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Diner or Dive within 1 hour of Charlotte, NC

  • b

I am looking for great diners or "dives" nothing fancy, just great home cooked food and owners with charisma to be featured on a national cable show. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. This is a great opportunity for a small business but will certainly not spoil anything about it.

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  1. Not sure about Charlotte, but Bell Brothers in Winston-Salem is as good as it gets.

    1. A short list of suggestions:
      In Charlotte: The Penguin (sounds like exactly what you're looking for), Mert's Heart and Soul, the Coffee Cup (of course), Hugo's Diner (Charlotte Observer Helen Schwab discovered it has a really interesting menu late at night), the Landmark, South 51, and Bar-B-Q King.
      Near Charlotte: Keaton's in Statesville for a start, although I could probably also come up with a long list.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathleen purvis

        I'm going to check out The Penguin, but ideally it would be outside of Charlotte, so we don't have two stories in the same town. If you have more ideas for places outside Charlotte, I'd love to hear about them. We're looking for really good home cooking, a diner type place that has been around for a long time and good characters with a good story.
        Thanks for your help.

        1. re: kathleen purvis

          Also, we can't do any more BBQ, alathough I love the look of Keaton's.

        2. Are you looking for a meat and 3 kinda place? or anything as long as it has character?

          3 Replies
          1. re: jlwnc

            Yes a meat and three kind of place and I'm leaning towards Mabry's Cafe in Gaffney. It can't be in Charlotte, we already have a place there.


            1. re: Bryna

              I strongly urge a visit to Bell Bros. even if for personal enjoyment and not the show.

              1. re: jlwnc

                I have never been a fan of bell bros. Always perceived it as heavy and greasy the one or two time i went. Did not think it worth the diversion. I would try meta's or murphy(fried fish or the pork chop)

          2. There are several little diners in Cherryville, NC which is about 45 minutes to an hour west of Charlotte. I lived there for a few years and the "Shake Shop" is the best. Great burgers and always crowded!

            1 Reply
            1. re: anna65

              Black's Grill and Family Carry Out are pretty good too.

            2. Shake Shop - Spindale, NC
              M&R Barbecue - Granite Quarry, NC
              Beacon Drive -In - Spartanburg, SC

              1. Gus's Sir Beef in Charlotte is a great meat & 3. Definitely a dive, lol.

                1 Reply
                1. re: emalc

                  yuck - Gus's... i think they are looking for good food, not shove...

                  Too bad no Q, Bridges in Shelby, which is run by women might make a good story. One of the few places open on Sunday. Not the BEST Q, but very good.

                  1. re: Ellen of SC

                    Lupie's for a dive with great comfort food is hard to beat. Monday is meatloaf and you can always get one of there 3-types of chili over spaghetti, but they are in Charlotte

                  2. Here are two suggestions:

                    Down to the Bone
                    7945 N Tryon St

                    The decor is not down and dirty but the soul food is remarkable. I like their ox tail so much I never think of having anything else when I am there. Also, the green beans have an interesting twist - I think they use Old Bay seasoning in them.

                    Grandma's Country Kitchen
                    6615 N Tryon St.

                    Grandma's has more character than Down to the Bone and is the kind of place where it is hard to tell where the family ends and the business begins. I wouldn't at all be surprised if the owners lived upstairs, in fact. Anyhow, good soul food with a nod toward the healthy (which anyone who spends time in soul food restaurants knows is quite unusual). Don't miss the johnnycakes with molasses - they are addicting.

                    1. The Copal Grill by the airport. Same family cooking awesome food since 1947, that's gotta tell ya somethin. I schedule my flights thru Charlotte with a three hour window just to catch a cab over for a steak.

                      1. Nothing else even comes close....The Penguin....be sure to try their fried pickles and/or sweet potato fries. They have the best pimento cheese burger you'll ever find!