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hELEN aDAMS rEALTY Responsiveness. Consistency.

Accountability. Reliability. We Provide the Highest UPTOWN

701 NORTH CHURCH From $500’s New brick townhomes in 4th Ward w/ private elevators & rooftop terraces.

DILWORTH

ROYAL COURT From $200’s New condos with all the upgrades in a prime location, blocks to Uptown.

MASON OAKS

Charming, English country style homes nestled among giant oak trees.

DILWORTH

DILWORTH

MIDWOOD

2200 Belvedere Ave. $525,000 4 bedroom / 2 full & 1 half bath Rosalyn Corder / MLS# 793162 UPTOWN

300 5th St. #731 $449,000 2 bedroom / 2 full baths Pat Deely / MLS# 787712

516 E. Tremont Ave. $714,900 3 bedroom / 2 full & 1 half bath Nikki Peterson / MLS# 778159

1901 Peppercorn Ln. $1,145,000 4 bedroom / 4 full & 2 half baths Buck Montague / MLS# 774681

300 5th St. # 618 $579,900 2 bedroom / 2 full baths Kim Walton / MLS# 789506

2033 Lyndhurst Ave. $718,900 3 bedroom / 2 full & 1 half bath Sharon Blalock / MLS# 768447 ARTS DISTRICT

Virtual Tour

UPTOWN

405 W. 7th St. #506 $375,000 2 bedroom / 2 full baths Susan Nolton / MLS# 772078

1.866.534.9745 VISIT US: UPTOWN - 300 S. Tryon

DILWORTH

532 Olmstead Park Pl. $415,000 3 bedroom / 2 full & 1 half bath Kristin Hill / MLS# 746647

ARTS DISTRICT

3004 Clemson Ave. $463,900 4 bedroom / 2 full baths James Scruggs / MLS# 771391

3509 Oakwood Ave. $484,500 4 bedroom / 3 full baths Caroline Jackson / MLS# 768622

629 Dorothy Dr. $939,000 4 bedroom / 3 full & 1 half bath Lester Morris / MLS# 787074

UPTOWN

Virtual Tour

Virtual Tour

VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO SEE ALL OPEN HOUSES

September Issue 08.indd 3

Charlotte Country Club

DILWORTH

729 Templeton Ave. $1,324,000 5 bedroom / 3 full & 2 half baths Louis Schulhofer / MLS# 795651

DILWORTH

MIDWOOD

314 Hempstead $1,595,000 3 bedroom / 2 full & 1 half bath Ann Wood / MLS# 780356

DILWORTH

MIDWOOD

SKYBRIDGE TERRACE From $100’s PLAZA VU From $190’s Urban condos with skybridge terraces All end-unit condos in the heart of Midwood on The Plaza w/ 10-16 ft. ceilings. & amazing skyline & treetop views.

EASTOVER

CHANTILLY

2309 Laburnum Ave. $499,900 3 bedroom / 2 full & 1 half bath Charmaine Kolander / MLS# 791484

WESLEY HEIGHTS

DILWORTH WALK From 200’s 1 & 2 bedroom flats next to East Blvd. w/ 10 & 9 ft. ceilings, exceptional detail.

From 500’s

LAUREL RIDGE From $200’s All brick townhomes in exceptional location. 7 floor plans with garages.

522 Magnolia Ave. $924,900 5 bedroom / 4 full & 1 half bath Nikki Peterson / MLS# 785870

DILWORTH

COTSWOLD

ELIZABETH

Level of Personal Service.

2 0 0 7

MYERS PARK

2112 Hassell Place $549,000 3 bedroom / 2 full & 1 half bath Elaine Henderson / MLS# 785300

UPTOWN

UPTOWN

718 Trade St. #703 $350,000 2 bedroom / 2 full baths Kevin Thompson / MLS# 781828

210 Church St. #3609 $319,900 1 bedroom / 1 full bath Susan Mattson / MLS# 775257

& SEARCH OVER 35,000 HOME LISTINGS!

helenadamsrealty.com ELIZABETH

BALLANTYNE

LAKE NORMAN 8/28/2008 2:13:31 PM


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LIVE

IN

YOUR

ELEMENT

find your element

where modern architecture breaks away from condo living

E L E M E N T

A T

C R A I G

A V E N U E

W H E R E M O D E R N A R C H I T E CT U R E B R E A K S A WAY F R O M C O N D O L I V I N G

10 to 15 foot ceilings Covered parking

Low $400’s to low $500’s Green buildings with HBH

Secure outdoor living spaces

and Energy Star certifications

SOLD

2300 to 3000 sf

SOLD

High performance, single-family residences

O N LY 5 U N I T S R E M A I N I N G

RUSTY GIBBS 704.345.8209 rusty@cobaltdbs.com Office 704.334.0772 1430 S Mint Street Suite 105A

www.uptownclt.com

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everything you want + everything you deserve M STREET

2 BR 2 BA 1,290 sf $280,000 MLS # 767072

TIVOLI

Custom townhome offers fenced-in patio, 2 bedrooms & den!

2 BR 2 BA 933 sf $210,000 MLS # 779251

Great floorplan for roommates & extra sound insulation!

THE VILLAGE OF SOUTHEND 1 BR 1 BA 576 sf $152,500 MLS # 759220

If you pay $1,100 in rent, you can afford this home!

COURTSIDE 1 BR 1 BA 1,083 sf $289,900 MLS # 776575

Corner penthouse with den, large balcony & 17’ ceilings!

TO FIND A HOME TO FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE, CONTACT:

Tim McCollum, Realtor ® 704.965.2535

tmccollum@centercityrealty.com

= uptown living to fit your lifestyle


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the seen

pictures: fenix fotography

walking the runway

nighltife royal hunter wilson and guest

Ed Hardy put on a pajama show at the Forum and we were there to capture the moment. Think scantily clad men and women sauntering down the runway to a cheering crowd, either your worst nightmare or a dream of adoration that’s unmatched in daily life. Check out the pictures to get a sense of the fun.

chris and lynne ullmann

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D eric robinson and jodi rogers

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We make MOUNTAINS, out of Molehills.

Have you got the GUTS, to come see us?

10620 PARK ROAD, SUITE 102 • CHARLOTTE, NC 28210 • 704.541.7654 • 800.294.5842 • FAX 704.542.8314

IT IS OUR SINCERE DESIRE TO FULFILL YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS AND HELP YOU ACHIEVE NATURAL RESULTS. WE ARE COMMITTED TO PERSONAL ATTENTION, RESPECT, CONFIDENTIALIT Y AND PROFESSIONALISM. AS WE STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE, WE NEVER LOSE OUR ENTHUSIASM FOR EXCEEDING YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Dr. Edward J.Bednar *

*

METROLINAPLASTIC.COM

Dr. Broc Pratt


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A The Royal Gardens Charlotte’s finest collection of unique home and garden dÊcor and accessories.

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The finest offerings from our Uptown retailers.

The Royal Gardens 1733 E. 7th St. 704.334.3764

Urban Pet Up Country collars & leads starting at $17.99 Now accepting grooming clients!

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Urban Pet 4149 Park Road Park Road Shopping Center (704) 644-7019 urbanpetcharlotte.com

uptown

September Issue 08.indd 10

Yoga One Great way to soak up the sweat! Fun colors and themes. $55

Yoga One Wellness 1111 Central Avenue Suite 100 yogaonewellness.com

www.uptownclt.com

Modern Lighting and Design Featuring the largest selection of modern lighting in the Carolinas. Showroom open daily by appointment. Please call or visit us online today.

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1447 South Tryon Street 704.332.0109 modernlightingdesign.com

Om Spa Sun defense mineral powder from Eminence - Handmade organic skincare of Hungary since 1958. 20% off Eminence products for September!

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Om Spa 325 Arlington Ave # 510 704.342.1100 omspa.net

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Call us! 84,000 fans could be reading your advertisement right now.

