5 forms of ‘Northern Comfort’ food to find around here

In this New South metropolis, lots of us are from “up North.” Over a quarter of a million of us, in fact. The Charlotte Chamber estimates that 1 in 10 residents of our metro region was born in the Northeast, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the broad band of states stretching from Illinois to New York.

There’s much to love and discover here, but every once in a while, don’t you just want to find a comforting taste from back home?

Here are some finds I know about:


When I lived in Youngstown, Ohio, pierogi were everywhere. What’s not to love about a dumpling stuffed with mashed potatoes or meat or mushrooms, then fried in butter and onions? Around Charlotte the only place I know for pierogi is Taste of Europe on Monroe Road near N.C. 51 in Matthews.

10915 Monroe Road, Matthews


The ones in the freezer case at the Teeter or Publix just don’t do it, do they? Get yourself to Poppyseeds Bagels on Potters Road out past Matthews, run by Kim Porto from Long Island. Or Poppy’s (no relation) on Providence Road near Sharon Amity. And I hear good things about Bagel Bin off Interstate 77, Exit 25, in Huntersville.

Poppyseeds: 1311 Chestnut Lane at Potters Road, Matthews

Poppy’s: 2921 Providence Rd.

Bagel Bin: 16709 Orchard Stone Run

Coney dog.

Detroiters have their own hometown hotdog, distinguished by thick meaty no-beans chili that’s almost a meal in itself. Near CPCC’s Levine Campus seek out Omega Coney Island. The weiners – “gotta have that snap,” says owner Corky Manns – and chili are sourced direct from the Motor City.

3901 Old Monroe Road, Indian Trail

Beef on Weck.

The favorite Friday sandwich in Buffalo, N.Y., is roast beef on a kimmelweck (salted caraway seed) bun. Donna and Brad Battaglia have it every day at Taste of Buffalo just off I-77, Exit 25. Plus real-deal Buffalo wings, white pizza and even Labatt Canadia beer.

9610-B Sherrill Estates, Huntersville

hanchettphotos_taste of buf

Italian deli.

Youngstown and most other Northern cities got a wave of Italian immigrants a century ago, an influx that largely missed the South. Today the Italian deli is part of everybody’s life up there – salamis, antepasto, sharp cheeses for grating, sweet cannoli. Here, Derado’s Italian Gourmet Market off I-77, Exit 28, is my go-to spot. For Italian butchershops, try Ferucci’s Old Tyme Italian Market, also off Exit 28, or head south to Enzo’s Italian Market in Stallings where housemade sausage is the specialty.

8301 Magnolia Estates Drive, Suite 3, Cornelius

Photos: Tom Hanchett/Diedra Laird