Brothers Eugene and John Jetts opened their homonymically eponymous pizza parlor in 1978, creating recipes that eventually grew the chain to more than 200 locations throughout the U.S today. Jet's Pizza's signature is the squared, deep-dish crust, which can be rolled out into a pie cut so that every piece provides bites of the crisp edges and soft interior. Their cooks also hand-toss a traditional round crust and a New York–style thin crust, all of which can be flavored in eight ways with a dusting of Cajun seasoning, poppy seeds, or a combination of butter, garlic, and romano cheese dubbed the Turbo. As masters of repurposing, cooks can also cut romano-topped pizza dough into 8-inch slices to make toasted subs or a beret that attracts comely pigeons. Salads and hot wings make deliveries into multicourse meals for easy family dinners and catered events.
A new player on Charlotte's vibrant culinary scene, El Camino greets diners with a menu of fresh, scratch-made Tex-Mex dishes that are as innovative as they are family-friendly. Meals often start with the kitchen's signature guacamole, which contains traditional ingredients—hand-smashed avocados, fresh tomatoes, and cilantro—but with a creative addition of roasted peppers. Warm flour tortillas play triple duty; they envelop spinach and cheese to create quesadillas, hold unusual fixings, such as fried chicken or beef brisket, inside half a dozen taco varieties, and wrap themselves around nine kinds of overstuffed burritos. The El Camino kitchen prepares north-of-the-border specialties as well, including Cowboy Burgers topped with pepper jack cheese and a West Texas chili made with five varieties of peppers.
At first glance, Angry Ale’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill looks like a regular sports hangout with its walls lined with dartboards and flat-screen TVs. But the eatery takes a creative angle with its menu of burgers, wings, wraps, and other pub food. From the redneck fondue—a heaping bowl of homemade queso dip—to tot-chos–tater tots smothered in jalapeños, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and a choice of meat–appetizers kick off meals with delicious unconventionality. This culinary aesthetic carries over to entrees and favorites such as the bacon fatty melt, a bacon cheeseburger with 1000 island dressing, whisked to tables by the ghost of Alexandre Dumas. Diners can also put their appetites to the test by participating in the Button Popper, a speed-eating cheeseburger challenge that asks the age-old question, “Are you built for speed or comfort?”
At both Charlotte locations, 1900 Mexican Grill's chefs grill up chicken for sizzling fajitas, prepare jumbo burritos, and craft classic Mexican dishes. The kitchen also prepares specialty entrees such as pan-seared snapper in an olive-and-tomato salsa, which diners can pair with a refreshing margarita.
Grilling up a menu of delicious southwestern-style cuisine, Phat inflates bellies with large servings of stomach fuel. Burritos ($5.56–$6.95) come with a choice of charbroiled protein filling, including chicken, fish, and steak, as well as heaps of rice, beans, cheese, and veggies. For variety, Phat Burrito also serves up tacos ($2.55–$3), quesadillas ($5.56–$6.95), and tortilla salads ($6.70–$6.95). Thirsty patrons can secure a soft drink and devour their meals in the restaurant's festive interior or—when the warm weather comes out of hibernation—on the picnic-style patio. This Groupon is also valid for carryout orders, accommodating customers who prefer dining at home.
After Dalton Espaillat spent an evening reminiscing about the Latin American street fare he grew up with, he decided to go out and get some. It didn't take Dalton long to realize the effort was futile—there wasn't a trace of the Caribbean and South American comfort food he craved anywhere in Charlotte. So, instead of building the world's longest dumbwaiter to Brazil, he founded Sabor Latin Street Grill. Dalton's restaurant celebrates the street foods and informal family dinners found throughout the Spanish-speaking world right here in North Carolina.
The cooks aren't afraid to branch out from traditional Latin fare, though. In addition to the fresh corncake arepas and spinach-stuffed pupusas, they also assemble American-style tacos and burritos stuffed with chicken, fish, and homemade sauces. Of course, they allow guests to construct their own taco, burrito, and gordita from a lineup of veggies, black beans, steak, and shrimp.