If you’re a Charlottean, you know that the Queen City has a thing for burgers and rightly so. We’re well versed in the art of the hamburger patty, but that doesn’t mean we skimp on other bread-and-meat meals. We dig sandwiches of all kinds from fried chicken to bánh mì and everything in between. Here are 10 of the best sandwiches in town.
What you’re getting: Avocado BLT
When Duke’s mayonnaise, creamy avocado, and Heritage Farms bacon get together, expect a party in your mouth. Add farm-fresh tomatoes and just-picked lettuce slapped between tender wheat bread and you’ve got a winning sandwich from the fine family at 300 East.
What you’re getting: B&G Cubano
Cuban sandwich purists might throw their hands up at Block and Grinder’s take on the beloved ham and cheese sandwich. That is, until they take a bite. B&G smokes Heritage Farms pork low and slow, until it reaches optimum succulence, and then adds a silky slice of cured ham along with house-made pickles, whole-grain mustard, and melty Swiss cheese, all pressed to perfection between a buttered baguette. The added bonus? You get hands that smell of lingering smoke for the rest of the day.
South End/Plaza Midwood
What you’re getting: Pimento deluxe
When you feel like eating your feelings, head straight to the Common Market and eat the pimento deluxe instead. It’s a naughty sandwich that feels oh so right. Common Market adds jalapeños to its pimento cheese recipe for a peppery kick to the Southern spread. Then the place adds two slices of bacon and diced tomatoes and presses it on the panini grill to its gooey glory.
What you’re getting: Turkey sandwich
This hip gourmet grocery is the place to see and be seen around the lunchtime hour. Folks stand in line for hot bowls of ramen, steak tacos, daily features, and the turkey sandwich. Yes, the turkey sandwich. Fat stacks of deli turkey with smoked Gouda, sun-dried tomato aioli, and avocado stuffed between two slices of lightly grilled wheat bread. The wheat bread sets it off, offering a hint of sweet to the savory insides. It seems so simple, yet you’ll find yourself spontaneously thinking about it later.
What you’re getting: Fried chicken sandwich
The King’s Kitchen, the most benevolent Southern restaurant in Uptown, makes a mean fried chicken sando. The non-profit restaurant employs Charlotteans on their way back up from challenging life circumstances and donates 100% of its profits to feeding the poor. If that’s not a reason to eat a fried chicken sandwich, I’ll tell you what is. One whole buttermilk-dipped and -battered chicken breast fried to golden perfection and crisp, crunchy honey mustard slaw on a house-made ciabatta bun.
North Tryon/Sugar Creek
What you’re getting: The #6
Getting to Mr. Le’s bánh mì shop is a little like off-roading. But, if you brave the rocky terrain of Charlotte’s worst parking lot, you will be handsomely rewarded with the finest bánh mì in town. The cash-only spot (oddly closed on Wednesdays) is one of the few stores populating the depressed Asian Corner Mall. Ask for the #6 -- thinly sliced, caramelized roast pork topped with freshly shredded pickled daikon, carrots, and cucumber laced with mouth-tingling slices of jalapeño and leafy cilantro tucked into a slender French baguette with the perfect chew.
What you’re getting: Living Burrito
Okay, Luna’s Living Burrito is technically a wrap if you adhere to the carbohydrate credo set forth by the Earl of Sandwich. Regardless, this is a meatless delight for all humans, and stunning too. Luna’s uses a sturdy collard leaf as the burrito bundle, covers it in “refried beans” made of sunflower seeds and then stuffs it with cauliflower rice, pico de gallo, onions, sprouts, and cashew sour cream. Be sure to ask for an extra side of Luna’s tasty house-made hot sauce.
What you’re getting: G-man’s G-wich
You really know you’ve made it as a citizen of NoDa, when NoDa Bodega names a sandwich after you. An artsy chalkboard inside the bungalow-cum-sandwich oasis and bottle shop denotes the lucky souls who’ve made it. A guy named Greg got the “G-man’s G-wich,” a fiery sandwich layered with London broil, caramelized onions, melted pepper colby Jack cheese, and jalapeño bacon. The sandwich is topped off with lettuce, tomato, and onion along with a squeeze of chipotle mayo and balsamic reduction. The G-man was so gangster, NoDa Bodega now serves it every Friday.
What you’re getting: The Tony Baloney Westside
A bologna sandwich offers a specific kind of comfort reserved for special days, like when you’re hungover or feeling a little trashy. The quarter-pound of thick-cut bologna gets a good sear on the flat top and, when you order it “Westside,” it comes topped with yellow mustard, chili, slaw, and diced white onions. A little hair of the dog pairs well with this gem of a sloppy sandwich.
