Charlotte’s Handcrafted Cuisine: Three Local Food Vendors

As part of our annual “Foodie” issue, South Charlotte Lifestyle is highlighting three local food vendors offering distinctive, gourmet culinary delights:

Lee Esther’s Premium Jams, Spreads, and Savories (LEML Enterprises, LLC)

Robert A. Long founded Lee Esther's Premium Jams, Spreads and Savories or LEML Enterprises to honor his mother, Lee Esther Marie Clark Long. Known affectionately as “Mrs. Esther,” Robert’s mother left a legacy of creating homemade fruit jams, pies, cakes and doughnuts enjoyed by her family and friends for over 50 years.

Prior to her passing in 2014, Robert asked his mother what it was that made her jams so special. She replied simply, “Just love.” Somewhat dubious at first that the secret behind his mother’s delicious homemade foods could be something so straightforward, Robert began cooking jams just as his mother did, following her precise instructions. After sharing these jams as Christmas gifts with his family, friends and neighbors, Robert received numerous compliments and empty jars returned to him with eager requests for refills.

The encouragement Robert received motivated him to produce his mother’s Sweet Pepper, Strawberry and Triple Berry jams for commercial sale. Just as his mother’s jams were crafted with special care, Robert offers customers a taste of natural goodness based on Mrs. Esther’s unique recipes. All of his products are made using natural ingredients, including fresh fruit and no preservatives.   

To purchase these tasty jams online and to find out where you can buy LEML Enterprises, LLC products locally, visit

Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale

After a decade spent perfecting his recipe, native Charlottean John Morgan founded Queen Charlotte's Pimento Cheese Royale in 2014. For years, as John built his reputation as an artist, musician and elementary school art teacher, he held on to his dream of one day starting his own company to sell his locally-cherished pimento cheese.

After placing second on the game show “Jeopardy!,” John finally had the financial resources and time necessary to see his dream to fruition. With the support of his wife, Myers Mckenzie, John went to work and created Queen Charlotte's Pimento Cheese Royale.

Every tub of Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale is handcrafted in the company’s brand-new production facility located here in Charlotte. John’s distinctive pimento cheese is available in four specialty flavors: the original, Pimento Cheese Royale; Her Royal Hotness, a jalapeno pimento cheese spread; Black and Bleu Blood, a cracked black pepper and blue cheese pimento blend; and Baconham Palace, combining bacon, smoked cheddar and fresh pimento cheese.

Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese varieties have been hailed on a national level and are currently available in 600 commercial locations in 10 states and Washington, DC. They can be purchased locally at Harris Teeter and Food Lion and approximately 80 local/regional specialty foods locations.

John’s pimento cheese is gluten-free and cream cheese-based, using less mayonnaise than average pimento cheese brands. Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale celebrates the culture and community of Charlotte and surrounding areas in its name and its innovative, artistic packaging that highlights Charlotte’s history with its use of the “Hornet’s Nest” in its crest and images of Queen Charlotte herself.

Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale supports local Carolina products by incorporating them into a proprietary blend that includes regional mainstays such as Duke’s Mayonnaise, based in Greenville, SC, Texas Pete Hot Sauce from Winston-Salem, NC, and Mt. Olive diced jalapenos produced in Mt. Olive, NC.

To place an online order and learn where you can purchase Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale, visit

BW Sweets Bakery

The owner of BW Sweets Bakery is Frankie White, a wonderful young man who is a native Charlottean and who graduated from Garinger High School. Frankie grew up just down the street from the bakery he now owns on Milton Road and all of his recipes are his own creations, painstakingly perfected through trial and error.

According to a friend of the magazine, Barbara McKay, "His cakes are the first I have ever tasted that are as delicious as my mom’s cakes . . . and she was well known for her most delicious cakes. Frankie’s favorites are mine, too—chocolate, caramel, German chocolate, coconut pineapple and more. Frankie also does elaborately decorated birthday cakes, cupcakes, cookies and even my favorite pies—pecan and sweet potato. His bakery is so very charming and he is as delightful as his desserts!"

Daily Dessert Bar

BW Sweets Bakery is known for its daily dessert bar that’s brimming with a wide selection of confections to please any sweet tooth! Each day, 16 distinct flavors of cake, eight varieties of cheesecake and five cheesecake cake combinations are offered in addition to brownies, cinnamon rolls, Rice Krispies treats, Fruity Pebble treats and muffins, cupcakes, pie slices, candy apples, cake pops and banana pudding. Whole cakes are also available for purchase.

BW Sweets Bakery is extremely versatile thanks in large part to Mobile Bakery, which delivers Frankie’s delicious desserts to restaurants, food trucks and pop up shops, as well as corporate events.

To learn more about the BW Sweets Bakery, visit

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