These are the oldest restaurants still open in Charlotte, NC

South 21 Drive-In moved to its Independence Boulevard location in 1959. Alex Cason CharlotteFive Charlotte’s oldest restaurants are quickly becoming relics. When deciding where to eat, how do we balance the excitement of new restaurant arrivals with our support of its classic establishments? In a 2017 article, The Charlotte Observer’s […]

South 21 Drive-In moved to its Independence Boulevard location in 1959.

South 21 Drive-In moved to its Independence Boulevard location in 1959.

CharlotteFive

Charlotte’s oldest restaurants are quickly becoming relics. When deciding where to eat, how do we balance the excitement of new restaurant arrivals with our support of its classic establishments?

In a 2017 article, The Charlotte Observer’s Kathleen Purvis listed Charlotte’s 11 oldest restaurants. Four years later, only seven of those places to eat are still open. With so many of our city’s classic restaurants closing, including several during COVID-19, which of our longtime favorites remain?

Here are the 17 oldest restaurants in Charlotte (from youngest to oldest) — consider one of these the next time you’re looking for a place to dine:

Bojangles

Location: 300 West Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203

Neighborhood: Wilmore

  • Opened: The original location opened in 1977, before it became the franchise we know today.

  • Owner/founder: Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: fast-casual Southern

  • What to order: The easy answer is a Cajun Filet Biscuit or Sandwich combo, complete with seasoned friends and iced tea, but the magic of Bo’s is its variety. Whether it’s breakfast all day, dirty rice or a Bo-Berry biscuit, everyone has their go-to order here.

Carolina Family Restaurant

Location: 4600 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208

Neighborhood: West Charlotte/Westerly Hills

  • Opened: 1976

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: Southern

  • What to order: The daily special (chuckwagon cheese steak, baby beef liver, spaghetti with housemade meat sauce could all be on the menu). Pro tip: Breakfast is served until 2 p.m., so you don’t even have to wake up early.

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Carolina Family Restaurant Alex Cason CharlotteFive

Zack’s Hamburgers

Location: 4009 South Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28209

Neighborhood: South Charlotte/Collingwood/LoSo

  • Opened: 1975

  • Owner/founder: Founded by the late James Demopolous, now run by his son George Demopolous.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: American

  • What to order: The Zack’s Special — two 100% beef patties with double American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, mayonnaise and special sauce on a toasted bun. It’s served with fries, and splurge for the milkshake.

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Zack’s Hamburgers is owned by George Demopolous, the son of founder James Demopolous. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

Brooks’ Sandwich House

Location: 2710 N. Brevard St., Charlotte, NC 28205

Neighborhood: NoDa

  • Opened: 1973

  • Owner/founder: Founded by the late Calvin “CT” Brooks Jr., now run by his son David Brooks. David’s twin brother, co-owner Scott Brooks, was killed in 2019 while trying to open the restaurant for the day.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: American

  • What to order: Double cheeseburger all the way, with chili cheese fries and a side of slaw.

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Brooks’ Sandwich House has been open since 1973. Melissa Oyler CharlotteFive

Arthur’s Wine Shop/Arthur’s Restaurant

Location: Inside of Belk at SouthPark Mall, 4400 Sharon Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211

Neighborhood: Barclay Downs/SouthPark

  • Opened: 1972
  • Menu
  • Cuisine: American
  • What to order: Swiss & Mushroom Burger, with Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, mushrooms, lettuce and tomatoes served on a toasted bun. Add on the soup of the day.

Gus’ Sir Beef

Location: 4101 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28205

Neighborhood: MoRA

  • Opened: 1969

  • Owner/founder: The late Gus Bacogeorge, now run by Thrace Bacogeorge.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: Southern

  • What to order: A meat-and-two-sides kind of place, the hamburger steak and breaded chuckwagon steak are great options — make sure to try the vegetable of the day.

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Gus’ Sir Beef opened in 1969, serving hamburger steak, breaded chuckwagon steak — and don’t forget to try the vegetable of the day. Alex Cason CharlotteFive

Bar-B-Q King

Location: 2900 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208

Neighborhood: West Charlotte/Ashley Park

  • Opened: 1959

  • Owner/founder: Opened by Charlie Psomadaski and Jack Law. Sold in 1972 to Pete Giannikas. Now owned by Pete’s brother, Steve Giannikas, and George and Gus Karapanos.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: barbecue

  • What to order: Fried chicken dipped in barbecue sauce, with a side of fresh onion rings.

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Bar-B-Que King has been open since 1959, serving customers in its drive-thru. Alex Cason CharlotteFive

Shuffletown Grill

Location: 10220 Rozzelles Ferry Rd

Neighborhood: Mountain Island

  • Opened: 1957
  • Menu
  • Cuisine: American, Greek
  • What to order: The F-150 is a great breakfast choice — two eggs any style with country fried steak smothered in gravy, choice of grits or hashbrowns, toast or biscuit. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. on the weekdays and noon on Saturday.

