takeOUTside is proudly presented by Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, our partner as we (safely) explore Charlotte-area restaurants, parks and green spaces.
On Juneteenth of 2020 – in the midst of Covid – Devin McDaniel and her two business partners reopened Derita Dairy Bar. After buying it from the previous owners in 2019, McDaniel kept a lot of the same menu items but changed all the ingredients from frozen to fresh. This change plus her social media marketing skills has made the walk-up restaurant a new favorite.
“I like that we are in the community and I like that we keep our menu very Black” McDaniel said. She was referring to their West End location and menu items like the KeKe Palmer which is pineapple lemonade + sweet tea.
Stay informed with news and events that impact Charlotte’s Black communities.
One of Derita Dairy Bar’s top sellers is their Crab Fries which has fresh crab meat, grilled peppers and onions and their seafood aioli sauce.
Their menu is loaded with southern & comfort food favorites like a fried bologna sandwich, burgers, hotdogs, a BLT, milkshakes, wings, nachos and more. “I normally get the fried chicken sandwich because you can switch up the sauces and we have 30 to choose from,” McDaniel said when asked which was her favorite menu item.
Still, the most surprising thing on the menu are the low prices. Get a grilled cheese for $3, two hotdogs for $6 or taco fries for $8. The prices were purposefully kept low so the community who has known Derita for years will still come through.
Opening during Covid
McDaniel and her partners bought the restaurant in November of 2019 and then took the next seven months, thanks to Covid, to plan the opening. “The business was already set up in a Covid-friendly way since people just order at the window then eat elsewhere,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel knew that social media would be a key factor in their success so during their launch they gave out free ice cream cones for an instagram follow. She also invited local influencers and food bloggers to come eat and post their food. It worked.
“We wanna grow,” McDaniel said, “I want a Northlake Dairy Bar and a SouthEnd Dairy Bar.” She described how rewarding it is to interact with the people who love their food each day, but admitted that it’s quite a lot of work for their small team.
Derita Dairy Bar is currently looking for more staff to help them expand and grow their hours of operation.
After ordering at the Derita Dairy Bar window, drive just 9 minutes down the road to Derita Creek Park. There you can enjoy your food on either a covered or uncovered picnic table at the quiet park.