Matt Kokenes Uptown Magazine 704.340.8170 matt@uptownclt.com

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The Bee Man Candle Co. New Plates from Riverside Design Group available at The Bee Man. A portion of all sales from these plates go to local non-profit agencies. Help Support your local community by using one in your home today! The Bee Man Candle Co. 1440 S. Tryon St. 704.333.4823 beemancandles.com

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8/28/2008 2:14:10 PM


wder ade

ing now.

AdareTownhomes Smart buyers KNOW A DEAL when they see one… • Charlotte is STILL Among 10 Best Cities to Buy a Home The best places to buy a home are: • where buying costs less than renting • tax incentives are attractive and • there's an opportunity to build equity. Charlotte IS that place! PLUS: ADARE has up to $7,500 in buyer incentives toward purchase on ready-to-move-in homes…couple this with newly enacted legislation providing a tax credit of • $7,500 FOR FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS* and you have up to • $15,000 to buy your home now. Hurry…Only homes contracted by or before Sept 30, 2008 are eligible. Priced from the $180’s - this just may be the opportunity of a lifetime.

adaretownhomes.com 10 minutes from Uptown, off of South Tryon @ 2301 Beam Road Charlotte, NC 28217

704.565.5327

www.uptownclt.com *Prices subject to change without notice.

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First-time home buyer’s tax credit good through July 1, 2009 8/28/2008 2:14:13 PM


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* North Carolina native Ryan Sumner is Creative Director of Fenix Fotography. Though Sumner’s been shooting in the Queen City professionally for years, he spent nearly a decade as a designer at the Levine Museum until he set up his studio last year in NoDa’s historic Highland Mill. Ryan once again left his mark on the magazine. With his work showing up on the cover, “The Life”, Conversation, and all “The Critics” pictures.

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Charlotte native Matt Kokenes is no stranger to the media sales business in the Queen City. As the newest member of the team at Uptown Magazine, Matt’s focus is on ensuring that our advertisers achieve outstanding results. Shoot him an email at matt@uptowncltcom and let him know what you think of his new sweater picture above, he appreciates constructive feedback.

www.uptownclt.com

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. His pizzaria at Gateway is set to open in early September and if he wasn’t busy enough Peter is also Uptown’s Contributing Food Editor. This month Peter has a conversation with the three top food critics in town.

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

All the things Zoë Balsamo is, organized, fashionable and on time, are all the things our editor is not. That’s why as the Director of Sales she has made such a positive impact in such a short period of time. Zoë has made Plaza Midwood her home and her new husband Sal has made an honest woman out of her. If you’re lucky enough to get a call or visit from Zoë, make sure you make the meeting--you’ll be glad you did.

Sheri Joseph is a true Uptown mama. If she isn’t chasing after her two young sons, Sheri is writing for our blog, working on her first book, volunteering, or hanging out with her husband, MJ. She is originally from Texas and knows the best Texas ribs and margaritas in town can be found at her house. When she’s not scouring the city for her next article she can be found at home eating bon-bons with her children locked in a closet.


Save even more than before with Allstate. Drivers who switched to Allstate saved an average of $353 a year. So when you’re shopping for car insurance, call me first. You could be surprised by how much you’ll save.

Sheila Saints moved to Charlotte in 1990. She’s a veteran journalist of print, television and radio. She has worked in the newsrooms of WBTV, NBC News Channel, WFAE, and Fox News Charlotte as an anchor/reporter and producer. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens. She has interviewed Wayne Gretzky, led a dogsled team in Colorado, and studied screenwriting in Prague. Sheila sat down with restaurateur JD Duncan this month.

Freelance writer Andy Graves spent his childhood and teenage years on a small, muddy dairy farm in upstate New York. He came by higher education in Helsinki, Finland; Baltimore, Maryland; Cork, Ireland; and Buffalo, New York. When pressed about what he does for a living, he will explain that he is a hobo. This is not as much a lie as he would have you believe. Feel free to invite him to dinner. Andy stepped up this month and completed the final edit on this issue.

Catherine Rabb opened Fenwick’s on Providence in 1984, and is very grateful to folks who eat there, because Fenwick’s is still there today. Catherine also had another place, Catherine’s on Providence, for a number of years. Although she is a cook, her hobby is wine, and she teaches beverage classes (wine, spirits, beer) to culinary students at Johnson & Wales University. It’s a tough job to drink wine and pair it with food every day, but someone has to do it!

JC Alvarado (704) 954-0003 Uptown Insurance AG & Financial Services 112 South Tryon Street Suite 300 Tryon Plaza Building (Trade and Tryon)

Annual savings based on information reported nationally by new Allstate auto customers for policies written in 2007. Actual savings will vary. Allstate Insurance Company: Northbrook, IL. © 2008 Allstate Insurance Company

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* Kelly Gray, Charlottebased travel and culinary journalist, has authored hundreds of articles on food, travel, and lifestyle for publications including travel site Johnny Jet, the Los Angeles Times, CEO Traveler, The Pilot, and Deep Magazine. Though Kelly believes travel is one of the four basic food groups, she loves returning to her Plaza Midwood home to share stories of the road. This month she shares a personal look at the Manhattan she knows.

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Originally from Atlanta, Joey has made Charlotte his home for 6 years now. His ‘hood roots and current uptown lifestyle allow him to relate to just about everyone As fashion editor of Uptown Magazine Joey gets to combine all of this into one fun package and strives to bring you something fresh, fun, and inspiring monthly. You can find Joey and his constant companion, Bamboo, at J Studio in South End.

www.uptownclt.com

Chris Wooten is a designer, artist, builder of tree houses, father, and avid traveler who is known for a neurotically meticulous attention to detail. Since the 1990s, Chris has been designing print and interactive solutions with zeal. Modry Design Studio was born after he hooked up with his partner in 2003. For now the company is firmly rooted in NoDa. If you want to talk design, stop by their studio. ModryDesignStudio. com

Jim McGuire has been doing commercial and fashion photography as well as video since 1986. Clients include fashion designer Otilio Salazar, GQ and Modern Bride. His work has been printed in Japan, Italy, Venezuela, Turkey and Holland. Jim has lived in Plaza Midwood since 1985 and is known for throwing outrageous parties. To top it all off, he’s a father, too! See Jim’s photography in this month’s fashion layout and at jimmcguire.com.

Belinda SmithSullivan, a native of Chicago currently living in South Carolina, is a culinary student at Johnson & Wales. Her love of cooking provoked her to give up her corporate career to pursue a lifelong dream. When not attending class, she is busy working on her first cookbook. A commerciallyrated pilot and flight instructor, she enjoys exploring the “off the beaten-path” culinary world. She has traveled extensively and has lived in France, Kenya and South Africa.

Amanda L. McVay is a culinary student at Johnson & Wales University. She works as a barista at Dean & Deluca on the weekends, where she spends most of her paycheck on cheese and cured meats. When she isn’t in class or at work, she writes the restaurant review blog “Feast or Famine” (http://feastcharlotte. blogspot.com) and can often be found sitting in a bookstore, knitting.


