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United House of Prayer Cafeteria

A few years ago, I was meeting a good friend for lunch whose office is on East Morehead in Dilworth. When discussing our plans by phone, he said, "meet me at UHOP." I said, "UHOP? I've never heard of it. Where is it?." "It's my favorite place to meet friends who work Uptown, my friend replied."

I was immediately intrigued. You see, for those of us who do not work Uptown, going there for lunch can be expensive! First, you have to pay $15 to park and then, depending on the restaurant, lunch could cost another $20. That starts to add up. Not to mention, that even for a native Charlottean like me, navigating the one way streets of Uptown is not easy when you don't do it every day.

UHOP, or the United House of Prayer Cafeteria, as it's technically named, is a great alternative, because it's less expensive and parking is free. After lunch with my friend, it became of my favorite spots too when having lunch with someone who works in the Uptown area.

For those who don't know, the cafeteria is located inside the United House of Prayer church at 1019 Mint Street - 2 short blocks from the Panthers Stadium. The food is Southern cooking at its finest. This is not where you come when you are wanting a grilled chicken salad with lowfat dressing. I don't think that they even serve salad much less lowfat dressing. But foods like fried catfish, baked or fried chicken, broiled flounder , and hamburger steak are frequent items on the entree line. On Tuesdays, turkey wings are on the menu. The line of people can get REALLY and the turkey wings sell out if you do not get there early. I've some customers who become downtrodden when they learn that there are no more turkey wings. For vegetables, you will will always have plenty to choose from. Classics like stewed lima beans, okra & tomatoes, collard greens, stewed cabbage, fried okra, fresh mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. And if you haven't figured this out yet, in the South, macaroni and cheese is considered a vegetable! I've never had any of the desserts, but the sweet tea is as you would expect from a home cooking restaurant. They also have lemonade for those who may want a half and half of Arnold Palmer as the drink is now called.

The prices are reasonable and the ladies who work the food line and cash register are very nice. They especially love when you tell them how much you like the food. Next time, you are looking for a place near Uptown to eat or you just want some of that good 'ole Southern cooking that's become harder to get in the Queen City, check out UHOP.

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