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we could have called it
uptown downtown center city noda plaza midwood south end dilworth eastover myers park southpark midtown elizabeth M
but you can say uptown in only one breath
covering in-town Charlotte since 2005 704.944.0551 magazine
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7/28/2010 2:17:33 PM
Own Uptown for only $625/month!*
I always wanted to live Uptown, but didn’t think I could afford it. I am so happy with my purchase at The Fourth Ward Square. ~ David, Recent Purchaser
Only 25 units remaining! Move in ready! Walk to all of your favorite uptown venues. FHA or conventional loans available FEATURES:
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• Granite counter tops • GE energy star refrigerator, washer & dryer included • Blinds included (2” faux wood) • Salt water pool • Fitness center • Rooftop terrace
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pictures: catch light studio george lainis
As the sun set over uptown Charlotte and the air cooled down just a touch, Counting Crows tuned up and cast their music into the night sky. About 15,000 Charlotteans were entertained at the Uptown Amphitheater at the NC Music Factory on June 14, and the moment was captured as dusk turned into night.
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pictures: catch light studio george lainis
The founders of Project Tuesday created their event to help folks in and around uptown ease the workday blues that arise between Monday and Wednesday. Their latest installment took place at Midtownâ€™s Vivace. Embracing the new greenway and overlooking the skyline, it was hard not to feel better after a couple cold drinks on Vivaceâ€™s outdoor patio.
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7/28/2010 2:19:01 PM
Shelly Shepard, an editor/writer, called The Charlotte Observer home for over 10 years, writing headlines and copy editing countless front-page stories. Wanderlust has taken Shelly from teaching English in Prague, to living in a hut in Thailand. If not working, chances are you’ll find her hiking. Professionally, Shelly’s at home with a page of words in front of her, a mouse in hand and a deadline looming.
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Charlotte native Matt Kokenes didn’t have enough to do with a newborn boy at home, so he is now handling sales for Uptown Magazine and along with a partner, he has formed Trafk Media, a new marketing agency in town. He has also jumped back into the writing world and penned the first installment of his fiction series in this month’s publication. Check it out starting on page 48.
Bryan Reed is a man of simple interests— among them, words, records, movies, and adjusting to life as a grownup (whatever that means). Since graduating from UNCChapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Bryan’s been living the dream, working as the assistant editor of Charlotte-based music magazine Shuffle and freelancing for several publications, including Tiny Mix Tapes and several weekly newspapers across the Carolinas.
Bryce Lankard has been spotted roaming the streets of his childhood home of Charlotte. He’s been missing for 20-plus years during which time there were sightings in New York and New Orleans. Known to be an instigator and collaborator whenever the words photography, art and creativity merge. Evidence points to his purported founding of both the celebrated Tribe Magazine and the New Orleans Photo Alliance. He is also thought to be active in the fight against gravity.
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with your smile!
A native Charlottean, Jennifer Misenheimer is a hair stylist and artistic creator with a discerning eye for style. When she’s not doing hair at Escape Hair and Skin Studio in Dilworth, or styling fashion shoots, Jennifer finds outlet for her creative passion through painting, personal styling, and designing one-of-a-kind custom costumes. This month, Jennifer styled our fashion layout.
A man about town with his camera, George Lanis of Catch Light Studio has been photographing people in his native Charlotte for years. From friends’ weddings to parties to family photos for the holidays, his work is creative and diverse, and he’s always looking to show you in the best light. Check out catchlightonline. com for more.
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* name: Little Shiva species: mutant here for: the smell of ink on paper interests: juxtaposition, transformation, mystery, clarity, the process of becoming, image and design contributions to this issue: table of contents website: littleshiva.com
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Krystin Washington recently traded the big city lights of London, England, for the warmth of Charlotte. A freelance writer, she also hopes to start her wedding photography business here one day – maybe after her own wedding in Mexico next year. When not writing or taking photos, you’ll likely find her out discovering the city at a Meetup or networking event or hanging out with one of the five cousins she’s currently living with in Ballantyne.
Sam Boykin has lived in Charlotte since the days when mullets and skinny leather ties were in fashion. He was a reporter at Creative Loafing for many years, and has written for a number of local and national publications, including Men’s Journal, National Geographic Adventure, Maxim, Scientific American, The Charlotte Observer and Charlotte Magazine. He’s now happily married and the proud new dad of a little girl.
Peter Reinhart is the Chef on Assignment at Johnson & Wales University, which means he does whatever they ask him to do and goes wherever they send him. He’s written seven books on bread, pizza, food and culture. In partnership with Pierre Bader, he opened Pie Town, an artisan pizzeria on Trade Street. And AS if he weren’t busy enough, Peter is also Uptown’s Contributing Food Editor.
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Publisher Todd Trimakas Advertising Matt Kokenes 704.944.0551 Executive Editor Shelly Shepard
Around 9:30 one Saturday morning the doorbell rang at our house. Julie and I were watching a news show on NBC, enjoying some of my world-famous waffles with Anna playing on the floor and Kate hooked directly into “Dora the Explorer.” No one I know rings anyone’s doorbell that early in the morning, so with a touch of dread I went upstairs to answer the door. When I opened it there was a man I didn’t know, with a clipboard in his hand. Out of the corner of my eye I saw he was driving a tow truck. My sense of dread multiplies into a 6-pound rock in my stomach. He says, “Are you Mr. Grimakakas?” Being used to folks mangling my last name, I nod “yes.” He says he’s sorry, but he has to pick up our car. He’s the repo man. I pay the bills in the Trimakas family, and just like people say when they are facing a life or death situation and their life flashes before their eyes, my bill-paying history immediately flashed through my head. Have I somehow not been paying my bills; did I miss one bill from Chevrolet over the past six months? Julie is going to be PISSED if I have to go downstairs and explain to her that the repo man has taken her car back. With little to no confidence in my bill-paying abilities and with as much wit as I can muster in the situation, I say, “OK.” He hands me the clipboard that he’s carrying and says he’s sorry but he has to take our 2008
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Mercedes Benz. Complete and total confusion takes over my thoughts. By the time I look down at the clipboard, the following thoughts are swirling through my head: Did Julie buy a car and not tell me? Was the mailman she’s friendly with more than just a mailman? If she bought a Mercedes, where does she keep it? Are there places you can warehouse a car? Oh, geez, I have to pee. Then starting at the top of the clipboard I notice that it’s not Julie’s name, but the name of my ex-wife. Complete elation rushes through my body. We don’t own a Mercedes Benz, Julie hasn’t bought one, and she wasn’t telling a story about the mailman. I show the repo man the car in the garage, tell him he should try the other addresses he has for her and show him on his way. We were lucky in dodging the repo man. So many folks uptown have not been as lucky, and when the repo man showed up he WAS in the right place and it WASN’T a case of mistaken identity. A couple spots spring to mind: the Park condos, Emerson Joseph and the Epicentre. I wonder if it’s as dramatic when the owners of these places, or rather the LLCs that own these places, file for bankruptcy protection. Does a pair of large men in too much black leather and aviator sunglasses show up and ask for the keys, does your pass no longer work the gate to the parking deck or is the process insulated behind so many attorneys that the owners barely feel a bump in the road? I hope I never have to find out. Thankfully, this day Mr. Repo left my house driving his own truck and not mine, and I was able to go back downstairs, finish my coffee and watch Anna crawl between the couches. ~Todd Trimakas Publisher Todd@uptownclt.com
Contributing Editors Peter Reinhart (Food) Contributors Sam Boykin Matt Kokenes George Lanis Jennifer Misenheimer Bryan Reed Little Shiva Krystin Washington
Photography Bryce Lankard Todd Trimakas George Lanis Cover Art Bryce Lankard model wearing: rojas arciela zipper dress from ellemm Distribution Sean Chesney Office 1600 Fulton Ave., #140 Charlotte, NC 28205 Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Uptown Magazine is a trademark of Uptown Publishing inc., copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Uptown is printed monthly and subscriptions are $15 annually and can be purchased online at uptownclt.com.
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Noun – “Holy Hell” (Don Giovanni) Marissa Paternoster doesn’t shed much of her Screaming Females persona on her solo debut. But she does sound freer and more dynamic than her more renowned band allows. The reputed shredder’s more unhinged rock tunes are certainly winners, brimming with finesse and blunt tunefulness. But moments, such as “Call Earth,” find Paternoster exploring dramatic, hypnotic melodies, backed by insistent piano and spotlighting her tremulous vocals.
The Love Language “Libraries” (Merge) The Love Language, tellingly, opens its second LP with a dense guitar drone before bursting into a “Be My Baby” drumbeat. That blend of indie rock’s casual noise and Wall of Sound pop is the band’s calling card. But sound here is a vehicle for frontman Stuart McLamb, who leads with a compelling croon and a knack for captivating narratives that wrestle struggle into triumph and vice versa.
Miniature Tigers – “Fortress” (Modern Art) Miniature Tigers’ college radio pop songs might be too hip. Their dabblings in idiosyncratic sounds – particularly on the shimmering and shimmying “Gold Skull,” produced by hipster luminary Neon Indian – feel a bit Flaming Lips and a bit Panda Bear. But at their core, these songs – all of ‘em – are earnest, breezy tunes that stick like Gorilla Glue.
5 Fol Chen – “Part II: The New December” (Asthmatic Kitty) The timbres are novel, sure, but the mysterious art-pop ensemble Fol Chen has packed its second album with deepdriving beats and persuasive bass lines. It’s indebted to R&B in the same way Dirty Projectors are, but Prince seems the more obvious touchstone. Fol Chen seems to have adopted The Purple One’s eclectic influences and sonic maximalism as its own.
Crowded House – “Intriguer” (Fantasy) Whatever aging Crowded House has done in the past 25 years has been graceful. The veteran New Zealand band sounds very veteran on “Intriguer.” But this is no dig. The band’s age shows only in the assuredness and casual confidence that permeates its seventh album. College rock jangle and easy, shambling tempos mark this effort as much as the melodic finesse and unobtrusive psychedelic embellishments.
