August 10, 2022

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Cooking Is My World

How to find the best takeout food in Charlotte restaurants

7 min read

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Osito’ Tacos & Tortas’ All My Ex’s torta.

CharlotteFive

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been the Year of Takeout in Charlotte.

Restaurants had to quickly adapt when COVID-19 shut everything down. Curbside pickup suddenly became a widespread option in Charlotte, and even fine dining spots joined in on the takeout trend to keep themselves afloat. Small business owners have continued to fight all year as new challenges popped up — but many are still struggling. Some restaurants have already closed, but new places have taken the plunge to open up, too.

At CharlotteFive, we always want to throw support toward local businesses — and after so much time at home cooking, who isn’t tired of making their own food, anyway? So we thought we’d round up some of the best takeout food the Charlotte area has to offer to help you find something new and help local restaurants at the same time. We’ve even got a guide on how to properly reheat your food for an optimal experience.

In 2020, these were some of our writers’ favorite takeout dishes from around Charlotte. And we’d like to hear yours, too. Email us at [email protected] with a picture of your meal, the price and what makes it special — we may include you in a future story.

300 East

300 East Blvd.

Writer: Laurie Larsh

What I ate: Sweet Potato Ravioli with gorgonzola cream and toasted walnuts, Verlasso Sustainable Salmon with sesame shoyu glaze, short grain brown rice and sauteed kale, and Butternut Squash and White Chocolate Cheesecake. (I was hungry, OK?)

Price: Appetizer, $13; Entree, $21; Dessert, $6

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300 East’s Verlasso Sustainable Salmon with sesame shoyu glaze, short grain brown rice and sauteed kale. Courtesy of 300 East

Guilt-free takeout orders may be the one (and only) silver lining of 2020, and if I could pick just one meal to have on repeat, it would be this one from Dilworth’s 300 East. Start with an order of the Sweet Potato Ravioli (and by order, I mean, I order mine and you get your own). I was introduced to these melt-in-your-mouth pockets of deliciousness when I moved to Charlotte, and life has never been the same (I even request an entree size on occasion.) Salmon, kale and brown rice may seem like a boring entree selection, but the sesame shoyu glaze takes this dish from healthy to savory. When I’m eating at the restaurant, I’m usually too stuffed for dessert, but takeout saves the day. Order up a slice of the seasonal cheesecake (on tap right now is butternut squash and white chocolate cheesecake) and Netflix and chill until you’re ready for round two.

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The seasonal butternut squash and white chocolate cheesecake at 300 East. Courtesy of 300 East

Curry Gate

630 W. 24th St.

Writer: Emiene Wright

What I ate: dal tadka and curried fish

Price: $12, $14

I’ll bet you can smell this through the screen. Curry Gate’s Nepali and Indian dishes are the best in the city. This is the dal tadka (yellow lentil stew with cumin seed, hot peppers and tomato) and curried fish. Other favorites are momo, Nepal’s national dish of dumplings and sauces, and any of their meals with goat. I’m working my way up their heat rating, but 8 has a nice, just past moderate kick, even for a heat junkie like me.

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Curry Gate’s dal tadka and curried fish. Emiene Wright CharlotteFive

Jon G’s Barbecue

116 Glenn Falls St., Peachland

Writer: Kathleen Purvis

What I ate: Chopped pork sandwich, Mac & Cheese, Cowboy Candy (candied jalapeños), brisket, Cheerwine sausage link.

Price: $41.50 for enough to feed several people.

It’s only open Saturdays, and people start lining up well before it opens at 11 a.m. It’s worth it, for brisket (fatty or lean) and ribs. When you get it to go, they throw in plenty of house pickles and sauce, plus white bread to sop it all up.

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The pork sandwich with slaw and mac and cheese at Jon G’s. Kathleen Purvis

Lang Van

3019 Shamrock Drive

Writer: Sonia Rao

What I ate: #129 – Tofu noodle soup w/vegetables

Price: $10.95

On a cold day, there’s nothing better than curling up inside with a steaming bowl of soup. And if the soup is from Lang Van, you’re in luck. Pho is a Vietnamese soup with a beef broth, topped with basil, bean sprouts and chili pepper. If you’re vegetarian like me, you can order a tofu version instead. It’s spicy, flavorful and will leave you coming back for seconds or thirds. There’s a reason Charlotteans everywhere rave about Lang Van — it might just be the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever had.

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Kendra Eades waits receives her takeout order from Lang Van owner Dan Nguyen on Friday, June 19. The restaurant is open only for takeout orders currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alex Cason CharlotteFive

Osito’s Tacos & Tortas

20700 N. Main St., Cornelius

Writer: Alex Cason

What I ate: All My Ex’s torta

Price: $11.50

The best takeout I had was from Osito’ Tacos & Tortas in Cornelius. I had been driving for hours for a story and stopped randomly at Osito’s, thanks to Google maps and a food search. I ordered a torta called “All My Ex’s,” which has Texas spice rubbed steak, pork and chicken, fried onions, guacamole, refried beans, lettuce, Oaxaca cheese and barbecue adobo. Unbelievable flavor, and it really hits the spot if you are a big eater. The ancho chili ranch-seasoned french fries were the perfect compliment. They even walked out and delivered it to my car window. I highly recommend you search this place out. 10/10.

