May 19, 2022 - Food and Drink

46 must-try cheap eats in Charlotte around $10

Smelly Cat

Breakfast bagel from Smelly Cat. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

These days, everything from gas to a carton of eggs is expensive.

As Charlotte continues to grow (and rent continues to increase) the cost of dining out goes up, too.

Fortunately for your wallet, we’ve rounded up 46 Charlotte restaurants that have menu items for around $10.

Editors’ not: This article was last updated on May 19, 2022.

(1) Chicken torta at Rhino Market; $7.99

Pulled chicken, avocado, provolone, jalapeños, tomato, lettuce and mayo on ciabatta. Vegetarian? Go with the tofu sandwich.

Locations: Wesley Heights, Uptown, NoDa, Charlotte Airport, South End.

Rhino Market Chicken Sandwich
Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

(2) Lamb and beef gyro at Little Village Grill; $7.48

This low-key Greek restaurant has two locations in Uptown. Everything on the menu is $8.97 or less.

Locations: 710 W. Trade St. and 901 E. 4th St.

gyro at little village grill
$7.48 lamb and beef gyro at Little Village Grill.

(3) Asada tacos at Tacos El Nevado; $3 each

The food here is the real deal. Many dishes at Tacos El Nevado originate from Oaxaca — a state and city in Mexico that is known for its food.

Locations: 4715 Central Ave. and 4640 South Blvd.

Related guide: 17 Hispanic- and Latinx-owned restaurants to visit for Hispanic Heritage Month

Tacos El Nevado
Campechano, pollo, and asada tacos. Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(4) Burger at What the Fries; $9

What started as a popular food truck now stands as a brick-and-mortar. They’re known for their loaded fries, but the burger is definitely worth a try. Add on seasoned fries and a drink for $6.

Locations:10707 Park Rd., Ste. F

Related story: Loaded fries food truck What The Fries to open first restaurant

What the Fries burger
What the Fries single patty burger on a brioche bun with cheese. We got cheesy fries, too.

(5) The burger melt at Papi Queso; $9

It’s a Creekstone beef patty with Swiss and American cheese, Caraway onions and 1k Island sauce. Other grilled cheese variations under $10 include “Little Cheesy” which is your classic sandwich and the Mac Melt made with creamy mac and cheese.

Location: Optimist Hall (1115 N. Brevard St.) in between Felix Empanadas and Honeysuckle Gelato

pork grilled cheese from papi queso charlotte
Three grill cheese sandwiches for less than $30.

(6) Grilled pork bánh mì at Le’s Sandwiches; $6

The Charlotte institution has been serving up traditional Vietnamese sandwiches since 2004, and everything on the menu is under $7. The sandwich shop recently announced that it’s moving to a new, nearby location.

Location: Asian Corner Mall, 4521 N. Tryon St.

Lemongrass grilled pork sandwich (menu item number 6) with pickled carrots, daikons and fresh jalapeños.

(7) 5-piece at Chex Grill & Wings; $6.99

With nine locations and more than 35 flavors, Chex has become a go-to wing spot for the Charlotte area since opening in 2014.

Locations: Uptown, Freedom Drive, The Plaza, Sardis Road, Concord, University, Davis Lake, Gastonia, Mt. Holly and Pineville.

Related guide: Wing guide: 14 must-try wing spots in Charlotte

chex grill and wings in charlotte
Strawberry hot and Hawaiian blaze wings from Chex.

(8) The Char Heel at JJ’s Red Hots; $4.99

JJ’s best-selling dog is smothered in chili, slaw, diced onions and yellow mustard. And they have veggie dogs, too.

Locations: Dilworth, Uptown, Ballantyne.

(9) Giant slice at Benny Pennello’s; $5-$6

The slices from their massive 28-inch pies are bigger than your head, and they serve them until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Address: 2909 N. Davidson St.

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

(10) Tacos Autenticos at Sabor Latin Street Food Grill; $2.95 each

This dish comes with your choice of protein on a corn tortilla plus onion, cilantro and a lime wedge.

Locations: More than a few (18 to be exact). View the full list of locations here.

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

(11) Burger “all the way” with cheese at Brooks’ Sandwich House; $5.45

A Charlotte staple, Brooks’ reopened in January 2020 after losing co-owner Scott Brooks in a tragic shooting in late 2019. It then closed for a couple months due to the pandemic, but Brooks’ is back again.

Location: 2710 N. Brevard St.