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LEttEr frOm thE EDitOr Editor/Publisher Todd Trimakas

Before meeting my wife, Julie, all I knew about barbecue was the sauce. And the sauce I knew was a thick maroon substance that came in 24-ounce plastic bottles with the Heinz logo screaming from the front. But, as any good wife does, Julie has educated her man—in this instance in the ways of the pig. Julie was born in the indisputable capital of barbecue in the South, which is to say, capital of barbecue in the nation: Lexington, North Carolina. In Lexington there is a fifth food group that everyone eats. It’s pork—either pulled or chopped, lean or dark, whole pig or butts. Everyone has a favorite barbecue place in town. For some it could be Jimmy’s, for others it’s Smokey Joe’s. For my adopted family it’s Lexington Barbecue. I can’t remember ever hearing anyone actually refer to it as Lexington Barbecue; it’s always been “The Honeymonk” or more often just “The Monk.” The Monk family owns and runs The Monk. Quite often when we visit the in-laws, our first stop is The Monk. Literally no stopping at the house, no bathroom stops—direct to The Monk where Julie’s Mom, Sara, greets everyone by their first name, including Wayne, the owner, and carries baby Kate around to two or three tables to show folks how much hair she’s 20

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grown or how tall she’s gotten. Even though she’s only two years old, Kate has eaten at The Monk a half dozen times. Maybe more. If The Monk is the culinary center of all that is barbecue, then Sweatman’s is the spiritual Mecca. Located down in the Low Country of South Carolina, Sweatman’s is in Holly Hill, about 30 minutes from Julie’s Mom’s family’s cotton farm in Elloree. When you imagine an out-of-the-way barbecue place in South Carolina, this is it: an old house with a wide front porch, moss hanging from the low branches of live oaks, a sandy parking lot, and, in the air, the smell of smoking hickory. I’ve been down to Sweatman’s a couple times for the hash and skins. The last time we all ate there, I finished early, tossed my Styrofoam plate and cup, and decided to head out back to check out the operation and see if I could take home some secrets. Following my nose to the smokehouse out back, I went outside and walked back in time. When I entered the smokehouse I saw two old guys sitting around shooting the breeze. They were surrounded by more than a dozen low-slung cinderblock pits, each of which supported steel grates with black metal tops. On the pits were golden brown pigs. One of the gentlemen fixed me with his gaze and said something, but I didn’t understand him. In response I said, smartly, “Huh?” He repeated his words from before but I still didn’t understand. Finally, the other chef began to translate: “He asked you if you’d like to see one of the pigs.” And no sooner had I said “sure!” that I realized the problem hadn’t been my general lack of hearing; the issue was that I didn’t speak Gullah. Walking back to my family inside Sweatman’s, I realized the secret to the barbecue at Sweatman’s wasn’t the sauce or the rub. Or the hickory smoke. Or the time it took to cook and baste the meat. It was the Gullah. So I won’t be returning home with any secrets brought back from Sweatman’s anytime soon. But I will be going back to enjoy their barbecue, and you can too. Just make sure you bring cash—they don’t accept credit cards. ~Todd Trimakas Editor Todd@uptownclt.com

Advertising Zoë Balsamo Matt Kokenes 704.340.8130 Contributing Editors Kelly Gray (Travel) Joey Hewell (Fashion) Peter Reinhart (Food) Copy Editor Cecilia Hamilton Contributors Sheri Joseph Scott Lindsley Sheila Saints Little Shiva Chris Wooten Andy Graves Amanda McVay Belinda Smith-Sullivan Sue Bartlett Catherine Rabb Photography Ryan Sumner Todd Trimakas Distribution Sean Chesney Office 1111 Central Ave., #310 Charlotte, NC 28204 Contact us at info@uptownclt.com Uptown Magazine is a trademark of Uptown Publishing inc., copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Uptown is printed monthly. Subscriptions are $25 annually and can be purchased online at uptownclt.com.


DEED;8H?D=IOEKJ>;9?JOB?A;9;DJHE$

This exciting new mixed-use development in the First Ward is bounded by Sixth, McDowell and Seventh streets. The residences are dramatic and open loft-style condos in three distinctive buildings – Quad, Ledge and (coming soon) the 18-unit Row. All within walking (not hiking) distance of the arena, trolley and night clubs. Starting in the low $200,000s

In the center of everything, just two blocks from Trade & Tryon square. These luxury high-rise condos feature floor-to-ceiling windows and upscale amenities, including a seventh-floor pool terrace, an exercise center – and Pierre Bader’s PRESS wine bar and restaurant (note to busy self: in-the-building delivery is available, too). Starting in the high $200,000s - $600,000+

Tucked into the historic neighborhood of Dilworth, TreHouse condos combine the peaceful ambiance of an established residential area with open living spaces and cutting-edge features – all located just a Blackberry’s throw from uptown’s energy and entertainment. It’s what we cleverly like to call the best of both lifestyles. Starting in the mid $100,000s

www.uptownclt.com 21 uptown 704.332.4008. centrocityworks.com

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design

Consider your dining room. Are you using it? Has the table become piled with mail, laundry or files from work? Does your living room couch have more food stains on it than a booth a Denny’s? Designer Penny Law of PCL Interiors has a few suggestions on making your dining room a destination for dinner. Get ready to clear the table. SJ: Where do you start with homeowners who see that their dining room has become a wasted space in their home? PL: It’s important to determine how the dining room is currently being used and how the client would like to use the room. This is revealed through listening and understanding the client’s needs and desires. Some clients have a clear vision that makes it easier to find a solution, while others need help understanding how the space can be best utilized. It’s also very important to clearly define all the rooms within a home so that each room has a purpose and functions accordingly. SJ: Is there a way to make the dining room a transitional space for other activities, such as reading or working? PL: Absolutely! Round tables, intimately scaled, with comfortable upholstered chairs, certainly help to promote conversation in a relaxed atmosphere. This creates a hub for playing games, doing homework, socializing with friends and, of course, dining. Other elements that transition a formal dining space to an everyday space is hanging fun, oversized artwork or a collage of smaller prints on focal walls, installing built-in or freestanding bookcases filled with your favorite reading materials, and if space permits, positioning a small but comfortable chaise or chair and ottoman will further create a mood conducive to reading or socializing. All the lighting should be put on dimmers and make sure there is at least one floor lamp in the room to suit smaller tasks. SJ: Do you have suggestions for clients who say they never use the beautiful dining room because they’re too busy eating takeout in front of another episode of “Law and Order”? PL: To reconnect with the family, I think it’s important to reserve time whenever possible to have meals without the TV on. That being said, you can still enjoy a family meal while viewing TV in a room designated for formal meals. Tuck away a small flat screen in a cabinet or behind art so that it can be your family’s little indulgence during meals. Or, you can opt to make your dining room into a billiard room or a home office. SJ: Is there a particular color you recommend for dining rooms, or

the life

colors you stay away from? PL: When in doubt, homeowners can take a cue from their favorite fine dining restaurant. You won’t go wrong using hues from organic spices, such as oregano, basil, paprika, cinnamon and curry. Not only do they stimulate the appetite but also they create a quiet sense of excitement. For homeowners who prefer the focus to be on the conversation and the meals, I suggest softer neutral tones with barely a hint of creams, grays, greens, white, certain blues or a blend. You’ll find that color trends vary geographically. Typically, stark, vivid colors in blues, yellows and purples are not used in dining rooms unless you’re trying to recreate your favorite fast food restaurant. And if that’s the case, don’t count on guests lingering long after dessert! SJ: When investing in dining room furniture, do you recommend a set or separate pieces? Do you spend more on the chairs or the table? What should a buyer look for? PL: I often recommend creating a look that seems to have evolved over time. The dining table and the next largest furniture item can be from the same collection, sure, but if there’s space for a third or fourth item, select a complementary item outside of that collection. As long as there is at least one unifying element in color, finish or the same lines as the larger pieces, you can blend items from different periods. I tell my clients to relax a bit before they complete a room. Wait for that room to speak to you. Let it tell you what it needs. Don’t be afraid to use a bedroom dresser as your server if the scale is right. How much you should spend depends on various factors, such as how often the furniture will be used, how often you upgrade furniture, and whether or not you prefer heirloom-quality furniture that you’ll have for a lifetime. I would much rather a client wait for the right piece that may take a few years to purchase than to buy something of lesser value that’s cheaper but will have to be replaced in a couple of years. SJ: If grandma just kicked the bucket and left you her entire dining room set, including a table, chairs and buffet, what are your suggestions for turning the old into a more current look? PL: One of the hottest looks right now is transforming vintage furniture. You can strip it; sandblast, or paint it in unexpected colors and finishes, such as white, chartreuse, silver, eggplant or periwinkle. Don’t forget to carry the new look to the inside of cabinets as well. Go from traditional to eclectic by adding some bling with dazzling hardware! Perhaps you’ll only keep one of the items as a keepsake to bridge the old and new. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to step outside the ordinary to put your distinctive stamp on it. U Need more help? Contact Penny: pclinteriors@bellsouth.net You can reach Sheri at: sheri.uptown@yahoo.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com

words: sheri joseph


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living the life

words: sheri joseph pictures: fenix fotography

Jim Maraso, managing partner at LaVecchia’s, knows a thing or two about hot spots and the lengths people will go in order to secure a table. Fake celebs? Bitchy attitudes? Liars? He’s seen ‘em. Jim shares the secrets to scoring a place in the glitterati’s latest hallowed halls and how to be treated like a star.