South 21 Drive-In

Location: 3101 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28205

Neighborhood: East Charlotte/Commonweath Park

  • Opened: The original (now closed) spot opened in 1955, and the Independence Boulevard location opened in 1959 remains.

  • Owner/founder: Founded by brothers Sam, George and Nick Copsis. Now owned by Nick’s son-in-law, George Housiadis.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: American

  • What to order: Fried filet trout plate with fries and tartar sauce (it’s discounted on Wednesday and Friday). If you’re still hungry, go for the onion rings.

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South 21 Drive-In moved to its Independence Boulevard location in 1959. Alex Cason CharlotteFive

Beef and Bottle

Location: 4538 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28209

Neighborhood: South Charlotte/Collingwood/LoSo

  • Opened: 1958, under the name House of Steaks. The new name and location came in 1978.

  • Owner/founder: Founded by the late George Fine.

  • Menu: Appetizers, Steaks, Seafood, Combinations, Chicken and Pasta

  • Cuisine: classic steakhouse

  • What to order: Your favorite cut of beef, cooked to order — top it with bleu cheese crumbles, brown mushroom gravy or horseradish. The build-your-own-salad at your table is a nice change of pace in this incredible timewarp.

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Beef and Bottle hangs on to a classic steakhouse vibe. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

Circle G

Location: 4818 Rozzelles Ferry Rd

Neighborhood: Thomasboro – Hoskins

  • Opened: This location has been open since 1954
  • Menu
  • Cuisine: American
  • What to order: Go for the Ribeye Steak and Eggs for breakfast (served until 11 a.m. during the week and all day on Saturday). You get two eggs any style with an 8 oz. Ribeye steak, grits or hash browns, toast or biscuit.

Tatsis Restaurant

Location: 2328 N. Graham St

Neighborhood: Tryon Hills

  • Opened: The original location opened in 1954 under the name Hutchison Avenue Grill.
  • Menu
  • Cuisine: American
  • What to order: Two Grilled Pork Chops and Applesauce.

The Open Kitchen

Location: 1318 W. Morehead St., Charlotte, NC 28208

Neighborhood: FreeMore West/Wesley Heights

  • Opened: 1952

  • Owner/founder: Founded by brothers Speros and Steve Kokenes.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: Italian

  • What to order: The Mama K Supreme (pepperoni, ground beef, sausage, peppers and onions, mushrooms and salami) and a side Greek salad.

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When The Open Kitchen opened in 1952, it became Charlotte’s first pizzeria. Alex Cason CharlotteFive

Greystone Pub

Location: 3039 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28209

Neighborhood: Sedgefield

  • Opened: 1947; the original building was torn down to build a shopping center.

  • Owner/founder: Founded by Tom Kanos. Tom’s son-in-law, Andy Koutsokalis, took over in 1976. Now its run by Andy’s son, Tommy Koutsokalis.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: American, Greek

  • What to order: Self-proclaimed “Ameri-Grk” cuisine covers the menu — if you’re hungry, try Andy’s Heavyweight, a sandwich with Greek marinated flank steak and grilled onions topped with baked provolone.

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The original Greystone Pub opened in 1947, but the building was torn down. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

The Diamond

Location: 1901 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205

Neighborhood: Commonwealth/Plaza Midwood

  • Opened: 1945

  • Owner/founder: Flonnie and W.A. James; John Fuller and his wife, Daphne Aycock, are the current owners.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: American

  • What to order: Fried pork chops, sweet potato fries — and, yes, mac and cheese is a veggie here.

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The Diamond Restaurant shifted to takeout and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

Providence Road Sundries

Location: 1522 Providence Rd

Neighborhood: Myers Park

  • Opened: 1933 (built as a drugstore — it’s unclear when food was added).
  • Menu
  • Cuisine: American
  • What to order: Grilled blackened wings and a shrimp bowl with kale and arugula, avocado, tomatoes, onion, Parmesan and honey lime dressing.

Green’s Lunch

Location: 309 W. 4th St., Charlotte, NC 28202

Neighborhood: Uptown

  • Opened: 1926

  • Owner/founder: The late Robert Green.

  • Menu

  • Cuisine: American

  • What to order: Hot dog all the way (mustard, ketchup, homemade coleslaw, freshly chopped onions and secret-recipe homemade chili) — served on a freshly steamed bun. Make it a meal with a side of fries or onion rings.

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When you’re in uptown, head to Green’s Lunch and order your hot dog all the way. Philip Freeman CharlotteFive


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Melissa Oyler is the editor of CharlotteFive. When she’s not writing or editing, you’ll find her running, practicing hot yoga or snuggling with her rescue dog, X. Find her on Instagram or Twitter: @melissaoyler.

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Philip’s job with the city connects him with neighborhoods all over Charlotte. Off the clock, he’s often exploring public art, playing outside or trying new food. Follow him on Twitter @philipfreeman

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