Want a breakfast that harks back to the Charlotte of old? Drop in at the Koffee Kup in northwest Charlotte’s Thrift community.
Thrift, off West Brookshire Boulevard, isn’t the fancy part of town. Roads dodge and weave around railroad tracks. Trailer trucks seem to outnumber cars. Oil tanks dominate the landscape; the Colonial and Plantation pipelines, the major transporters of oil and gas in the eastern United States, pass underground here.
Perfect spot for a work-a-day stick-to-your-ribs breakfast. At the Koffee Kup, you’ll find eggs, toast, bacon and sausage, of course. But also grits. And fried bologna. And livermush, the Carolina cousin of scrapple that dates back to German immigration in the 1700s.
Don’t miss the hash-browns. They’re hand-cut from skin-on potatoes, almost like french fries. “We make nearly everything by hand, not from a can or box,” says owner Anthony Crowder.
For a deep taste of the past, try a salmon patty. Salmon became a Southern staple back in the Depression as reformers pushed to get more vitamin B3 (niacin) onto blue-collar plates in this poor and often malnourished region. The Koffee Kup’s salmon patties are hand-patted and quick-fried, moist and flavorful.
“We want you to feel like you’re in somebody’s kitchen and they sat you down and made you breakfast,” Crowder says. He and wife Yolanda apply the same care to Londa’s Place, a popular soul-food lunch-and-dinner spot in the Callabridge Commons shopping plaza on Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road.
Both of the Crowders are native Charlotteans. In fact, the Koffee Kup might be the city’s only eatery where everybody behind the counter is a Charlotte-area native.
“I came up around my grandfather, learned to make his peach cobbler,” says hostess Tawanda Johnson, remembering her childhood in Charlotte’s Third Ward.
LaTonya Hill, main cook in the Koffee Kup kitchen, grew up with grandparents in Gaston County. “I hung under my grand and great-grand. A lot on my old-school skills came from them. I took that, and made it my own.”
Tom Hanchett is Historian-in-Residence with the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Reach him at Tom@HistorySouth.org.
Koffee Kup: New Edition
Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-noon Saturday.
Location: 430 Old Little Rock Road