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Big Boi Brings the Swing T he
s u mmer ’ s
Big Boi – “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty” (Def Jam) It’s hard for hip-hop to sound new. In the 30-plus years since the genre’s birth in New York, the sound has come to dominate commercial popular music, while the total hip-hop aesthetic has influenced almost every facet of pop culture in one way or another. Perhaps that’s what propelled OutKast, one of this millennium’s most popular, respected and successful hip-hop acts, into household name status. They sounded energized, different, new. At least for a while. The duo of Andre 3000 and Big Boi has lain more or less dormant, without officially parting ways, since their 2006 film-cum-album “Idlewild.” But that dormancy wasn’t entirely voluntary. Big Boi’s solo album, “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty,” languished in record-label purgatory at Jive Records before its eventual release, last month, through Def Jam Records. As the story goes, Big Boi’s stacked resume and bona-fide hit-machine credentials didn’t stop Jive Records from shelving “Sir Lucious Left Foot” for almost three years. According to the artist, the suits at the label felt he was being too “artsy.”
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But freed from Jive, which Big Boi claims demanded a more generic trendhopping sound, the album has been given a chance to make hip-hop feel new again – by holding onto the root of what made it appealing in the first place: the funk. Commenting on Jay-Z’s 2009 album, “The Blueprint III,” “New Yorker” critic Sasha Frere-Jones remarked that commercially successful hip-hop had largely become “hip-hop by virtue of rapping more than sound.” The music, he suggested, had lost – or was losing – the swing and swagger hip-hop built itself upon. “It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the rudimentary digital sound of New Orleans bounce or the crusty samples of New York hip-hop,” wrote Frere-Jones, “this music wants to swing and syncopate. On major commercial releases, this impulse is giving way to a European pulse, simpler and faster and more explicitly designed for clubs.” Big Boi does nothing if not swing and syncopate. As one familiar with OutKast might speculate, the productions here are draped in vocal harmonies, and doused in thick, syrupy synthesizers, brash horns and stuttering percussion. Big Boi surrounds himself with luminescent guests – T.I., Gucci Mane, Yelawolf, Janelle Monáe and George Clinton, to name a few
a lb u m
– who complement the slow Southern flow and alien funk that form the basis of Big Boi’s aesthetic. But still, the M.C. commands the cuts. Big Boi’s elastic rhyming treats beats like bullets in “The Matrix,” bending and warping around them, over-enunciating and stretching syllables into new sounds. “Shine Blockas” juxtaposes Big Boi’s taffyflexible verse with Gucci Mane’s congested rasp in a fog of organ chords. The single, leaked long ago, mines its contrast to delirious effect. The slow organ plays against a skittering snare; Big Boi’s verbal calisthenics confront Gucci’s deadpan. But more than any one song could properly convey, “Sir Lucious Left Foot” is a vibrant, dynamic hour. Its omnivorous appetite for sound, from day-glo synthesizer grooves and sweaty guitar funk to Southern soul horn blasts and dry snap-rap drums, is entirely akin to Big Boi’s work in OutKast. Perhaps it’s indicative of a drought OutKast left in its absence. But four years without a proper OutKast album or not, “Sir Lucious Left Foot” is the rap album of the summer. And probably the year. U Reach Bryan at email@example.com For samples of these songs go to uptownclt.com
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words: krystin washington pictures: sharan downes drew post krystin washington
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For the past four years, Iâ€™ve lived the high life in London, England. I had access to movie premieres, world-class museums and stage productions, with the rest of Europe just a short, cheap plane ride away. So when I began telling people that I was trading London for the other Queen City across the pond, I got my fair share of strange looks. And those looks got even stranger when people found out I was coming here without a job. vue
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y journey to Charlotte started in 2007 when I began a campaign to convince my boyfriend Alex, who is now my fiancé, to move to America. I had moved to London in 2006 to get my master’s degree. Shortly after arriving I knew I was going to love it there, but it would never be home. I wanted to raise a family one day and give my kids a childhood like mine – filled with evenings being pulled in a little red wagon, picking apples at the orchard and catching minnows at the local park… I just didn’t see that life in London. u Why Charlotte? I knew that making the jump from fastpaced London to my hometown of Indianapolis would be a stretch for Alex, who’s London born and bred. Although Indianapolis has a lot to offer, neither one of us was willing to deal
with the cold winters. Alex has enough trouble driving on our side of the road, even without snow. I initially thought we should move to Nashville because of its weather. But it wasn’t just the lure of long summers spent by the pool that excited us. Then we thought Charlotte might be the better choice for a number of reasons – the cost of living is low, seven Fortune 500 companies are headquartered here, and our friends and family told us that Charlotte is a great place to raise kids. A high school friend, Andrea Wright, moved here in 2009 and within 90 days she had a job, a place of her own and had enrolled her daughter in a great school. I knew that it was possible to make a living in Charlotte, but would it be right for Alex and me? u Our virgin visit As we gathered our luggage from the plane’s overhead compartment during our first trip to Charlotte in 2009, I had to refrain
from jumping up and down with excitement. Would it be rude to push all these people out of the way so we could move faster? Alex was excited, too, yet he didn’t know what to expect from a southern American city. As we waited at the luggage carousel for our three red suitcases, I realized that I had four days to convince Alex, and myself, that Charlotte was where we should make our next move. u Turkey burger bliss On that first night, our friends Davis and Sheree took us to The Counter, a burger place in SouthPark. For Alex and I it seemed miraculous that we were able to park so close to the restaurant, and to top it off they offered us a table outdoors next to a fountain! Alex was slightly shocked that what I had told him was true: Charlotteans can eat outdoors without being rained on, and with no need for a warm jacket. It was a perfect, warm evening even
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follow us on facebook, weâ€™ll entertain you uptown magazine
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if the humidity did nearly knock us down as we left the air conditioning for our patio table. But after “summers” in London, where the temperature never hit 80 degrees, Charlotte felt like paradise. We opened the menu and found a restaurant unlike any we had come across before. We could actually specify what kind of meat we wanted for our burger. I chose turkey since it’s impossible to find a turkey burger in London; for once I didn’t have to make my own at home. We could then choose the size we wanted – Alex naturally chose the largest, just to see how big American food really is. We
manicured the plants and bushes were. But we only passed a few people on each block. It was a weekend, but this city center seemed almost desolate. I could see it on Alex’s face and I knew immediately he was thinking: “She’s got me moving to this boring ol’ place where nothing is going to happen and I’m gonna hate it.” How did I assure him that uptown was a happening place to be when it was my first time here, too? Was uptown lively on normal days? I had to think fast so I reminded him that London’s financial district, The City, is a ghost town on the weekends and Charlotte’s exactly
I got to see Banjo Lake in all its glory. I sucked in my breath to avoid blurting out my first reaction – it was a retention pond! then added toppings like sun-dried tomatoes, guacamole and ginger soy sauce. Already, this was shaping up to be the land of opportunity in Alex’s mind – and we’d only ordered dinner. u Hanging out uptown Since we were staying uptown, we walked from our hotel to the EpiCentre, taking it all in. As we strolled along we noticed how clean the streets were and how nicely
the same. He turned to me with his head cocked to the side, one eyebrow raised, and said, “We’ll see.” Secretly, I had no idea, but I hoped I was right. Thankfully, when we arrived at the EpiCentre we walked past bars packed with people laughing or dancing to loud music. Uptown Charlotte was looking up – and even better, Alex still believed that I knew what I was
talking about. We made our way to the movie theater. London certainly has its share of nice cinemas, but as we walked into the EpiCentre Theater our feet sank into the plush carpet and we were surrounded by crushed red velvet. Alex looked at me and whispered, “Oh baby, I think we’re going to love this.” We made our way upstairs to have a drink before the show started. We sat down in the lounge – a high-ceilinged room, with a long bar filled with attractive servers. For a moment we felt like we were back in London sipping wine with the city’s finest. We then snuggled together on the VIP couches – all for less than we’d spend at a regular London movie theater – to settle in and watch the show. Save for the woman loudly giving her husband a running commentary throughout the movie, it was the best film experience we’d had in years. We took advantage of the myriad food choices every chance we got while staying uptown – whether it was unlimited Brazilian meats at Chima or some of the best seafood and cheesy grits you can find at Lavecchia’s. But nothing topped our post-movie EpiCentre choice – Jason’s Deli. Now I know you might think Jason’s doesn’t hold a candle to a more upscale uptown restaurant, but London’s www.uptownclt.com
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VS. Charlotte vs London: A Comparison Summer: Charlotte: I need a whole new wardrobe – I actually brought sweaters for the chilly evenings! London: The English joke that they only get two weeks of summer – it’s no joke! The rare 75-degree day is deemed a heat wave. The kids: Charlotte: Kids here open doors for us, say yes ma’am and no ma’am and go to Friday night football games for entertainment London: The local “youth” are clubbing and drinking legally by 18. Driving: Charlotte: Alex thinks we always need to leave three hours before our plane flights. (How long will it take for him to learn everything here is within a 20-minute drive?) London: If you are crazy enough to do it, taking the 2-mile drive to the grocery store can take 20 minutes. Getting Directions Charlotte: Everyone in Charlotte wants to give me step-by-step directions everywhere – but I can barely navigate my neighborhood! London: Residents barely knew where they were on the non-gridded streets, much less how to help you get where you wanted to go. Alcohol Charlotte: We spent New Year’s Eve driving from Harris Teeter to CVS then to ABC Liquors only to find out that after 9 p.m. we were out of luck. London: If you can find a store that’s open, you can buy alcohol – that’s the only rule. Food Charlotte: Sweet iced tea, cheesy grits and collard greens – enough said! London: Milk with your hot tea anyone? How about baked beans or mushrooms with breakfast? Or a baked potato topped with coleslaw? 32
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version of deli food is generally a pre-made sandwich, the kind you can get at a gas station. In London, if I wanted to customize a prawn sandwich with mayo on white bread, well, I was out of luck. We may not see any movie premieres with A-list stars in Charlotte, but we knew we could have a great night out on the town. u Is that what you call a lake? Like me, Alex loves all things outdoors. Throughout the first 18 months of our relationship, he never tired of telling me about Banjo Lake in Hertfordshire, where he’d grown up fishing and camping. I had visions of this lake: jet skis skimming the water and boats motoring past the houses surrounding the lake, with little jetties leading to water trampolines and kayaks. So one afternoon in May we drove up to the lake. It was a beautiful London day – overcast and 50 degrees, so we only had to wear a heavy sweater. We parked the car and followed a dirt path until we reached the boat storage area. Where I expected a marina, a smattering of dinghies and sailboats scattered every which way behind a fence greeted me. Increasingly skeptical, I forged ahead, certain we’d not yet gotten to the lake. After trudging through some overgrown grass and weeds to reach the clearing, I got to see Banjo Lake in all its glory. I sucked in my breath to avoid blurting out my first reaction – it was a retention pond! Choosing my words as carefully as I could, I suggested that Banjo Lake was sweet, but I’d read about Lakes Norman and Wylie and I thought they might be worth visiting. It was on our second trip to Charlotte, when we drove from Indianapolis, that we first saw Lake Norman. The sun was setting on that cold January evening, but as I turned to look at Alex’s face, I could see he now understood what I had been expecting at Banjo Lake. There were only a few boats out, but water went as far as you could see in one direction. The trees surrounding the water were greener than we imagined possible in winter. And although we could just barely see them as we sped by, Alex could tell that the houses might rival some of the biggest and most beautiful that he’d ever seen. He started to envision the fish he’d catch at Lake Norman during those lazy summer nights; the days
