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John's Country Kitchen

1518 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC - (704) 333-9551
Posted By Michael Stern on 11/9/2007 10:20:00 AM
If you are looking for blue-plate breakfast or lunch in Charlotte, you can't beat John's Country Kitchen. We were taken there by Carolina cuisiniere Heidi Billotto, whose "Charlotte Weekly" story about the place described the portions as large and the prices as "unbelievably reasonable." That would be $3.85 for two eggs, grits or home fries, biscuits or toast, $5 if you include bacon. Omelets are in the $5-6 range, a full stack of hotcakes is $4.05, and a livermush and egg sandwich will set you back a mere $2.85. It is good, hearty food made to order – nothing fine or fancy – but the main attraction at this 1977 urban diner is not so much the food as it is a welcoming neighborhood feel.

Opened by John Margiotis and his wife, Margaret, and now run by Margaret and their son, Jimmy, it is a place with a regular breakfast crowd who gather at the counter to discuss sports, politics, and current events. Jimmy is the ringmaster who, as Heidi wrote, "works the grill and the crowd at John's Country Kitchen like a pro – part comedian, part culinarian." I felt very well taken care of in my booth, and when Jimmy noticed that we were ordering some of nearly everything on the menu, he made sure to send over a pancake to sample. I'm glad he did, for this was one excellent pancake – again, nothing spectacular, but a lovely, delicate-textured cake with a fine crisp surface and buttery flavor.

I am looking forward to returning to John's for lunch, which includes hand-made hamburgers as well as such specials as baked chicken with gravy, fried chicken livers, meat loaf, and country steak. Desserts include apple pie, banana pudding, and baklava.

17 out of 21 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
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This trio of livermush tiles have a crisp surface and creamy-rich insides. A fine match for eggs, biscuits (on the side), and the grill's fine fried potatoes.
"This trio of livermush tiles have a crisp surface and creamy-rich insides. A fine match for eggs, biscuits (on the side), and the grill's fine fried potatoes."
Michael Stern





Our guide Heidi suggested having the biscuits grilled. It diminishes whatever delicacy they started out with, but adds a good measure of wicked, oily crunch.
"Our guide Heidi suggested having the biscuits grilled. It diminishes whatever delicacy they started out with, but adds a good measure of wicked, oily crunch."
Michael Stern


Brains are supposed to be high in protein and so, when mixed with scrambled eggs, practically health food. It may be the smart choice, but to my taste, not the most delicious!
"Brains are supposed to be high in protein and so, when mixed with scrambled eggs, practically health food. It may be the smart choice, but to my taste, not the most delicious!"
Michael Stern


We arrived at John's before dawn, a which time any self-respecting diner is already perfumed by the smells of bacon sizzling and coffee brewing.
"We arrived at John's before dawn, a which time any self-respecting diner is already perfumed by the smells of bacon sizzling and coffee brewing."
Michael Stern


John's charm has everything to do with the sense of community people feel when they come here for breakfast and lunch.
"John's charm has everything to do with the sense of community people feel when they come here for breakfast and lunch."
Michael Stern



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