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Lupie's

2718 Monroe Rd., Charlotte, NC - (704) 374-1232
Posted By Michael Stern on 6/28/2014 7:29:00 AM
Lupie's is the sort of place locals love but outsiders seldom discover. Charlotte friends Jay and Susan told me that the ramshackle eat-place has been around since 1987, and although they might not give it a 100 score for fastidious housekeeping, the vegetables make everything worthwhile. 4-vegetable plates are 4-star fabulous, such combos as painfully tender discs of yellow squash with sweet onions, green beans (non-canned, well-cooked) saturated by tidal waves of pork flavor, large hunks of carrot sweetened with brown sugar, and super-cheesy mac & cheese.

I ordered a vegetable plate contingent on a trade agreement in which Susan agreed to share her bacon cheeseburger in exchange for some of my macaroni and cheese. It was a good deal. The cheeseburger is a sloppy, full-flavored stack of juicy beef, thick and salty bacon, really tasty slices of tomato, and a kaleidoscope of condiments – all but mustard, which Susan, strangely, abjures. Jay's vegetarian chili was a rib-sticking pleasure, just a little bit spicy, heaped with shredded orange cheese and raw onions. The menu also lists Cincinnati chili and Texas chili.

Lupie's has an unvarnished charm that is increasingly rare in a world of corporate restaurants with carefully plotted themes. Its theme, I would say, is square meals for honest dollars. Prices are in the mid-single-digit range. Beverages are served in Mason jars. Décor includes hagiographic images of Elvis as well as portraits of Lupie's waitstaff from years past. When I extolled the macaroni and cheese at the cash register while paying the bill, the woman there beamed and said that next time, I should try her nachos, a plate of which I saw going past, crowned with the same scrumptious, half-melted cheese. I don't know whether or not she was the Guadalupe who is the force behind this fine place, but the pride she evidenced in the restaurant's good food was adorably proprietary.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Macaroni and Cheese
Bacon Cheeseburger
4 Vegetable Plate
Banana Pudding
Greens Soup
Chili Mac
Vegetarian Chili
Sweet Tea
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Whatever else you eat at Lupie's, mac 'n' cheese is a must. It is some of the best anywhere: really cheesy and rich with a few chewy shreds among the creamy parts.
"Whatever else you eat at Lupie's, mac 'n' cheese is a must. It is some of the best anywhere: really cheesy and rich with a few chewy shreds among the creamy parts."
Michael Stern





I hadn't considered Charlotte a serious hamburger city. But now I do, thanks to this beauteous bacon cheeseburger at Lupie's. The burger itself is plump and craggy, all the better to hold massive quantities melted cheddar cheese. Thick ribbons of bacon add not only flavor, but a whole other level of chewing enjoyment. You get your choice of Kaiser or onion roll, potato chips or cole slaw.
"I hadn't considered Charlotte a serious hamburger city. But now I do, thanks to this beauteous bacon cheeseburger at Lupie's. The burger itself is plump and craggy, all the better to hold massive quantities melted cheddar cheese. Thick ribbons of bacon add not only flavor, but a whole other level of chewing enjoyment. You get your choice of Kaiser or onion roll, potato chips or cole slaw."
Michael Stern


Too bad the cornbread square obscures the squash, which glistens tenderly with far more flavor than avoirdupois. This salubrious vegetable plate also holds sweet carrots cooked just beyond al dente, piggy-flavored beans, and world-class macaroni and cheese.
"Too bad the cornbread square obscures the squash, which glistens tenderly with far more flavor than avoirdupois. This salubrious vegetable plate also holds sweet carrots cooked just beyond al dente, piggy-flavored beans, and world-class macaroni and cheese."
Michael Stern


The chili slaw burger is an unholy (and irresistible) mess.
"The chili slaw burger is an unholy (and irresistible) mess."
Michael Stern


What's meat-and-three without the tea? This is tea of the sweet variety, of course.
"What's meat-and-three without the tea? This is tea of the sweet variety, of course."
Michael Stern


There were three of us at the table; and we all had eaten big lunches, but we needed banana pudding. So we decided to split one order. It came with three spoons, and was plenty.
"There were three of us at the table; and we all had eaten big lunches, but we needed banana pudding. So we decided to split one order. It came with three spoons, and was plenty."
Michael Stern


The blackboard menu frequently lists collard greens soup. It is a tremendously green-flavored dish that demands some crumbled cornbread on top.
"The blackboard menu frequently lists collard greens soup. It is a tremendously green-flavored dish that demands some crumbled cornbread on top."
Michael Stern


Jay, who doesn't eat beef because of Hindu dietary restrictions, thought that his vegetarian chili was quite mild. His tongue was educated at a spice level far beyond the callow standards of Susan and me, who thought the chili ingratiatingly spicy.
"Jay, who doesn't eat beef because of Hindu dietary restrictions, thought that his vegetarian chili was quite mild. His tongue was educated at a spice level far beyond the callow standards of Susan and me, who thought the chili ingratiatingly spicy."
Michael Stern


While Cincinnati Chili is available without the noodles, this 'chili mac' configuration makes it real. The meat is very, very spicy, but the noodles and cheese balance it well.
"While Cincinnati Chili is available without the noodles, this 'chili mac' configuration makes it real. The meat is very, very spicy, but the noodles and cheese balance it well."
Michael Stern


The sign of a restaurant with character to spare.
"The sign of a restaurant with character to spare."
Michael Stern


Lupie's is a worthy destination off the beaten path.
"Lupie's is a worthy destination off the beaten path."
Michael Stern



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