SJ: I was always led to believe that if I wanted to get a table in a fab restaurant I would have to tip the maitre d’ or hostess a la “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” True? JM: I would not recommend that. In fact, in most restaurants, if a hostess is seen accepting a “tip,” that might jeopardize her job. SJ: How about cleavage? Any help? JM: No. SJ: Well, what then?! JM: A lot of people think there is some kind of secret handshake, but that’s not reality. First of all, call ahead so you’ll get a nice table. Also, this business is about relationships, so I would suggest you get to know the owner and operator of the restaurant. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself so your face will be recognized. Restaurant operators love to know who their guests are. We bend over backwards for our frequent guests. SJ: Does it matter if I’m a celebrity? JM: I’m not going to lie. Celebrities often get table; it offers a certain cachet to a restaurant. But our frequent “ace in the hole” customers are what really matter. It doesn’t make a difference who you are if you’re a loyal customer. We want people to enjoy the experience and keep coming back whether they’re the secretary or the CEO.

SJ: You’re about to open Nix Burger and Brew uptown and there aren’t reservations taken. What’s a diva to do? JM: Be polite. If you’re rude or condescending, the attitude won’t help the situation. Ask to see the manager and introduce yourself. Don’t drop names and say things like, “I know the owner,” if you don’t. I’ve had people do that and I AM one of the owners! SJ: What about saying that I am Charlize Theron? I’ve been told I look like her on a really, really fugly day. JM: The fake celebrity thing doesn’t really work. There was a guy who put a reservation under the name “Dale Earnhardt, Jr.” His last name was Earnhardt, but he was not Junior. When I confronted him about it, he said that although he wasn’t a pro, he did like to drive his car fast. We do our best to treat everyone well, celebrity or not. To me, it’s the frequency of the dining-savvy customer rather than the celebrity. SJ: I think the people who don’t dress as cute as I do should be seated near the kitchen or the bathroom. Would you agree? JM: Typically, if that’s where people are seated, then that is what is available. I would hope if customers did not like where they were seated, they would let us know. You’re paying the same amount of money no matter where you sit in the restaurant. For customers who find they have a favorite table, I recommend asking what number it is on the seating chart and then requesting that table the next time they visit. Most restaurants have decent food and service, but we’re really in the hospitality business and we want our customers’ dining experiences to be so good they will walk away believing their money has been well spent. U You can reach Sheri at: sheri.uptown@yahoo.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com


www.uptownclt.com

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cooking

words: sheri joseph

Just got your Amex bill, eh? Are you realizing your wallet has become a lot smaller due to your take-out, dine-out meal plan? Have your pants shrunk due to your “liquid” diet of Bloody Marys, Bud Lights and Red Bull? Think cooking at home will turn you into a surly version of Rachael Ray? Well, honey, get

the life

yourself over to Cooking Uptown, Charlotte’s premier provider of all things culinarily desirable. This little 7th Street gem stocks it all, including classes taught in the stateof-the-art studio kitchen and primo gadgets. We talk with founder Karen Cooley, who wants you to stop in and discover that your shiny new stainless oven can do more than store your sweaters, your freezer can hold more than vodka, and a salad spinner is cool even when you’re sober. SJ: Your store seems like the “little store that could.” With all the big guys as competition (Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table), how do you stay in the marketplace? KC: You know, I really think our success has to do with passion and knowledge of the products we sell. When someone comes into Cooking Uptown, that customer is seeing me and the things I have personally selected and used. I want to give special and informed attention to my customers. I have always loved to cook and it’s been an important part of my life. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and this combined with my love of cooking has been ideal.

SJ: You’ve been around since 2004. What kinds of trends are you seeing for the Charlotte food scene? KC: Probably the biggest thing is that Charlotte has embraced the slow food, farm-to-fork type of dining. People want to use fresh, local ingredients and see the value in it. They want to eat healthier;

it supports the local economy and is more affordable. At our store, we use the freshest ingredients possible and have chefs who have access to the best food teaching our cooking classes. SJ: Do you sense Charlotte palates have opened up to cuisines such as Indian, Asian or Middle Eastern? KC: There is starting to be an interest in other foods, but I still think we haven’t seen it to the degree it needs to be. That being said, I am sure I would have classes fill up if we offered a way for students to learn about Indian cuisine, for example. It just takes the right instructor. SJ: Are there classes you have for the novice home cook? KC: Of course. Our classes are open to every level, but I recommend the Culinary Basics class with the Knife Skills class. You really learn to properly use the tools you have and practice all the techniques you see on TV. Once a beginner learns those knife skills, it really makes a difference in the speed of meal preparation. Come take a class. Try something new.

Karen Cooley of Cooking Uptown shares the 5 things every home cook needs in the kitchen u Chef’s Knife. It will last you forever. ($100) u Cutting Board. We sell one that is a composite wood so it’s good for your knife, but can also go in the dishwasher. ($20) u Scanpan. This is non-stick, dishwasher safe, ceramic titanium coating cookware from Denmark. I use my 9-inch skillet every day for an omelet. ($50) u Food processor or a standing mixer. It is an item a cook will use all the time. This is an investment, but it will really make a difference. ($150-$525) u The Cheese Knife. This is made with a polymer resin that enables you to slice through sticky things like cheese, of course, or brownies with ease. I use mine at least twice a day! ($15) U You can reach Sheri at: sheri.uptown@yahoo.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com


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September Issue 08.indd 27

uptown

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September Issue 08.indd 28

Stunning new home walking distance to light-rail, uptown, Dilworth.

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www.uptownclt.com

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Uptown: How long have you been reviewing restaurants? Helen Schwab: I hit the 20-year mark this year as the Observer’s critic, though it began as an every-other-week gig and remains part-time. U: Are there any major food critics or writers you admire or emulate? HS: As for reviewers, I’m a rabid fan of Dara Moskowitz, who has left her critic job at Minnesota’s City Pages, but is well worth looking up in archives. Her conversational, approachable tone invites readers to think and learn and enjoy, and that’s both rare in and paramount to this work. I love Jonathan Gold, not because he became the first restaurant critic to win a Pulitzer but because 30

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September Issue 08.indd 30

he could actually drink out of that glass! (Google his victory and you’ll see what I mean.) As for food writers, I wish everyone would read Michael Pollan’s work, Bill Buford was brilliant in “Heat,” John Thorne is my all-time favorite on actual cooking, and there’s a little old book titled “The Supper of the Lamb” by a priest with the unlikely name of Father Capon that will change the way you think about food. U: What are some of the most significant restaurant developments you’ve seen in Charlotte and nationally during your years of reviewing? HS: * Diners’ evolution from ignoring to timidly trying to actively pursuing ethnic foods. * The profound risk that chefs such as Tim Groody took to introduce

