Twenty-Four Hour Diners
Ten years ago, Tim Newman, the head of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, declared Charlotte would never be considered a real metropolitan city until there were some late, late-night eating options. These days Newman can eat his words—and some tasty late-night fare—because these Charlotte restaurants are serving up delicious dishes from sundown to sunup.
Complete with an old-school cigarette vending machine in the lobby, this no-frills eatery on Independence is the city’s original all-night diner. Waitresses know the regulars by name, and the food is pure Southern comfort. The décor is beyond dated, but let’s face it, you’re not here to look at anything other than the tasty food on the plate in front of you.
5112 E. Independence Blvd., 704-568-8640
It took thirty state troopers and three highway lanes to move the Midnight Diner from its Kings Mountain home to its new location at Carson and Tryon in 2009, making it the first all-night full-service diner uptown. Featuring sandwiches and salads, the menu is huge, but regulars come for “Chef Lee’s Famous Chicken” served alongside buttermilk biscuits.
115 E. Carson Blvd., 980-207-3641
In 1999 the Mattie’s folks put the cozy 1950s-style diner on the road from its original popular New Jersey location. They drove it down to Charlotte, where they spent five years refurbishing it. Known for its burgers and shakes, the diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner all the time. (Open 24 hours Thursday to Sunday.)
915 Hamilton St., 704-376-1020
Skyland Family Restaurant
Although it’s been open on South Boulevard for eighteen years, not much has changed at this family-run diner. They still have the same paint, same booths, and same down-home diner food and friendly service. Customers’ photos line the walls, as well as articles highlighting the diner’s coolest feature: Each year the staff invites the city’s homeless for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. 4544 South Blvd., 704-522-6522
This decades-old diner, run by a local Greek family, gained fame when the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives stopped by last year. The menu features traditional Greek and Italian favorites; the meatloaf marsala is a can’t miss. Be sure to save room for dessert—there’s a full case to choose from, including pies, cheesecakes, and chocolate mousse cake. (Closed from 4 a.m.-6 a.m.)
4429 Central Ave., 704-532-1153