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we’d spend out on a boat; or even the two of us kayaking to explore the vast body of water in front of us. Lake Norman was obviously a big draw for me and Alex; it’s even where we took our engagement photos. I was surprised, though, when I spoke to fellow Charlotte-transplant Desirae Woofter and found out that Lake Norman played a role in her choosing to move here, too. “During my first visit to the area in the early ’90s, we went boating on a quiet little lake with a few exclusive homes called Lake Norman,” says Woofter, an Ohio native. “When I made my way back in the 2000s I was shocked at the growth and potential.” It was that growth potential that drove her to relocate here in 2010 – and it paid off. She quickly found a job as an account manager. u The pull of growth Although Charlotte is known for its banking industry, with companies such as Goodrich, Family Dollar and Nucor headquartered here, the city attracts more than just those interested in high finance. According to the Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte is ranked eighth nationally for the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the county. Karen Nelson moved to the area at the beginning of July to start her own consultancy
business – but it was more a case of Charlotte choosing her. “I created a LinkedIn account while I was living in South Dakota and started getting inquiries from in and around Charlotte,” says Nelson, an independent lead generation consultant for the sales industry. “It made sense to move here since I was getting unsolicited inquiries. So my 16-year-old daughter and I have relocated and I’m already seeing the payoff career-wise.” It was the potential for growth that made Alex and I believe we could make it in Charlotte. The job outlook was shocking everywhere in the U.S.; people were being laid off quicker than we could count them. At one point last year we questioned whether we should move to America at all. But like I learned from Laura Alabed, a nonprofit communications specialist based in Nashville who hopes to relocate here soon, sometimes it’s just a move you make on faith. “Neither my husband nor I have positions in Charlotte at this point, but we’re committed to making this move happen,” she explains. “It may be a bit risky – especially if we move without job offers – but we believe that to make big things happen, you have to be willing to take big steps.” u It’s just the beginning It’s been two months since I moved to
Charlotte and I have a mile-long bucket list. I keep hearing about the Alive After Five events on Thursdays at the EpiCentre, so I hope to make it there soon for the live music, food and drinks. My family recently visited Charlotte and we went to the U.S. National Whitewater Center and kayaked on the river. It was nice and relaxing, but I’d love to go back and brave the roaring rapids. I’ve heard great things about the Harvey B. Gantt Center and other Charlotte museums, but I haven’t made it to any of them yet. And I need to find a church home here, as well. Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have tackled more on my bucket list and Alex’s visa documents will be complete so he can join me here. Each time I call him in London I know that we’re one day closer to continuing this amazing adventure in Charlotte together. Despite all of our planning and preparation, in the end Alex and I decided to move here for the same reason my friend Andrea did: “When I first visited Charlotte there was just this emotional connection,” she explains. “I just knew that this was where I was supposed to be. I love Charlotte – it’s home.” U Reach Krystin at firstname.lastname@example.org For more info go to uptownclt.com
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SAL words & pictures: todd trimakas
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ALE inside will’s park & pawn
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As we’re talking, I casually look around and see what looks like an old war helmet. I ask to see it and the gentleman behind the counter starts talking. It is a World War II German military helmet, he says. From the heft of the metal and crusty leather interior it’s hard to disagree with the age of the helmet and the Nazi swastika proves his claim. I am holding something close to 70 years old, bearing the symbol of Adolph Hitler. I can’t help but put it on. He explains that he paid $10 for the Luftschutz helmet I am wearing while on eBay a similar helmet recently sold for $395. History and a potential profit margin of 3,850 percent hook me on the pawn business as I stand in the back of Central Avenue Jewelry & Pawn.
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he pawn business is the second-oldest profession known to man, dating back 3,000 years to China. The practice started in Asia but is rich in European and eventually American history – it’s well known that Queen Isabella of Spain pawned her jewelry to fund Christopher Columbus’ expedition to find a more direct route to the Indies. A half-mile up Central toward uptown, Will’s Park and Pawn wears its history on its walls, which include a faux rhino’s head, a collection of 1950s model airplanes, an old Elvis exit sign, and a collection of guns and knives that could arm a province in Afghanistan. In business since 1985, Will’s place isn’t about looks, or air conditioning; it’s really about the owner Will Spoke and taking what can be a difficult financial situation and making it at worst manageable and at best feeling like you just made a friend for life. A friend who also happened to loan you $40 on a slightly used Suzuki acoustic guitar. Spoke’s business includes a set of supporting characters who beautifully round out his shop. Including, in no particular order: his son Will Jr. who, after going to Appalachian State for a short period, decided it wasn’t for him and happily joined the family business; Spoke’s mother, who softens the all-male crew with her charm; Mikey, who when he’s not eating fixes jewelry in the middle of the shop; and Broadway, a true Southern gentleman with a wavy gray pompadour who watches the door. Broadway always has a toothpick in his mouth and started in the pawn business seemingly at random after managing a Sears’ car service center at SouthPark. Talking to Spoke made me feel like I was listening to a NASCAR driver talk shop while simultaneously driving his car at 200 mph. He didn’t take a breath between explaining the pawn business to me, buying a black leather Harley Davidson jacket from a customer, whispering that he really just wanted it for himself, and then getting an additional $5 from the customer for getting Mikey 38
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to fix his watch. By the time this customer left the shop he was smiling, fist bumping Spoke, and promising to come back if he ever needed some quick cash again. Both pawnshops I visited were quick to explain that they abide by all the rules and regulations set forth by the city, county and state. They provide regular reports to the Charlotte police and help to track down stolen property. As a rule, this was the first thing that I was told. Second was that all items purchased must be held for seven days after the purchase date, and all things pawned must be held for 90 days after they are foreclosed upon. The third was typically that they were making a killing on lending money. In the state of North Carolina, pawnbrokers are legally allowed to charge 2 percent interest per month on all money lent. However, on top of this interest rate they are allowed to charge fees for handling, appraisal, storage and insurance not to exceed 20 percent per MONTH. So with fees included it is within the law to charge an annual interest rate of 264 percent. But those in the industry would counter any shock and awe from that number with the following two points. The first being that banks legally charge upwards of $25 for insufficient funds plus any fees levied by the store where you passed your bounced check. For checks under $25 the DAILY interest rate could exceed 100 percent. The second point is that pawnbrokers have been providing a valuable service for centuries as a source of readily available credit to a section of society that has been underserved. Thousands of years ago it was subsistent farmers in China, today its folks riding the No. 9 bus down Central Avenue working in kitchens across the city, mowing lawns, and doing other menial jobs that for the most part go unseen by the majority of society. It also includes senior citizens on social security or welfare who are unable to pay their
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bills in a typical month. It is a part of society for which bank-issued credit is not an option as American Express does not bombard them with gold card offers, and in most cases Bank of America will not even grant them a checking account. Most of the heat and humidity outside has joined us inside of Spoke’s Park and Pawn. The clouded glass door opens, the rusted bell rings and in walks a gorgeous woman in a short, clingy dress and a humongous guy with dreads carrying a vinyl covered guitar case. In the case is an out-of-tune gleaming black guitar and painted on the back is a heart surrounded by a crown of thorns. Along with the guitar and case is a collection of how-to tapes and books. In Will’s place, eventually a story is told about why someone is selling their stuff – in this case, a musical career was planned that never panned out and a need for money overtook the woman’s musical dreams. Will & Co. took a quick look over the guitar and books, offered the couple a price that they took, and another happy lifelong customer walked out the door. In between customers, Spoke is boxing up items for eBay like an assembly line, weighing the box, packing the goods, and slapping a USPS pre-printed label on the outside to be picked up by the mail carrier, sometimes upward of 30 boxes a DAY. Both shop owners I met agreed: eBay is a huge source of income for all pawn shops and in most cases more is sold on eBay than in their stores. Plus, eBay is a ready source of current prices for just about anything. In Central Jewelry & Pawn I was told of a woman who brought in a sterling silver tea set she valued at $1,200. A quick look on eBay found that a similar set recently sold for just south of $500. As a result, the tea set was bought for $200. Before eBay, they all agreed, this sort of price shopping was impossible. A healthy but harried woman in her early 30s comes in to Spoke’s store after Will had left for the beach; Will Jr. takes care of her. She lays on the counter three very small silver necklaces, with crosses made of semi-precious stones. In a business-as-usual manner, Jr. takes the necklaces, eyes them under a jeweler’s loop, tosses one aside, and takes two to weigh on his scale. The numbers tickle upward ever so slightly as the necklace folds into a small bundle on the scale. Will Jr. quickly turns and apologizes, saying there really isn’t enough silver in her necklace to be worth much more than a couple dollars. Her demeanor quickly changes from one of nonchalance to quiet desperation. Not understanding Will Jr., she says she’ll take it. He clarifies by saying the necklaces are worth $3 at his price, meaning only about a dollar to her. She hears this but once again says, “Fine, whatever I can get.” With a small amount of patience left, Jr. says it’s really not worth it to fill out the paperwork, get thumbprints, take down a driver’s license, and report it to the police for a potential profit of $2. Not hearing and with the desperation in her voice growing, she says she understands but would still like to sell the chains. Will Jr. realizes the situation she must be in, and with a touch of exasperation reaches back and pulls $3 from the cash register, and without taking the chains he hands her the money. U Reach Todd at email@example.com For more info go to uptownclt.com www.uptownclt.com
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words & pictures: sam boykin
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llenora Barker stands by her man. When her husband, Andy, announced he wanted to build his very own old-fashioned Western town, she told him it sounded like a great idea. And when he sold his share of a successful construction company and moved the family from their comfy life in Charlotte to a remote and overgrown stretch of land in North Carolina’s Brushy Mountains, Ellenora went along with it. And when Andy built a tiny shack next to the horse stables for the Barker clan to sleep in, including two little kids, she never complained. “I tell these young girls today that they have to put their husbands first,” said Ellenora, 88. “I go along with what my husband wants.” Today, some 56 years after they left Charlotte, Ellenora is still queen to Andy’s king, and they preside over a surreal little town called Love Valley, population 117.
