After midnight, a gleaming “OPEN” sign and some evidence of human activity can be a beacon of light on your pilgrimage home. Charlotte is growing, sure, but it’s no go-all-night city that never sleeps. After last call your next logical option is one of these nine late-night dishes with the potential to satiate your most pressing nighttime cravings.
5Church lamb burger
5Church (address and info)
Just because it’s after midnight doesn’t mean you have to rough it. 5Church attracts a late-night crowd, so it knows it's gotta serve. The meaty lamb burger is topped with oozing Gorgonzola and a savory red onion marmalade. The secret sauce (it’s good, don’t ask questions) finishes it off right while the crispy confit potato side dish is the perfect antidote for soaking up the last drop of your nightcap.
JackBeagles (address and info)
Mac and cheese is good most any time, but it’s especially good at 3am and Beagles’ Jack-Mac is not your typical out-of-a-box variety. Its rich, creamy mac is done up with a lip-smacking garlicky Buffalo sauce and topped with Parmesan crumbles. The result: a super-cheesy, slightly tangy concoction with a bit of spice that's so worthy of being your last meal of the night.
Beef on weck
Tavern on the Tracks (address and info)
You don’t have to be a Buffalo native to appreciate this Western NY staple. Slow-cooked, perfectly rare beef is piled high on a caraway-seeded weck roll, and served with savory au jus (literally good enough to drink), horseradish, and a crisp pickle. If you’re feeling frisky, add five wings tossed just how you like ‘em, and since this is the South, you might as well have your fries topped with gravy.
Pizza by the slice
Libretto’s Pizzeria and Italian Kitchen (address and info)
This authentic pizzeria is the only spot in town that claims to have NY-style pizza and actually has a location in NYC. By the time EpiCentre’s bars and clubs finish “turning up,” Libretto’s has a line out the door that doesn’t let up until the last slice is served, usually around 3am from Wednesday through Saturday. Have your pick from a hefty spread of pies, like the classic margherita and meat lovers or one topped off with BBQ or Buffalo chicken.
Fried chicken bucket
Shell Gas Station (address and info)
The Shell gas station on the corner of East and South Boulevards might as well be your one-stop shop for everything. Gas? Check. Lotto tickets? Check. The best fried chicken in the city? Yup. If you think you’re too good for eating chicken out of Styrofoam from a gas station, your loss. The gals behind the counter bread, season, and fry each piece by hand. No frills, just a little soul and grease to coat your stomach on the venture home.
Diamond in the Rough
The Diamond Restaurant (address and info)
This burly hangover-busting sandwich is served between two delectable waffles with eggs and bacon in the center and is doused with maple syrup. Offered only on the late-night menu and served until 4am, consider this magical concoction your after-midnight snack and breakfast all in one.
Leroy Fox (address and info)
These pillowy bites of salty goodness are just made better by the two dipping sauces that come with them: Leroy’s honey mustard and ranch dressing. The perfect combination of salty and sweet, these mouthwatering bites of heaven look like an appetizer but satisfy like a true midnight snack. Leroy’s is about the only place you’ll find late-night food on this side of town aside from anything you might eat out of a window.
Special combo omelet
Landmark Diner (address and info)
Come prepared to order as this place has a menu the size of a novel. A transcontinental novel, that is. Dishing out Greek cuisine, Italian eats, and classic diner fare all until 4am, you’re bound to find something that strikes your fancy. During witching hours, go with an omelet stuffed just how you like it, served with home fries, French fries, or grits and a buttery biscuit or toast. And don’t you dare leave without a slice of homemade pie. You know, for later.
The Roasting Company (address and info)
Pack your beer-laden belly with this handcrafted pulled pork-on-rice dish and you’re destined for sweet dreams. Jaco pork is equal parts smoky, tangy, and sweet all rolled into one. Served with cornbread and two sides (the squash casserole is where it’s at) for under $10, you’ll be out the door stuffed and ready to snooze.
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1. 5Church127 N Tryon St, Suite 8, Charlotte
2. JackBeagle's3213 N Davidson St, Charlotte
3. Tavern on the Tracks1411 S Tryon St, Charlotte
4. Libretto’s Pizzeria and Italian Kitchen210 E. Trade St, Charlotte
5. Diamond Restaurant1901 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte
6. Leroy Fox705 S Sharon Amity Rd, Charlotte
7. Landmark Diner4429 Central Ave, Charlotte
8. The Roasting Company1521 Montford Dr, Charlotte
Feather chandeliers, leather banquettes, and a black ceiling set the scene at this sleek, loft-style space in the center of Uptown, where signature dishes such as a lamb burger, ahi tuna poke, and citrus- & herb-roasted whole fish are served alongside fancy libations. Guests typically mingle here earlier in the evenings for a drink or two before continuing on to another nearby nightlife destinations. Specialty cocktails like the Viper (Patron, orange liqueur, cucumber water, and cayenne pepper) and the Rosemary Gin Fizz (gin, liquid egg whites, and rosemary simple syrup) are sophisticated enough to keep up with the crowd.
This neighborhood bar in NoDa is a great local watering hole with real good grub. They've got burgers, dogs, cheesesteaks, wings, and more. Try the Jack-Mac, which is their version of mac-and-cheese with a garlicky buffalo sauce.
A home to Buffalo bills football fans, Tavern on the Tracks is the place to get your fix on sports, beef, and beer. Try the Beef on Weck, which is beef piled high on a caraway seeded weck roll.
Libretto's Pizzeria has several brick-and-mortar locations, including one inside the EpiCentre in Uptown Charlotte. Libretto’s serves authentic New York City pizza in a casual and comfortable setting, with a delicious crispy crust and overflowing melting cheese. Also on the menu, you'll find Italian classics like calzones fresh from the oven and desserts. They also have a pizza truck which can be found roaming around town.
Designed to resemble a classic, old-school diner, this Charlotte favorite is lined with vinyl-backed booths, formica tabletops, and a jukebox. Originally opened in 1945, the historic red-brick space is a Commonwealth mainstay, with a dedicated local following. Breakfast is served all day, the creative house burger and hot dog selections are impressive, and the restaurant is open until 4am on the weekends -- there is no time of day ill-suited to the famous Diamond "Pig Wings" (deep-fried pork shanks covered in cinnamon-chipotle sauce). The daily specials are reliably satisfying, the home made deserts are remarkable, and if you make enough appearances, the affable wait staff will surely start to greet you by name.
One of the few late night spots in the neighborhood, Leroy Fox serves ups its eclectic menu after midnight. Try the hot pretzels, which come with honey mustard and ranch dressing. They are perfect for after dinner snacking.
Family-owned for the last 25 years, the diner is the place for breakfast, Greek salads, or a slice of chocolate cake the size of your head.