13 of the best comfort foods in Charlotte, from Shepherd’s pie to chicken and dumplings

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Photo via @haberdish on Instagram

Maybe we long for certain foods because we connect them to a place, a person or a certain time in life. Or maybe the dishes we find comfort in really are so good that they manage to bring us emotional comfort all on their own.

Either way: if a meal gives you comfort, it’s a win. The heartier the dish, the better. Reach for these “home-sweet-home” feeling dishes at restaurants around Charlotte the next time you’re in need of a bit of comfort.

Chicken and dumplings at Dish

1220 Thomas Ave.

 

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What’s in it: Tender dumplings and plenty of chicken

Price: $8.99

Tip: Dish’s home-style chicken and dumplings are filling — especially since they are served with your choice of a side, a biscuit and a deviled egg. There are many hearty sides to choose from including mac and cheese, collards, mashed sweet potatoes and mashed cauliflower. Start with the collard dip ($5.49), topped with diced tomatoes and served hot with your choice of toasted pita wedges or tortilla chips.

Burnt ends at Midwood Smokehouse

1401 Central Ave. // 540-C Brandywine Rd. // 16710 Birkdale Commons Pkwy.

 

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What’s in it: Crispy, caramelized cubes of brisket, tossed in cola BBQ sauce

Price: $13.50 small, $18.50 large

Tip: Start with the Bacon Wrapped Jalapeños ($7) — hickory-smoked jalapeños filled with monterey jack and wrapped in bacon, served with buttermilk ranch.

If you aren’t feeling the Burnt Ends, go for a classic like the Carolina Pork Plate ($9.50/small, $12.50/large). Small plates come with hush puppies, pickled onions, and your choice of one side. Large plates come with your choice of two sides.

You could also opt for the Midwood Grilled Cheese ($7.50), which has cheddar and gruyere cheese, smoked onions and a creamy tomato spread on Texas Toast. Add brisket or chopped pork for $2, or chopped smoked veggies for $.50.

Lasagna at Mama Ricotta’s

601 S. Kings Dr. AA

 

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Whats in it: Southern Italian-style lasagna made with layers of ground beef, veal, homemade sausage and a blend of three cheeses

Price: $14

Tip: If you are not in the mood for lasagna, try the Amma’s Cheese Ravioli ($15/dish, $28/family). It is cheese ravioli stuffed with creamy ricotta, fresh mozzarella, Parmesan Reggiano and Pecorino Romano. Served with your choice of meat sauce, tomato sauce or butter and sage.

Pterodactyl at Pinky’s Westside Grill

1600 W. Morehead St.

 

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What’s in it: Five-ounce beef burger with bacon, cheddar, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion and dill pickles

Price: $7 total ($4.50/burger, $1/cheese, $1.50/bacon)

Tip: Start with Greg’s Pickles ($4.95), which are fried and served with ranch. Pinky’s has many other burger options depending on your mood and preferences, including a vegan burger with a 6 oz. Beyond Meat burger ($9.25).

Mac and cheese (and everything else) at Haberdish

3106 N. Davidson St.

 

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What’s in it: Macaroni and cheese with spicy, crispy chicken skins

Price: $6 for a small or$12 for a large — plus $2 if you add the chicken skins (which you should)

Tip: Every dish at this gem exudes comfort, from their fried chicken, sweet potato dumplings and charred okra to their biscuits, bacon jam and house pickles. You can also visit on a Tuesday night and order the special: chicken and biscuits. And don’t forget about their weekday brunch!

Pork and chive dumplings from The Dumpling Lady

Check Instagram for the food truck’s weekly schedule

 

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What’s in it: 10 dumplings with pork, chives, ginger and soy sauce

Price: $9

Tip: Track her down! These dumplings are steaming hot and fresh. Try the lunch combo ($12), which includes your choice of noodles and six dumplings. The noodle dishes are amazing, and the sweet pork belly dumplings ($9) are another favorite consisting of pork belly, cremini mushrooms, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

Margherita pizza at Inizio

10620 Providence Rd. // 2230 Park Rd.

 

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What’s in it: San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil, Garlic, Pecorino

Price: $12 for a 12” pie, $18 for a 16” pie

Tip: Their other pizzas are to die for as well. The Pistachio ($15, $22) pizza is a good switch from the norm, and the Diavola ($15, $22) is ideal if you are craving meat. You can also add more veggies and meat to any pizza you select for additional fees.

Fried chicken at Price’s Chicken Coop

1614 Camden Rd.

 

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What’s in my order: 1/4 chicken (dark). All dinners are served with cole slaw, french fries, hush puppies and a roll.

Price: $6.95 (but if you want white meat, it’s $7.75)

Tip: This place is self-explanatory. Whatever your personal fried chicken or fish order is, order it here. You can’t go wrong.

Chimichanga at Three Amigos

2917 Central Ave.

 

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What’s in it: An extra large tortilla rolled with your choice of meat, cheese, rice and beans — then fried and topped with queso, onion, avocado, lettuce, queso fresco, tomato and sour cream

Price: $6.95 on its own; $9.49 with rice, beans and tortillas

Tip: Take advantage of the numerous daily specials Three Amigos has throughout the week. Kids eat free on Mondays, and you can visit on Fridays for $5 large house margaritas.

Pad Thai at Thai Taste

324 East Blvd // 2025 E Arbors Dr // 131 Matthews Station St, Matthews, NC

 

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What’s in it: Noodles sautéed with eggs, bean sprouts, green onions, ground peanuts and Thai spices.

Price: $12/vegetarian (with fried tofu); $13/pork, chicken or beef; $14/shrimp or squid; $20/crispy duck

Tip: Red Curry is one of the most comforting dishes of all to me, and Thai Taste has my favorite in Charlotte. If you aren’t craving noodles, go for the Gaeng Dang. It has red curry sauce in coconut milk with peas, bamboo shoots, string beans, chili and basil leaves and the price varies based on your protein selection.

Reuben at Growlers Pourhouse

3120 N. Davidson St.

 

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What’s in it: Corned beef (or turkey), sriracha Russian dressing, swiss purple slaw and juniper berry sauerkraut, served on marble rye

Price: $9

Tip: Growlers has other hearty bites worth trying like their Large Soft Pretzel ($4) and their Hand Cut Twice Fried French Fries ($4). Add Beer Cheese to either order for $2. Be prepared to want a taste of everything while you throw back a few beers. Plus, popcorn is on the house!

Shrimp and grits at Cajun Queen

1800 E 7th St.

 

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What’s in it: Blackened shrimp served with stone-ground creamy grits, creole sauce and Andouille sausage

Price: $23

Tip: Get in the spirit and share the Fried Green Tomatoes ($9.50) to start. Cajun Queen also offers live jazz seven nights a week in their upstairs dining room and a quieter dining room downstairs.

Shepherds pie at Murphy’s

445 W. Trade St.

 

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What’s in it: Lamb & beef, carrots, garden peas and mashed potatoes

Price: $13

Tip: Start with the Deviled Scotch Eggs ($7) if you want to share something a little different — featuring Irish sausage, Old Bay and chives.

For more comforting meals, check out our guide to the best soups and stews in Charlotte to warm you up this season.

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