A beloved Charlotte tradition since 1986, Lupie’s Café opened a Lake Norman location 10 years ago, and like the original, it features plenty of Southern favorites, hefty portions and affordable prices. Moreover, the Huntersville restaurant has a few additional menu items, including fish and baked chicken, says manager Larkin Duran. Situated in the Guignard Gardens shopping center across the street from Discovery Place KIDS, Lupie’s has the same laid-back, funky vibe as its sister restaurant. Christmas lights hang from the ceiling, and the purple walls are covered with rock posters and eclectic, local artwork and photographs. The wait staff is casual, chatty and friendly. There are about 15 wooden booths throughout the restaurant, which fill up quickly during lunch and dinner hours with a mix of business executives, families and blue-collar workers. There’s also a small bar near the back of the intimate space. Lupie’s is famous for its chili ($5.75 for a bowl; served over thick spaghetti for $6.50), which comes in three varieties. The Texas chili, which has coarse ground and spices simmered in beer sauce, is served with your choice of beans, cheese and onions. And be sure to order plenty of sweet tea with this one because it’s extra hot and spicy. There’ also the Mediterranean-style Cincinnati chili, which comes with fine ground beef, sweet spices and a tomato base. Finally, there’s the vegetarian chili, which includes cheese and onions. All varieties come with cornbread. Lupie’s also has different daily specials (all $6.65), ranging from fettuccine alfredo chicken and dumplings to quiche. Everyday specials are available as well, including barbecue ($7.45) and the fish of the day ($8.25), all of which are served with two vegetables. There’s also a full line-up of appetizers and munchies, including nachos, soups and salads, and chips and salsa. Other menu options include burgers, sandwiches and plenty of yummy sides, such as green beans, carrots, corn and mouth-watering macaroni and cheese. And a visit to Lupie’s isn’t complete without sampling the decadent banana pudding. Be sure to bring reinforcements: a single order ($2.65) is more than enough for two.
Menu best bets:Salmon platter
($8.25): I love taking advantage of specials, and Lupie's certainly delivers. I had the fish of the day, which was grilled salmon. It was flavorful and cooked to perfection — not at all dry. With a side of macaroni and cheese and green beans, this meal did my Southern favorites justice. And the cornbread on the side... yum!
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—Associate Editor Cristina Wilson
Spaghetti ($6.65): Spaghetti was sweet and delicious! The macaroni and cheese was cheesy, crunchy goodness. Portions were hefty; I finished my lunch for dinner!
—Team Lead Advertising Sales Stephanie Strum
The Best Jersey ($5.95): I thoroughly enjoyed this sandwich. The turkey was juicy, fresh and thickly cut. The parmesan artichoke spread was the right amount of creaminess and full of whole artichokes. The tomatoes and lettuce were fresh and full of flavor. The sandwich was so big, I had to take half of it home. The only think I think I would change is the bread ... it was a little too toasted for my taste.
—Senior Graphic Designer Tracie Stafford
The Vegetarian Burger ($6.25): This was delicious — homemade (not frozen, like many restaurants do) and very flavorful. The fresh lettuce, tomato and onions made it seem like I was eating a real meat burger.
—Executive Editor Angela Vogel Daley
Baked chicken ($6.65): The chicken was baked to tender and juicy perfection. And I love that Lupie’s offers plenty of vegetables instead of just the usual French fries or chips. And the big piece of cornbread was the perfect Southern complement.
—Editor Sam Boykin
Want to go?
What: Lupie’s Café
Where: 101 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville. 704-948-3959.
Prices: From $3.25 to $8.25
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m..; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.- 9:30 p.m.