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Osito’ Tacos & Tortas’ All My Ex’s torta. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

Quik Shoppe Shell Station

201 East Blvd.

Writer: Austin Konkle

What I ate: The two thighs and a leg fried chicken combo (comes with 1 side and a dinner roll)

Price: $7.32 (with tax), $6.99 (without tax)

You’ve heard the legends about a local gas station selling what very well may be the best chicken in Charlotte. After staying put at my apartment for the last 9 months, just steps away from this fabled Shell Station, I can confirm that the legends are true. The chicken is served in regular and spicy variants, both of which I’ve tried, and both of which I’ve gotten more than once. Quik Shoppe doesn’t skimp on the sides either with fried okra, mashed potatoes, green beans, refried beans, and potato wedges all laid out behind the counter for you to pair with your famous fried chicken entree. In a year mired down in disappointment, this Quik Shoppe has been an unexpected pick-me-up that has made work from home just a tad bit greasier and a little more delicious.

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The Quik Shoppe Shell Station fried chicken combo, with two thighs and a leg plus a side of fried potatoes and a dinner roll. Austin Konkle CharlotteFive

Scratch Kitchen CLT

8821 JW Clay Blvd., outside Armored Cow Brewing

Writer: DeAnna Taylor

What I ate: Mac Attack (maple buffalo tenders over mac and cheese and fries/ tater tots), honey Sriracha Brussels sprouts and pineapple lemonade

Price: $15, $7, $4

If being comforted by food is the goal, this is the meal you need. I ordered Scratch Kitchen one Saturday evening as a cheat meal, and it did not disappoint. The truck typically sets up outside of Armored Cow Brewing in University City, and once you try it, you’ll see why there’s always a line. The mix of sweet, salty, creamy, and even crunch on the Mac attack is like no other. And who doesn’t enjoy well-executed Brussels?

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Scratch Kitchen’s Mac Attack (maple buffalo tenders over mac and cheese and fries/ tater tots), with honey Sriracha Brussels sprouts and pineapple lemonade. DeAnna Taylor CharlotteFive

Uptown Yolk

224 E. 7th Street

Writer: Tracy Jones

What I ate: Southern Waffles and Bacon

Price: $11

If crack cocaine were a breakfast meal, this would be those rocks. Aside from waffles, the pancakes are pure, uncut and highly addictive. There’s gotta be something in that batter. Withdraw symptoms include intense cravings and frequent return trips to The Yolk. (Don’t forget to tip your friendly dealer.)

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Uptown Yolk’s Southern Waffles. Shawn Cetrone

What the Fries

Location varies

Writer: Ebony L. Morman

What I ate: Lobster Mac & Cheese Fries, Birthday Cake Bread Pudding Tots

Price: $17, $6

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Lobster Mac & Cheese Fries at What the Fries. Peter Taylor

Since we’re giving out awards for best takeout meal of 2020, I am passing this honor to my 2020 go-to order of What the Fries’ Lobster Mac & Cheese Fries and Birthday Cake Bread Pudding Tots for dessert.

All I have to say is chunks of lobster, pasta, Boursin cheese sauce, gouda, asiago cheese and parsley topped on a bed of fresh-cut, perfectly seasoned fries — comfort food topped with comfort food. For dessert, the crown jewel is the Birthday Cake Bread Pudding Tots. The light crunch on the outside expertly contrasts the soft texture of the inside, and it’s topped with nostalgia — birthday sprinkles, vanilla drizzle and vanilla oreo crumble.

Pro tips: Order Lobster Mac & Cheese Fries with a side of blackberry ketchup, and never leave the food truck — or the soon to be restaurant — without an order of any flavor of bread pudding tots.

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Birthday Cake Bread Pudding Tots. Courtesy of What The Fries

Wolfman Pizza

106-B S. Sharon Amity, 8504 Park Road

Writer: Jennings Cool

What I ate: Pepperoni Pizza and Wolfbites

Price: About $25

Wolfman Pizza is probably one of my favorite pizza joints in Charlotte. The pizza is fantastic, but the Wolfbites appetizer is my favorite. Sometimes I even order two servings for my main meal (no shame).

Wolfbites are pizza dough spirals filled with mozzarella cheese and Wolfman’s secret spicy red sauce, served with ranch or bleu cheese for dipping. If you are one of those people who dip your pizza or crust in ranch, this appetizer is right up your alley.

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Wolfman Pizza’s pepperoni and Wolfbites. Jennings Cool CharlotteFive


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