www.uptownclt.com

8/28/2008 2:15:39 PM


words: peter reinhart pictures: fenix fotography

diners to local produce and its actual costs and benefits. A corollary: Diners’ increasing confidence in and willingness to pay for good foods. (We’ve still got miles to go, and this economy will hurt progress, I suspect, but it’s better.) * The shift in goal from making a living to making a killing in restaurants. I long for an end to this era in which just about everyone who opens a decent place immediately starts plotting its next location. What a terrible trend. * One noticeable NONdevelopment is how Charlotte has managed not to elevate its service standards. There are pockets, but still, by and large it’s awful. U: How do you manage to keep up with all the new trends and food styles? How do you stay attuned to both the local, national, and even international food scene? HS: Reading and traveling are the boring answer. True, but boring. (How about I say “Top Chef” instead? Those guys cram in every trend alive, sometimes in a single dish! But TV is so slooow: Richard this season was going on as if his little handheld smoker were cutting edge.) In fact, trends are rarely about something “new” like molecular gastronomy techniques, and much more often about the sudden popularity of something old being “discovered.” (Think how every American menu now seems to have the word “chipotle” or “bruschetta” on it.) For writing about those, travel and reading help most. And just to make folks feel better in these economic times, reading tends to give you a broader, more accurate picture. The hazard of travel is when people then base critical terms like “authentic” on their experiences. I’ve had terrific creamy ragu alla Bolognese in Bologna, but one that’s more tomatoey isn’t necessarily inauthentic. You have to know that some folks in Bologna use more tomato! As for the true “new” stuff, unless you have the money to constantly jet among the few cities creating them—for better or worse, Charlotte ain’t one of them—the Internet is the timeliest resource. The occasional trip to New York City is a pale substitute. A great time, mind you, but you don’t get your finger on the pulse without a lot of reading. U: What are some of the things that impress you most in a restaurant, your criteria for a positive review? And what things bring a negative review?

HS: More than anything else, a restaurant must live up to the promise it makes with its menu, decor, price range and service style. A Boston critic once told me there was no such thing as a four-star pizza place, and I couldn’t disagree more. It’s all about expectation. Four stars means a place has exceeded expectations. If a funky-looking casual spot serves a terrific pizza at appropriate cost with smart service, and it’s spotless, it can be four stars. It doesn’t have to have wine glasses that are the right shape for what you’re drinking -- but a formal French place had better have those, and perfect coffee service and an amuse to start, too. As for what turns me off, lazy food is tops, with uneducated service second. Servers are the owner’s connection to the customer in every style of restaurant, and if a server doesn’t know anything about a dish, or what the kitchen is most proud of, what does that say about the place? It says the owner doesn’t care enough about that connection to get it right. U: Can you describe one dining experience, here or anywhere, that totally blew you away? HS: Wow. Hard question: Got to have three. For our 20th anniversary, my husband and I had dinner at a little place in the 11th arrondissement in Paris that was spectacular. Not formal, not frilly, just flawless, from the snails to the enormous cheese tray—and my daughter had found the place, as a gift, by asking her French teacher here in Charlotte. Then there was that first time I had hash with my pork barbecue, at Sweatman’s in Holly Hill, S.C. And the night we bought salumi and cheeses and bread and the house olive oil at a little meat market in Radda, in Tuscany, and ate it off paper at a cement table overlooking the hills. Yes, there was wine, too, as I recall. Dimly. U: What are your predictions for the restaurant scene here in Charlotte during the next year and beyond? HS: Well, I have hopes and I have fears. Twenty years doing this has taught me not to predict, because we Charlotte diners are a fickle lot. (And I don’t know anyone who predicted this fall would bring us MORE upscale steak chains.) So...I fear the economy will cripple or kill some good restaurants. I fear that people will seek cheap food even more often, rather than realizing that quality food, both at home and in restaurants, costs a higher percentage of our income than we’re used to paying. And I fear decreased differentiation in restaurant offerings: more chains and/or more similarity, and less diversity. I hope, on the other hand, we’ve gotten such a taste of diversity and quality that we’ll refuse to let them slip away. I hope we’ll come to know a good tomato when we taste one, insist on them and be willing not to eat them when they’re not in season. And I hope access and culinary students and “Top Chef” and its ilk all spur diners to demand more and appreciate more from our restaurants. U You can reach Peter at: Peter.Reinhart@jwu.edu For more info go to www.uptownclt.com www.uptownclt.com

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DRinK GOOD WinE

I call it the kitchen counter test. When you go to a party and everyone brings a bottle, one or two will be drunk right away, with folks coming back looking for more, while there will be several bottles left languishing on the kitchen counter at the end of the night. Sometimes the popular wine is red, sometimes white, but what are the defining characteristics of those quickly consumed wines that make them so appealing? Within the wine industry there is no more hotly argued topic than the concept of quality in a wine, but most experts agree that there are two main ways of thinking about and evaluating wine. First is a subjective evaluation of a personal liking for the wine and, second an objective evaluation based on qualities outside of personal preference.

words: catherine rabb pictures: fenix fotography


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M

ary Ewing-Mulligan and Ed McCarthy, authors of Winestyle, say, “Not only does the concept of wine quality differ from person to person, but the activity of judging that quality is totally subjective. When you think of it, how could it not be? We experience wine in the privacy of our own mouths and process the experience through individual brains.” Our preferences are our own, distinct, based on genetics and tempered by exposure and experience. Some of us like unsweetened iced tea, some can’t drink it unless there’s enough sugar to curl your back teeth. I buy tart Granny Smith apples for myself and the sweeter, milder Red Delicious variety for the rest of my family. It is no stretch of the imagination to understand that with all the differences in wines, as with food, that personal preference must play a role in their enjoyment. Since the 1990’s a great deal of research has been done on taste bud development, and advances in the science are increasingly applied to wine. In fact, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests you Vino 100 can predict which types Overstreet Mall of wine you will prefer 704.334.5355 based on your partiality for other foods and beverArviza Rioja Crianza, Spain ages. Tim Hanni, who holds 2004 ( $20.00) A terrific wine for fall the prestigious Master of entertaining, and as Vino 100 Wine certification, says that Manager Michael Esakov says each of us falls into one of “those Spaniards really know four categories of tasters: how to make the Tempranillo hypersensitive, sensitive, grape show its stuff.” Great and tolerant, and a special varietal expression, and the price is a steal. group of sensitive tasters

who prefer sweet wines. Please note that ‘sensitive’ does not mean a better taster--excellent wine tasters can be in any of the groups. Hypersensitive tasters (sometimes called super tasters) have more taste buds than the folks in other groups, have heightened and sometimes unpleasant reactions to bold flavors, and enjoy wines with more restraint. The tolerant taster is on the other end of the spectrum, more likely to enjoy bigger, stronger flavors in a wine. Hanni has a free online survey you can take to determine your wine preferences, predicated on your answers to multiple-choice questions about your liking for salt, sweets, and artificial sweeteners. The survey was almost scarily accurate for me. My favorite wines often emphasize delicacy over power. I love pinot noirs and Rieslings, and so, apparently, do others who fall into my tasting profile. Hanni argues that everyone who evaluates wine does so from a position of his or her personal preferences. Every wine professional who has sold or taught about wine agrees with this idea about personal preference, saying to consumers, “Drink what you like, as it is the only really important thing about wine.” And you should drink what you like, voting for your favorite wines with your wallet. But is this really enough for a wine lover? What about the hundreds of books, podcasts, blogs and magazines that rate and recommend one wine over another? Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible writes, “One of the most insidious myths in American wine culture is that a wine is good if you like it. Liking a wine has nothing to do whether it is good. Each of us has a subjective opinion. Having a valid objective opinion, however, requires experiencing a particular wine and understanding how it classically presents itself.” I asked several Charlotte wine experts who routinely select and purchase wines to sell and serve to weigh-in on what individual characteristics they look for when choosing a wine. Just imagine having to select one chardonnay for your wine shop or wine list from a group of thirty contenders, and having to predict what will appeal and sell. It’s the ultimate exercise in objectivity over subjectivity. If these folks only selected wines they personally like, they’d quickly be out of business. What was most interesting in their responses is how all of these experts selected just a few very basic components when determining wine quality. VARiEtAL tAL ChARACtERiStiCS: Each grape variety presents t itself in a unique way, and when those characteristics common to that variety are present, the wine is said to show varietal character. Michael Esakov, when choosing for Vino 100, looks for a wine that shows the flavor of the grape variety used to make the wine more than the winemaker’s personal take on that wine. Angelus Rickenbacker, President of the Carolina Wine Club, always asks, “Is the wine true to itself?” Rickenbacker likes a wine to “preen” in its own environment, or “terroir.” AROMA CS: Descriptions on the back labels of wine bottles AROMAti often describe what the wine smells like. Some wines smell like fruit, some like flowers, earth or minerals. The aromas in wine are


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Move in this year. From the $120s.

