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Regardless of where in the Lake Norman area you find yourself, there are bound to be delicious restaurants that offer varied cuisine at great prices! Compiled below are five great options for each town surrounding Lake Norman, as well as a description of the restaurant, its price level, one of their signature dishes, and their location and hours. Bon appétit!
Clean Eatz Cafe
Overview: Clean Eatz Cafe is dedicated to providing healthy options that won’t break the bank! Many of their meals are designed to be customizable, such as the “Build a Burger” and “Build a Bowl,” and the cafe is dedicated to providing tasty options regardless of dietary restrictions and allergies.
Signature Dish: Clean Eatz Cafe dishes are always enhanced with their buffalo sauce, and you can try it either in a bowl of your choosing or in the buffalo chicken wrap!
Location/Hours: 17111 Kenton Drive unit 101B, Cornelius, NC 28031. Open 11AM-7PM Monday-Friday, 11AM-3PM on Saturdays, and 1PM-4PM on Sundays.
Overview: Pita Pit is all about customization, and there are plenty of options to choose from! Indeed, while the fast casual place is bound to get your food to you quickly, you might get delayed looking through all your options! Among proteins alone there are sixteen options including the vegetarian meat-substitute Beyond Meat.
Signature Dish: Speaking of Beyond Meat, try their Southwest Fajita Pita, which is offered with chicken or Beyond Meat!
Location/Hours: 21726 Catawba Ave Suite B-3, Cornelius, NC 28031. Open 10:30AM-8PM Monday-Saturday and 10:30AM-7PM on Sunday.
Overview: Aptly named, this restaurant is narrowly focused on chicken dishes and it knows what it’s doing. Tenders guarantees that they do not serve chicken that has ever been frozen or contains added hormones or steroids. You’ll be able to tell the difference as soon as you take a bite and see how “tender” it is.
Signature Dish: You can’t go wrong with whatever chicken dish you choose, but it is the sauce that truly makes the meal your own! My personal favorite is the creamy garlic sauce. And it goes without saying that every meal needs to be paired with a milkshake.
Location/Hours:18341 Statesville Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031. Open every day, 11AM-9PM.
Overview: Matt’s Chicago focuses on pizza (both Chicago deep dish and thin crust) and specialty hot dogs. You don’t have to just take my word on it’s quality though, you can also take The Charlotte Observer’s, who has given them the honor of “Best Chicago Pizza” since 2015.
Signature Dish: They are particularly known for their medium deep dish bacio cheese pizza, which is built upside down!
Location/Hours: 19732 One Norman Blvd Suite 330, Cornelius, NC 28031. Open 11AM-7PM Tuesday-Thursday and 11AM-8PM Friday and Saturday.
Overview: This Greek restaurant is both easy and tasty! It offers quick counter service and a varied menu with everything from sandwiches to wings to specialty gyros and more. The food is quick, affordable, and most importantly high quality!
Signature Dish: While people are divided on how to actually pronounce “gyro,” Big Bite’z gyro sandwich with beef and lamb is almost universally adored!
Location/Hours: 20430 W Catawba Ave, Cornelius, NC 28031. Open 10:30AM-9PM Monday-Saturday.
Davidson Ice House
Overview: Located in Davidson’s old ice house building (hence the name), this family-owned restaurant combines traditional French and southern cooking elements and offers something for everyone. You can have complete faith in their chef, Jen Brulé, who was one of six people in the entire U.S. to compete on the Food Network’s Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge.
Signature Dish: Try one of their specialized bowls! One of their most popular is The Davidsonian, which contains “boneless grilled chicken, grilled slaw, maple glazed sweet potatoes, lemon pickled cauliflower, kale slaw, firecracker pimento cheese, and tangy apricot sauce.”
Location/Hours: 416 S Main St, Davidson, NC 28036. Open 11AM-8PM Monday-Thursday and 11AM-9PM Friday and Saturday.
Overview: Another family-owned establishment, this California-Mexican restaurant boasts fresh ingredients and plenty of options! They offer totally customizable tacos, burritos, tostadas, and quesadillas as well as plenty of side dishes, appetizers, and six different salsas.
Signature Dish: While you can’t go wrong with any of the food, Carrburitos is particularly known for its margaritas!
Location/Hours: 445 S Main St, Davidson, NC 28036. Open 11:30AM-8:30PM Tuesday-Thursday and 11:30AM-9PM Friday and Saturday.
Overview: This popular café was recently opened by local restaurateurs Joe and Katy Kindred, who — like their surname suggests — also operate Davidson’s popular restaurant Kindred. The idea for this café’s menu actually came from Kindred’s COVID-19 menu, as the restaurant pivoted to dishes that would travel better. One of the most popular menu items during this time was their milkbread, which could more colloquially be named their doughnuts. In addition to the milkbread, the restaurant also serves chicken sandwiches, bowls and sandwiches, different toasts, and a selection of beer and wine.
Signature Dish: Try the original glazed milkbread! It’s simple and delicious.
