25 best lunch spots in Charlotte

25 best lunch spots in Charlotte
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Looking for where to go for lunch? Here’s a list of the best lunch spots in Charlotte and what to order from each.

Note: This list is in no particular order

Pinky’s Westside Grill

Funky burger joint once featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Award: Best burger

Must order: The ‘White Trash Burger’ – Juicy five-ounce burger with provolone, fried pickles & onion rings and spicy ranch sauce ($5.50) and ‘Pimp’n Fries’ – homemade pimento cheese melted over crispy, seasoned waffle fries ($6.95)

Location: 1600 W Morehead Street


Kinda Fried Turkey Sandwich from Pinky’s. Agenda related story: Best french fries in the city of charlotte, sorted by type of fry

Rhino Market & Deli

Laid back sandwich shop and market with daily specials.

Award: Best grab-and-go sandwiches

Must order: The chicken torta – pulled chicken, avocado, provolone, jalapenõs, lettuce, tomato, mayo on ciabatta ($7.99)

Locations: Wesley Heights – 1500 W Morehead Street, Uptown – 420 Church Street


I get it on wheat bread, just FYI.

Viva Chicken

Fast casual Peruvian rotisserie chicken spot with multiple Charlotte locations.

Award: Best sauces

Must order: A ‘Tacu Bowl’ with chicken – cilantro infused or Jasmine rice, canary beans, salsa criolla (lime marinated onions and tomatoes), avocado, green onions ($9.40) and a side of fried plantains.

Locations: Elizabeth – 1617 Elizabeth Avenue, Park Road – 4500 Park Road, Ballantyne – 12206 Copper Way, Waverly – 11641 Waverly Center Drive


Chris’ Deli

Old school sandwich shop loved by locals for over 36 years.

Award: Best sub

Must order: Go with their #1 most popular sub, The Daily Sub — roast beef, ham, turkey, provolone, lettuce, tomato, mayo, onion and oil and vinegar with a side of macaroni salad ($8).

Location: 3619 E Independence Boulevard

Agenda guide: After 36 years, Chris still making delicious sandwiches behind the counter at Chris’ Deli


Anita’s Mexican Grill

No-frills, order at the counter Mexican restaurant located in a BP parking lot between a dry cleaner and a Subway.

Award: Best grab-and-go Mexican

Must order: Anita’s first-timers should order the $5.25 Speedy Gonzalez combo — taco, enchilada, rice, beans, chips and salsa.

Location: 2904 Yorkmont Road

Agenda guide: 5 quick takeaways from my first visit to Anita’s Mexican Grill

La Shish Kabob

Middle Eastern eatery serving up tasty halal bites like shawarma and kabobs.

Award: Best Middle Eastern lunch

Must order: The lamb shank served with rice and your choice of soup or salad ($11.99).

Location: 3117 N Sharon Amity Road


Sabor Latin Street Grill

A quickly expanding Latin street-style spot with a cheap tacos and mountains of nachos.

Award: Best nachos

Must order: The nachos – tortilla chips with refried or black beans, queso, lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo & guacamole, plus your choice of protein ($7.95). Enough to share with a friend.

Locations: They have a total of 11 now. Find the closest one.


Roasting Company

Casual rotisserie joint with daily lunch specials and house-made sauces

Must order: A 1/4 rotisserie white meat chicken plate served with 1 or 2 sides and cornbread ($6.89)

Location: Montford – 1521 Montford Drive, Plaza Midwood – 1332-B Central Avenue

Agenda guide: Have you heard of The Roasting Company’s Chicken Pot Pie special?


Sandwich Max

Relaxed sandwich shop serving up no-frills, handcrafted sammies for over 27 years.

Award: Most loved by locals

Must order: The Pressed TCB – swiss, turkey, ham, bacon w/ mayo ($5.25)

Location: Elizabeth – 1931 E 7th Street

Agenda guide: Max serving up some of the best sandwiches in the city


Sav/Way Foods

A small Latin supermarket serving sneaky good sandwiches.

Must order: The chorizo torta – dry-age Mexican-style chorizo topped with avocado, lettuce, jalapeno, onion and queso asado ($9) or opt for the version with chicken ($7.50)

Location: Plaza Midwood – 4459 Central Avenue

Agenda guide: How to find and eat an authentic football-sized Chicken Torta at a supermarket near Plaza Midwood


Bang Bang Burgers

Mouthwatering burgers served on hand-shaped brioche style buns.

Award: Best burger

Must order: Bang Bang Burger – American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, homemade pickle and Bang sauce with fries($9.50). A double will cost you an additional $3.

Location: Elizabeth – 2001 E 7th Street 

JJ’s Red Hots

Retro-style counter serve eatery specializing in all things hot dogs.  

Award: Best hot dog

Must order: The ‘Uptown Downtown’ topped with chili, bacon, beer cheese, onion and mustard ($3.99)

Location: Uptown – 400 South Tryon Street, Dilworth – 1514 East Boulevard, Ballantyne – 15105 N John Delaney Drive



Lexington-style BBQ joint featured on BBQ Pitmasters and Destination America as the ‘Best BBQ in NC’

Award: Best BBQ plate

Must order: The Pig – Hickory slow-smoked pork (chopped or course cut) served with white or red slaw, hushpuppies and one side ($12)

Location: South End – 228 West Boulevard


Agenda related guide: Best BBQ in Charlotte

YAFO Kitchen

Casual Mediterranean eatery offering shawarma bowls, hummus and house baked laffah.

