Posted by: Chad | May 2, 2010

Great Food in Charlotte

Alright Charlotte, I hit the jackpot this week.  Most of you will say, “Ah, ya, duh!”, well, maybe I don’t get out enough.  I found two new (for me) places to eat this week that will definitely get return visits.

If you are waiting for me to go off about some white tablecloth over priced piece of fish, go away.  A new chef in town cooking beef sous vide, nope.  Fusion this fusion that, I like the finer things in life, burgers and dogs.

Wednesday I was in Uptown Charlotte at an industry show.  Following the show, I went to lunch with a vendor.  He said we were going to a hot dog place that had good Chicago style hot dog.   My eyes lit, as I don’t think I have had a real Chicago style dog in 15+ years.  In the years I lived in Madison, WI and worked in Chicago it was a weekly or sometimes daily meal.

He took me to Matt’s Chicago Dog.  To begin with Matt’s had a great menu, bratwurst, polish sausage, italian beef, deli sandwiches, burgers, chicken and even a good kids menu, but I came for a taste I grew up with, the Chicago style hot dog.  The hot dog was perfect, a poppy seed bun, “nuclear” green relish (that is what we called it back in the day), a pickle spear and a couple of peppers.  It contained all the classic ingredients I remember.  And, it was very reasonably priced at about 2 1/2 dollars.  The service was quick and the atmosphere was perfectly casual for a business lunch  I can’t wait to see if the Italian Beef takes me back when I eat there next time, and I will eat there again.

Friday at dinner my wife mentioned that she was craving a good burger (this could have had something to do with the tasteless meal I just cooked).  We have had many very good burgers in the area.  Ruby Tuesday’s has a good burger, Red Robin is good.  Towne Tavern at Fort Mill is also a good local sports bar and is known for being kid friendly (get the chips with ranch when you go).  Taking a risk and messing with my wifes burger favorites, I recommended we go off the board and try a new place (new for us).

I took her to Big Daddy’s Burger Bar.  I knew there was one in Ballantyne, so Saturday after a morning at the South Carolina Strawberry Festival, we headed toward Ballantyne.  With the help of location based service foursquare (@foursquare), I found the location in no time.  The atmosphere was as expected, and the employees took it a step above greeting you and taking care of your table.  My wife ordered a typical burger w/ onion straws, I ordered the special (burger) w/ fries, the kids ordered chicken tenders and sliders, both had a fruit cup.  The food came out very quickly and the kids food was first (great, keeps them busy, there is nothing worse than the kids waiting for food, while we have it).  Both of their meals were perfect.  The one misleading statement on the kids menu was “fruit cup”, it really meant, ” large bowl of freshly cut fruit”.  I am hoping, as an adult, I can get the “fruit cup” next time, that was the best “fruit cup” I have ever seen.  My “special” burger had onion, guacamole, pico, fried shrimp and a chipotle sauce.  Through all of the wonderful condiments and add-ons that my burger had, the beef still stole the show, a perfect portion of perfectly cooked, tasty beef.  My wife felt the same way, often she will get a huge burger and half will go to waste.  I believe you can order that (if you want), but their basic burger is the perfect meal.  With all of that said, the rest of the menu looked very tasty too, but I don’t think I will ever get past the burgers.  Great place, great food.

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