5 Classic Charlotte Restaurants That You Can't Miss
As a native Charlottean, I'd like to think that I know a thing or two about Charlotte's OG, fan favorite restaurants. I grew up dining in these places that served as the background for many of my soccer team parties, pre-sleepover meals, and family dinners. Charlotte is city that tends to build, build, build, while making space for the new by getting rid of the old. I've seen a few classic Charlotte establishments that have fallen victim to the post-pandemic economy recently, with only their legacy being left behind (Ahem, I'm talking about you Price's Chicken Coop). However, I have a feeling that a lot of Charlotte's classic OG restaurants are here to stay, despite the enormous challenges they face to stay in business. Now it's time for me to introduce you to the restaurants that this Charlotte girl has grown up going to, and how you can add them to your list.
1. Eddie's Place
617 S Sharon Amity Rd., Charlotte, NC 28211
Eddie's Place is a restaurant that makes you feel like your home. Nestled in the Cotswold area of Charlotte, Eddie's was established in 1997 and continues to go strong to this day. It truly is the beating heart of the Cotswold restaurant scene as it churns out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bar food. It's a testament to how ingrained this restaurant is in the neighborhood and local community when you see people of all ages and backgrounds coming to enjoy some good ole comfort food and enjoy the camaraderie that the restaurant offers. One of the best parts of Eddie's Place is seeing some of the same servers that you had the last time each time you come in. Pro tip: Order the Big Fluffy Pancakes Two for $8.25 or Four for $9.95 (and be sure to add chocolate chips for $1.50 extra).
2. Lupie's Cafe
2718 Monroe Rd., Charlotte, NC 28205
It's hard to drive by Lupie's and not be intrigued by the wacky mural on the side of the cafe. In fact, I believe that I've driven by it a couple of times only to lose focus on my driving and have to quickly pull my attention back to the road. When you walk into Lupie's, you know that delicious food is coming because of the unique soul of restaurant. Yeah the inside might be a bit old, but that just shows it's character after serving as the city's watering hole for years and years. When it comes to traditional American staples, Lupie's just can't be beat. Above all, Lupie's is known for their chili. Cincinnati chili, that is. And I mean, who would know how to make this chili that's loaded with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice better than the owners of Lupie's who are Ohio transplants themselves? Grab yourself a bowl for $7.75 and add a sweet tea while you're at it.
3. Mama Ricotta's
601 S Kings Dr., Suite AA, Charlotte, NC 28204
Mama Ricotta's is THE Italian restaurant in Charlotte. Serving up nostalgic Italian dishes from his youth, Frank Scibelli opened Mama Ricotta's in August of 1992. In 1908, Scibelli's grandfather emigrated to the U.S. from Quindici, Italy, and his family has added many extended family members throughout many other areas of Italy since, thus inspiring his choice to offer a regional Italian menu. Whether you want to satisfy your craving for pizza, pasta, or in my case, tiramisu, Mama Ricotta's has it all. Grab a Neapolitan style pizza for $13.50 for a 9" and $20.75 for a 14."
1701 E 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28204
If you're looking for a family-friendly pizza restaurant that has the perfect patio for summer dining, look no further than Hawthorne's on 7th Street. The restaurant goes further to say that they are more than just family-friendly, as their patrons become part of their family when they dine with them. I'm thankful for Hawthorne's for hosting my swim banquets and soccer parties growing up, as I'd imagine that the staff surely had fun cleaning up after a bunch of rambunctious kids. Hawthorne's has New York roots, so you know that you're getting the real deal when you visit one of Hawthorne's eight locations in and around the Charlotte area. The energy and buzz that fills Hawthorne's walls is unmatched to any other restaurant scene, as your eyes are darting to the waiters busily coming around with people's pizzas and the cooks behind the counter stretching out the next batch of dough. Try one of Hawthorne's speciality pizzas such as the Elizabeth Special with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers, white onions and mozzarella cheese for $12.99 for 9" and $26.99 for 18".
Note: For my gluten-free friends, Hawthorne's offers 5 specialty pizzas and two pasta dishes!
116 Middleton Dr., Charlotte, NC 28207
Zio's is a family-style Italian restaurant located in the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte. The restaurant is named in honor of Uncle (Zio) Duff who was once referred to as the "Maker of the Best Pizza in the World." With a name like that, you know that the pizza has to be off the charts. Zio's menu is packed full of authentic Italian cuisine including their assortment of "pies" and pastas, such as the Margherita pie for $14 and a Bolognese for $14. I love to order their fried ravioli for an appetizer that you can get for $6. And when the weather is nice and balmy, be sure to sit out on the patio.