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Stockyard Restaurant is a classic spot in Charlotte, NC

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Charlotte’s Classic Eats

As new restaurants open every day in Charlotte, it’s easy to forget about the old standbys, the places that have grown up alongside the Queen City. Our Charlotte’s Classic Eats series highlights the places that you have frequented for years, reminding us why they have stood the test of time.

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Editor’s note: As new restaurants open every day in Charlotte, it’s easy to forget about the old standbys, the places that have grown up alongside the Queen City. Our Charlotte’s Classic Eats series highlights the places that you have frequented for years, reminding us why they have stood the test of time.

When I moved to Charlotte in 2014, I felt like I had arrived. Working in the heart of Uptown, my everyday routine of parking in a busy deck, walking to my office via skywalks and staring out a 35th floor window continually amazed me.

Charlotte’s size makes it difficult to remember that not long ago, our city was a typical Southern one with a modest population. Staring up at the skyscrapers at Trade and Tryon streets, it’s particularly difficult to believe that as recently as 1980, a weekly livestock sale took place less than five miles from Charlotte’s city center.

Rewind another 35 years and you could attend Morris Livestock Company’s opening cattle sale on July 29, 1945. It was a handful of years later — amidst auctions for cattle and hogs each Tuesday and horse and mule sales each Friday — that the Morris Livestock owner was told he could no longer sell food on the livestock grounds. His solution was simple, and the original Stockyard Restaurant — directly next door to the auction grounds — opened in 1952.

Since then, the restaurant has closed, reopened and been rebuilt, however the original location remains the same. Stockyard Restaurant owner Nick Kakavitsas purchased the restaurant in 2013 and hopes to keep serving comfort food in the same location for years to come.

“Our menu has always been a meat and two — but we’ve also got a grill and sandwich shop feel,” Kakavitsas told CharlotteFive.

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Stockyard owner Nick Kakavitsas. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

Kakavitsas said the fried chicken, pot roast and casseroles are among the best sellers. However, the Wednesday-only BBQ ribs tend to sell out, and the Friday seafood specials are also a big hit. With a line of 15 or so regulars at the door at 6 a.m. each morning, Stockyard Restaurant has created an atmosphere and food that keeps lots of regulars — many from the Oakdale and Paw Creek communities — coming back for more.

Southern hospitality

Having driven past the restaurant a handful of times, the size and diversity of the crowd surprised me on my first visit. Construction boots and safety vest? Check. Khakis and polo shirt? Check. Sweatpants and a tank top? Check. Suddenly, I’d found the go-to lunch spot for those working in or near the industrial portion of Rozzelles Ferry Road between I-85 and Fred D. Alexander Boulevard.

“We’re a working man’s place,” Kakavitsas said.

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The Stockyard dining room during lunch. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

I opted for the special of the day — chicken fried chicken, a boneless chicken breast, fried and smothered with gravy served atop a pile of mashed potatoes. Served with a choice of two sides (I opted for stewed okra and tomatoes, and sweet potato fries), the portion was hearty and the home cooking apparent.

Looking around, there wasn’t a dish I didn’t want to try. I also made note of Kakavitsas’ go-to breakfast order: a Stockyard skillet made of home fries with sausage, ham, bacon, mushrooms, jalapenos, grilled onions and peppers. It comes covered with cheese and topped with two eggs.

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Eggs, bacon and home fried potatoes at Stockyard. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

Kakavitsas said his employees comprise the best crew he’s had in over years in the restaurant industry. Longtime waitress Angie Crump said it’s not just the food, but the bond with the customers that makes Stockyard special.

“We’ve got Southern hospitality — we make a unique bond with each of our customers,” Crump told CharlotteFive. Moments before, Crump ran into Ms. Linda, a regular looking for a hug and some prayer. Crump was quick to offer both.

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The bar and takeout area at Stockyard. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

If you’re a fried fish fan, be sure to visit on a Friday. “You’d think it’s a fish camp,” Kakavitsas added. “It’s better than a fish camp. He might not tell you this, but Nick fries all the fish himself,” Crump said.

When I walked into Stockyard Restaurant on a recent Tuesday, I felt like I had arrived at any small-town North Carolina diner during the lunchtime rush. You might not be able to buy a cow on your next trip down Rozzelles Ferry, but one thing’s for sure — if you want home cooking served with Southern hospitality, Stockyard Restaurant is still serving it all these years later.

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The Hamburger Steak with onions and gravy at Stockyard. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive

Stockyard Restaurant

Location: 4925 Rozzelles Ferry Road, Charlotte, NC 28216

Neighborhood: West Charlotte/Thomasboro-Hoskins

Menu

Cuisine: American, comfort food

Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

To order: dine in or call 704-399-9999 for pickup

Instagram: @stockyard_restaurant

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Stockyard is located on Rozzelles Ferry Road in Charlotte. Alex Cason Photography CharlotteFive


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Philip’s job with the city connects him with neighborhoods all over Charlotte. Off the clock, he’s often exploring public art, playing outside or trying new food. Follow him on Twitter @philipfreeman


https://www.charlotteobserver.com/charlottefive/c5-food-drink/article254143368.html