Charlotte Relocation Guide

VOL1ISS1 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CHARLOTTE | VOLUME 1 — ISSUE 1 16 CHARLOTTE FOOD SCENE Queen City Eats and Drinks BY LYNNE BRANDON Everyone knows you have to eat to live but who knew that many folks (if they are honest) would live to eat? And, more than that — people would be willing to drive miles for a good sandwich, hop a plane to attend a food festival or drive across the country for a wine tasting or craft beer festival. And, then go home and tell about it? The craze for eating well-prepared farm fresh food like our grandparents grew up on shows no signs of slowing down. The restaurant business is "on fire" again and chefs are now celebrities with mass followings, food shows and cookbooks. North Carolina has been riding the crest of hot Southern chefs, many who bear the coveted designation of the James Beard nomination or award (equivalent to the Oscars in the food world). While pockets of the state have emerged as "foodie" cities and towns, Charlotte, surprisingly was not considered a food destination — until now. In the last several years, Charlotte has been experiencing a renaissance. Restaurants in the Queen City are increasingly recognized for the same high quality as those found in the Triangle, Asheville and Wilmington. Eateries and bars have found "their way" with traditional and "not-so-much" cuisine served up in brick and mortar establishments or food trucks. Chefs and restaurateurs have something for every palate and taste whether your preference is an old fashioned barbecue joint, meat-and-three diners, tapas (think Poplar Street Tapas Cafe & Wine Bar in Fourth Ward), sushi bars or fine dining. The Queen City has foodie choices for every palate. Some are old school retro such as Pike's Soda Shop (seen on Shallow Hal) and some are edgy like Ink N Ivy, where an eclectic menu draws a crowd for the food and the view (Romare Bearden Park in Uptown). Here patrons run the gamut from bankers to artistic, hippie types. The restaurant joins other Charlotte staples such as Hot Taco, Brazwell's and Whiskey Warehouse in the Bottle Cap Group's portfolio. No coast, no problem. Here oyster bars and seafood restaurants are doing just fine. Sea Level is named for a farm on the coast where the house oyster hails from. The widely popular restaurant serves up North Carolina's only farm-to-fork oyster grown in the state. Seal Level made a list of USA Today's "seafood restaurants that source fresh local fish" with others from across the U.S. For those craving a slice of pie the Italian way head to Inizio Pizza Napoletana. Self-described "dough nerd" owner Grant Arons shows pizza love with basic ingredients—flour, yeast, sea salt, fresh San Marzano tomatoes and real buffalo milk mozzarella. The result is reportedly the best tasting pizza in Charlotte. Italian ovens that burn at 900 degrees and cook a pizza in 90 seconds or less get pies to hungry customers in record time. Enjoy a craft beer or wine by the bottle with your slice of pie. It's no surprise that IPN made the list "18 Hottest New Restaurants in Charlotte" by (2016). Taps are flowing and beer festivals are on the rise in the city named one of the "top 10 best craft beer towns in America in 2016" by And, Fortune gave Charlotte a big high five with its designation of "the newest hub for craft beer" and one of "the best new cities for beer lovers." Breweries in NoDa, South End and other neighborhoods are thriving. Southern Living named NoDa Brewing Company one of the "South's best breweries" for 2016. You can still get a PBR at the Thirsty Beaver Saloon where a diverse crowd gathers at the popular dive bar in Plaza Midwood. The hangout delivers Merle Haggard wailing from the jukebox and Hee Haw playing on a black and white TV. Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is a big fan of Charlotte. The zany food loving restaurateur has shown up many times in his signature red convertible to highlight numerous Charlotte locations on Triple D. For a retro experience try Barbecue King Drive-In, the old school family-run spot serving barbecue, burgers, fried chicken and more curbside (washed down with a cherry-lemon Sprite) since 1959. On the episode Fieri highlighted barbecue. High fives are owed to some of the other local restaurants highlighted by Fieri — The Improper Pig, Bang Bang Burgers, Fud at Salud and JJ's Red Hots. Try a White Trash Burger at Pinky's Westside Grill, also a Triple D favorite. You can't miss the Volkswagen on the roof. []

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