The food on Freedom Drive may be the best-kept secret in Charlotte.
This is where the super down-to-earth VP of your company is sneaking off to for a quiet lunch every day. We all know about Pinky’s and Rhino Market, but drive another mile down Freedom and you’ll find a bunch of small businesses with classic eats. It’s perfect for when you need to get away from the Uptown restaurant crowd.
Here are six of the best lowkey places to grab a bite to eat off Freedom Drive.
Why it’s awesome: Quick counter service and food seasoned as if a Southern grandmother made it. They’re best known for their wings, but the menu is deep on subs and sandwiches.
You should order: The hot honey wings are incredible, and this is coming from someone who generally doesn’t like wings.
Price: $5-$8 roughly, add $2.39 to make it a combo.
Address: 2734 Freedom Dr. Charlotte, NC 28208
Why it’s awesome: Great coffee, an attentive staff, a short line, and it’s right on your commute into Uptown. It’s got all your favorites, plus some funky originals like the cold brew slushie.
You should order: I’m not adventurous with my coffee, but that caramel latte is probably the best I’ve had in the city. Seriously.
Address: 3115 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208
Why it’s awesome: If you love old school neighborhood restaurants, Gardenia for you. It’s been open 28 years, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the menu is full of comfort foods I guarantee you haven’t had this good in years.
You should order: I’m super obsessed with the chicken tips.
Price: Entrees range from about $7 to $13.
Address: 1019 Alleghany St, Charlotte, NC 28208
Why it’s awesome: Not only does it have mind-blowing Cajun-style shrimp po’ boys, it also has hard-to-find seafood items, like gator.
You should order: The aforementioned alligator po’ boy is hard to top. Make sure you get extra po’ boy sauce.
Price: Under $10.
Address: 3022 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208
Why it’s awesome: This deceptively large spot has a huge bar in the back perfect for game day. Bar food, cheap beer, and good times. No need to complicate it.
You should order: Grab a sample platter and split it with a bunch of your friends. Consider it a cheat day.
Price: Varies pretty wildly by item. $5-$10 for a sandwich, seafood gets up to around $15, and apps are about $8.
Address: 3030 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208
Why it’s awesome: There aren’t a heckuva lot of places in Charlotte that do a bologna sandwich, and that pretty much sums up Nicky’s Kitchen. It ain’t pretty, but it tastes like home.
You should order: I had an emotional reaction to the link sausage and egg, because it reminded me of my dad. I don’t know that it’ll remind you of my dad too, but it’s worth a try.
Price: Low. Omelets are about $5.50 and most items are under $5.
Address: 2416 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208