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Charlotte's takeout options

When the thermostat hovers around 100 degrees, you know it's too hot to cook. Heck, it's almost too hot to eat. Here's a roundup of some takeout places where you can't eat in even if you wanted to.

Price's Chicken Coop is a city -- if not state -- treasure. Newcomers should be required to eat at Price's within the first 60 days of moving here. Ask anyone who's ever lived in the South to name the one food most commonly associated with this region, and before you can say "butter my butt and call me a biscuit," you'll hear the resounding answer: fried chicken. In Charlotte, fried chicken and Price's are synonymous. I have friends who have been going to Price's on a weekly basis for years (and their cardiologists annually). What brings people out of the skyscrapers uptown and from neighboring towns to this hole-in-the-wall, takeout only restaurant is their consistently great food. It's not all chicken. Some brave souls have actually tried other items on the menu and report the fried fish is exceptional, too.

Price's Chicken Coop, 1614 Camden Road at Park Avenue, 704-333-9866. Cash only.

Austin's is located in a small strip shopping center across from the Sugar Creek renewal project near downtown. Owners and cooks Austin and Yvonne Martin opened this Jamaican takeout in 1996. Their selections rotate on a daily basis and Yvonne Martin recommends that customers call ahead for a specific dish. The menu includes a choice of jerks; curries; oxtail and beef stews; ackee and salt fish with plantains and dumplings. The dishes here are bold and tantalizing.

Austin's Caribbean Cuisine, 345 South Kings Drive, 704-331-8778. Closed Sunday.

Little Village Grill offers the folks in the Third Ward area Mediterranean-styled wraps, burgers on pita, hot dogs and spanakopita. This spot has lamb, beef and grilled chicken gyros complete with a few French fries, a la Greek-style, in the sandwich with tomatoes, onions and a fabulous tzatziki sauce. Or you can opt for a fry pita with cheese, but without the meat. Opah.

Little Village Grill, 710 West Trade Street, 704-347-2184. Open weekdays only.

Since opening in 1989, owners Jill Marcus and Karen Teed have made Something Classic Catering a Charlotte favorite. Not only is their food well-crafted, but their employees are informative and solicitous. Something Classic is known for their Southern-styled desserts and other bakery treats, gourmet frozen dinners, housemade soups and deli-styled sandwiches.

Something Classic, 1323 Central Avenue, 704-377-1825. Other locations throughout the Charlotte area.

The Taipei Express is a sibling to House of Taipei (a full service restaurant) and specializes in "Northern style Chinese food." Taipei Express, which is a popular spot in Myers Park, is primarily a takeout location, but there are a few small tables. Their dumplings and soups are popular. If you're stuck in traffic on Providence Road, call ahead, pick up dinner and then resume in queue.

Taipei Express, 731 Providence Road, 704-334-2288. Open daily.

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