Location/Hours: 624 Jetton St #110, Davidson, NC 28036. Open every day from 7AM-9PM.
The Soda Shop
Overview: Located in the heart of Davidson’s main street, the Soda Shop is a classic diner both in terms of the ambiance and the miles-long menu that ranges from pancakes to burgers. Here you can pursue through the menu’s many pages while sitting either at a stool by the counter or in a cozy booth.
Signature Dish: Almost all of the meals come with a choice of side, and I have to recommend the curly fries as the best option. This is a hill I will die on!
Location/Hours: 104 S Main St, Davidson, NC 28036. Open Monday-Thursday 10AM-8PM and Friday-Sunday 8AM-8PM.
(The Best of LKN podcast episode 42)
Overview: Only a few storefronts away from the Soda Shop, you also can’t beat the location of this Indian street food restaurant. There’s a variety of dishes to choose from here and you’re able to customize them to your preferred spice level. The food is always freshly made with quality ingredients!
Signature Dish: Their butter chicken is both a classic and very tasty! Regardless of what dish you choose, you should always pair it with their garlic naan.
Location/Hours: 107 N Main St #101, Davidson, NC 28036. Open every day from 11:30AM-3PM and then 5PM-9:30PM (excluding Sunday, when it closes at 9PM).
My Brothers Bagel
Overview: This bagel store is the perfect way to start your day off right. If you’re in a rush, grab a bagel to go. If you have more time, come with friends and enjoy a breakfast platter or sandwich. Many of their Yelp reviews compare their bagels to New York bagels, which is about as high praise as one can give a bagel.
Signature Dish: Try a breakfast sandwich on your favorite kind of bagel!
Location/Hours: 751 N, NC-16 Business Hwy, Denver, NC 28037. Open every day from 5:30AM-2PM.
Overview: Sports Page is a perfect place to either bring your family or go for an afternoon out to watch the game. The menu is filled with everything you’d want from a sports bar including wings, burgers, and a long list of appetizers. There is also a lovely outdoor seating area that customers can enjoy on a warm day.
Signature Dish: Try their classic cheeseburger! It’s the perfect meal to pair with one of their wide-selection of beers or a soft drink.
Location/Hours: 7490 Waterside Crossing Blvd, Denver, NC 28037. Open 11AM-10PM on Sundays, 11AM-10:30PM Monday-Thursday, and 11AM-11PM Friday and Saturday.
Joey’s Fine Food and Pizza
Overview: Joey’s describes itself as “upscale” but not “uptight,” and both the food and location seem to match. Depending on what you’re craving you can order a salmon with risotto or a cheese pizza either Neapolitan or deep dish style. You can also enjoy the nice atmosphere all while watching the game on one of their many flatscreens.
Signature Dish: Try their hot chicken sandwich! You can also sub the cole slaw that comes with this dish for fries, which is a choice I always recommend.
Location/Hours: 7913 Natalie Commons Dr, Denver, NC 28037. Open 11AM-9PM on Sundays, 11AM-10PM Monday-Thursday, and 11AM-10:30PM Friday and Saturday.
Craft Burger & Tap
Overview: This restaurant offers high quality comfort food in a cozy (but not cramped) environment. All of the meat in their burgers is ground daily and the buns are baked daily. There is also a wide selection of beers that can pair well with any entree you choose.
Signature Dish: Less is not always more and their mac n’ cheese burger proves this! This might be an unlikely combo but Craft Burger & Tap makes it work!
Location/Hours: 416 NC-16 Business, Denver, NC 28037. Open 11AM-9PM Monday-Thursday and 11AM-10PM Friday-Sunday.
Westlake Family Restaurant
Overview: This breakfast and lunch place is quick, easy, and the perfect place to bring your family! There are plenty of options for everyone, even if you have picky eaters in your family.
Signature Dish: Try the egg, cheese, and bacon on a biscuit breakfast sandwich. It’s a classic for a reason!
Location/Hours: 1235 NC-16 Business, Denver, NC 28037. Open every day 6AM-2PM.
Overview: This sandwich chain is perfect for a quick grab-n-go lunch! Their sandwiches are totally customizable and there are plenty of bread, meat, sauce, and veggie options to choose from.
Signature Dish: Try the “Grinder” which is one of their signature sandwiches filled with salami, pepperoni, spicy capicola, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, oil and vinegar.
Location/Hours: 16620 Cranlyn Rd #140, Huntersville, NC 28078. Open 11AM-9PM Monday-Saturday and 11AM-8PM on Sundays.
Overview: This popular chain started as a hot dog cart in New York City and now boasts over 250 locations. Their food menu is simple and offers burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, fries, and a grilled cheese for any vegetarians or just plain cheese lovers. There’s a reason the chain is so popular — you can’t go wrong with any of these options!
Signature Dish: As the name implies, Shake Shack is well known for its milkshakes! While the classic chocolate and vanilla options are great, you can also get a little fancier with the chocolate pie milkshake.
