Featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and named Best American Cuisine in Charlotte by CBS Charlotte, The Penguin Drive-In has been satiating stomachs since 1954 with a menu that starts with hand-dipped, lightly battered Famous Penguin fried pickles ($3.99). Diners can dig into the Sweet Caroline, a vinegar-based pulled-pork barbecue sandwich topped with slaw ($5.99), or quell hunger with the Penguin burger ($5.49), featuring pimento cheese and fried pickles resting atop a beef patty island. For dessert, the funnel cake fries ($3.99) give customers a little taste of the carnival without the inconvenience of having to eat it in the dining room of distorted mirrors.
Like a pad of room-temperature butter atop a slice of fresh-baked bread, you'll melt in the loving arms of Gateway's menu of home-style comfort food. Put some pep in your morning step with a cup of coffee ($1.35) and a sweet stack of hot cakes or french toast ($4 for three), or wipe last night’s spooky dreams from your eyes with a spongy biscuit topped with country ham and egg ($2.85). Gateway Restaurant features daily lunch specials Monday–Friday, serving up no-frills favorites such as meatloaf, fried chicken, beef tips, and lasagna ($6.95), each served with your choice of two vegetable sides. Lunch delishins delight with hot dogs ($2), hamburgers ($4.75/half lb.), grilled ham-and-cheese sandwiches ($3.75), pulled-pork barbecue sandwiches ($4.95), and made-from-scratch vegetable soup and chili ($4).
Though Twin City Diner opened in 1988, the turquoise booths, wood-paneled walls, and black-and-white photos displayed throughout its dining room lend the eatery a refined, contemporary-American feel. The diner’s chefs delight in updating traditional southern comfort dishes with modern touches—from BLT sandwiches layered with fried green tomatoes to burgers slathered in chili, cheese, and slaw.
Patrons can chow down within the sleek confines of the dining room, or they can mosey outside to the patio. In both areas, Twin City Diner maintains a comfortable family atmosphere.
The Big Easy borrows more than New Orleans' nickname—it's a full-fledged slice of the rollicking city, with authentic Cajun fare served amid street lamps and photos of the French Quarter. Louisiana classics include po'boys, gumbo, and jambalaya washed down by hurricane cocktails and sangria. An outdoor patio adds an alfresco option for romantic dining, with hanging ferns, candlelit tables, and cherubs posing for greeting cards. Inside, nightly events from live music to trivia games create a festive air around the restaurant's iron bar. There are also themed rooms for private events.
Omega Coney Island of North Carolina transplants traditional Detroit-style hot dogs and deli fare to their southern location and serves the Americana for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chefs crack eggs and whip them into protein-rich omelets, breakfast platters, and sandwiches, decorating the yellow, yolk-laden canvas with gentle brush strokes of sausage links and arabesque bacon strips. Detroit-style Coney Island dogs arrive at tables dressed with multifarious fixings, such as chili, ground beef, onions, and mustard, and burgers made from 1/3-pound Angus-beef patties create an edible measuring device for converting dollars into British currency. Rich reubens and patty melts also vie for table space, and cake and pie change their appearance and sports team affiliations each day.