Saturday, March 17, 2007

The region's best diners, drive-ins and dives

Today I was out with a crew from the Food Network, which brought host Guy Fieri to Charlotte to film segments for a new upcoming series called "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." He was at Bar-B-Q King, a drive-in on Wilkinson Boulevard, and will be at The Penguin Sunday.

The series premieres April 23 and will air Mondays at 10 p.m., but producers haven't decided which date the Charlotte segments will air. I'll update here when I know more.

Today's experience got me thinking about the value of the mom-and-pop restaurants that make every city unique. Growing up in Charlotte, I drove by Bar-B-Q King probably thousands of times, but today was the first time I tried its yummy barbecued chicken, cherry-lemon Sprite and strawberry pie.

So I consulted with colleagues to come up with a list of diners, drive-ins and dives worth trying around the region. I'm sure I left off some favorites, so e-mail me or post other suggestions here.

Bar-B-Q King, 2900 Wilkinson Blvd. 704-399-8344. Try the onion rings.

South 21 Curb Service, 3631 South Blvd., 704-527-5530, and 3101 Independence Boulevard, 704-377-4509. Known for the Super Boy (a two-beef-patty sandwich).

The Penguin, 1921 Commonwealth Ave., 704-375-6959. Grab some fried dill pickles.

Price’s Chicken Coop, 1614 Camden Rd., 704-333-9866. Best deep-fried chicken in town.

UPDATE: A reader has pointed out that there are only four drive-ins inside Charlotte, and I left out one: Town & Country Drive-In, 2441 Wilkinson Boulevard, 704-333-0189. (It's right across the street from Bar-B-Q King). It's best known for burgers, barbecue and seafood.

Concord, Kannapolis, Mooresville and Mount Pleasant
What-a-Burger. 34 Church St. SE in Concord, 1256 Old Charlotte Rd. in Concord, 210 S. Main St. in Mooresville, 926 S. Main St. and 1510 N. Cannon Blvd. in Kannapolis, 8330 Franklin St. W. in Mount Pleasant. The name says it all.

R.O.’s Barbecue, 1318 Gaston Ave., 704-866-8143. Try the spicy reddish “slaw.”

The Snack Bar, 1346 1st Ave. SW. 828-322-5432. Country fried steak, with banana pudding for dessert.

Bridges Barbecue Lodge, 2000 E. Dixon Blvd., 704-482-8567. At least one local authority dubs it the region’s best pork barbecue.

Keaton’s, Cool Springs/Woodleaf Road, Statesville; 704-278-1619. Must-have barbecue chicken.

York, S.C.
Palmetto Grill, 2910 Hwy 161 S., 803-684-6737. Try salt-and-pepper catfish, and frog legs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like LUPIES eatery on MONROE rd. Mayor McRoy , Robin Hayes and Sue Myrick has regulared the place and thats testimony enough; I have seen and met ROBYN HAYES in there myself near election time. I would also like to share with People DUKE UNIVERSITY, just to walk around on a warm summer day. Please , do yourself a great justice and visit the SARAH P. DUKE GARDENS at DUKE U. This GARDEN takes all day and is a marvel in greenthumb; It has Japanese , Rose and English gardens. I rode bikes around there all day its so large,wonderful and breathtaking.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bridges Barbeque and Lexington Barbeque are my favorites for a true North Carolina sandwich; Bridges has been a mainstay in shelby for 50 years and Lexington barbeque has been around a while also ; After your lunch drive over to Bob TIMBERLAKES store and shop and then top it off with my favorite and a good freind of my CHILDRESS wineries; Folks Richard Childress has brought TUSCANY right here ,for your viewing in Lexington. The Winery has a flair of "italianate castle" and has plenty of room for everyone on the back veranda overlooking the vineyards. Richard thank you for bringing this landscape to us.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phat Burrito in the South End rocks! Burritos for all people .... executives, laborers, freaks, average joes, I've seen them all there sharing the same mission of enjoying good food! Price's Chicken Coop is across the street!


9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Centerview Cafe in Kannapolis is the real deal. Homemade ice cream, meat and three, breakfast all day...

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Penguin really is the best in the land!

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know? I really hate coming in late on a blog and missing the dirty stuff that's deleted by the admin! :-)

10:46 PM  

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