Charlotte City Guide
2017 Summer Foodways Symposium
Charlotte, North Carolina
The University of Mississippi is proud to claim SFA board vice president Jay Oglesby as an alum, and Jay is proud to claim Charlotte, North Carolina, as his stomping ground. Get the most out of your visit to the Queen City with his guidance, below.
Coming and going…
Red Bridge’s BBQ Lodge (Shelby, 45 minutes west of Charlotte)
Lexington BBQ No. 1 (Lexington, 1 hour north of Charlotte)
R & O’s Barbecue (Gastonia, 30 minutes west of Charlotte)
Plaza Midwood is the area along Central Avenue closer to uptown that has undergone significant gentrification. It has a few fun local spots. The Thirsty Beaver is a great dive bar surrounded by a giant mixed use project under construction. Another interesting local dive bar is Snug Harbor. Yama Izakaya is a good Japanese spot.
NoDa District is the center of Charlotte’s arts and entertainment community, located in an area that formerly housed mill workers and factories. This is where you’ll find Brooks Sandwich House, known for its livermush sandwiches and chili. Get going with pour over and cold brew coffee at Smelly Cat Coffeehouse or wind down at local breweries like Heist and NoDa Brewing Company.
Take the light rail…
3rd Street/Convention Center to Stonewall
The Levine Center for the Arts museums on South Tryon uptown–The Bechtler (modern art), the Mint Uptown, and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture are all walkable from the partner hotels. Added bonus – the Wells Fargo History Museum (stagecoach selfies!) is also here.
Southend/Rail Trail Stroll
Wide sidewalks flank the light rail line from Carson Street all the way to the New Bern station.
A good Sunday morning breakfast can be had at the Midnight Diner, which is a quick walk up the hill towards South Tryon from the Carson Street station.
In addition to good people watching, the area between the Bland Street Station and the East/West Station is surrounded by notable restaurants, breweries, and bars. Futo Buta, which faces the light rail trail at the south end of the Bland Street station, has great ramen. The Wooden Robot brewery is two blocks west of this same station, as is Golden Cow Creamery for some solid local ice cream. Prices Chicken Coop (closed on Sunday) is on Camden, the street that parallels the rail trail to the west between these two stations. Near the East/West station are The Liberty Pub, O-Ku Sushi, Sycamore Brewery (my favorite local beers), and the adjacent Yamazuru Japanese.
Queen Park South
About a 10 minute/half mile walk from the Scaleybark station. Note: The walk is not a scenic one. If it’s a hot day, drive or take an Uber.
Around the intersection of Southside and Yancy between Old Pineville Road and South Tryon is the heart of Charlotte’s brewery/distillery/cidery scene. Within a couple of blocks of one another are Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (the largest brewery/beer garden in town), Sugar Creek Brewing Company (a smaller scale brewery), GoodRoad Ciderworks (a new cidery run by a couple of Diane Flynt disciples), the Great Wagon Road Distillery (makes a Garden and Gun “Best of the South” malt whiskey Rua), Doc Porter’s Distillery (known for gin), and Queen Park Social (an adult arcade and bowling alley).
Woodlawn to Archdale station
If one continues farther south down the rail line (or South Boulevard, which parallels it), the area around the Woodlawn station includes some good taquerías (Tacos El Nevado!) and Charlotte’s classic old school steak house, Beef ‘N Bottle. Also near here is the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall, where one can while away a few hours browsing a wide range of cool stuff including vintage clothing, records, collectibles, and furnishings—all while enjoying free popcorn.
One of John T. Edge’s favorite Vietnamese places, Doan’s Vietnamese Cuisine, is near the next station, Archdale, in a strip center across South Boulevard that also includes Payal Indian Groceris & Spices. A brand new Pollo Campero–the second in Charlotte–is near here as well. (I think the proliferation of Latin-influenced grilled chicken places like Pollo Campero is a great example of the mainstreaming of Latin Foodways outside of Mexican food into American Foodways.)