Friday, December 18, 2015

Zoewee's Restaurant - African Spice is Nice!

Lewis Dueh, your chef!
The other day on a ride back from 1801 North Tryon Street (spent looking at what various groups/entrepreneurs have done with their spaces), Melanie Dunston of K & M Catering and FB Group, Charlotte Wellness and Events) asked me had I been to Zoewee's. My usual answer of "no, who are they?" was given, at which she promptly began to wax long about the wonderful food, the great people and the homespun hospitality of this hidden gem. So before I could pass the strip mall it's located in (believe me, you can pass it!), we pulled into a rather, bumpy parking lot (drive slow and show your shocks some love!) at 4112 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28206. All the way in the back sat Zoewee's African Restaurant, rather unassuming and definitely not hinting of the great dishes inside.

Unfortunately, when we knocked on the door, they were closed. And, even though we wandered over to get some Hot Ginger Ale and other delicacies at a nearby African Food Market (another blog post coming up!), I was hungry and wanted to sample the food Melanie kept talking about more and more.

So, back we went and this time, we were greeted by Lewis, the chef, who informed us that even though something smelling really good was wafting from the kitchen, he was not ready to open and that many of the dishes were not prepared yet. We both promised that we would eat whatever he brought out. I tell you, it was a total treat!

Palava Sauce
Zoewee's, at this location for six years, is definitely a word of mouth and traditional Liberian food find. As for accessibility, there is a low threshold to get into the building, though no automatic doors. It is simple tables and chairs with plenty of room to maneuver or rearrange seating, if needed. Large windows with a light colored floor made the space well-lit for me. The sidewalk outside is almost flush with the parking lot, so maneuvering a wheelchair or a scooter should not be an issue. And, while I didn't notice any designated accessible parking in front of the restaurant, the lot was quite empty, with designated spaces in other parts. I do suggest a run through and a call ahead, especially with the lack of an automatic door, but everyone is friendly and eager to please.

Potato Leaf Greens with Turkey and Chicken and White Rice
Melanie loves to chatter about Charlotte's hidden spots and this was definitely one. Run by Mr. Ernest, a quiet, polite but knowledgeable man, we were served by the chef, Louis, who first brought us a sample of the Palava Sauce, a spicy, but not too hot beef sauce. It had a musky earthiness that instantly warmed me. But, I wanted the only entree already finished, which turned out to be Potato Leaf Greens with Chicken and Turkey over White Rice.

Potato leaf greens with sauce on a bed of white rice
What an explosion of African spices, peppers and just plain flavor! The taste did not disappoint the aromas coming from the steaming hot plates. You don't have to wonder what you are eating. The meat was fall off the bone tender and itself seasoned to perfection. For my first foray into African food here in Charlotte, I was not disappointed. The potato leaves reminded me of spinach, with the same slight bitterness, but lovingly lost within the spicy sauce.

The goal (which I accomplished!), like most indigenous meals, is to slather this spicy concoction over the rice and eat it, sopping up the sauce along the with cassava bread. I didn't have any bread, but no matter. Even with amazingly generous portions, I ate it all.

And, the prices are very reasonable. We both ate for under $30.00.

There are so many other things to try here. Don't be afraid to ask questions. From  links below from Yelp and Trip Advisor, you can see Zoewee's gets very good reviews. It is due to the dedication to keeping authenticity in the traditional preparation and service of their hometown dishes that Zoewee's is well respected and patronized by transplants from Liberia and your truly from New York City!

Definitely stop in, say hello and grab a seat!

Zoewee's Restaurant
4112 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28206
Zoewee's on Facebook


Mon11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tue11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wed11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thu11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Review Links:

Trip Advisor

Trivia Point:
Ask Lewis what his name means! 

Front counter with dual heights. Love that touch!
Open concept, simple tables and chairs with smooth unobstructed flooring
Large room with plenty of maneuverability space

Accessibility Notes:
  1. First and foremost, I ALWAYS recommend CA (call ahead) for your individual needs. Everyone is friendly, and I believe they will jump at the chance to please.
  2. Flat concrete sidewalk in front leads to low threshold entrance.
  3. No automatic door.
  4. No online menu and no alternate or digital version (that I could find. If you find one, please update me!)
  5. Quiet and well-lit establishment with few sensory related distractions. Nighttime may be a different experience.
  6. Staff is willing to LWAS (Listen with a Smile!
Front entrance of Zoewee's Restaurant 

Sidewalk is flush with the parking lot. Rubber mat at the front of the door.

Pictures of the Menu:


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