Aug 17, 2023 - Food and Drink

15 Must-try takeout spots in Charlotte

Mama Gee's Jollof rice and chicken. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Some of the best dishes in town are arguably located in takeout-only spots.  

My thought bubble: I’m not sure if it’s the large portions of food at small price points or the convenience of having those prepackaged leftovers, but meals that come in to-go containers manage to pack in a ton of flavor that we can all appreciate. 

Why it matters: Several local favorites have blossomed from grab-and-go spots to full restaurants through overwhelming support from the community.

  • We’ve seen places like Lulu’s or a no-frills spot like Curry Gate eventually open larger sit-down restaurants with a full-service experience. Sun’s Kitchen, originally located in West End’s ghost kitchen, will also open a restaurant in LoSo. 

Here are 14 takeout spots — including a range of cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Caribbean, American and soul food — for you to try.

  • Of note: Place orders online or call ahead to avoid long wait times.

Editor’s note: This is not a ranking and restaurants are listed in no particular order. 

Mama Gee’s

A family-owned restaurant serving West African cuisine to the community for the last decade.

What to order: Popular Ghanaian dishes include Jollof Rice with two chicken drumsticks and sweet plantains ($16) or white rice served with egg and spinach egusi stew (beef and fish) for $16.

Details: Mama Gees is located at 509 Beatties Ford Road.

  • It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 12-6pm and closed Monday and Sunday.
Mama Gee’s jollof rice, chicken and sweet plantains. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Tropical Goodies

Open for more than a decade, Tropical Goodies has two locations serving a blend of Caribbean and soul food.

What to order: The beef ribs ($9.25+) and the curry goat ($10+) can be ordered in a variety of sizes. For sides, try the sweet fried plantains, cabbage or collard greens.   

Details: Tropical Goodies is located at 2601 Tuckaseegee Road and 2316 Lasalle St.

  • The location on Tuckaseegee Road is open Tuesday through Saturday 12-8pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.
  • The Lasalle Street location is open Monday through Saturday from 11am-8:30pm and closed Sunday.

Go deeper: 11 places to get Caribbean food in Charlotte

Beef ribs and curry goat with cabbage, plantains, rice and peas.Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Renaldo’s Culinary Experience

Expect American cuisine including pizza, burgers and seafood dishes with a twist.  

What to order: The Best of Both Worlds Burger ($20) is loaded with 3 onion rings, Cheerwine BBQ, bacon, cheddar cheese and topped with lobster, and it’s a consistent menu favorite. The owner also occasionally features unique dishes with oxtail on pizza, pasta or rice. 

Details: Renaldo’s is located at 1540 West Blvd. 

  • It’s open Monday through Thursday 12-7pm, Friday and Saturday 12-8pm and closed Sunday.
Renaldo’s signature oxtail pizza. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Brewton’s Cafe

A popular late-night restaurant on the weekends with a few outdoor seating options and games. 

What to order: Menu items can vary depending on availability each week but the crab fries ($15) and hot honey sandwich ($14) are popular.  

Details: Brewton’s Cafe is located at 1800 Brewton Dr.

  • It’s open Thursday 11am-5pm, Friday 10pm-4am and Saturday 10pm-4am.
Outdoor seating at Brewton’s to eat your pick-up meal. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Bird Pizzeria

A gourmet East Coast-style pizza spot in Optimist Park. 

What to order: Try the white pizza made with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, olive oil and basil ($22).

  • Of note: Orders should be placed online at least a day in advance.

Details: Bird is located at 510 E 15th St.

  • It’s closed Monday and Tuesday, open Wednesday through Saturday from 4-8pm and closed Sunday.

Go deeper: 28 best pizza spots in Charlotte 

bird pizzeria
Bird Pizzeria
White pizza with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, olive oil and basil. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Mr. Charles Chicken & Fish

Expect fried soul food favorites and homemade sides, from collard greens to candied yams on the go.

What to order: There are plenty of fried dishes to choose from, but if it’s your first time, you can’t leave without ordering their signature chicken or fish entrees.   

Details: Mr. Charles takeout-only spot is located at 3100 Statesville Ave.

Mr. Charles signature fried chicken, potato salad and hushpuppies.
Mr. Charles catfish, macaroni and cheese and yams. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

LuLu’s Express Fry House

A Maryland-style chicken and seafood restaurant in west Charlotte.

What to order: Jumbo lump crabmeat platter with your choice of two sides ($24.95) or wingettes with Mambo sauce.

Details: LuLu’s is located at 2400 Tuckaseegee Road.

