New restaurants are opening every day in Charlotte, it seems, and that makes it easy to overlook the classics.
Why it matters: Charlotte’s longstanding restaurants helped make the city’s food scene what it’s grown to be today. Often new restaurants draw inspiration from these classics.
Driving the news: Every time one of these iconic restaurants close, we lose a piece of classic Charlotte, and we’ve seen that happening a lot recently.
- Updating this list was a little sad. We had to delete Zack’s Hamburgers, Price’s Chicken Coop, Mr. K’s and Bill Spoon’s—all iconic Charlotte restaurants that have closed in the last six months or so.
This list is meant to highlight the spots that’ve been in Charlotte before the developers rolled in and built shiny new restaurants and shops. There’s no shame in trying new places, but keep the old ones in your rotation, too.
- Restaurants are listed newest to oldest.
1998: Mert’s Heart & Soul
Low Country and Gullah-inspired soul food in Uptown. It’s also a popular tourist spot, as evidenced by now-president Joe Biden’s visit in 2020.
1997: Eddie’s Place
Casual neighborhood Cotswold diner famous for its She Crab soup. They also serve all-day breakfast.
1996: Sir Edmond Halley’s
Quirky basement-level pub in the backlot at Park Road Shopping Center. If you’re up to it, try their beer tower.
1995: Mimosa Grill
Banker-approved, Southern-inspired restaurant in the Wells Fargo Atrium. It’s also a great place to eat al-fresco. Try their Sunday brunch buffet.
1992: Mama Ricotta’s
The classic Midtown Italian restaurant also has a sister concept called Little Mama’s. Both are great for a big family dinner or for takeout. The penne alla vodka is a must-try.
1992: Red Rocks
Upscale American cuisine in a casual, family-friend setting.
1991: Luisa’s Pizza
Family-friendly pizzeria in Montford with a $9 all-you-can-eat weekday buffet.
1990: Selwyn Pub
Quintessential Myers Park hangout in repurposed old house with a great front patio.
1990: Lang Van
Popular family-run Vietnamese restaurant on the east side.
1989: McNinch House
Located in the Victorian home of Charlotte mayor Sam McNinch, the upscale restaurant has a small menu with items like lobster bisque and filet mignon.
1988: Thai Taste
Charlotte’s first Thai restaurant that has rotating daily specials and large, flavorful dishes.
1987: Lupie’s Cafe
No-frills diner known for its four types of chili — Texas, Cincinnati, Vegetarian and Southern. Diners have the option to add toppings like beans, onions and cheese. You can also mix the different chilis.
1986: French Quarter
Uptown favorite in historic Brevard Court with a crazy popular baked chicken lunch special that draws a crowd on Thursdays.
1986: Floyd’s Soul Food
Homestyle Southern favorites passed down through generations. Founder Otis Floyd Jr.’s mother, Mrs. Cattie-Bell Floyd, is honored with a mosaic monument on Freedom Drive.
1986: 300 East
Eclectic American dining in a historic 1900-era Victorian home in Dilworth. A popular spot for brunch.
1984: Cajun Queen
Charlotte’s spot for New Orleans-inspired food, like étouféé and cajun pasta, and live jazz in a 100-year-old house.
Quaint Myers Park staple serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
1983: Alexander Michael’s
Cozy neighborhood tavern in Fourth Ward “where everybody knows your name.”
1978: House of Pizza
The Central Avenue classic has some of the best pizza in the city plus cheesesteaks and wings.
Charlotte’s beloved fried chicken chain with super sweet tea and buttery biscuits. In Charlotte, June 13 is Bojangles’ Day.
Family-run diner on the west side near the airport.
1973: Brooks’ Sandwich House
Humble family-run burger shack in NoDa — get the cheeseburger “all the way.”
1969: Gus’ Sir Beef
Endearing Oakhurst restaurant with a forever perplexing “Fresh My Farm Vegetables” tagline proudly displayed on the sign and painted on the building. This place has a lot of history, for example, Elizabeth Taylor once ate at Gus’ while visiting Charlotte.
Family-run Italian restaurant. Often referred to as one of Charlotte’s best pizza spots.
1961: Pressley Park Restaurant
Classic small-town diner in the big city. Sit in here for a few minutes and just watch how many customers the staff knows by name. Go for the country ham.
1959: South 21
Old school burger drive-in on Independence Boulevard.
1959: Bar B Q King
Retro curb service barbecue drive in on the west side. American restaurateur Guy Fieri has told Axios that the restaurant is one of his favorites in Charlotte.
1958: Beef N Bottle
Special occasion steakhouse in an unassuming little building on South Boulevard. Get half-priced wine on Monday nights.
1952: The Open Kitchen
Eye-catching Italian restaurant in Wesley Heights. Their menu has all the classics from ziti to pizza.
1952: Original Chicken ‘n Ribs
Simple to-go counter featuring made-to-order burgers, fried chicken and seafood. Lunch is free for kids on Tuesdays.
1947: Greystone Pub
Longstanding family-run pub passed down through generations that prides itself on having a “Cheers” atmosphere. The Andy’s Heavyweight sandwich is one if the restaurant’s most popular hoagies.
1945: The Diamond
Charming retro diner in Plaza Midwood. Most menu items are under $10.
1933: Providence Road Sundries
Landmark family-friendly Myers Park restaurant and bar. Popular dishes include the fried chicken sandwich topped with sweet chili, slaw, bacon, “Picabu” sauce and pickle chips. Another popular dish is the Mediterranean grain bowl.
1928: Reid’s Fine Foods
The gourmet grocer has evolved over time — passing through different buildings and ownership throughout the years — but the original location opened on Morehead in 1928.
1926: Green’s Lunch
Iconic Uptown hot dog counter that’s been around for almost 100 years. Everyday around lunchtime the restaurant gets slammed with everyone from construction workers to bankers looking for a quick bite.