Cajun Queen, said. "if you throw a couple of monkey wrenches... it's just almost impossible."

According to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, nearly 60% of restaurants in the U.S. lost more than half of sales in December because of omicron.

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"Our geographic footprint north to south is about 80 miles from Hickory to Rock Hill, and then about 60 miles east to west from Stanly County and Rowan County over to Gaston County. So that's a pretty big footprint and what it does is allow people to get out of their typical geographic or economic footprint and go try something new. Go to a new neighborhood go to a new city. Try a new concept that you haven't tried before for not a whole lot of investment," Hensley said. 

This 10-day event is perfect for a date night or for someone who is interested in exploring a new restaurant. The Queen's Feast includes over 70 restaurants that offer prix fixe dinners ranging from $30 to $45 options. Those interested in attending any or all of the restaurants are asked to make a reservation to ensure seats during prime dining times.

"We highly recommend reservations, I strongly strongly recommend reservations and most restaurants are going to require them," Hensley told WCNC Charlotte. 

As for navigating through this 10-day long event while many restaurants are still working to recover from the pandemic, Hensley said customers should be vigilant and aware that some locations may have staffing issues.

"There are still some staffing issues out there. So please be kind, be patient. And tip generously. Most of all, go have fun, really it's eating, eating fun," Hensley said. 

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, just download the free app.         

Below is a list of the participating restaurants:  

WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions reporting on and engaging the community around the problems and solutions as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.

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