Four short minutes from the heart of Uptown Charlotte, at the the intersection of West Morehead Street and Freedom Drive, sits one of my favorite local restaurants, Pinky's Westside Grill. Pinky's opened their doors a year ago, in the same shell where Triple G Automotive once specialized in servicing Volkswagens, and has quickly built a solid reputation for great tasting food and drinks. Pinky's charm is evident everywhere you look; from the old Triple G signage that still adorns the lot, to the painted Triceratops protecting the patio, to the VW Beetle parked on the roof (paying homage to the building's past) and this is all before you step inside!
Once you do, you're greeted by a staff that's friendly, personable, and who gives a damn about what they do, a refreshing combination to say the least. Whether you're there for food, drink, or both, you'll find something on their menu that suits you (and intrigues you). They feature a rotating seasonal beer list, as well as a 'classy or trashy' cocktail menu that's fun and creative, yet again reflective of Pinky's own personal charm.
As for the food, it's excellent and it has been during each one of my seven visits. Pinky's does what a lot of other restaurants have a difficult time pulling off, being both a great bar and restaurant. Their setting, style, and total offering is genuine, not overproduced or off-the-shelf, and they're serving up amazing drink and food that's fun, familiar yet different, in a good way.
My wife, Kate, who happens to be a fried pickle aficionado, has put her personal stamp of approval on Greg's Pickles, calling them the best in Charlotte (and she doesn't throw around that accolade lightly)! She asked I make this plug as she knows I'm not a pickle fan. I can attest to her ordering these as an appetizer every time we've visited and suggesting them to anyone anytime the "fried pickle conversation" rears its head.
For me, I have a hard time wavering from what first sold me on Pinky's, their burger and hot dog. No, their unpretentious 5oz. beef burgers and 100% beef hot dogs aren't going to tower over you or hang over the basket, but they're full of flavor and awesomeness! I highly recommend the White Trash Burger, but this visit I crafted my own with provolone, grilled onions, and bacon. This came after I polished off my personal favorite, The Pinky Dog, which is flattop grilled and topped with pimento cheese and chili. Order any one of their Championship Burgers or dogs from Wiener Wonderland with their amazing side selections ranging from waffle fries, red potato salad, homemade potato chips, southern or cilantro-honey slaw, fried squash, black eyed pea salad to onion rings. Whatever you decide to go with, you can't go wrong.
One of our other favorites is their Buffalo Shrimp Tacos, consisting of lightly breaded fried Buffalo shrimp topped with arugula and Gorgonzola cheese crumbles and cradled in a flour tortilla. Served with a side of black beans, the combination of textures and flavors make these tacos both light and delicious. On a menu that features burgers, hot dogs, fried bologna and turkey, you may be surprised to see that Pinky's does an excellent job of catering to vegetarians with several meat-free sandwiches, fresh salads, and substitutions like 100% organic soydogs. Their menu's very well balanced, offering almost the same number of meat-free options as they do meaty ones.
If you've already been to Pinky's Westside Grill, none of this is news to you and you know just how good of a job they're doing. If you haven't yet had the pleasure, venture on over to Charlotte's west side, taste it for yourself and let me know what you think!