Related guide: 25 best burgers in Charlotte

burger at brooks sandwich shop in noda
Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

(12) Belgian frites at The Good Wurst Co.; $4.95

Good Wurst is a fusion between a New York-style deli and a European street food stand. Aside from two items, almost everything on the menu is less than $10. The Belgian frites come with European mayo, curry ketchup and chopped onions.

Address: 3001 Central Ave.

good wurst co

(13) The Patsy Melt at Pinky’s Westside Grill; $9.25

Five-ounce burger with grilled onions, Thousand Island sauce, Swiss and American cheese on Texas toast.

Address: 1600 W. Morehead St.

Pinky's Westside Grill exterior shot

(14) Chili mac at Lupie’s Cafe; $7.75

Choose from four types of chili — Texas, Southern, vegetarian or Cincinnati. All chili mac options are served over spaghetti noodles or mac and cheese with a side of cornbread.

Address: 2718 Monroe Rd.

Related guide: LGBTQ+ owned restaurants in Charlotte to support during Pride month (and always)

(15) Fat Boy Burger at Original Chicken & Ribs; $6.55

Double cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, slaw and chili.

Address: 1100 Beatties Ford Rd.

Original Chicken and Ribs
Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

(16) Pimiento cheese at Dish; $6.99

Since 2019, Dish is under new ownership with Sweet Lew’s owner Lewis Donald taking over. The classics remain, though. Don’t leave without getting the pimiento cheese (served hot or cold).

Location: 1220 Thomas Ave.

dish pimiento cheese

(17) Totchos at VBGB; $7.75

Nachos but with tater tots as the base. This messy deliciousness has beer cheese, black bean and corn salsa, Sriracha honey, sour cream and pickled jalapeños.

Address: 920 Hamilton St.

Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

(18) Grilled pork banh mi at Crispy Banh Mi; $7

Most items on this menu are less than $10. The most popular sandwich is the grilled pork.

Locations: 5100 South Blvd., 2934 Shamrock Dr. and 2130 Ayrsley Town Blvd, Ste C

crispy bahn mi

(19) Build-your-own bowl at YAFO Kitchen; $9.99+

If you skip the protein, a B.Y.O. bowl is under $10.

Locations: SouthPark, Plaza Midwood and Dilworth.


(20) Whiting “samwich” at Skrimp Shack; $7.75

This fish sandwich is as big as your face and they keep it simple with 3/4 pound of whiting on a sesame seed bun.

Locations: 8328 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Ste. 301 and 3718-A Central Ave.

Skrimp Shack Central Ave
Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(21) Burrito at Picante; $5.75 on Tuesdays

Burritos and bowls are $5.75 on Tuesdays. They’re normally $6.89+.

Location: 1500 W. Morehead St., Ste. A

Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

(22) Bacon, egg and cheese at Local Loaf; $9

Order it on a brioche bun. Protein substitutes include sausage and vegetarian sausage.

Location: 800 E. 35th St.

local loaf

(23) Chicken shawarma double at Le Kebab Grill; $8.49

This Mediterranean spot serves falafel, shawarma and, as the name implies, kebab. Go with the chicken shawarma double, which is two pressed pita wraps with sliced grilled chicken, pickles, garlic mayo and a side of fries.

Location: 350 E. McCullough Dr.

Le Kebab Grill

(24) Pho at Lang Van Vietnamese Restaurant, $9.95

This popular, family-run Vietnamese restaurant has been serving the Charlotte community since 1990. If it’s your first time having pho, they’ll guide you to the pho dac biet, a huge bowl of beef soup with rice noodles.

Location: 3019 Shamrock Dr.

Related guide: 22 must-try soups in Charlotte

lang van pho

(25) Gyro pita at Mad Greek; $11.95

Mad Greek is another Charlotte classic, located on South Boulevard.

Location: 5011 South Blvd.

gyro mad greek

(26) Tacos at Condado Tacos; $3.85-$5.50

A few that stood out to us were the Cali Green taco and the Dutch Dragon taco. And be sure to keep an eye out for the featured taco.

Location: 1515 S. Tryon St.

Condados Tacos
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

(27) Cafeteria lunch at Calle Sol; $8

This weekday lunch offering gets you a plate with one entrée and two sides from the hot bar.

Location: 1205 Thomas Ave.

(28) Hashbrowns “all the way” at Midnight Diner; $6.29

This late-night diner is the place to be for post-night-out eats after the bars close. The “all the way” upgrade on the hashbrowns adds cheese, ham and onions.

Address: 115 E. Carson Blvd.