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bout an hour northwest of Charlotte in Iredell County, Love Valley looks like an Old West film set. But everything is real, including the piles of horseshit along Main Street, the saloons, the blacksmith shop and the general store, as well as the residents’ desire to keep the town vital yet still authentic. It’s a goal that has met with mixed results over the years, and is further threatened by the fact that Andy and Ellenora, the town’s founders — its heart and soul — won’t be around much longer. “As long as they’re still alive, Love Valley will be OK,” said Iredell County Sheriff’s Deputy Tommy Adams, who helps keep order in the town. “But when they go, it might be in trouble.” But Love Valley has a savior, one who is just as comfortable atop a horse as she is a surfboard. Although her return to Love Valley in 2005 was marred by tragedy, she���s determined to stay there and “finish what her grandpa started.”
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Roughing It Driving past cornfields, churches and trailer parks, I spot the sign for Love Valley, the “cowboy capital of the south.” Soon the pavement ends altogether, and I pull into a spot in front of Andy’s Hardware. A little convoy of horseback riders saunters past, and the one leading the group gives me a squinty nod hello. Andy’s Hardware is a classic, old-fashioned country store, with a concrete floor and stone walls. Just about every square inch is overflowing with a cluttered array of tools, plumbing and electrical supplies, rakes, sledgehammers, generators, paint and just about anything else you can think of. Near the front of the store, kicked back in a tattered office chair, is the man himself, Andy Barker. Decked out in jeans, a blue flannel shirt and big white cowboy hat, he’s holding court among a group of visitors and townspeople. Andy, 86, is a notorious flirt, given to hugging and kissing just about any female in his vicinity, especially if they’re young and pretty. He introduces the teenaged girl sitting next to him as his
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main street love valley
Andy sold his share of the construction company, and with their 6-year-old daughter, Tonda, and 2-year old son, Jet, the Barkers pulled up stakes and in 1954 moved into a tiny one-room shack attached to a horse stable in what is today Love Valley. “We really roughed it,” Ellenora remembered. “But I was a country girl so I didn’t mind.” Using construction crews from JA Construction Company, Andy invested about $200,000 to build the town. He envisioned a type of utopia that combined his love of cowboys and Christianity. In fact, the first structure he built was the Love Valley Presbyterian Church, which still has services every Sunday. This was followed by a rodeo arena and post office. The town was incorporated in 1963.
girlfriend, and she giggles and blushes at the joke. Andy owns about 800 acres around Love Valley, through which some 250 miles of horse trails wind and twist. At one time he owned over 1,800 acres, but “it was just too damn much,” he said. Over the years he’s sold parcels to a select number of residents and business owners. “I figured if they owned the businesses they’d have to keep it open,” he said. “Otherwise they’d starve.” As a young man, Andy made a bundle working as a contractor in Charlotte. He jointly owned JA Construction Company with his father and remodeled department stores across the Southeast, including Belk. After joining the Army and fighting in World War II, Andy came back home to Charlotte and married his high school sweetheart, Ellenora. At 29 he’d had enough of the construction business, and decided it was time to fulfill his life-long dream of building his own town.
Hippie Invasion Over the years, Andy and Ellenora slowly developed the town into an offbeat attraction for horse lovers and hell raisers. During the summer, the population balloons to about 500 full-time residents, and weekends and holidays, especially Halloween, are bustling with tourists. Word around town is that while Andy grabs the spotlight – he was first elected mayor in 1965, a position he’s held on and off ever since – it’s been Ellenora working behind the scenes that has
Using construction crews from JA Construction Company, Andy invested about $200,000 to build the town. He envisioned a type of utopia that combined his love of cowboys and Christianity. made it all happen. Or as long-time resident Charlie Nance puts it: “Andy is the bullshitter, and Ellenora is the one who makes it work.” In addition to the rodeo, Love Valley’s other big attraction is its downtown, which is essentially a dirt road lined with saloons, a general store, tack shop, blacksmith shop, gift shops, riding stables and hitching posts. www.uptownclt.com
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love valley presbyterian church
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No cars are allowed downtown, and visitors and residents alike get around via horseback and horse-drawn buggies. There are several cabins and rooms for rent, as well as RV parks and about a half-dozen campsites scattered around the property. In the early days, the town attracted equine enthusiasts who came to see the rodeos and take advantage of the horse trails that cut through miles of deep woods. Andy said that over the years he’s hosted everyone from ambassadors and governors to senators and musicians, and even claims he went horseback riding with Lyndon Johnson. Nance, originally from Mt. Mourne near Mooresville, moved to Love Valley with his father in the early 1960s when he was 12. “ I could basically run wild,” he said. He wasn’t prepared for just how wild things got in July 1970 during the Love Valley Rock Festival. Organized by Andy, the threeday event drew more than 100,000 people, who flocked to the area to see more than 40 bands, including the Allman Brothers Band, Sly and the Family Stone and British singer-guitarist Terry Reid, along with a host of local and regional acts. “It was the biggest thing to hit Iredell County, and also the most detrimental,” said Nance. “People around here had never seen hippies. They didn’t understand all that sex, drugs and rock and roll stuff. They were skinny dipping and rolling around in the mud.” As for Andy, he has to be coaxed to even talk about the festival. “I hated that cockeyed thing,” he said. “That was my first and last rock festival. One cured me.” He explained that his daughter and her boyfriend, enamored over the Woodstock Festival in 1969, kept talking about how they wanted to go to a big rock show. “I said, ‘Hell, I’ll just have one.’ That’s the kind of fella I am. We had one hell of a crowd. We were bigger than Charlotte for a couple of days.”
Love Valley’s unique setting has also proven irresistible to filmmakers. Last year, students from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem filmed “Dying from Home” in Love Valley, about a Western outlaw. And a group of Charlotte-based directors, writers and actors recently wrapped on “Devil’s Crossing,” an independent horror movie in which the “Western and zombie genres collide.” Nance has lived in Love Valley on and off over the years, but moved there for good in 2003 when he married Beth, who serves as the town manager. The two first met at a rodeo in Charlotte in 1999. Charlie was riding bucking horses and working as a rodeo clown, and Beth, originally from Walhalla, S.C., was working as a paramedic on a sports medicine team. Together they manage the Love Valley Arena, which hosts the rodeos and horse shows. Moreover, the couple is part of ongoing efforts to return Love Valley to its family-friendly roots. The Wild West Talk to just about anyone who visited Love Valley in the ’80s and ’90s, and they’ll tell you it was more of a lawless Western town than a tourist destination. Duke “Mutt” Burgess moved to Love Valley from Lincolnton a few years ago and runs Love Valley Mercantile with his wife, Katrina. “I came up here as a kid and got into all kinds of trouble,” he said. “You could get whatever you wanted, good and bad.” On consumer-complaint website PissedConsumer.com, there are several scathing posts about Love Valley, including one from 2008 that characterizes the town as “an absolute trash hole” that’s “dirty and racist and run down and poorly managed and just crappy.”
He wasn’t prepared for just how wild things got in July 1970 during the Love Valley Rock Festival. Organized by Andy, the three-day event drew more than 100,000 people, who flocked to the area to see more than 40 bands, including the Allman Brothers Band, Sly and the Family Stone and British singer-guitarist Terry Reid, along with a host of local and regional acts. The festival also ushered in a groovy new era at Love Valley. Many concertgoers decided to hang around after the show, and some bought land next to Love Valley and started a little commune. “We called it Weird Acres,” said Nance. “They lived in teepees, tents and tree houses. It was something else.” As the town grew, so did its unusual reputation. In 1986 Love Valley’s leathersmith, Joe Ponder, appeared on the David Letterman TV show showcasing his ability to pull a car and lift a 606-pound pumpkin with only his teeth. His feats of strength earned him a place in the “Guinness Book of World Records” and Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
Another posting from 2009 details a fight that broke out at one of the local watering holes where “a kid almost got beat to death” and how there were no police or bouncers around to restore order. “Up until a couple of years ago it was pretty wild,” said Adams with the Iredell County Sheriffs Department. “There were lots of fights and alcohol. You definitely didn’t want to bring children here. You still get some unruly people, but it’s nothing like it used to be.” Ellenora and Andy both seem unfazed by all the talk of trying to clean up Love Valley’s image. When asked if she’d like to see any changes, Ellenora shrugged and said, “It doesn’t matter what www.uptownclt.com
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happens. It’s going to happen anyway.” During my recent visit, there were plenty of kids and families riding horses and filling up the campsites. And oldtimers congregated on benches outside the storefronts, including Montana, 79, a former two-step champion who lives in Mocksville and has been visiting Love Valley since the 1950s. “We just like to sit around and tell lies,” he said. But there’s still a rowdy, rebellious undercurrent that runs through the place. By noon a pretty good crowd has gathered at the Chicken Coop, a little open-air shack with a dirt floor that’s part of The Silver Spur Saloon. A five-piece band rips through some bluegrass tunes as bartender Frank Campbell keeps the $2 Budweisers flowing, punching a cowbell every time he gets a tip. Then, as the raucous crowd guzzles brews and cheers the
clockwise from top: andy barker // ellenora barker charlie and beth nance
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band, an unexpected site: triplets, all well endowed with long, dark hair, stroll into the bar. Every head in the place swivels in their direction. They’re the Jenkins sisters and have lived in the area for years. “We just love riding horses around here,” said Kallie Jenkins. “And we don’t really like going to the city.” Inside The Silver Spur Saloon, dairy farmer Terry Barker (no relation to Andy) is ordering lunch. Barker, 44, said he visits Love Valley just about every weekend, and usually hangs out at the saloon, which features live music and a big dance floor. He said he couldn’t care less about horses, but instead comes to Love Valley for something else. “You should see the girls who come up here,” he said, and begins to tick off all the cities that his various conquests have come from. Although Barker said his plan is to find “the one” in church, for now he’s happy with carousing at The Silver Spur. “The girls who come up here are different, they’re willing to take chances.” Bob and Judy Adams bought The Silver Spur Saloon in 2006. The couple, who first heard about Love Valley from their son, moved from Maryland looking to enjoy the simple country life. “Since we’ve been here there’s been some hooting and hollerin’ and people getting into it in the streets, but it’s calming
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down,” said Bob. “We love the people and the atmosphere here. It’s so nostalgic.” A few doors down from The Silver Spur is Jack’s Place. While The Silver Spur is popular among the older crowd and country line dancers, Jack’s Place, which has pool tables, video poker and karaoke, is where the younger crowd hangs out. Jack and Linda Jolly have owned the bar since 1998. Jack, who grew up about 10 miles from Love Valley, said he used to visit a lot during the 1960s and ’70s. “It used to be wild,” he said. “But it’s more family-oriented now.” The Next Generation And that’s just what Tori Barker is fighting for. Tori, 32, is Andy Barker’s granddaughter, and she’s inherited his adventurous spirit and determination. Her early life was marred by tragedy when her father, Jet, who helped his father build Love Valley, died of cancer in 1981 when she was just 3. He’s buried outside the Love Valley Presbyterian Church. Tori grew up on a ranch in Raleigh, and she spent many summers and weekends at Love Valley hanging out with her grandparents and riding horses. After she graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in textile industry and design, she got married in 2002. A few months later she and her husband traveled around Europe and eventually moved to Long Beach, Calif., where she became an avid surfer and also earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion design at California State University–Los Angeles. The couple next moved to Carolina Beach in North Carolina. “My grandparents always encouraged me to travel and see the world. But I always wanted to return here to Love Valley.” And that’s just what she did in 2005. Life dealt her another blow when her husband was killed in a motorcycle accident that same year.
