Mazhar Ali, 41, from Stockton, Teesside, died in hospital on Christmas Day following an incident inside the Manjaros restaurant on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough.
Cleveland Police said Efreeqi Mohamed Siddig, 20, from Middlesbrough, has been charged with murder and carrying an offensive weapon.
He will appear before Teesside Magistrates' Court on Boxing Day.
Mr Ali had been treated in the James Cook University Hospital and he was said to have been in a critical condition after the 3.40pm incident.
The premises will not be open for the next few days, the force said.
Manjaros serves a fusion of African and Caribbean food and was due to feed homeless people on Christmas Day.
According to reports, customers were urgently asked to leave the restaurant midway through their meals.
Police cordoned off an alleyway behind the premises.