Tacos El Nevado
What you’re getting: Torta Cubana
This is not a sandwich, it’s a spiritual experience. The torta is Mexico’s answer to the submarine and the torta Cubana is how you start at the top. This one is smothered with refried beans and chorizo, layered with carne asada, ham, and hot dogs, and then garnished with pickled jalapeños, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and crema. New state of consciousness, coming right up!
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1. 300 East300 East Blvd, Charlotte
2. Block & Grinder2935 Providence Rd, Charlotte
3. Earl's Grocery1609 Elizabeth Ave, Charlotte
4. The King's Kitchen129 W Trade St, Charlotte
5. Le's Sandwiches and Cafe4520 N Tryon St, Charlotte
6. Luna's Living Kitchen2102 South Blvd, Charlotte
7. NoDa Bodega800 E 35th St, Charlotte
8. Pinky's Westside Grill1600 W Morehead St, Charlotte
This neighborhood restaurant has been charming locals and winning awards for over a quarter century, offering farm fresh ingredients and plenty of cozy atmosphere. Housed within an old Victorian and featuring a stunning (and private) backyard patio, the restaurant is as beautiful as the food is delicious. 300 East, owned and operated by the same family since the beginning, sources all their ingredients from local farms, including their meats. Their signature grass-fed burger uses beef and bacon from two different farms, topped with sautéed local mushrooms & leeks, and the rest of the menu features similar upscale American comfort food dishes like pizzas, sandwiches, steaks, and seafood. This inviting spot is rather popular, so make sure to make a reservation.
Block & Grinder opened in Foxcroft in 2013 and brought a relaxed farm-to-table concept to Charlotte’s dining scene. Its modern twists on traditional favorites (like fried chicken confit) may be an atypical technique, but the results are just as coveted. Fresh ingredients add immense flavor to seasonal, Southern sides, and here, every meat you’ll find on the menu has been hand-cut by the staff. Look out for constantly rotating wild game burger offerings. An added bonus: you can purchase meats cut to order at the restaurant’s butcher counter to take home with you.
This hip grocery is a place to be seen... at lunchtime, at least. Earl's has all sorts of amazing eats like hot bowls of ramen and steak tacos, plus daily features. The real winner, though, is the turkey sandwich. Yes, you heard that right, stacks of deli turkey with smoked Gouda, sun-dried tomato aioli, and avocado stuffed between two slices of lightly grilled wheat bread. It's simple perfection.
This Uptown Southern restaurant is actually a non-profit, employing Charlotteans on their way back up from challenging life circumstances, and donating 100% of its profits to feeding the poor. If that's not a reason to go get yourself one of their fantastic fried chicken sandwiches we don't know what is.
Located in the Asian Corner Mall, Mr. Le has the best bánh mì in town. Ask for the #6 — a thinly sliced, caramelized roast pork sandwich topped with freshly shredded pickled daikon, leafy cilantro, carrots, cucumber and mouth-tingling slices of jalapeño tucked into a slender French baguette — a perfect combination of sweet, savory and acidic flavors, like all the other offerings here. This pace also doubles as a boba-tea palace, so you can cool your taste buds off with a mild taro smoothie with chewy tapioca pearls.
Enlightened folks, or those looking to recover from a few bad decisions, flock to this popular raw-foods cafe centered around plant-based creations. The best thing to order at Luna's Living Kitchen in the South End is the popular rawco taco salad, which includes a generous heap of organic lettuce is topped with avocado, pico de gallo, tomatoes, cashew sour cream, and a walnut-almond crumble that could very well be taco meat. No matter what you get, make sure to slather it with Luna’s homemade hot sauce.
This bodega/sandwich shop has an artsy chalkboard with all the sandwiches named after locals, the best of which is “G-man’s G-wich” (named after a guy named Greg), it's a fiery sandwich layered with London broil, caramelized onions, melted pepper colby Jack cheese, and jalapeño bacon.
Honey-cilantro slaw, crunchy peanut butter and spicy Sriracha piled together on a burger might sound weird, but once you've had a bite of Pinky's Ding Dong Style Burger in Charlotte's Ashley Park, you'll know you've just got to trust them. And that's only one item on its incredibly diverse menu (it's not every day you see ginger tuna salad and korean pork tacos sharing a menu with reuben hot dogs and greek-style pita sandwiches). No matter what corner of the globe your meal is inspired by, it'll go perfectly with a custom margarita or one of their many quirky house cocktails.