the chicken coop
Tori has remained at Love Valley, and in 2006 she opened Moonshine Gifts. Located across from Jack’s Place, where she also bartends, the little “country boutique” features arts and crafts, jewelry, pottery, home accessories, candy and ice cream. Her little boutique is busy during my visit. People seem to naturally gravitate there, from little girls who just want to hang out, to awkward teenage boys and pot-bellied men, all obviously smitten with Tori. She handles all the attention with easy Southern charm as she rings up soft-serve ice cream and soft drinks. Tori lives in a little apartment above Moonshine Gifts and is actively involved with trying to keep Love Valley thriving. She serves on the town board, helps design the town’s website and marketing pamphlets, and organizes fundraisers to build a Love Valley museum and municipal complex. “I like living here,” she said. “It’s my community. I’ll never be able to replace my grandpa, but I’ll do whatever is necessary to make Love Valley the best place it can be. This is home and where my future is.” U Reach Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org For more info about Love Valley go to uptownclt.com www.uptownclt.com
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* “Duplicity: A New Beginning” is the first installment of an ongoing fictional series. Any similarity to actual people or events is purely coincidental.
“L ook, there’s Chopper 9,” Laura said, pointing into the clouds behind Bank of America Stadium, as the latest news helicopter emerged from the hazy morning horizon and banked into an arc over the scene below on Stonewall. That made three news and two police helicopters circling the jet-black smoke billowing from the street below, and Steven, Nick, Lori and I all crowded in front of the tiny window in my office to get a better look. We looked more like second-graders with our faces plastered to a classroom window than futures analysts at a Fortune 500 company. But as much as we craned our necks, and fogged up the glass, the action remained conveniently hidden behind the new Duke Energy building. Even from 38 floors up, all we could see were speeding toy police cars and little plastic fire trucks racing behind a gleaming, perfect shield of steel and glass. The thick column of smoke continued to rise from behind the building and drift into the sky over the stadium. “Man, I really hope no one got hurt down there,” Steven said from behind his wire-rimmed glasses, nervously biting his lip. Steven was a nice guy, and an eternal optimist. He wore bad ties and a constant expression of sympathy and understanding. He was chubby, instantly likable, and
had the kind of optimism that could be contagious – like when Dr. Phil gets involved with some seriously dysfunctional family and you think for a second that everything just might work out. A year ago, when six people in our team were cut in one day, he tried to reassure everyone carrying a brown box to their car that it would all be OK. As if his optimism alone would be enough to help them make their $4,500/month mortgage payments. It wasn’t going to be OK this time, though. At least not for someone down on Stonewall Street where all the smoke was coming from. To me, the five circling helicopters and almost a dozen emergency response vehicles were proof of that. Nick turned toward Steven with an incredulous smirk. “Dude, Steve, are you serious?! Someone down there is burnt toast, man. Fried. Well done. “One less car on the road for the commute home, right Gus?” Nick smiled toward me, hoping for a laugh. I shrugged. Steven looked over at me and pushed up his glasses. Nick was one of those guys who only needed five minutes to rub you the wrong way, and he had been transferred all over the country because he was so good at pissing off the wrong people. He’d come to Charlotte this spring from somewhere in Ohio. Cincinnati or Dayton, maybe. He was a math genius, though, and as long as he could help banks lose less money, he’d have a job somewhere. Nick could have been
Eminem’s twin brother, and he was known around the office as Slim Shady. He hated rap music, and he hated his nickname even more. Karma can be a bitch, I guess. I saw he had the new ID badge that the company had just switched to. Damn if he really didn’t look just like Eminem, too. Just like him. I glanced down at my own badge, and a faded, young Gus Kaminski smiled up at me. Nick was also that guy who didn’t get the memo that you stop wearing Old Spice after high school, and my office smelled like cheap aftershave. “Guys, I need to get going on a couple of things this morning,” I explained. “I hate to stop the show, but I have a really big fire to put out, and a meeting with Brent at 10, and I’d like my office back now, please.” I wasn’t trying to make a joke, and only realized what I’d said when all three of them turned away from the glass and stared at me. Slim Shady smiled and laughed one of his Ohio dickhead laughs. “Nice, Gus.” I had moved into my very first window office just eight months earlier, and Nick had taken my old cubicle between Lori and Steven. The window office wasn’t really much of a step up. The space was comically cramped and just big enough for a desk and filing cabinet. It had less actual space than my old cube, but it did have a view of the street and apparently enough room for four people to squeeze shoulder to shoulder in
words: matt kokenes pictures: todd trimakas
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front of the single window. The water stain in one of the ceiling tiles and my bonsai tree silently looked on with us as the churning smoke began to subside. Glare from the mid-morning sun now reflected brilliantly off of the Duke Energy building and lighted up my tiny office like a movie set. This was my favorite part of the day actually – the 38 minutes every morning when sunlight overpowered the white glow of fluorescents. “Wait Gus, hang on a sec,” Lori breathed, stepping up on her tiptoes, eyes again glued to the street below. She instantly became the tallest member of the group, and I could see Nick fighting hard to keep his eyes pointed downward. “There’s a tow truck.” Lori was the prettiest girl in our department. Excluding admin, she was really the only girl in our department. Gifted with legs like a Russian ballerina, and a unique ability to find discrepancies in reams of mind-numbing statistical data, she had the guarded persona that attractive women embrace when working surrounded by guys. Chestnut hair cut to a razor’s edge scraped her collar when she glided through the office, and annoyed brown eyes discouraged the bravest of suitors. Nick openly proclaimed he had “hit the jackpot” when he was placed next to Lori, and waited until precisely 10:15 a.m. on his first day to begin hitting on her. She ignored Nick’s weekly invitations to “grab a roll down at Enso” with such zest that even Steve finally suggested that he give up and “find someone who’s more receptive, because you’re a good guy, and the right woman for you is out there somewhere.” The smoke had stopped completely, and the tow truck carefully backed up out of sight, leaving only yellow shadows from its siren to maintain the suspense in my tiny office. The air conditioning kicked on again, displacing a few tufts of Lori’s brown bangs and sending a fresh blast of Old Spice around the room. I glanced around the city and noticed that the event down on Stonewall Street wasn’t our spectacle alone. Thousands of onlookers in a colossal theater of office towers stared down at the scene silently 50
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with us. Faces, hands, coffee mugs, suits and ties of all shapes and colors peered down solemnly on a brilliantly sunny August morning. Some of them could probably actually see what was going on. “Can Stella can see it from her office?” Nick asked, gesturing across the street toward Two Wachovia. It wasn’t a secret that my fiancée worked in that building, but I had never had a conversation directly with Nick about it. Even after five years, I still couldn’t get used to office gossip. It annoyed me that he knew, but I had bigger problems to deal with, and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t matter in 30 minutes anyway. Lori and Steven’s eyes darted to each other’s and back to the street. “Stella can’t see it either,” I said flatly. “The Duke building is in her way, too.” “Hey guys, did I miss the show?” Brent was our team’s director, and he had a special talent for popping up like a prairie dog every time you let your foot off the gas for a nanosecond. Every time. His surprise appearances were always coupled with some sort of “gotcha” comment, delivered with a look of condescending patience. A look like, “I understand, because I’m smarter than you, but if you keep trying and I’m patient enough, we just might get past your stupidity one day.” When Brent spoke, Steven’s chubby frame jolted upright at the same time Lori spun 180 degrees, awkwardly squeezing Nick between them. The Stonewall Street spectacle was officially over. The company couldn’t have found a more dedicated VP. In the six years I reported to him, Brent only missed a halfday of work, to attend his father’s funeral. He wore his ID badge on a blue lanyard around his neck at all times. He wore it at lunch. He wore it at offsite company teambuilding events at the Bobcats games. He probably wore it to bed every night. “Guys, don’t forget, 2 p.m. today in the big conference room, instead of 2:30,” Brent told us. “And Gus, I’ll see you in my office at 10, right?” “Yep, I’ll be over there in just a few.” I had caught wind of my imminent termination two weeks before when Allison
from HR mistakenly sent an e-mail to me rather than Brent, explaining the timetable for a new hire’s computer setup and training schedule. Some guy named Jeff would be taking in the view of uptown through my window on Monday morning. “Bring your FY 2010 revised figures, too, please,” he said, glancing around my office. “Oh, and the wreck down there,” he said, nodding toward the window. “A bread truck rolled over on top of a Honda. Crushed a girl to death.” Brent had C-Span playing on a flat panel TV in his office day and night, and the bottom of the screen had burn-in from the stock ticker. He had probably just surfed the local network affiliates for the best helicopter footage of the crash. Because of the e-mail, getting fired wasn’t a surprise. In fact, I was so sure that I’d be leaving the building for the last time at 10:15 a.m. today, that I had made plans to meet Stella at Skyland Diner at 10:30 for breakfast. The only real surprise was that Brent turned off his flat screen when he fired me. The elevator ride to the lobby was long and uncomfortable. Dantavius, the 280-pound security guard, who normally would have been talking about Panthers football the whole way down, was mum. He stared straight ahead at the steel doors with cold eyes and pursed lips like he was escorting a maximum-security prisoner to his cell. “Armanti Edwards going to run a couple back for us this year, you think?” I asked, not seeing any reason why we couldn’t still be buddies. I had talked to the guy practically every morning for the past six years. Six years didn’t mean anything to Dantavius apparently, and he maintained his new strict code of silence all the way to the sidewalk. “I see you’re still in one piece,” Stella smiled, looking up from her menu. We sat in a booth at Skyland Diner and, aside from an elderly couple gazing out at South Boulevard two tables away, we had the place to ourselves. The waitress set down two cups of coffee and walked over to the older couple.