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September Issue 08.indd 35

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nancie

THE

part of the fun of drinking and can be fascinating and complex, changing in the glass over time. Gary Oikemus with Savannah Red put it succinctly: “The wine should smell and taste good.” BALAnCE/intEGRA EGRA On: “Balance” is an indication that all the compoEGRAti nents creating the underlying structure of a wine, such as acid, tannin, sugar and alcohol, are in harmony so that no one ingredient stands out jarringly when you taste the wine. Wine educator Anita Skogland gives an example about a wine in which the alcohol is out of balance: “If a wine has the mouth-feel of cough syrup due to overripe fruit and 15.5% alcohol, it isn’t table wine— it’s almost port, and nearly impossible to pair with food.” SOUL: Conrad Hunter of the Wine Shop at Foxcroft says, “I always look for a wine to speak to me; there should be a personality that stands out. There are a lot of technically well-made wines out there that don’t have soul.” A great wine should make you want to have more, the chance to further explore its charms.

Wine Shop at Foxcroft 7824 Fairview Road 704.365.6550 St. innocent Pinot noir, Justice Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2006 ($53.99) Just a gorgeous special occasion Pinot, layers of delicious berry fruit, with solid structure, make this wine delicious alone or with food. The wine seems to change with each sip, and is complex, interesting and expressive.

PRiCE CE AnD A PACKAGinG: Maybe this technically shouldn’t be included in a discussion about quality in the bottle, but every expert weighed in on the importance of price and packaging. Keith Messick of Winestore points out: “As much as most people hate to admit it, wine has become a packaged commodity and packaging is one of the first things I notice. I treat wine like any other consumer packaged good, mainly because that’s how customers treat it. A wine with a bad package has an uphill battle regardless of taste, and a great wine with a great package at a great price is the Holy Grail for me.” Angie Packer of Tryon Distributing notes “price is obviously a big factor” because there is so much good wine being made. Finding a quality wine seems to me to be the most delicate of balancing acts. You have to be aware of your own likes and dislikes and then, within that framework, be able to objectively judge whether a wine delivers the promised blend of aromatics and structure for its price. I’m thinking this is going to take some practice, so sharpen the corkscrew and drink some wine. U Get your buds done! Take the free online survey developed by Tim Hanni, MW and perhaps predict your preferences in wine. budometer.com You can reach Catherine at: Catherine.Rabb@jwu.edu For more info go to www.uptownclt.com

Savannah Red 100 West Trade Street 704.363.8161 hill family Estates Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ($17.00by the glass) Acidity and fruit are nicely balanced, but the aromatics steal the show. Gorgeous aromas of blackberry and vanilla entice you to have a second glass.

O


nancie sept 08.qxp

8/27/2008

8:54 PM

$259,000 530 E. 9TH ST. THE CALDWELLS ON 9TH MLS 796989

Page 3

$359,900 530 N.POPLAR ST. #D HACKBERRY COURT MLS 791966

s d o o W e i c n Na

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CENTER CITY Sunset views of historic 4th Ward and skyline. Gourmet kitchen features granite counters and a large island. Gleaming hardwood floors, plantation shutters, 9 foot ceilings, a spacious master bedroom with sitting area. 2BRs/2BAs

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PRESENTED BY

PRESENTED BY

Sandy Kindbom

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CENTER CITY BROKER

CENTER CITY BROKER

direct 704-331-2124

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Incredible value in sought after 4th Ward complex. Updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances and ceramic tile. Hardwood floors and gas fireplace in the living room. Formal dining room. Private courtyard. 2BRs/2.1BAs HACKBERRY COURT

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Spacious floor plan with computer niche and patio. Bamboo floors, custom blinds, open kitchen with granite counters. Attention to the smallest of details from designer faucets and light fixtures to heavy crown molding. 2BRs/2BAs TIVOLI

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direct 704-331-2127

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direct 704-331-2125

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Quality renovations including granite and stainless appliances in this 3 story townhouse. Living/dining area with hardwood floors and fireplace. Superb outdoor areas include covered front porch and private patio. 2BRs/2 BAs

Uptown skyline views through expansive glass in spectacular corner unit. Kitchen features island/bar, stainless steel appliances, tiled backsplash. Surround sound speakers. Secure building with gated parking. 1BR/1BA

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direct 704-496-7444

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* Offering subject to errors, omissions, prior sales, change or withdrawal without notice and approval of purchase by owner.

September Issue 08.indd 38

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September Issue 08.indd 39

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words: belinda smith sullivan


? where do chefs eat

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e’ve all been there. You have a special occasion to celebrate or a special someone you’d like to impress, but you don’t know where to go. You call up a friend or two for a recommendation, but your friends don’t have a clue either. Welcome to one of the oldest and most common culinary dilemmas. So how do you find the perfect restaurant for your special occasion, whatever that might be? How can you be assured that the food will be absolutely delicious and that the service will be worthy of the twenty percent (at least) tip you are expected to leave, and that the dining experience will be unforgettable and cause you to return time and time again? Who better to ask than a chef? And not just any chef, but a roster of chefs from some clockwise from below: scenes of the most successful from lavecchia’s // penguin driverestaurants in Charlotte. When in // lulu // mac’s speed shop they are not cooking for their

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September Issue 08.indd 42

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about providing simple, good food, done right and done locally.â&#x20AC;? customers or at home cooking for their families, what do they like to eat, and where do they go to eat it? Do they know something we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t? An inquiring mind wanted to know, so I got in my car and travelled uptown, downtown, across town and south of town to talk to any and all chefs who were willing to share their favorites with me. Geoff Bragg, Executive Chef and co-owner of the Pewter Rose, an eclectic American bistro, often eats out with his family to celebrate special occasions. Among his favorite restaurants is El Pulgarcito, which boasts a Central American menu with four different types of cuisine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Mexican, El Salvadorian, Honduran and Dominican. No getting bored here; every time you go itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like trying it for the first time. Chef Bragg also likes the Kabob Grill in Dilworth for its Kibbeh, a dish made with ground meats and bulgur wheat. Says Bragg: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fresh, healthy and quick. They always add wonderful touches to their dishes.â&#x20AC;? You might also see him hanging out occasionally at the Penguin enjoying a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Big Block Burger.â&#x20AC;? Bill Schutz is Executive Chef at the Ballantyne Country Club. He also oversees menu development and operations for more than forty country club restaurants for Troon Golf, the premier country club management company in the world. Chef Schutz eats out a

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lot when he is not working. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s his way of â&#x20AC;&#x153;relaxing and enjoying good food.â&#x20AC;? He likes Lang Van, a Vietnamese restaurant, and highly recommends their curry beef with lemongrass and the spring rolls. He is also particularly fond of Macâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Speed Shop on South Boulevard. According to Chef Schutz, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s laid-back with real good barbecue. Try the brisket.â&#x20AC;? Mark Hibbs is Executive Chef and owner of Ratcliffe on the Green, a French-influenced Southern-style restaurant. Rumor has it that the collard greens there are to die for! Chef Hibbs said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I rarely eat out, but the best meal I ever had was a nine-course chef tasting menu at Zebra. And Barringtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also does a phenomenal job. I recommend their pork chop.â&#x20AC;? Tim Groody, Executive Chef at Sonoma, and his family eat out â&#x20AC;&#x153;a fair amount for special occasions and to celebrate the kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; birthdays.â&#x20AC;? According to Chef Groody: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The best Sunday brunch in town is at Lulu on Central Avenue. I like the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;create your ownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; omelet and my kids like the hash browns and crème brulee French toast.â&#x20AC;? If burgers are your thing and you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mind driving a short distance north of Charlotte, Groody recommends Toast CafĂŠ in Huntersville. Jeff Morrison, Executive Chef at Cantina 1511, loves Italian and all ethnic foods. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My wife and I eat out a lot when Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m off. I want to see what other restaurants are doing.â&#x20AC;? Fiamma in Dilworth is the Italian restaurant of choice for Chef Morrison. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The osso buco and www.uptownclt.com

