Charlotte’s food scene has flourished in recent years — thanks to a population boom, the opening of Johnson & Wales University, and our city’s healthy economy — and appetite. Amidst weekly restaurant openings, however, many Charlotte staples continue serving dishes that have nourished us for decades.
Take a look at the history of Charlotte’s food scene and you’ll notice a pattern — an overwhelming number of the classic restaurants in our city were opened by Greek immigrants. Not just Greek restaurants, though — BBQ restaurants, burger joints, pizza spots, and more.
Hidden Greek gems at traditional diners
Next time you’re at a storied Charlotte restaurant, scan the menu — you might just find a Greek gem hiding in plain sight:
Landmark Diner is known for hearty breakfasts, big sandwiches, and decadent desserts. But it also has a Karpen Island, an “authentic” Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta, olives and Greek vinaigrette.
Charlotte’s first farm-to-table restaurant, Gus’ Sir Beef, is a traditional meat and three restaurant known for huge lunches. It might be the only restaurant in town that offers fresh cut watermelon, homemade banana pudding, and fresh stewed apples as a vegetable. But in between all of the fried dishes, you’ll also find fresh Grecian stuffed boneless chicken breast.
Stockyard Restaurant—known for its Southern hospitality and fried fish Fridays—is another meat and three spot. Given its Greek heritage, though, it’s no surprise that there’s a gyro pita on its menu.
Carolina Family Restaurant is another Charlotte staple — and while many visit for the hearty Southern breakfast sandwiches featuring sugar cured ham, livermush, and bologna — this Greek-owned spot also offers a gyro and pita burger.
More than just a late night spot for great appetizers, French Quarter across from Romare Bearden Park offers Greek fries tucked in between its cheese sticks and chili cheese fries. More the Hungarian diner, look for the Mad Greek sandwich featuring grilled chicken, spicy feta spread, lettuce and tomato.
More Greek gems in a variety of restaurants
Greek influences are also scattered throughout some of Charlotte’s favorite pizza joints.
- On the east side, House of Pizza offers a Greek pizza with mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, black olives, onions, peppers and gyro meat.
- Just west of Uptown, Open Kitchen serves Greek chicken livers — sauteed in butter and seasoned with oregano and lemon.
But Greek influences aren’t just reserved for Charlotte’s more casual restaurants.
- Next time you visit Greek-owned Kid Cashew, look for a rotisserie lamb gyro with tzatziki, lettuce, tomato and onion.
- At Old Pineville Premium Pub, the authentic Greek village salad, Grecian tenderloin tips, and Grecian pork chops sit between the grilled blackened scallops and the wine list.
Keep your eyes open next time you dine at a Charlotte restaurant that’s more than 30 years old. Chances are, you’ll find a dish with some Greek inspiration.