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“It went exactly like I expected,” I explained. “He had me bring in last year’s numbers, pointed to the red ink, and called security. I was in the car by 10:20. “It was kind of anticlimactic, really. “And you know that gigantic security guard, Dantavius, that won’t shut up about the Panthers?” I continued. “He didn’t say a fucking word to me the whole way out of the building. Not one word. Wouldn’t even talk about the Panthers. That guy loves the Panthers. That’s scary, actually. That’s like Donald Trump not wanting to talk about money. “They don’t let you pack up your stuff apparently now either, it’s just straight to the door. I guess they spare you the humiliation of walking out with a cardboard box, and just send you your stuff by mail.” “So is Eminem going to take your office now?” she asked, laughing. Stella had the kind of natural beauty and charisma that you couldn’t turn away from. She could melt even the most bitter people with her smile. With just a little eye makeup she could be deadly. She was out of my league for sure. I wasn’t quite ready to laugh it up just yet, though. Surprise or not, I was still numb from the shock of being asked to leave the place where I’d spent six years of my life and being escorted to the door. Text messages were flooding in now from Steven, Lori and Nick. “Oh, come on Gus. Lighten up. We knew this was coming.” The lunchtime crowd began filing in, and a group of four young guys in tailored suits eyed Stella as they slid into the booth behind us. The woman at the register shouted something in Greek, and the grill began to hiss loudly back in the kitchen. “You’re glad it’s over, right? I mean, working for Brent? Come on. What a douche.” “Yeah, I know.” “Capital is a much better fit anyway.” “You’re still having drinks with all those guys at Luce at 6 tonight, right?” “As far as I know, we’re still on,” I lied. “So, it’s pretty much a done deal, then?” Stella said, swallowing a bite of English muffin and wiping her mouth. “Just
got to get your comp package figured out?” “Yeah, pretty much.” When I found out I was losing my job, I had panicked and created the fictitious story about a better job opportunity with another company. The lie had now advanced past the point of no return. There were no opportunities at any other companies right now, though, and she should have known that. We had an $80K wedding on Isle of Palms in two months, and our architect had just delivered the tiny model of our new home yesterday afternoon. A month ago, a backhoe had unceremoniously razed a brick ranch in a wooded lot just off of Wendover Road to make way for our new 4,500-squarefoot place. Stella hated lying more than anything. Actually, that was the only thing in the world she hated. All that charm and appeal evaporated when she smelled a lie. If I had found the right time to tell her that our wedding and new home may not happen, though, I’m not sure she would have been able to hear it anyway. In this case the truth would only do more harm than good. Besides, I had a plan. The four guys at the next table leaned forward as they rehashed details about the bread truck and the unfortunate Honda. I heard one of them whisper something about the smell of burning hair. “Cool. And you know we still need to cut that check to Tracy,” Stella continued, going down her mental punch list. “The new photographer she recommended is a little more expensive, but his work is way better. Definitely worth the money.” My stomach churned. Our wedding was two months away, and our planner was already juicing me dry. She wanted another six grand by the end of the month. “Yeah, I know. I’ll get it out tomorrow.” “And how crazy was that crash this morning, huh?” Stella continued, talking louder over the increasing noise of shuffling tables and chairs. When she said this, the four young guys at the next table all looked over at us before leaning back in for more carnage. It was noon now, and the lunch
crowd had brought the diner to life. The grill sizzled loudly back in the kitchen. “Yeah, I heard a bread truck flipped on top of an Accord over on Stonewall Street and caught on fire,” I said, sipping my coffee. “Some girl died.” “Really?” Stella said, setting down her fork. “I heard it was a BMW.” I lay in the middle of the stage at Freedom Park alone, and spent the afternoon nursing a six pack of Miller Lite tallboys. Cicadas screamed at the top of their lungs as the steamy August afternoon heated up around me. I was in a cave – a cool island oasis of chipped concrete and ’60s architecture, surrounded by punishing heat waves and wilted grass. For hours, my only company was a group of 30-somethingyear-old moms across the lake. They were dressed for tennis, and each one of them gripped an expensive-looking stroller with bicycle tires. Except for the occasional curious glance, they ignored me. I’d bought the beer from the midtown Texaco – the one with the walk-in beer cooler – and the cans were so cold they were making my fingers numb. They made my body numb, too, and I lay back and closed my eyes, and wondered whether this was what prison beds felt like. On the third ring, I sat upright. I wasn’t able to get my phone out of my pocket by the time the call had gone to voicemail, so I just stood up and stretched. It was late afternoon now, and the park was much hotter, and completely deserted. It was way too intense for little kids, and the four tennis moms were gone. Heat shimmered off of the lake and even the geese looked tired as they circled impatiently. The brown paper bag with the six empty cans next to me hadn’t moved. I now had a total of eight missed calls and 23 text messages, and as I drove north on Tryon Street, past the Amtrak station and a dozen used car dealerships all offering easy credit, Rob’s voicemail confirmed that we were still on for 6 pm. He’d be wearing a black baseball hat and waiting for me at the warehouse off of North Davidson Street. U Reach Matt at email@example.com For more info go to uptownclt.com www.uptownclt.com
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pictures: bryce lankard | brycelankard.com clothes: ellemm | shopellemm.com styling & accessories: jennifer misenheimer hair: jennifer misenheimer | welcome2escape.com makeup: patty mclaughlin | makeupbypatty.com models: cora for wilhelmina-evolution | krysta for factor women atlanta location: ice sensations | icesensations.com special thanks to gary, nick and paul
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ME 7/28/2010 2:21:06 PM
clothes: plastic island blair dress // mink pink imposter jacket | ellemm
MELT August 10.indd 55
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clothes: rojas tina one shoulder dress | ellemm
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clothes: motel naomi dress | ellemm
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clothes: tie-dyed cotton scarf // rojas denim dress short | ellemm
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clothes: rojas indigenous shorts jumper // rojas boned denim bando | ellemm
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clothes: colcci black feather romper | ellemm
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Dining and Nightlife Guide AMERICAN Alexander Michael’s – $ 401 W. 9th St. 704.332.6789 BlackFinn – $$ 210 E. Trade St. 704.971.4440 Camilles – $ 1518 E. 3rd St. 704.342.4606 Cedar Street Tavern – $ 120 N. Cedar St. 704.333.3448 Champions – $ 100 W. Trade St. - Marriott Hotel 704.333.9000 Comet Grill – $ 2224 Park Rd. 704.371.4300 Cosmos Cafe – $ 300 N. College St. 704.372.3553 Dressler’s – $$$ The Metropolitan 704.909.6295 East Boulevard Grill – $ 1601 East Blvd. 704.332.2414 Ember Grille – $$$ 601 S. College St. WestinHotel 704.335.2064 Fenwick’s – $ 511 Providence Rd. 704.333.2750 Fox and Hound – $ 330 N. Tryon St. 704.333.4113 French Quarter – $ 321 S. Church St. 704.377.7415 John’s Country Kitchen – $ 1518 Central Ave. 704.333.9551 Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill - $ 1524 East Blvd. 704.370.1177 Nix – $ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.347.2739 Pike’s Soda Shop – $ 1930 Camden Rd. 704.372.0097 Presto Bar and Grill – $ 445 W. Trade St. 704.334.7088 Providence Café – $ $ 829 Providence R d. 704.376.2008 Providence Road Sundries – $ 1522 Providence Rd. 704.366.4467 Rock Bottom – $ 401 N. Tryon St. 704.334.2739 Selwyn Pub – $ 2801 Selwyn Ave. 704.333.3443 Simmons Fourth Ward Restaurant – $ 516 N. Graham St. 704.334.6640 Something Classic Café – $ 715 Providence Rd. 704.347.3666 South 21 – $ 3101 E. Independence Blvd. 704.377.4509 Stool Pigeons – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.358.3788 The Gin Mill South End – $ 1411 S. Tryon St. 704.373.0782 The Graduate – $ 123 W. Trade St. 704.358.3024 The Penguin – $ 1921 Commonwealth Ave. 704.375.6959 The Philosopher’s Stone – $ 1958 E. Seventh St. 704.350.1331 The Pub – $ 710 West Trade St. 704.333.9818 Thomas Street Tavern – $ 1218 Thomas Ave. 704.376.1622 Tic Toc Coffeeshop – $ 512 N. Tryon St. 704.375.5750 Union Grille – $ 222 E 3rd St. – Hilton Towers 704.331.4360 Vinnie’s Sardine – $ 1714 South Blvd. 704-332-0006 Wild Wings - $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.716.9464 Zack’s Hamburgers – $ 4009 South Blvd. 704.525.1720
AMERICAN MODERN 131 Main – $$ 1315 East Blvd. 300 East – $$ 300 East Blvd.
