Charlotte’s exceptional Mexican and Tex-Mex dining scene is fueled by both inspiration gained south of the border and from reimagined Texas traditions. So what’s our Mexican menu item of the moment? Queso — hands down. From tacos to burritos and quesadillas to nachos, we are hard-pressed to think of a single Mexican or Tex-Mex staple that isn’t vastly improved by the cheesy, creamy goodness of quality queso. Below you’ll find six particularly popular stops for this irresistible indulgence.

Bakersfield

1301 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203 • (980) 938-8565
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bakersfield wins the prize for the prettiest queso. Nestled in a cast-iron dish, browned ever-so-slightly across the top and served alongside a basket of overflowing golden chips, it’s a showstopper for sure. For an extra dollar, add black beans, chorizo or hot, house-pickled jalapeños to the cheesy mix.

La Unica

Indian Trail location: 4305 Old Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28079 • (704) 821-7281
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The seemingly endless menu at La Unica is authentic, affordable and filled with comforting favorites. Patrons are greeted with endless baskets of hot tortilla chips and bottles of both mild and hot salsa, the perfect complement to La Unica’s Queso Fundido Con Chorizo. This popular appetizer features melted cheese and Mexican sausage and is served with flour tortillas perfect for making cheesy tacos. For something more low-key, but equally cheesy, there are several other dip options that also feature cheese.

Maverick Rock Taco

1513 Montford Drive, Charlotte, NC 28209 • (704) 527-1400
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Maverick Rock Taco doesn’t mess around with their queso blanco dip. This thick dip can be enjoyed all on its own as an appetizer, mixed with chorizo or savored atop Maverick’s nachos or impressive chimichanga. We love the look of the oven-baked nachos. Starring either beef or chicken (our choice), this dish has a generous dousing of queso, Mexican cheeses, chorizo, charro beans, fresh guacamole, crema fresca and pico de gallo. Unbelievable!

Maverick Rock Taco

The oven-baked nachos at Maverick Rock Taco are unbeatable. Image: Maverick Rock Taco Facebook

Paco’s Tacos & Tequila

6401 Morrison Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28211• (704) 716-8226
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Paco’s Tacos & Tequila, champion of Tex-Mex, delights in bringing big Texas flavor to the Charlotte community in the form of addictive, wood-fired, grilled fajitas, cheese enchiladas and outstanding queso. Though their chili con queso is top notch, we can’t help but have eyes for the Volcano Queso, a blend of cheeses melted with sweet pineapple and spicy jalapeño bacon spiked with onions and poblano peppers.

Papi Queso Food Truck

Varying locations • (704) 579-1779
Hours: Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Friday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

When we think queso we think Mexican, but we also think cheese … really amazing cheese. Papi Queso, Queen City’s beloved grilled cheese food truck, may not offer queso in the traditional sense, but their sandwiches and signature sides are awash in more melted cheese than we could possibly dream of. Therefore, we’re giving them an honorary mention. For the ultimate in cheesy goodness, order the Pig Mac built with Pain de Mie bread, macaroni and cheese, pulled pork, caramelized bourbon onions and cheddar.

RuRu’s Tacos

715 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28207 • (704) 332-7933
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

With warm weather around the corner, we can’t wait to sprawl out on RuRu’s Tacos’ patio while delighting in their silky queso. Enjoy it in a variety of forms, ranging from a single bowl to the heartier Billy Ray Valentine, a chorizo-packed queso studded with corn relish, pico de gallo and cilantro. To get a load of the other dips RuRu’s Tacos offers, go for the Three Amigos, a dipping trio including queso, chunky guacamole and smoky house salsa.

Rurus Taco

The Three Amigos appetizer | Image: Poprock Photography on Yelp

When you’re out getting your queso fix, take a picture, post it on Instagram and be sure to tag us — @StyleBlueprintCharlotte.