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Jan 30, 2009 10:06 AM

You can’t say No to Nonna’s - Charlotte

Life in Charlotte is grand. That being said, hey sometimes it has its moments when we have to settle for a bit less than what we fondly remember. Case in point, ordering a salad or a sub at a “deli” and watching in sad disbelief as some kid weighs and portion controls a hint of tasteless cheese passing for provolone or adds cold cuts that just had to have been produced by chef-boy-ardee.

Well its time to put a hit out on that old place, the real deal is here in the queens city. I speak of
Nonna’s Kitchen located at 828 E. Morehead Street, Charlotte. NC.

The place is too small because when word of mouth gets around they will be slammed. A long assembly line like counter greets you staffed by a large staff that creates what you order as you order it, nothing pre made and sitting around.

Watching my figure as I am, I opted for the Soprano Salad. This is a tomato-based salad with Chicken, Cappacola, Proscuitto, Provolone and roasted red peppers. Yeah, that’s right I deluded myself that this was a low call lunch. Basically it was the sandwich I really wanted without the bread. At least I cut the carbs some.

It was not just good. It was outstanding. First the base of the salad, the tomato’s are a very risky way to go in mid winter. Somehow they managed to get tomato’s that actually have taste now. This doesn’t happen unless three things are present. They know, they care and they execute. They do, they do and they did. The provolone had a hit of sharpness and that made it a delight. All of the meats were first rate and it was not just a tiny bite here and there. The cold cuts and the provolone were layered atop of the tomato’s making for both a very satisfying and delicious salad that was a fantastic lunch.

I look forward to returning soon and often. The menu offers more tasty sounding salads, hot sandwiches including Mary’s Meatball, Hoagies with options like Provolone, Mortadella, Sopressata, Capocolla and condiments like Pesto Mayo, Hot Pepper rings, and roasted red peppers.

The owner is from Philly; the cashier is from Long Island. These folks “get it”. Take it from the GodfatherOfLunch this is the Real Deal Italian Style.

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  1. And a big tip of the hat to Creative Loafing, who turned Charlotte on to Nonna's with their review in this week's edition.

    1 Reply
    1. re: carolinadawg

      Thats how I found out about them. I had driven past a million times and had no clue. The sign is not very visible so it takes a little effort to find them. Once you taste the food you will see its well worth the effort.

    2. Thanks for he review GFL. I was just talking about this place with someone today. It's a couple blocks from my office so I look forward to making this place a frequent lunch spot.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ickymettle

        What is this place near? In a shopping center? I saw the address but dont know off top of head what's close to that.

        1. re: Chocolate Toe

          Its in a small strip mall to the right of Art's BBQ, next door to a rug place

      2. Today I ordered a hoagie (to go) from Nonna's. I am a self-described connisseur of hoagies - being half Italian, from PA and our family used to own a hoagie shop back in the day.

        I ordered the Italian. It comes w/ provolone, salami, hot sopressata & capocollo,lettuce, tomato and olive oil. The hoagie roll was very good - one of the better ones I've had in CLT. I'm all about balance w/ my hoagies and I hate when they stuff too much deli meat on the sandwich to jack up the price - rendering it too difficult to eat. This was the case w/ my Italian hoagie - Too much meat. Also, the tomatoes were sliced too thick. They used standard, jarred banana pepper rings of which I'm not a big fan (in PA, they usually can their own w/o vinegar or use what we call "wet peppers").

        The sandwich came with a choice of side: macaroni or potato salad and a cookie. The portion of the macaroni salad was a small souffle cup. My bill totaled $9.74 - that's a lot of dough for a sandwich.

        All in all, it was a good sandwich, just not a traditional hoagie, IMHO. I'd eat there again, but I'd try the paninis or other sandwiches and salads.

        9 Replies
        1. re: lynnlato

          I am curious what you thought of the quality of the cheese and meats and also the bread.
          I understand what you are saying about balance I thought my sandwich was balanced.
          Admittedly I am not half Italian, from PA nor did my family ever used to own a hoagie shop back in the day.
          I thought the bread was pretty good and I found the meats and cheese excellent.
          For me the thickness of the tomato's and the over stuffing of the sandwich was not an issue.
          Perhaps this in part explains why you are so much prettier than the Godfather. :)

          1. re: GodfatherofLunch

            "The hoagie roll was very good - one of the better ones I've had in CLT" - Like I said, the roll was good. The meat and cheese were good too. I think hoagies are very personal to me and if they aren't just like what I get back home, they fall short. But a hoagie, for me, is a very specific thing. Like pizza for you, GFL.

            I probably should just stop trying to search for something that I will never find down here. It's not fair to places like Nonna's. I should of just had a panini - that would've been the fair thing to do.

            1. re: lynnlato

              And the Soprano Salad. with tomato, Chicken, Cappacola, Proscuitto, Provolone and roasted red peppers is another great option

              1. re: lynnlato

                I think that can be said of all of us transplants. I know I'm not going to find an SF Mission style burrito here and it's unfair of me to expect it. Instead, I just make a fool of myself when I go back there (like I did at Xmas -- 4 burritos in 5 days).

                I have grown fond of the Charlotte style burrito which is totally different but still hits the spot.

                1. re: HungryGrayCat

                  I tend to agree with you on this. Perhaps I can't find the home run pizza for example like back in NJ but when I find a triple here in Charlotte I am thrilled, yes, it hits the spot and I am encouraged that the home run is close at hand.
                  In fact I can see it now just round the bend.

                  1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                    When I left NJ back in '95, you were lucky to hit a single. We've come a long way.

                  2. re: HungryGrayCat

                    You guys are right, it's unfair of me to expect a PA hoagie here in Charlotte. Even if those folks making it are from PA. It's just not the same. My apologies to Nonna's. GFL, I'm going back and getting a panini or a salad. :)

                    1. re: lynnlato

                      Introduce yourself to Alfonso the owner, you and he can talk about the old days in PA.

                    2. re: HungryGrayCat

                      It is refreshing to hear such sentiments. Acceptance instead of resentment. Even if you could find something just as good as home, it won't be "the same". And sometimes you just have to find an alternative. For example, there was a time when the only bagels in town were in the freezer at the grocery store. So what, forget the bagels and have a biscuit because thats whats good here. I'll have a bagel the next time I go to Montreal (sorry NY'ers, I like those better)