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Bentley’s on 27 – $$$ 201 S. College St. Fl. 27 704.343.9201 (Charlotte Plaza Building) BLT Steak – $$$ 201 E. Trade St. 704.547.2244 Bonterra Restaurant – $$$ 1829 Cleveland Ave. 704.333.9463 Carpe Diem – $$$ 1535 Elizabeth Ave. 704.377.7976 Coastal Kitchen & Bar – $$$ 222 E. 3rd St. 704.331.4360 Custom Shop – $$$ 1601 Elizabeth Ave. 704.333.3396 Fig Tree – $$$ 1601 E. Seventh St. 704.332.3322 Lulu – $$ 1911 Central Ave. 704.376.2242 McNinch House – $$$ 511 N. Church St. 704.332.6159 Mimosa Grill – $$ 301 S. Tryon St. 704.343.0700 Monticello – $$ 235 N. Tryon St. – Dunhill Hotel 704.342.1193 Pewter Rose Bistro – $$ 1820 South Blvd. 704.332.8149 Ratcliffe on the Green – $$ 435 S. Tryon St. 704.358.9898 Zink – $$ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.444.9001
ASIAN 88 China Bistro – $ 1620 E. 4th St. 704.335.0288 Basil Thai – $ 210 N. Church St. 704.332.7212 China King – $ 128 Brevard Ct. 704.334-7770 China Queen Buffet – $ 127 N. Tryon St. Ste 3 704.377.1928 China Saute – $ 2214 Park Rd 704.333.1116 Creation – $ 1221-A The Plaza 704.372.2561 Cuisine Malaya – $ 1411 Elizabeth Ave. 704.372.0766 Dim Sum – $ 2920 Central Ave. 704.569.1128 Eggroll King – $ 8907 Steelechase Dr. 704.372.6401 Emperor Chinese – $ 337 S. Kings Dr. 704.333.2688 Fortune Cookie – $ 208 East Independence Blvd. 704.377.1388 Fujiyama – $ 320 S. Tryon St. 704.334.5158 Fuse Box – $ 227 W. Trade St. 704.376.8885 Ginbu 401 – $ 401 Providence Rd. 704.372.2288 Great Wok – $ 718 W Trade St. Ste M 704.333.0080 Hong Kong – $ 1713 Central Ave. 704.376.6818 Indochine Asian Tapas Lounge - $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.688.0078 Koko – $ 6609 Elfreda Rd. 704.338.6869 Monsoon Thai Cuisine – $ 2801 South Blvd. 704.523.6778 Orient Express – $ 3200 N Graham St. 704.332.6255 Pho An Hoa – $ 4832 Central Ave. 704.537.2595 Pho Hoa – $ 3000 Central Ave. 704.536.7110 SOHO Bistro – $ 214 N Tryon St. 704.333.5189 Thai Taste – $ 324 East Blvd. 704.332.0001 Taipei Express – $ 731 Providence Rd. 704.334.2288 Tin Tin Box & Noodles – $ 101 N. Tryon St. 704.377.3223
Zen Asian Fusion – $ 1716 Kenilworth Ave.
BAKERY Cloud 9 Confections – $ 201 S. College St. Suite 270 Great Harvest Bread – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. Amelie’s Bakery – $ 2424 N. Davidson St. Nova’s Bakery – $ 1511 Central Ave. Panera Bread – $ 601 Providence Rd.
704.334.7554 704.333.0431 704.376-1781 704.333.5566 704.374.0581
BARBEQUE Art’s Barbecue – $ 900 E. Morehead St. 704.334.9424 Jolina Tex Mex & BBQ – $ 500 S. College St. 704.375.0994 Mac’s Speed Shop – $ 2511 South Blvd. 704.522.6227 Rib Palace – $ 1300 Central Ave. 704.333.8841
BREAKFAST Art’s Barbecue – $ 900 E. Morehead St. 704.334.9424 Coffee Cup – $ 914 S. Clarkson St. 704.375.8855 Einstein Brothers – $ 201 S. Tryon St. 704.332.4015 Einstein Brothers – $ 1501 South Blvd. 704.333.4370 IHOP – $ 2715 E. Independence Blvd. 704.334.9502 Monticello – $$ 235 N. Tryon St. – Dunhill Hotel 704.342.1193 Owen’s Bagel & Deli – $ 2041 South Blvd. 704.333.5385 Tic Toc Coffeeshop – $ 512 N. Tryon St. 704.375.5750
BRITISH Big Ben’s Pub – $ 801 Providence R d.
CAJUN & CREOLE Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen – $ 501 E. 36th St. 704.331.9898 Cajun Queen – $$ 1800 E 7th St. 704.377.9017
C A R I B B E A N Anntony’s Caribbean Cafe – $ 2001 E. 7th St. 704.342.0749 Austin’s Caribbean Cuisine – $ 345 S. Kings Dr. 704.331.8778
CHINESE 88 China Bistro – $ 1620 E. 4th St. 704.335.0288 Vanloi Chinese Barbecue – $ 3101 Central Ave. 704.566.8808 Wok Express – $ 601 S. Kings Dr. 704.375.1122
COFFEE SHOPS Caribou Coffee – $ 100 N. Tryon St. 704.372.5507 Dilworth Coffee – $ 1235 East Blvd # B, 704.358.8003 330 S Tryon St, 704.334.4575 Dilworth Playhouse Cafe – $ 1427 South Blvd. 704.632.0336
Einstein Brothers – $ $ - 201 S. Tryon St. 704.332.4015 Einstein Brothers – $ 1501 South Blvd. 704.333.4370 Java Passage – $ 101 W. Worthington 704.277.6558 Jump N Joe’s Java Joint – $ 105 E. Morehead St. 704.372.3217 La Tea Da’s – $ 1942 E. 7th St. 704.372.9599 Nova’s Bakery – $ 1511 Central Ave. 704.333.5566 PJ’s Coffee & Lounge - $ 210 E. Trade St. (Epicentre) 704.688.0366 Port City Java – $ 214 N. Tryon St. (Hearst) 704.335.3335 SK Netcafe – $ 1425 Elizabeth Ave. 704.334.1523 Starbucks – $ 545 Providence Rd. 704.372.1591 Starbucks – $ 101 S. Tryon St. 704.374.9519 Tic Toc Coffee shop – $ 512 N. Tryon St. 704.375.5750
DELI Adams 7th Street Market – $ 401 Hawthorne Ln. 704.334.0001 Art’s Barbecue – $ 900 E. Morehead St. 704.334.9424 Blynk – $ 200 S. Tryon 704.522.3750 Common Market – $ 2007 Commonwealth Ave. 704.334-6209 Dikadee’s Deli – $ 1419 East Blvd. 704.333.3354 Dogwood Cafe – $ 138 Brevard Court 704.376.8353 Fresco Cafe & Deli – $ 3642 Moultrie St. 704.376.5777 Grand Central Deli – $ 101 N. Tryon St. 704.348.7032 Great Harvest Bread Co. – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. 704.333.0431 Groucho’s Deli – $ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.342.0030 Halfpenny’s – $ 30 Two First Union Ctr. 704.342.9697 Jason’s Deli – $ 210 E. Trade (Epicentre) 704.688.1004 Jersey Mike’s Subs – $ 128 S. Tryon St. 704.343.0006 Jersey Mikes Subs – $ 2001 E. 7th St. 704.375.1985 Jump N Joe’s Java Joint – $ 105 E. Morehead St. 704.372.3217 Laurel Market South – $ 1515 South Blvd. 704.334.2185 Leo’s Delicatessen – $ 1421 Elizabeth Ave. 704.375.2400 Li’l Dino – $ 401 S. Tryon St. 704.342.0560 Matt’s Chicago Dog – $ 425 S. Tryon St. 704.333.3650 Owen’s Bagel & Deli – $ 2041 South Blvd. 704.333.5385 Philadelphia Deli – $ 1025 S. Kings Dr. 704.333.4489 Phil’s Tavern – $ 105 E. Fifth St. 704.347.0035 Rainbow Café – $ 400 South Tryon 704.332.8918 Reid’s – $ 225 E. 7th St. 704.377.1312 Ri-Ra Irish Pub – $ 208 N. Tryon St 704.333.5554 Salvador Deli – $ N. Davidson St. 704.334.2344 Sammy’s Deli – $ 1113 Pecan Ave. 704.376.1956
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Dining and Nightlife Guide
Crave the Dessert Bar – $ 501 W. 5th St. 704.277.9993 Dairy Queen – $ 1431 Central Ave. 704.377.4294 Dolce Ristorante – $$ 1710 Kenilworth Ave. 704.332.7525 Luce Ristorante – $$ 214 N. Tryon St. – Hearst Plaza 704.344.9222 Monticello – $$ 235 N. Tryon St.– Dunhill Hotel 704.342.1193
Open Kitchen – $ 1318 W. Morehead St. 704.375.7449 Pasta & Provisions – $ 1528 Providence Rd. 704.364.2622 Portofino’s Italian – $$ 3124 Eastway Dr. 704.568.7933 Primo Ristorante – $$ 116 Middleton Dr. 704.334.3346 Cafe Siena – $$ 230 N. College St. 704.602.2750 Salute Ristorante – $$ 613 Providence Rd 704.342.9767 Terra – $$ 545-B Providence Rd. 704.332.1886 Villa Francesca 321 Caldwell St. 704.333.7447 Volare – $$ 1523 Elizabeth Ave. 704.370.0208 Zio Authentic Italian – $$ 116 Middleton Dr. 704.344.0100
L AT I N
The Melting Pot – $$$ 901 S. Kings Dr. Stuite 140-B 704.334.4400 Therapy Cafe – $ 401 N. Tryon St. 704.333.1353 The Fig Tree – $$ 1601 E. 7th St. 704.332.3322
Cuban Pete’s – $ 1308 The Plaza
Sandwich Club – $ 525 N. Tryon St. Sandwich Club – $ 435 S. Tryon St. Substation II - $ 1601 South Blvd 1941 E. 7th St.
704.334.0133 704.344.1975 704-332-3100 704-358-8100
FRENCH Terra – $$ 545-B Providence Rd.
GREEK Greek Isles – $$ 200 E. Bland St. Little Village Grill – $ 710-G W. Trade St. Showmars – $ 214 N. Tryon St.
Dish – $ 1220 Thomas Ave. 704.344.0343 Mert’s Heart & Soul – $ 214 N. College St. 704.342.4222 Blue – $$$ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.927.2583 Intermezzo Pizzeria & Café – $ 1427 E. 10th Street 704.347.2626
MEXICAN 704.347.2184 704.333.5833
I TA L I A N Carrabba’s Italian Grill – $$ 1520 South Blvd. 704.377.2458 Coco Osteria – $$ 214 N. Tryon St.–Hearst Plaza 704.344.8878 Dolce Ristorante – $$ 1710 Kenilworth Ave. 704.332.7525 Fig Tree – $$$ 1601 E. 7th St. 704.332.3322 Hawthorne’s NY Pizza – $ 1701 E. 7th St. 704.358.9339 Intermezzo Pizzeria & Café – $ 1427 E. 10th St. 704.347.2626 Luce Ristorante & Bar – $$$ 214 N. Tryon St. – Hearst Plaza 704.344.9222 Mama Ricotta’s – $$ 601 S. Kings Dr. 704.343.0148
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M E AT & T H R E E
INDIAN Copper – $$ 311 East Blvd. Maharani – $ 901 S. Kings Dr.
