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Feb 24, 2009 07:28 AM

Everyday dining for a new Charlotte, NC resident

I have just introduced my friend to Chow hound. He recently moved to Charlotte with his wife and is having a hard time finding any good, everyday, non-special occasion places to eat. He lives in the Steele Creek area off 485. Anyone have suggestions of any local lunch spots or affordable, non-chain dinner spots that aren't necessarily located downtown? Let's make him a Chow hound believer!

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  1. Unfortunately I have found Steele Creek to be rather sparse with non-chain dining. But there are some places nearby. One I have never been to but I do recall some good reviews of is LuAnn's Soulfood. S.Tryon St at Arrowood, in the little shopping center next to a gas station. Right behind it is Showmars. This is not a full service Showmars like some of the others, but I have always liked their food. I have not been by Tega Cay in a while, but there used to be some decent restaurants at Hwy 160 and Gold Hill Rd.
    Good Luck

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sam at Novas

      Agreed Sam, the Steele Creek area is slim pickin's. But A Piece of Havana cuban restaurant at the corner of S. Tryon & Moss Rd (in the shopping Ctr - just south of Carowinds Blvd) is good Cuban fare. It won't knock your socks off but I did love their beef empanadas and they had a good cuban sandwich. I haven't tried anything else but it is a locally owned establishment and better than most of the chains that litter that area.

      Another suggestion is Trio restaurant on Hwy 51 in the Pineville area. Great salads and pizzas and they also have pastas, steaks and seafood. It's also locally owned and has been around for awhile. Try the mulligatawny soup - yum.

      10709 McMullen Creek Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28226

      1. re: lynnlato

        May I suggest that you try Carlo's Cafe in Rock Hill, SC if you are looking to have your Cuban socks knocked off! It is well worth the drive (located in Love's Plaza off Cherry Rd.)

        1. re: sweettater

          I've been and loved it under the previous owners. Did the new owners keep the same recipes, etc?

          1. re: lynnlato

            Sorry for the late reply but I'm not really able to answer your question as I've only eaten there with the new owners in place.

            Here's their website: (check out the coupon)

      2. re: Sam at Novas

        Slight correction, I think you are referring to LaWan's Soul Food. Not one miss there, except for their location. The fried chicken, meatloaf, baked chicken and mac&cheese are a must. Lunch does get crowded quick and there are not too many tables. I think they close a bit early for dinner too.

      3. Here are a few options in that area:

        Luigi's Pizza - it's in the shopping center with Wal Mart right off 485. Good pizza place.

        Taqueria Allende - on S. Tryon just south of 485. Very good and traditional Mexican food.

        Saffron - Indian place in Ayrsely Center - lunch buffet

        Eat Here Now - burger spot in Ayrsely - very good

        Portofino's - local Italian chain... good pizza (I think their red sauce is too salty and heavy handed, but it's better than Olive Garden!) Also in Ayrsely

        Hoopers - down 160 into Fort Mill. Smoky little sports bar, but cheap beer and good bar food

        Red Lion - pub in Ayrsely - good beer selection and good food - gastro pub style

        Siam Garden - little Thai place in Whitehall right off 485 and Arrowood

        There is some good in the area...

        2 Replies
        1. re: mcap

          I'll second Taqueria Allende.

          1. re: mcap

            Definitely Allende. Doesn't look like much from the curb and they'll blast Mexican Novellas from the TV and latin music from the back simultaneously but it's really good!

          2. Luigi's Pizza may just be Charlotte very best Pizza.
            Taqueria Allende is excellent.
            La'wans Soul Food is fantastic. Great fried pork chops, collard greens, mac & cheese, catfish, chicken. etc.
            I recently found Jim N Nicks BBQ on Steele Creek , they have both spare and babyback ribs, brisket, pork and very good sides. The onion rings are top notch.

            4 Replies
            1. re: GodfatherofLunch

              Has Liu Liu's (at Baxter) gone under? That's not too far from Sreele Creek.
              I liked it, particularly when it was Uncle Liu's, before the new Buster Boyd bridge construction killed them.

              1. re: Tee

                Sorry Tee, I don't know what place you are referring to. Lynnlato is spot on with her recommendation of A Piece of Havana cuban restaurant at the corner of S. Tryon & Moss Rd (in the shopping Ctr - just south of Carowinds Blvd) They have solid food in a very charming atmosphere. It's always nice to enjoy something different and Cuban is a real treat.

