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5 places to find ‘Northern Comfort’ food in Charlotte

Derado’s Italian Gourmet Market near Lake Norman sells traditional pastas, cheeses and more.
Derado’s Italian Gourmet Market near Lake Norman sells traditional pastas, cheeses and more. Tom Hanchett

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 places I know about. Got others to recommend? Email me: tom@historysouth.org.

Pierogi. 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.

Bagels. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Tom Hanchett is consulting historian with Levine Museum of the New South: Tom@HistorySouth.org. Don’t miss the Food from Home section of the museum’s “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers” exhibit.

Taste of Europe

▪ 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; closed Sunday-Monday.

▪ 10915 Monroe Road, Matthews

▪ It’s a busy little place: reservations suggested. 704-708-8485.

▪ www.tasteofeuropecharlotte.com

Poppyseeds Bagels

▪ 5:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

▪ 1311 Chestnut Lane at Potters Road, Matthews. 704-234-0247.

▪ www.poppyseedsbagels.com

Omega Coney Island

▪ 7 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday.

▪ 3901 Old Monroe Road, Indian Trail. 704-821-4142.

Taste of Buffalo

▪ 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday.

▪ 9610-B Sherrill Estates (off Statesville Road), Huntersville. 704-439-0546.

▪ www.tasteofbuffalopizzeria.com

Derado’s Italian Gourmet Market

▪ 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday.

▪ 8301 Magnolia Estates Drive, Suite 3 (off Catawba Ave.), Cornelius. 704- 237-3382.

▪ www.derados.com

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