Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >
Jul 13, 2005 09:11 AM

Mini Review: The Penguin, Charlotte, NC

  • n

So I went to the Penguin for dinner on 4th July. It was pretty busy that evening (we got there at 6.45pm-ish) and waited about half an hour for a table.

I'd heard the burgers were good and the diners at the table next to us asked for recommendations and were told the same (this is after I had ordered).

I ordered the smallest size burger without cheese and my partner opted for a hot dog. We also ordered an appetizer of the legendary fried pickles (small size).

I've never had fried pickles before and wasn't quite sure what to expect. They're very thin slices (width ways, not lengthways) of pickle in a light batter, served with ranch dressing. I don't think the pickles are drained on kitchen towel or any absorbent paper before they're served to diners.

Anyway, the pickles are tasty, not really soggy but the batter does fall off pretty easily. The ranch dressing is a good accompaniment for the pickles which are slightly sour and salty.

My burger turned up about 10 mins after the pickles were served. For a joint that's famous for their burgers, I was rather disappointed to bite into a dry patty that was partly charred on the outside. The patty was not juicy at all. Also, the patty itself is not seasoned at all. No salt or onions or anything. I suppose that's why condiments are at the table.

As for the hotdog, my partner did not enjoy his hotdog. I could tell immediately from his reaction. He had the one with the coleslaw and raw, chopped onion on the top. I don't where the Penguin gets their dogs but they are not dyed red but are a pale pink color when cooked. Kinda looked like skinny bratwursts to me.

I would've thought a place like the Penguin could deal with crowds but my burger was very poor. It was clearly overcooked.

Does anyone know about the Penguin's hotdogs? Are they all made with that bratwurst looking weiner?

NC Penguin

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I strongly disagree! I love the penguin! I think you might have had a bad experience. But we have been to the peguin many times! And it's delicious! I love the Small Block which isn't anywhere close to being small. Granted I don't get a plain burger. I get all the good stuff on it and it's yummy! The onion rings rock the party and are a must! They are thinly sliced and battered and are soooo GOOD! I think the best in Charlotte. But I enjoy the thin sliced so they are right up my alley. The banana pudding is great too! I love the ribeye sandwich too. Needless to say I am a fan of the Penguin!

    1. I spent a couple of years in Charlotte and I really miss the penguin. It is possibly the best diner that I have been in my travels (which I do quite a lot of unfortunately). If I ever end up in the are again, I think that I will go get a "full blown Hemi".