                1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                  They must be closed if they aren't on your radar. The next time I am near Baxter (77&160) I will swing by and check for myself.

                2. re: Tee

                  Liu Liu's is still there (Baxter - Fort Mill, SC) but it doesn't carry the same rep. as Uncle Liu's once did.

              2. One on my list to try would be Sultan kabob. right off S.Tryon .Brand new. Casual little place dine in or take out. Locally owned.
                The name of the shopping center escapes me(small old plaza) before the center where Piece of Havana is located on the same side of the road though.
                Hope this helps.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Ciao Italia Foodie

                  Tried Sultan today - right past Westinghouse on Tryon. Kabobs were very good - nice spice and good char flavor. Cucumber salad is Amazing. Portions and price were very reasonable. Service could do a little bit better, but I think was just overwhelmed by the crowd we brought in and the small staff.

                  Good find!

                  1. re: SkinnyChef

                    Skinny so glad you enjoyed the food. I made a note of the cucumber salad! I love their kabobs.Service has never been an issue with me so far.
                    I am ALL about these locally owned HIDDEN gems here in Charlotte.When I find a good one I love to shout it out.I find that the ones that have the least amount of hype usually turn out to be some of the best !
                    Give me a customer recommendation over some over paid food critic anyday.

                    1. re: Ciao Italia Foodie

                      Ok wanna try this place...anybody have an actual address?? Is the the strip mall where Tuesday Morning and CiCi pizza? I live over in the Steele Creek area and would love to try it...

                      1. re: Hapy

                        9640 South Tryon St.
                        the number is 704-504-1110

                        1. re: amera87

                          Found it! Thanks amera87....really good food and very reasonable prices! grabbed a menu and was told they're working on a web site..only been opened a couple of months..hope the place lasts!!

                      2. re: Ciao Italia Foodie

                        I have to second the Sultan Kabob House recommendation. I just had lunch with a co-worker, and we both agreed we'd come back. The cucumber salad was really a hit. We both had the Kafta Mishwayeh (ground beef & lamb) kabob. We were first served a small plate of pickles and olives as a starter, along with some pita triangles with some grilled onions & spices on top. All good.
                        Its an easy place ot miss, since its in a small strip shopping center that sits perpendicular to S. tryon Street, but really worth searching out.


                        1. re: Jibe

                          @Jibe can you speak to the aspect of the hookah service?

                          I would really like to try this place but I cannot be around second-hand smoke due to asthma. I just called and spoke with someone who said there were no particular hours where the smoking is allowed or not allowed. I would also expect that since it's a small place (? haven't been) that even having a non-smoking section wouldn't be all that effective.

                          Did you happen to notice if cigarette smoking is also allowed? Or only in a particular section?


                          1. re: nurit

                            I imagine they will have to confine it in some fashion what with the new smoking ban going into effect come January 2010. Not sure how the new legislation will affect these sorts of things.

                            1. re: nurit

                              I did notice a colorful display of the hookahs. But no one was smoking when I was there. I really cannot stand to smell people smoking while I'm dining. I had no problem there. But it was at lunch.

                    2. Are you only looking for suggestions in the Steele Creek area?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: carolinadawg

                        certainly not, I'm open to suggestions anywhere in Charlotte. He just lives in that area and definitely need suggestions close to home as well.

                        1. re: dcraig

                          Then off the top of my head i'd suggest LuLu, Dim Sum and Commonhouse, all on Central Avenue. All thre are excellent and very affordable.

                          1. re: carolinadawg

                            I read in the Observer today that Mac's Speed Shop just opened a 3rd location in the Steele Creek area.
                            Other than that I am partial to (not in Steele Creek but not too far) the Roasting Company and Penguin.

                            1. re: Chocolate Toe

                              Yup! Mac's new place is right off Tryon on Sandy Porter. Great new location - perfect for lunch and outdoor dining. The location seems much larger than the Remount location and since off the main road a bit, feels more secluded for the outdoor dining. Service was extremely good in handling/moving the lunch crowds.

                              1. re: SkinnyChef

                                Went last week....Great place but not enough parking. It was packed!