  • It’s open Monday 11am-10pm, Wednesday through Saturday 11am-10pm and Sunday 12-8pm. Closed Tuesday.

Go deeper: LuLu’s on Tuckaseegee will relaunch as a Lulu’s Express Fry House

lump crab cake at Lulu's chicken and fish
Lulu’s lump crab cake comes over yellow rice.

Derita Dairy Bar and Grill

A Black-owned hamburger restaurant that also serves hot dogs, chicken and ice cream daily. 

What to order: Any burger (ranging from $9-$14) can be customized with your favorite toppings. Try the premium sundae ($6) or shake ($6) for dessert. 

Details: Derita is located at 2737 W Sugar Creek Road.

  • It’s open Monday through Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday 12-5pm. 
Chicken sandwich with Thai chili sauce and mozzarella cheese. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Everybody Eatz

A popular soul food spot that sells out nearly every week in NoDa.

What to order: Entree dishes vary daily with Southern classics from smothered turkey wings to beef stew. Sides typically include items like macaroni and cheese, candied yams and collard greens.

Details: Everybody Eatz is located at 3720 N Tryon St.

  • It’s closed Monday through Wednesday, then open Thursday and Friday 1:30-7:30pm and Saturday and Sunday 1:30-7pm.  
Everybody eats
The beef stew plate over rice, green beans and mac n cheese from Everybody Eats. Photo: Alexis Clinton/ Axios

Curry Gate

Indian and Nepalese cuisine near Camp North End.

What to order: Popular dishes include tikka masala ($16) or makhani/butter ($14).

Details: Curry Gate is located at 630 W 24th St.

  • It’s open Tuesday through Sunday 12-9pm and closed Monday.

Go deeper: 11 must-try Indian restaurants in Charlotte

Biryani, a Curry Gate special. Photo: Danielle Chemtob/Axios

Dee’s Vegan To Go

A family-owned restaurant that started at the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market

What to order: Popular items include double quarter pound cheeseburger with fries ($16). Try chocolate chip cookies ($3.99) or a lemon pound cake ($5.99) for dessert. 

Details: Dee’s Vegan To Go is located at 1540 West Blvd.

  • It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 8am-5pm and closed Sunday and Monday.

Go deeper: 16 vegan- and vegetarian-friendly spots in Charlotte

The Quik Shoppe

One of the best places to grab fried chicken in Charlotte comes from this gas station.

What to order: The fried chicken, which comes regular- or jumbo-sized, in mild or spicy with one side and roll.

Details: It’s located at 201 East Blvd.

  • It’s open Monday through Friday from 7am-8pm, Saturday 7am-11pm and Sunday 7am-8pm.

Go deeper:  Top 10 fried chicken spots in Charlotte

Quik Shoppe Shell Gas Station, Chicken
Axios archives

The City Kitch

A ghost kitchen housing multiple restaurants offering a range of cuisines, including Caribbean and soul food, in Wesley Heights.

What to expect: A list of popular restaurants such as E.T.’s Casita, La Isla Tropical and Cravn Caribbean, known for its oxtail cheesesteak.

Details: City Kitch is located at 2200 Thrift Road.

  • Hours of operation vary for each restaurant. 

Go deeper: Ghost kitchens find a home in west Charlotte

Cravn Caribbean. If you can’t get your hands on one of their popular oxtail items then try one of their poultry items. Curry chicken, mac & cheese and cabbage. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Steam It Up Seafood

A seafood joint serving everything from fried fish platters to steamed boils in north Charlotte.

What to order: The fried shrimp platter (10-12 pieces), which can be tossed in a flavor of your choice, comes with fries, slaw and hushpuppies. For something steamed, try the crab leg or lobster platters.

Details: Steam It Up Seafood is located at 5304 Sunset Road.

  • It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am-9pm, closed Monday and Sunday.

South End Eats

A ghost kitchen with a range of restaurants under one roof offering food ranging from breakfast to late-night after-the-club options in South End. 

What to expect: At least 15 restaurants including the beloved family-owned Sandwich Max and some of the city’s best bagels from Crust Punk Bagels.

Details: South End Eats is located at 500 W Summit Ave.

  • It’s open from Monday through Wednesday 10am-11pm, Thursday 10am-2am, Friday and Saturday 10pm-4am and Sunday 10am-2am.
  • Of note: Hours of operation vary for each restaurant.
Crust punk bagels
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Want a sit-down restaurant experience? Check out the 25 best restaurants in Charlotte, right now.

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