Restaurants to get a taste of Midwest food in Charlotte, NC

Lupie's Cafe's Cincinnati-style chili is served over spaghetti noodles with cheese, onions and cornbread.

Lupie’s Cafe’s Cincinnati-style chili is served over spaghetti noodles with cheese, onions and cornbread.

CharlotteFive

When you think Midwest, you think comfort food. Something’s got to get you through those cold winter days and nights.

If you hail from the big cities of Chicago, Cincinnati or Detroit, or the wide open spaces of Nebraska, South Dakota or Wisconsin, some of your favorite hometown meals can be found in local Charlotte restaurants. Brats, Detroit-style pizza, Cincinnati chili. (OK, now we’re drooling.)

Here are 6 Midwestern dishes to hit the spot when homesickness strikes:

Brats at Good Wurst Co.

Location: 3001 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205

Neighborhood: Country Club Heights

Menu

Wisconsin is where the largest group of Germans settled in the late 1800s. Naturally, brats become a household meal in the state – and much of the rest of the region. Wisconsinites and other homesick Midesterners can dine on a variety of brats served with sauerkraut, pickle relish or even curry ketchup at Good Wurst.

Cincinnati-style chili at Lupie’s Cafe

Location: 2718 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28205

Neighborhood: Grier Heights

Menu

Back in the 1920s, Greek immigrants are credited for inventing this Ohio staple while living in Cincinnati. Sweet and hot-spiced ground-beef chili is spooned over noodles and then topped with beans, cheddar cheese and onions. In Grier Heights, one of Lupie’s Café most popular dishes is its Cincinnati-style chili, served with a side of cornbread.

“One of our customers researched online Cincinnati-style chili when her husband was homesick from Ohio. Lupie’s Café was the first restaurant that popped up. On his birthday, they had our chili, and now they are regular customers, ”owner Larkin Duran said.

Kuchen at Lupie’s Cafe

Location: 2718 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28205

Neighborhood: Grier Heights

Menu

South Dakota’s state dessert is kuchen, the German word for cake. This dessert is a cross between cake and pie crust that comes in a variety of fruit flavors. You can order this favorite South Dakotan treat at – again – Lupie’s Café. Their kuchen is peach flavored and topped with whipped cream.

Kuchen
Lupie’s Café’s kitchen. Sara Kendall CharlotteFive

Chicago-style hot dog at Matt’s Chicago

Location: 19732 One Norman Blvd Ste 330, Cornelius, NC

Neighborhood: Lake Norman

Location: 435 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202 (temporarily closed)

Neighborhood: Uptown

Menu

The Windy City is famous for many things, especially its Chicago-style hot dog. It has been said many times, “This hot dog has been dragged through the garden.” Matt’s Chicago makes them daily. They start with a poppy seed bun, add a beef frank, then top it all with chopped onions, tomato wedges, green relish, yellow mustard, a pickle spear, peppers and a dash of celery salt. Stevie Wolf, manager of Matt’s Chicago Dog, said pre-COVID, “Every day we make about 45-50 Chicago dogs, and about 25-30 percent of our customers are from Chicago or people who have visited there.”

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Matt’s Chicago Dogs are served on a poppy seed bun topped with chopped onions, tomato wedges, green relish, yellow mustard, a pickle spear, peppers and a dash of celery salt. Sara Kendall CharlotteFive

Detroit-style pizza at Jet’s Pizza

Location: Multiple rentals

Neighborhoods: Huntersville, Matthews, Monroe, Mooresville, Pineville / South Charlotte, Smallwood, University City

Menu

It’s all about the pan – a rectangular one. Back in 1946, Buddy’s Pizza added Sicilian-style pizza to their menu in Detroit. It’s baked in a square pan that makes a crispy, thick crust, which is the distinguishing difference from other pizza styles. From Michigan, Jet’s Pizza is the place to devour thick, square pizza slices.

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Detroit-style pizza is the name of the game at Jet’s, the Michigan-based chain that will soon expand into Historic West End. The trademark thick crust, baked in square steel pans to a light, airy, crisp-cornered turn, will silence all but the harshest critic. Greg Cox

Also, please note that Emmy Squared is now on the Detroit-style pizza scene in Charlotte, with locations in Plaza Midwood and South End.

Reuben Sandwich at Tyber Creek Pub

Location: 1933 South Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203

Neighborhood: South End

Menu

This classic sandwich traces its roots back to its inventor, Reuben Kulakofsky, a Jewish grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska. Back in the 1920s, his creation was first placed on the lunch menu at the Blackstone Hotel. In the South End, you can order this Nebraskan creation at Tyber Creek Pub. This pub’s Reuben – stacked with braised corned beef, tangy sauerkraut, melted cheese and Thousand Island dressing on marbled rye – will surely transport you back to Omaha with your first bite.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2019 and has been updated.

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