Award: Most Instagram-worthy bowls

Must order: Yafo Shawarma – Shawarma chicken, tzatziki, cucumber and tomato salad, tahini, sumac onion and schug served as a bowl, salad or wrap ($10.99)

Location: South Park – 720 Gov Morrison Street, Plaza Midwood – 1331 Central Avenue

Lang Van

Totally authentic Vietnamese restaurant serving up steaming bowls of pho.

Award: Best pho

Must order: Pho Tai Nam – rare and well-cooked beef served in a rice noodle soup topped with fresh basil, bean sprouts, chili pepper and lemon ($5.95)

Location: 3019 Shamrock Drive

lang van pho

Brooks’ Sandwich House

Small roadside stop serving chili burgers out of a window.

Award: Best chili burger

Must order: A burger “all the way” – topped with chili, mustard and onions ($4/cash only)

Location: NoDa – 2710 N Brevard Street

Agenda guide: Trust me, go order the $3.50 burger from this seat-less restaurant in NoDa. And get it “All the way”


Ru San’s

Japanese restaurant with an all-you-can-eat sushi lunch buffet and a no-fuss atmosphere.

Award: Best sushi lunch buffet

Must order: The buffet, which includes a variety of fresh sushi and other hot asian dishes ($12.50)

Location: Dilworth – 2440 Park Road

Agenda guide: Ru San’s all-you-can-eat sushi lunch buffet is the IKEA of sushi and you’ll love it

ru san's charlotte lunch buffet

Agenda related story: Best sushi in Charlotte

Thai Taste

Cozy Thai eatery serving up hot noodle dishes in Charlotte since 1988.

Award: Best pad thai

Must order: The pad thai lunch special served with a spring roll and jasmine rice. If you dine in, you also get soup and a drink ($10-14)

Location: Dilworth – 324 East Boulevard

Agenda guide: It’s the little things that make lunch at Thai Taste addictive

Little Village Grill

Little Greek cafe offering pitas topped with french fries and gyros for under $5.

Award: Best gyro

Must order: Grilled chicken gyro topped with tzatziki, lettuce, tomato and onions ($4.80)

Location: 710 W Trade Street


NoDa Bodega

Low key market and deli serving handcrafted sandwiches, salads and wraps.

Must order: The ‘Italian Stallion’ – proscuitto, finocchiona, capocollo, fresh mozzarella, basil and peppadew relish served on a baguette ($8)

Location: NoDa – 1200 E 36th Street 


Reid’s Fine Foods

Gourmet grocery and deli serving grab-and-go lunch staples.

Must order: QC Chicken Salad – Spiedies chicken salad, bibb lettuce and tomato on whole wheat ($8.99)

Location: Myers Park – 2823 Selwyn Avenue, SouthPark – 4331 Barclay Downs Drive, Uptown – 121 W Trade Street


Lobster roll at Reid’s Fine Foods Uptown. Only available on Wednesdays at the Uptown location. It’ll run you $15.99 and comes with homemade chips.

Po Boy’s Seafood Market

No-fuss seafood counter and market specializing in cajun and creole seafood eats.

Award: Best po’ boy

Must order: Alligator po’ boy – served on a 9″ hoagie with lettuce, tomato and your choice of mayo, tartar sauce or po’ boy sauce ($9.95)

Location: 3022 Freedom Drive

Agenda guide: 6 takeaways from my first visit to Po Boy’s Low Country Seafood Market


Luisa’s Brick Oven Pizza

Family-style pizza place with an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet.

Award: Best pizza lunch buffet

Must order: The all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta and salad buffet ($8)

Location: Montford – 1730 Abbey Place

Agenda guide: Do you know about Luisa’s all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta, salad buffet for $8 on Montford?

Jasmine Grill

Dive-y strip mall Mediterranean joint with cheap lunch specials.  

Must order: Chicken kabob lunch special, which comes with lentil soup, salad and chicken kebabs with vegetables and rice ($6.99)

Location: 5033 South Boulevard

Agenda guide: Jasmine Grill’s $6.99 Chicken Kebab Lunch Special will blow your mind


Pasta & Provisions Wilmore

Hip pasta shop and deli specializing in fresh pasta and sandwiches topped with cured Italian meats.

Award: Most impressive sandwich stack

Must order: The Royal – capicola, sausage patty, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil and vinegar with mayo on a fresh hoagie roll ($8)

Location: Wilmore – 1600 S Mint Street

Agenda guide: Wait, what? Is the #1 sandwich in Charlotte from a pasta joint?


Laurel Market

Neighborhood store and deli offering handcrafted, made-to-order sandwiches.

Award: Best neighborhood deli

Must order: #4 Turkey sandwich with bacon, pepperjack, tomato, lettuce and chipotle spread on your choice of bread, but I’d go wheat ($6.95).

Location: Eastover – 114 Cherokee Road

Agenda guide: What sandwich should you order at Laurel Market in Eastover?


Need breakfast ideas too?  Agenda guide: comprehensive list of the must-try breakfast spots in Charlotte

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