Location/Hours: 16633 Birkdale Commons Pkwy, Huntersville, NC 28078. Open 11AM-8PM Monday-Saturday and 11AM-5PM on Sundays.
Pinky’s Westside Grill
Overview: This casual eatery focused on American style food may be local, but it has national renown! The restaurant was featured on a 2015 episode of the Food Network’s Diner, Drive-In’s and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. 2020 marked the restaurant’s ten year anniversary and for good reason: the food is delicious!
Signature Dish: The “Kinda Fried Turkey” was named one of the 26 best sandwiches in Charlotte (where they also have a location) in 2018 by the Charlotte Agenda!
Location/Hours: 9818 Gilead Rd STE 101B, Huntersville, NC 28078. Open 11AM-9PM Sunday-Tuesday, 11AM-10PM Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 11AM-11PM Fridays and Saturdays.
Slice House Pizza
Overview: This pizzeria uses local ingredients and offers NY style pizza and other italian dishes. Eating here provides both the opportunity to enjoy their mouthwatering options and the knowledge that you’re supporting a number of local businesses from the restaurant itself to the farmers that grew the food!
Signature Dish: You can share their Grandma pizza with your whole family (including your Grandma)!
Location/Hours: 101 S Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078. Open 11AM-9PM Monday-Saturday.
The Lost Cajun
Overview: This Cajun restaurant is part of a growing new franchise, with the original restaurant located in Colorado. They are dedicated to making authentic Cajun food, as evidenced by the fact that their gumbos take 4-6 hours to make (don’t worry though, you won’t have to wait that long to receive it)!
Signature Dish: The Lost Cajun’s po’boys will make you feel like you’re really in New Orleans!
Location/Hours: 9709-A Sam Furr Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078. Open 11AM-9PM every day.
Clean Eatz Cafe
(featured on The Best of LKN Podcast Episode 33)
Overview: This Clean Eatz Cafe is part of a franchise and also has a location in Cornelius (as you can see earlier on in the list)! Once you try the food you’ll understand why the cafe boasts multiple locations! It’s varied menu, fresh food, and customizability certainly speak for themselves.
Signature Dish: If you’re not in the mood for something with the buffalo sauce I recommended above, try the Philly flatbread, which contains shredded beef, green peppers, red onions, mozzarella, and Clean Eatz’ Spicy Ranch sauce.
Location/Hours: 137 Center Square Dr Unit 6B, Mooresville, NC 28117. Open 11AM-7PM Monday-Friday, 11AM-3PM on Saturdays, and 1PM-4PM on Sundays.
(featured on The Best of LKN Podcast Episode 69)
Overview: This restaurant delivers high-quality food ranging from steaks to charcuterie boards to your home. Carolina Gourmet makes cooking easier as their food is designed to travel and reheat well. You can either have the food delivered to you for a $15 convenience fee or you can pick it up at their location for free.
Signature Dish: The chicken salad is both excellent and doesn’t need to be reheated!
Location/Hours: 128 Overhill Dr Suite 101-A, Mooresville, NC 28117. Open 8AM-5PM every day.
Barcelona Burger and Beer Garden
(Featured on The Best of LKN Podcast Episode 62 and The Best Burgers article!)
Overview: Located in a very chic converted warehouse, this restaurant has perfected American classics such as burgers, hot dogs, and rotisserie chickens that will satisfy the whole family! They also have a wide selection of beers and wine that can pair well with whatever meal you choose. There is plenty of outdoor and indoor seating, so it’s a perfect place to bring a large group!
Signature Dish: Their bacon cheeseburger may be simple, but it’s also delicious (especially when you add fries)!
Location/Hours: 500 S Main St, Mooresville, NC 28115. Open 11:30AM-8:30PM Sunday-Thursday and 11:30AM-9PM Friday and Saturday.
Moyers Lakeside Eatery
Overview: This restaurant specializes in lunch and offers soups, salads, cold and hot sandwiches, and a variety of sides. If you’d like a quick look at this local business they stay in touch with the community through their Instagram: @moyers_lakeside.
Signature Dish: Try their cheesesteak with peppers, onions, and mushrooms!
Location/Hours: 119 Landings Dr #104, Mooresville, NC 28117. Open 11AM-6PM Tuesday-Saturday.
The Heavenly Hoagie
Overview: This hoagie shop ensures every part of the sandwich is the best quality it can be. Their bread is baked and delivered daily by the bakery they partnered with, all of the meats and cheeses are premium Boar’s Head brand, and they are always sliced specifically for your order. There are plenty of options for what to put in your hoagie, but with quality like this you can be assured that you’ll be satisfied regardless of what you choose!
Signature Dish: Eating their signature hoagie “The Almighty,” is certainly a heavenly experience! It is filled with ham, turkey, roast beef, and the toppings of your choosing.
Location/Hours: 516 River Hwy #4, Mooresville, NC 28117. Open 10AM-8PM every day except Sunday, when it operates from 11AM-8PM.