** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **
If you are looking for an inexpensive, old-fashioned, 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.” For little more than $5 you can have a dandy meal of eggs, grits, bacon, and biscuits, and a livermush sandwich will get you change from the five. It is all 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.
Lunch at John’s includes hand-made hamburgers as well as such specials as baked chicken with gravy, fried chicken livers, meat loaf, and country steak. For dessert, choose among apple pie, banana pudding, and baklava.