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risotto is amazing, the ravioli is awesome and the pizzas are very good. And most of their pasta is made in-house.” After work, Chef Morrison occasionally enjoys going to the Thomas Street Tavern. He likes the crab cake sandwich, po’ boys and says, “The potato salad is really good.” Steven Price, owner of Price’s Chicken Coop (which needs no introduction), loves a good steak. Well, he can’t eat chicken all the time! Says Price: “Although not as good as I can cook at home, McIntosh’s Steak & Seafood on South Boulevard is excellent.” For a fine dining experience he recommends Sonoma. “They execute well, start to finish!” And if you’re willing to travel down to Matthews, check out Santé, a small, locally owned AmericanFrench restaurant. Catherine Rabb, chef and co-owner of Fenwick’s and a Johnson & Wales Instructor, says of eating out: “Don’t get out as much as I’d like to.” However, she enthusiastically recommends three restaurants. Lupie’s, with its casual ambience and affordable menu, “Is a great place to unwind. It is the opposite of trendy and they have a loyal clientele. You must go there to understand why it is so special.” If it’s good seafood you want, Rabb recommends LaVecchia’s in Uptown. “I enjoy the seafood tower appetizer.” And, for charming atmosphere and great food, visit Ratcliffe on the Green. “Chef Hibbs has big vision and lots of passion for what he does,” Rabb says.

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WWW.JHGFINANCIAL.COM How have restaurants in Charlotte changed over the last few years? The chefs agree that while the overall quality has improved and the number of restaurants in Charlotte is growing, the vast majority are still chains. They would like to see more independently owned restaurants enter the market. Chef Bragg believes that “Johnson & Wales, The Art Institute, and Central Piedmont’s Culinary programs contribution to Charlotte’s food scene is undeniable. Their presence has brought a higher awareness of food.” Chef Morrison adds: “The schools have developed new ‘foodies’ and brought an influx of devoted, passionate people into the profession and the city.” The philosophy that drives the choices of these chefs is that of supporting independently owned restaurants who are committed to supporting and using locally grown and produced products. While the practice helps strengthen the local economy, the major thrust is that it adds to the quality of the food they produce and, ultimately, increases customer satisfaction. They believe that local food prepared well keeps customers keep coming back. Says Chef Hibbs: “It’s about providing simple, good food, done right and done locally.” U You can reach Belinda at: smithsullivan@bellsouth.net For more info go to www.uptownclt.com


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Uptown: How long have you been reviewing restaurants? Heidi Billotto: I’ve been writing about Charlotte restaurants and dining out since 1991. At that time I wrote for one of the first incarnations of Charlotte Magazine, penning a column called Food for Thought which focused on 2-3 themed restaurants each month. In 1992 I started writing a culinary column for The Leader newspaper and in 1996 began writing The Leader’s restaurant reviews in a column called Wandering Gourmet. I left The Leader in 2002 to begin writing for The Weeklies and have been there since. 48

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Currently, my weekly restaurant reviews are available in two papers: The Charlotte Weekly and Union County Weekly and may also be found online at www.gocarolinas.com. In addition, I now write a comprehensive culinary column for Charlotte Living Magazine. U: Are there any major food critics or writers you admire or emulate? HB: I’ve always been a big Julia Child fan, and while she never wrote restaurant reviews as such, I love the way she so descriptively

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words: peter reinhart pictures: fenix fotography

wrote about food and flavor. If my readers can taste what I am writing about as they read, I think that’s the key to good food writing. U: What are some of the most significant restaurant developments you’ve seen in Charlotte and nationally during your years of reviewing? HB: The Charlotte restaurant scene has come a long way since I first moved here in 1975. Back then you couldn’t even get a pizza delivered. When I started writing about restaurants, the big news in dining out focused on the little mom and pop places and, as the city began to grow, on big fancy hotel brunches. Many long-time locals will remember a little place in Eastover’s Villa Square called The Saucy Crepe that was such a different concept that it really took the town by storm. After that, we began to attract several not-soAmerican Asian restaurants, which opened up a whole new world to Charlotte diners as well. More and more the chef driven restaurant scene is what has put Charlotte on the culinary map. Now it’s all about local food and product, and that’s been a very good thing for Charlotte restaurants and Charlotte farmers. U: How do you manage to keep up with all the new trends and food styles? How do you stay attuned to both the local, national, and even international food scene? HB: I eat out a lot (in Charlotte and when I travel), I read about food all of the time, I cook a lot, travel when I can, and I talk to chefs and people in the wine and food industry whenever I have the opportunity. U: What are some of the things that impress you most in a restaurant, your criteria for a positive review? And what things bring a negative review? HB: First and foremost I am impressed with a well-thought-out package. Food, interiors, theme of the place, even music, lighting,

ambiance; all need to work well together. A restaurateur needs to know what he or she is trying to deliver and the chef has to be able to follow through with food that is not only well prepared but that make sense to the theme. A five-star restaurant doesn’t necessarily need to be a white tablecloth kind of place. Restaurants just need to be doing the very best job in their segment of the marketplace. The use of fresh, locally grown ingredients is important to me, but it is not the be-all and end-all every single time. Secondly, the quality of service is a huge factor. When a wait staff is well trained, it makes all the difference in the world. I am most turned off by bad food at any level, a lack of attention to obvious detail, and rude or untrained servers. U: Can you describe one dining experience, here or anywhere, that totally blew you away? HB: One of the first independently owned chef driven places in Charlotte that I reviewed was a little French bistro on Morehead called Marais, open in the mid 1990s. The entire dining experience there was so outside the box of anything else offered in the city at that time, it left me breathless. The bistro was very French and the

The Charlotte restaurant scene has come a long way since I first moved here in 1975. Back then you couldn’t even get a pizza delivered. personal service customers experienced there was key. I can still taste owner/chef Ed Steadman’s rich, buttery melt-in-your-mouth soft-shell crabs in a light cream and caper sauce and the raspberry and cognac-laced perfectly seared slice of foie gras. Now, a first course offering of foie is more common, but back then no one else in Charlotte was doing that type of thing and it was heaven on a plate. U: What are your predictions for the restaurant scene here in Charlotte during the next year and beyond? HB: Even with the influx of many big chains, I think the local chef driven places will continue to thrive and those places will become our mainstay. Albeit slowly, Charlotte has become a much more educated city of foodies over the years; when people are familiar with the difference between really good ingredients and technique as opposed to those that are just mediocre, mediocre will eventually no longer be good enough and the cream of the crop will rise to the top. One of the really great things about this area is that there is room for everyone who is doing a good job at what they do. From ethnic eateries to the little mom and pop meat and threes, from all the ‘cue joints to white tablecloth dining experiences, we are fortunate to have a lot on our collective plate from which to choose. U You can reach Peter at: Peter.Reinhart@jwu.edu For more info go to www.uptownclt.com www.uptownclt.com

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words: kelly gray pictures: nyc

DIRTY OLD TOWN www.uptownclt.com

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“Take me back to Manhattan, Take me back to New York. I’m just longing to see once more My little home on the hundredth floor! I miss the east side, the west side, the north side, and the south side. So take me back to Manhattan, That dear old dirty town!”