Go deeper: New details on the development replacing Midnight Diner and Uptown Cabaret in South End

loaded hashbrowns midnight diner

(29) Classic Mac at Jack Beagle’s; $4.95

Classic comfort that can best be enjoyed paired with a beer. You can also opt for one of the loaded $5.95 macs, including chili mac, Mexi-mac and pimento mac.

Locations: NoDa, Morehead, Mt. Holly.

Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

(30) 12-inch Italian at Sandwich Max; $9.65

It’s their second-most popular sandwich, and we like a runner-up. In first place, is the TCB — Turkey Cordon Bleu, a.k.a Takin’ Care of Business. For a vegetarian option, try the veggie burger or the hummus wrap.

Location: 1601 South Blvd.

sandwich max

(31) Sandwiches at Po Boy’s Lowcountry Seafood Market; $8-11

Choose from fried catfish, flounder, shrimp, softshell crab and more.

Address: 3022 Freedom Dr.

Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

(32) Burrito at Johnny Burrito; $8.78 (with a $0.50 discount if you pay with “cash-eesh”)

You’ll find this popular counter in the basement of Wells 2. The veggie burritos are $8.08.

Address: 301 S. Tryon St.

(33) Small Block burger at The Diamond; $6.95

It’s one of our 25 best burgers in Charlotte. Add cheese for $0.50.

Address: 1901 Commonwealth Ave.


(34) Sushi roll at New Zealand Cafe; $6.95+

Or if you’re more of a nigiri person, they start at $1.95 each.

Location: 1717 N. Sardis Rd, Ste. 6-A

sushi roll at new zealand cafe in charlotte

(35) Any sandwich at Common Market, $7.50+

Or, as they like to call them, “samiches.” The entire deli menu is priced at about $10 and includes breakfast sandwiches, regular sandwiches, salads, soups and more.

Locations: South End, Plaza Midwood, Oakwold and Rock Hill.


(36) Perico arepa at Brasas Arepas & Grill; $6.95

It’s made with scrambled eggs, sautéed tomato and onion.

Location: 4740 Old Pineville Rd.

Arepas Grill
Pictured is the Reina Pepiada (unavailable at this time). Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(37) 10 wings at Ty’s Wings & Tings, $8.99

Go with the Hennessey BBQ, a.k.a. “Henny wings,” as owner Ty Noble calls them.

Location: 5708 N. Sharon Amity Rd.

henny wings tys

(38) Ricos tacos at Fonda Mexicana El Paraíso; $2-$3

Authentic Mexican tacos for $2? Yes, please. Options include beef, chicken, pastor, lamb barbecue and more.

Location: 6105 South Blvd.

(39) Crispy chicken sandwich meal at Slims Chicken; $7.49

Fried chicken breast with pickles and ranch mayo on a toasted brioche bun. Comes with a side and a drink.

Location: 5535 Prosperity Ridge Rd.

Slims Chicken
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

(40) Build your own breakfast sandwich at Smelly Cat Cafe; $5.95+

We ordered an everything bagel with the works — bacon, egg, cheese, tomato, greens.

Location: 514 E. 36 St.

Smelly Cat
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

(41) Mary’s Muffin breakfast sandwich at Lincoln’s Haberdashery; $8

Scrambled egg with cherry tomato and Duke’s Mayo all served on toasted ciabatta with your choice of ham, bacon or avocado.

Location: 1300 South Blvd., Ste. S

(42) The G-Man’s G-Wich at NoDa Bodega; $8-$9

It’s made with Boar’s Head London Broil, pepper Colbyjack, jalapeño bacon, caramelized onions and chipotle mayo pressed on a baguette and finished with lettuce, tomato and balsamic reduction.

Address: 1200 E. 36th St.

(43) Pork BBQ tray at Bar-B-Q King; $8.95

When Guy Fieri was in Charlotte for NBA All-Star weekend, we asked him what his favorite restaurant in Charlotte is, and he said, “I can’t say that, I’ll get in trouble, but I do really like Bar-B-Q-King.” The west Charlotte takeout joint has been serving the city since 1959.

Address: 2900 Wilkinson Blvd.

(44) Chicken shawarma wrap at Jasmine Grill; $7.99

Add an order of fries for $3.99

Address: 5033 South Blvd.


(45) Chicken torta at Sav/Way; $10+

The cash-only sandwich counter features more than 20 torta options.

Address: 4459 Central Ave.


(46) Chili cheese dog at Green’s Lunch, $3.55

Greens has been a Charlotte staple for nearly 100 years. Don’t let the “lunch” fool you; they serve breakfast, too.

Address: 309 W. 4th St.

More guides to fast and easy food in Charlotte: best burgers, best sandwiches, best pizza, and best tacos.


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