Monk: Despite the generally bad outlook for restaurants, there was mostly positive news for our top ranked Charlotte barbecue restaurants. Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s both reopened with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place and of course there is Jon G’s Barbecue which finally opened its long-awaited doors in Peachland.
Things were not so great for Queen City Q, which when we started the blog in 2012 was our second favorite barbecue restaurant in Charlotte at the time behind Midwood Smokehouse. And things seemed to be going pretty well in the mid-2010’s, with expansion to locations in Ballantyne, Matthews, and Concord. However, those quietly closed in recent years and the original location in Uptown Charlotte was apparently hanging on by a thread before it was forced to close as a result of the state’s pandemic response. It briefly opened in May as part of North Carolina’s phase 2 but then the final nail in the coffin came when it was forced to close again due to the threat of protests.
If I’m honest, Queen City Q had fallen off quite a bit from when it first opened. Our last visits were my solo trip to the Concord store in 2016 in which a poor experience prompted a re-review of the 6th Street location by Speedy and me a few weeks later. We left that visit disheartened and convinced that the drop in quality wasn’t an isolated incident. Neither of us had not been back since, and now they have shuttered their remaining location.
RIP Queen City Q (2012-2020)
4/7 Hillbilly’s Barbeque & Steaks in Lowell is moving to a new building on South Main Street
4/14 Jon G’s Barbecue updates their website ahead of their forthcoming brick and mortar in Peachland
4/20 Noble Smoke begins delivery service in Charlotte
4/30 Sweet Lew’s BBQ, which had been closed but serving their smoked meats out of Dish (also owned by Lewis Donald), announces they are reopening their store for to-go orders on May 7
5/1 Jon G’s Barbecue announces they are officially permitted for their upcoming restaurant
5/7 Sweet Lew’s BBQ reopens
5/20 A limited edition Sweet Lew’s BBQ shirt became available and supported two local small businesses with each purchase
5/21 Bill Spoon’s BBQ decides to remain curbside only even as restaurants are allowed to open with reduced capacity in phase 2
5/22 Noble Smoke reopens with extended safety precautions
6/4 Queen City Q announced that they are closing their uptown location, which was the last remaining location of their Charlotte locations after numbering as many as 4 in recent years.
6/8 Jon G’s Barbecue announces their soft opening dates starting June 19
6/19 Jon G’s Barbecue officially opens
6/27 Sweet Lew’s BBQ smoked enough pork for 175 plates for the Charlotte Community Kitchen