Cabo Fish Taco – $ 3201 N. Davidson St. Johnny Burrito – $ 301 S. Tryon St. La Paz – $$ 1910 South Blvd. Phat Burrito – $ 1537 Camden Rd. Salsarita’s – $ 101 S. Tryon St.
704.332.8868 704.371.4448 704.372.4168 704.332.7428 704.342.0950
MIDDLE EASTERN Kabob Grill – $ 1235-B East Blvd. Metropolitan – $ 138 Brevard Ct.
OUTDOOR DINING Big Ben’s Pub – $$ 801 Providence Rd. 704.334.6338 Cans Bar – $ 500 W. 5th St. 704.940.0200 East Boulevard Grill – $ 1601 East Blvd. 704.332.2414 Ember Grille – $$$ 601 S. College St. - Westin Hotel 704.335.2064 Ri-Ra Irish Pub – $ 208 N. Tryon St 704.333.5554
Sullivan’s – $$$ 1928 South Blvd. The Corner Pub – $ 335 N. Graham St.
PIZZA Brixx – $ 225 East 6th St. 704.347.2749 Donato’s Pizza - $ 718-A West Trade St 704.714.4743 Domino’s Pizza – $ 343 S. Kings Dr. 704.331.9847 Fuel Pizza – $ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.350.1680 Fuel Pizza – $ 1501 Central Ave. 704.376.3835 Hawthorne’s NY 1701 E. 7th St. 704.358.9339 Latta Pizza – $ 320 S. Tryon St. 704.333.4015 Papa John’s Pizza – $ 1620 E. 4th St. 704.375.7272 Picasso’s – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.331.0133 Pie Town – $$ 710 W. Trade St. 704.379.7555 Pizza Hut – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. 704.377.7006 Rudino’s Pizza & Grinders – $ 2000 South Blvd. - Atherton Mill 704.333.3124 UNO Chicago Grill – $ 401 S. Tryon St. 704.373.0085 Villa Francesca 321 Caldwell St. 704.333.7447 Zio Authentic Italian – $ 116 Middleton Dr. 704.344.0100
Quiznos Sub – $ 127 N. Tryon St. 704.374.9921 Quizno’s – $ 320 S. Tryon St. – Latta Arcade 704.372.8922 Roly Poly Sandwiches – $ 317 S. Church St. 704.332.6375 Sbarro – $ 101 S. Tryon St. 704.332.5005 Simply Subs – $ 212 S. Tryon St. 704.333.0503 Smoothie King – $ Epicentre - 210 Trade St. 704.979.6911 Smoothie King – $ One Wachovia Center 704.374.0200 Spoons – $ 415 Hawthorne Ln. 704.376.0874 Woody’s Chicago Style – $ 320 S. Tryon St. - Latta Arcade 704.334.0010 Zack’s Hamburgers – $ 4009 South Blvd. 704.525.1720
S E A F O O D Aquavina – $$$ 435 S. Tryon St. 704.377.9911 Cabo Fish Taco – $ 3201 N. Davidson St. 704.332.8868 Capital Grille – $$$ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.348.1400 Fig Tree –$$$ 1601 E. Seventh St. 704.332.3322 LaVecchia’s – $$$ 225 E. 6th St. 704.370.6776 McCormick & Schmick’s – $$$ 200 South Tryon St. 704.377.0201 Outback Steakhouse – $$ 1412 East Blvd. 704.333.0505
SOUTHERN & SOUL
Bojangles’ – $ 310 E Trade St. 704.335.1804 Boston Market – $ 829 Providence Rd. 704.344.0016 Burger King – $ 310 E. Trade St. 704.334.3312 Chick-fil-A – $ 101 S. Tryon St. 704.344.0222 Chicks Restaurant – $ 320 S. Tryon St. – Latta Arcade 704.358.8212 Church’s – $ 1735 W. Trade St. 704.332.2438 Dairy Queen – $ 1431 Central Ave. 704.377.4294 Domino’s Pizza – $ 343 S. Kings Dr. 704.331.9847 Fuel Pizza – $ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.350.1680 Fuel Pizza – $ 1501 Central Ave. 704.376.3835 Green’s Lunch – $ 309 W. 4th St. 704.332.1786 Mr. K’s – $ 2107 South Blvd. 704.375.4318 Papa John’s Pizza – $ 1620 E. 4th St 704.375.7272 Pasta & Provisions – $ 1528 Providence Rd. 704.364.2622 Pita Pit – $ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.333.5856
Lupie’s Cafe – $ 2718 Monroe Rd. 704.374.1232 Mert’s Heart and Soul – $ 214 N. College St 704.342.4222 Price’s Chicken Coop – $ 1614 Camden Rd. 704.333.9866 Savannah Red – $$ 100 W. Trade St. 704.333.9000 Marriott City Center
S P A N I S H Sole Spanish Grille – $$$ 1608 East blvd.. 704.343.9890
S T E A K H O U S E Beef & Bottle – $$$ 4538 South Blvd. 704.523.9977 Capital Grille – $$$ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.348.1400 Chima – $$$ 139 S. Tryon St. 980.225.5000 Flemings - $$$ 210 E. Trade St. 704.333.4266 LaVecchia’s – $$$ 225 E. 6th St. 704.370.6776 Longhorn Steakhouse – $$ 700 E. Morehead St. 704.332.2300
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Dining and Nightlife Guide Morton’s – $$$ 227 W.Trade St.- Carillon bldg. 704.333.2602 Outback Steakhouse – $$ 1412 East Blvd. 704.333.2602 Ruth’s Chris – $$$ 222 S. Tryon St. 704.338.9444 Sullivan’s – $$$ 1928 South Blvd. 704.335.8228
S U S H I Enso – $$ 210 E. Trade St. Fujo Uptown Bistro – $$ 301 S. College St KO Sushi – $$ 230 S. Tryon St. Nikko – $$ 1300-F South Blvd. Pisces – $$ 1100 E. Metropolitan Ave. Room 112 – $$ 112 S. Tryon St. Ru-San’s Sushi – $$ 2440 Park Rd.
704.716.3676 704.954.0087 704.372.7757 704.370.0100 704.334.0009 704.335.7112 704.374.0008
T A P A S Arpa Tapas – $$$ 121 W. Trade St. Cosmos Cafe – $$ 300 N. College St.
V E G E T A R I A N Blynk – $ 200 S. Tryon 704.522.3750 Dish – $ 1220 Thomas Ave. 704.344.0343 Something Classic Café – $ 715 Providence Rd. 704.347.3666
V I E T N A M E S E Pho An Hoa – $ 4832 Central Ave.
B A R S Amos SouthEnd – $ 1423 S. Tryon St. 704.377.6874 Apostrophe Lounge – $$ 1400 S. Tryon St. 704.371.7079 BAR Charlotte – $ 300 N. College St. 704.342.2557 Big Ben’s Pub – $$ 801 Providence Rd. 704.334.6338 Buckhead Saloon – $ 201 E. 5th St. 704.370.0687 Cans Bar – $ 500 W. 5th St. 704.940.0200 Cedar Street Tavern – $ 120 N. Cedar St. 704.333.3448 Connolly’s on 5th – $ 115 E. 5th St. 704.358.9070 Cosmos – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.375.8765 Coyote Ugly – $ 521 N. College St. 704.347.6869 Crave the Dessert Bar – $ 501 W. 5th St. 704.277.9993 Dilworth Bar & Grille 911 E. Morehead St. 704.377.3808
Dilworth Billiards 300 E. Tremont Ave. 704.333.3021 Dixie’s Tavern 301 E. 7th St. 704.374.1700 DoubleDoor Inn 218 E. Independence Blvd. 704.376.1446 Ed’s Tavern 2200 Park Rd. 704.335.0033 Evening Muse 3227 N. Davidson St. 704.376.3737 Fox and Hound – $ 330 N. Tryon St. 704.333.4113 Hartigans Pub – $ 601 S. Ceder St. 704.347.1841 Hawthorne’s NY Pizza – $ 1701 E. 7th St. 704.358.9339 Howl at the Moon – $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.936.4695 Jillian’s SouthEnd – $ 300 E. Bland Street 704.376.4386 Loft 1523 – $$ 1523 Elizabeth Ave. 704.333.5898 Madison’s – $$ 115 Fifth St. 704.299.0580 Morehead Tavern – $ 300 East Morehead St. 704.334.2655 Mortimers -$ 210 E. Trade St. 704.334.2655 Phil’s Tavern – $ 105 E. Fifth St. 704.347.0035 Picasso’s – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.331.0133 Pravda – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.375.8765 Presto Bar and Grill – $ 445 W. Trade St. 704.334.7088 Ri-Ra Irish Pub – $ 208 N. Tryon St 704.333.5554 Selwyn Pub – $ 2801 Selwyn Ave. 704.333.3443 Stool Pigeons – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.358.3788 Suite – $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.999.7934 The Attic – $ 200 N. Tryon St. 704.358.4244 The Corner Pub – $ 335 N. Graham St. 704.376.2720 The Forum – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.375.8765 The Gin Mill – $ 1411 S. Tryon St. 704.373.0782 The Penguin – $ 1921 Commonwealth Ave. 704.375.6959 The Pub – $ 710 West Trade St. 704.333.9818 Thomas Street Tavern – $ 1218 Thomas St. 704.376.1622 Tilt – $$ 127 W. Trade St. 704.347.4870 Town Tavern – $ 200 N. Tryon Tremont Music Hall – $ 400 W Tremont Ave. 704.343.9494 Tutto Mondo – $ 1820 South Blvd. 704.332.8149 Tyber Creek Pub – $ 1933 South Blvd. 704.343.2727 Vinnie’s Sardine – $ 1714 South Blvd. 704.332.0006 Whiskey River – $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.749.1097 Wild Wings - $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.716.9464
SUSHI All Sushi Rolls Under $10
Serving until 2am (Thurs-Saturday) 12-10pm (Sunday) Drink Specials Nightly 1100 E Metropolitan Ave. Suite 120 Charlotte NC 28204 Free Parking
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1447 S. Tryon St., Suite 301 at Bland St. LYNX Station
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