Some of the best dishes in town are arguably located in takeout-only spots.
My thought bubble: I’m not sure if it’s the large portions of food at small price points or the convenience of having those prepackaged leftovers, but meals that come in to-go containers manage to pack in a ton of flavor that we can all appreciate.
Why it matters: Several local favorites have blossomed from grab-and-go spots to full restaurants through overwhelming support from the community.
- We’ve seen places like Lulu’s or a no-frills spot like Curry Gate eventually open larger sit-down restaurants with a full-service experience. Sun’s Kitchen, originally located in West End’s ghost kitchen, will also open a restaurant in LoSo.
Here are 14 takeout spots — including a range of cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Caribbean, American and soul food — for you to try.
- Of note: Place orders online or call ahead to avoid long wait times.
Editor’s note: This is not a ranking and restaurants are listed in no particular order.
A family-owned restaurant serving West African cuisine to the community for the last decade.
What to order: Popular Ghanaian dishes include Jollof Rice with two chicken drumsticks and sweet plantains ($16) or white rice served with egg and spinach egusi stew (beef and fish) for $16.
Details: Mama Gees is located at 509 Beatties Ford Road.
- It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 12-6pm and closed Monday and Sunday.
Open for more than a decade, Tropical Goodies has two locations serving a blend of Caribbean and soul food.
What to order: The beef ribs ($9.25+) and the curry goat ($10+) can be ordered in a variety of sizes. For sides, try the sweet fried plantains, cabbage or collard greens.
- The location on Tuckaseegee Road is open Tuesday through Saturday 12-8pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.
- The Lasalle Street location is open Monday through Saturday from 11am-8:30pm and closed Sunday.
Go deeper: 11 places to get Caribbean food in Charlotte
Expect American cuisine including pizza, burgers and seafood dishes with a twist.
What to order: The Best of Both Worlds Burger ($20) is loaded with 3 onion rings, Cheerwine BBQ, bacon, cheddar cheese and topped with lobster, and it’s a consistent menu favorite. The owner also occasionally features unique dishes with oxtail on pizza, pasta or rice.
Details: Renaldo’s is located at 1540 West Blvd.
- It’s open Monday through Thursday 12-7pm, Friday and Saturday 12-8pm and closed Sunday.
A popular late-night restaurant on the weekends with a few outdoor seating options and games.
What to order: Menu items can vary depending on availability each week but the crab fries ($15) and hot honey sandwich ($14) are popular.
Details: Brewton’s Cafe is located at 1800 Brewton Dr.
- It’s open Thursday 11am-5pm, Friday 10pm-4am and Saturday 10pm-4am.
A gourmet East Coast-style pizza spot in Optimist Park.
What to order: Try the white pizza made with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, olive oil and basil ($22).
- Of note: Orders should be placed online at least a day in advance.
Details: Bird is located at 510 E 15th St.
- It’s closed Monday and Tuesday, open Wednesday through Saturday from 4-8pm and closed Sunday.
Go deeper: 28 best pizza spots in Charlotte
Expect fried soul food favorites and homemade sides, from collard greens to candied yams on the go.
What to order: There are plenty of fried dishes to choose from, but if it’s your first time, you can’t leave without ordering their signature chicken or fish entrees.
Details: Mr. Charles takeout-only spot is located at 3100 Statesville Ave.
- It’s open Monday through Saturday 11am-6pm.
- There’s also a Cambridge Commons location and an Uptown location opening later this year.
A Maryland-style chicken and seafood restaurant in west Charlotte.
What to order: Jumbo lump crabmeat platter with your choice of two sides ($24.95) or wingettes with Mambo sauce.
Details: LuLu’s is located at 2400 Tuckaseegee Road.
- It’s open Monday 11am-10pm, Wednesday through Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday 12-8pm. Closed Tuesday.
A Black-owned hamburger restaurant that also serves hot dogs, chicken and ice cream daily.
What to order: Any burger (ranging from $9-$14) can be customized with your favorite toppings. Try the premium sundae ($6) or shake ($6) for dessert.
Details: Derita is located at 2737 W Sugar Creek Road.
- It’s open Monday through Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday 12-5pm.
A popular soul food spot that sells out nearly every week in NoDa.
What to order: Entree dishes vary daily with Southern classics from smothered turkey wings to beef stew. Sides typically include items like macaroni and cheese, candied yams and collard greens.
Details: Everybody Eatz is located at 3720 N Tryon St.
- It’s closed Monday through Wednesday, then open Thursday and Friday 1:30-7:30pm and Saturday and Sunday 1:30-7pm.
Indian and Nepalese cuisine near Camp North End.
What to order: Popular dishes include tikka masala ($16) or makhani/butter ($14).
Details: Curry Gate is located at 630 W 24th St.
- It’s open Tuesday through Sunday 12-9pm and closed Monday.
Go deeper: 11 must-try Indian restaurants in Charlotte
A family-owned restaurant that started at the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market
What to order: Popular items include double quarter pound cheeseburger with fries ($16). Try chocolate chip cookies ($3.99) or a lemon pound cake ($5.99) for dessert.
Details: Dee’s Vegan To Go is located at 1540 West Blvd.
- It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 8am-5pm and closed Sunday and Monday.
The Quik Shoppe
One of the best places to grab fried chicken in Charlotte comes from this gas station.
What to order: The fried chicken, which comes regular- or jumbo-sized, in mild or spicy with one side and roll.
Details: It’s located at 201 East Blvd.
- It’s open Monday through Friday from 7am-8pm, Saturday 7am-11pm and Sunday 7am-8pm.
Go deeper: Top 10 fried chicken spots in Charlotte
A ghost kitchen housing multiple restaurants offering a range of cuisines, including Caribbean and soul food, in Wesley Heights.
- Sun’s Kitchen, a ghost kitchen success story, will move its street Chinese cuisine into a restaurant at The Platform in LoSo by the end of 2023.
Details: City Kitch is located at 2200 Thrift Road.
- Hours of operation vary for each restaurant.
Go deeper: Ghost kitchens find a home in west Charlotte
A seafood joint serving everything from fried fish platters to steamed boils in north Charlotte.
What to order: The fried shrimp platter (10-12 pieces), which can be tossed in a flavor of your choice, comes with fries, slaw and hushpuppies. For something steamed, try the crab leg or lobster platters.
Details: Steam It Up Seafood is located at 5304 Sunset Road.
- It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am-9pm, closed Monday and Sunday.
A ghost kitchen with a range of restaurants under one roof offering food ranging from breakfast to late-night after-the-club options in South End.
Details: South End Eats is located at 500 W Summit Ave.
- It’s open from Monday through Wednesday 10am-11pm, Thursday 10am-2am, Friday and Saturday 10pm-4am and Sunday 10am-2am.
- Of note: Hours of operation vary for each restaurant.
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