Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop

Frankly, I was not expecting much from Pikes Soda Shop on the Camden Road. Despite the appealing façade and inviting forecourt tables, I probably would never have ventured-in had it not been to do this review.

I knew why, it was the name. To a Brit like me, and to possibly many Americans, the words ‘soda shop’ do not convey the prospect of great food. A restaurant name should entice the consumer – perhaps with mystery, perhaps with excitement – something at least. Anyway, to this jaded parent and expect-too-much chef, nothing sparked.

The décor is what you might expect: 1950’s style memorabilia, a centrally positioned soda bar, complemented by predominantly booth seating. It is here however, where the ordinary ends. The stars in this place are undoubtedly the menu and the service, and this is why we’ll go back. They virtually make everything in-house; from desserts like apple pie, carrot cake and coconut bomb to a daily quiche, a soup, and all the sandwiches and entrees.

Restaurant statistics show that the most important aspect of eating out is good service. If an establishment can get this right they’ll have a successful business, and Pikes — which opened in 1999 — is succeeding.

The special kiddie school trays were a tremendous hit; carrying kid’s meals priced at $5.99 with a main item, two sides, a juice, milk or a soda, and an ice cream or cookie. To me, this represents exceptional value.

The lunch menu is expansive. Homemade soup accompanies a broad selection of salads and sandwiches, with larger entrees priced between $8 and $9. I chose the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans — a humongous portion I struggled to finish. Ordering the excellent apple pie to follow was foolhardy.

Pikes is absolutely perfect for the family. There’s plenty of crayons and coloring for the kids, the food is good for both adults and kids, and the service is outstanding. Go at your earliest convenience, and you will surely gain a pound or two.

Dollar deal: Kid’s meals are $5.99; Entrees from $8.
Kid-friendly: Yes, very.
Especially for the little ones: School trays with compartments for each food item. Crayons and coloring.
To avoid a wait, go: Early evening
Noise level: Fine
Décor/Atmosphere: 50’s style/relaxed
Kiddie fare: Grilled Cheese, Hamburger, Hotdog, Chicken Tenders.
Anything healthy on the kiddie menu?: Grilled chicken sandwich
Parent fare: Honey-Pecan fried chicken breast/Meatloaf/Lasagna
Bathroom amenities: Good
High chair/booster cleanliness: Good
Got milk/juice?: Yes
Address: Pikes Old Fashioned Soda Shop, 1930 Camden Road
Charlotte NC 28203
Phone: 704-372-0092
Overall rating: 4 out of 5