I thought I might add my thoughts as a resident of Gaston County; the red-headed step-child to Charlotte and the rest of Mecklenburg County. A search for Gastonia invariably results in a discussion about RO's slaw or Kyle Fletcher's BBQ, but there is much more to be had!
Working east to west:
Sammy's: Pub food with an extensive burger menu. It's okay, but not excellent.
Old Stone: An offering from the La Vecchia's, Old Stone's focus is steaks and sides. The rolls are awesome, and the steaks are pretty good. If you've ever eaten at La Vecchia's in Charlotte, a lot of the menu will look familiar.
The String Bean: Excellent sandwiches and some of the best sweet potato fries you've ever had. The beer selection is quite impressive.
Center Street Tavern: This place is great. Nice local casual dining spot with good pub food.
Village Restaurant: Cheap breakfast. You cannot leave hungry... it's impossible. Try the home fries.
Lotus: New American cuisine with an Asian flair. There are some great things going on at this restaurant. Execution of their ambitious menu is spot on, and they have expanded their wine list and beer selection into something to be proud of. On some nights they offer themed wine flights that are not to be missed. They have a talent for fish, but I have to say I've never had a bad meal there.
Please... Gaston County hounds... stand up and be counted!