T

hose lyrics are from the musical “Anything Goes,” and I can’t think of a better way to describe New York City. As a travel writer, I’ve fallen in love with many places; they become like people. Some have soothed my soul and others have broken my heart. Sure I love Montana and Wyoming, and Belize makes me dizzy with glee. The North Carolina Mountains are part of my soul, and Paris turns me into a carbon copy of Brigitte Bardot. But my first and one true love will always be New York City, so pardon me for getting up close and personal about this “dear old previous page: the nitty gritty in nyc dirty town.” this page (l to r): midtown skating I was 21 years rink at sunset // a taxi rushing by // old when the island of skyline at night Manhattan infiltrated my

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7…>ÌʈvÊ ÞœÕÀÊ Ài“œÌiÊ …>`ÊÌœÊ i>À˜Ê …œÜÊޜÕÊ ÜœÀŽi`¶ ÜÜÜ°iÝ«iÀˆi˜Vi…i°Vœ“ blood and became a forever part of me. Bright-eyed, I above: central park was determined to make it on Broadway and become a famous triple threat (sing, dance, and act). I stupidly moved to Manhattan with $138 and enough scholarship money to rent a dorm room, having been accepted into a prominent performing arts school on the Upper West Side. The city chewed me up, but I held on tightly to her violent apron strings. And for nearly a decade I stayed. I so loved Manhattan that in order to stay there I worked many jobs: office work, hostessing and babysitting for wealthy Upper East Side families every Saturday night. From the Rosens, LaPieres and McCarthys, I learned you can have it all and remain kind and gracious. My friends and I ate at Chinese restaurants because ordering an entrée meant you got a glass of (very cheap) wine with your meal at no extra charge. My parents saved me from homelessness on so many occasions that, had I married, the Western Union clerk would have been in the wedding party. To earn extra money to see Broadway shows like Les Miserables and Miss Saigon and dine at Sardi’s afterwards, I worked for Mattel Toy Company as Country Barbie with Barbie’s Horse Nibbles at their annual toy conference (still the most humiliating job I’ve ever had). The only distinct highlight of those first two hard years was when I got to tend bar at Frank Sinatra’s private party at 21 Club. I met Old Blue Eyes and he called me “doll” when he ordered his cocktail.

A six-floor walk-up (three flights of stairs for each floor) was my first real Manhattan apartment. I ate peanut butter and jelly almost every day. I recall being at the corner market buying those ingredients when a restaurateur I had a major crush on walked in and saw me. The look in his eyes was one of pity and I never forgot it. To this day I can barely swallow a spoonful of peanut butter. It reminds me too much of being poor and wanting desperately a life that at the time I could only dream of. Then, in the fog of 1993, God sent me a champion by the name of Julie Ellis. Julie invited me to my first Manhattan dinner party, taught me how to have a relationship with New York City, and exuded so much class that I’ve met no one since who can rival her. It was Julie who taught me the subway and introduced me to a place where I ran to escape the madness of school and work. Julie took me to Downtown Manhattan. “Take Me to Downtown Manhattan” When people think of New York, they think of the Empire State Building and the tragically decimated World Trade Center towers that used to bookmark the city. Its skyscrapers in all their glory reach to the heavens like some sort of modern day Babylon, defining New York City to much of the outside world. But the heart of Manhattan seems to beat most passionately below 14th Street. SoHo stands for South of Houston (pronounced “Howston”), and there you’ll find a whole world nestled: divine Little Italy, Chinatown, and the West and East Villages. www.uptownclt.com

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Daily fresh pastas can be found at Becco near Times Square, and serious steak tartare at 86th and Madison’s DeMarchelier French bistro. Get a champagne-and-salmon-ontoast-points fix at Flute, and sushi at Hatsuhana is always a good idea. But when it comes to playing in Manhattan’s sandbox, Downtown is especially apropos. There are SOOOOOOO many places in the city to eat and play, I couldn’t possibly cover them all in one article. El Cid has some of the best tapas I’ve ever had. Do not go without having the croquettes and potato salad appetizer, both equally addictive. Blue Ribbon Sushi is still an incredible example of authentic sushi and, like Bond Street, if you call ahead they’ll tell you the wait is well over an hour. Make a reservation, but show up early to be sure you get in. White Horse Tavern is still a great historical hangout (it’s said the brilliant poet Dylan Thomas died from alcoholism in 1953 after a particularly long drinking bout there). Though you can’t find a better order of French fries than at Balthazar, the scene there is still the main attraction after 10 years. Downtown Manhattanites may be terminally chic, but they still have to eat just like the rest of us. Though places like Gourmet Garage and Fairway have dominated Manhattan’s grocery scene for years, SoHo’s Dean & Deluca at Prince Street is just stupid fabulous. (Charlotte’s Dean and Deluca is a similar but pale shadow of its Manhattan cousin.) You can walk into SoHo’s Dean & Deluca and simply wander aimlessly, your mouth agape. Washington Square Park can be an exercise in culture shock, but is always good for people watching. If you’re lucky, your afternoon might include happening onto a street fair near Cooper Square and subsequently enjoying a chardonnay at neighboring Time Café. Shopping on Lower Broadway cannot be beat and lunch and a visit to the farmer’s market in Union Square is a must-do. Nighttime in Manhattan is like visiting another planet. The velvet rope there is just as ridiculous as it is in Charlotte but more so, and I long ago adopted the attitude that if I have to cross one to get in someplace, that place will not have me (with the exception of Hom, Liv, Feast, which is always a blast). It’s a secret many swanky Manhattan bars keep from the masses they appear to so desperately keep out; the masses are the very folks they love to let in. Made famous by empty headed starlets worth their weight in fly paper, they entice unsuspecting tourists into waiting in line to spend $350 for a $35 bottle of vodka and a table near other people on the same fool’s errand. Truly VIP places in Manhattan don’t have big guys with earpieces and velour ropes guarding the door. They fly so under the radar of the general public, many don’t even have signage. You’ve got to know someone just to find out where they are. And as for getting in? You better know someone well. The hottest places to see and be seen in Manhattan change like the wind, and New York Magazine previous page: the flatiron building

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is a good resource to find them. Or, if you’re staying at a place like SoHo’s The Gem Hotel, you can just ask Anthony. “It’s Just a ‘Gem’ of a Place to Stay” On my most recent trip I discovered a new favorite lodging choice called oh-so-appropriately The Gem Hotel. It’s near the tail end of Second Avenue, close enough to walk to lots of downtown hangouts. The Gem Hotel is a tiny replica of a larger boutique hotel, with none of the pretense. (You know how I detest pretentiousness in hotels and restaurants.) At the Gem Hotel I was pleasantly greeted by a smiling face who naturally knew everything going on in the area – this is a major plus when you’re in New York City. You see, what’s current in Manhattan changes practically every second, so every time you visit you have to get the scoop on the happening clambakes. The Gem was one of the two cleanest hotels in which I have ever stayed, and the layout was so New York City, even the water bottles were cool. They provide Wolfgang Puck coffee in the rooms, and make clever use of the space by putting the dresser drawers in the bed platform. The sheets are high thread-count, and no fewer than

The city chewed me up, but I held on tightly to her violent apron strings. And for nearly a decade I stayed.

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six pillows were piled on the massive (and unspeakably comfortable) bed. Your hotel in New York City is home base, so it’s important to stay somewhere nice that won’t break you, and The Gem Hotel fit the bill in more ways than one. view of midtown manhattan’s skyline from the water

“New York City is the Art of Finding Your Way” I became addicted to the art galleries of SoHo years ago when my then player/dentist boyfriend took me to The Time is Now gallery. The gallery featured the work of photographer Peter Beard. He chronicled the rape and horror of Africa and the poaching, to near extinction, of its native animals. It inspired me so that I wrote two poems: “Visions of Africa” and “Through the Eyes of Another,” one of which was published in “Anthology… A Celebration of Poets.” I had always been a writer of sorts, but the night we went to that gallery, I felt it in my soul as I cried myself to sleep after viewing the faces of the animals and seeing what we had done to the world where all life began. Beard’s passion for preserving history in pictures was my first indication that I would one day feel the same way about the written word. Were it not for this experience, I might not have become a travel writer. This is the power of Manhattan. In the film “The American President,” Michael Douglas’s character, President Andrew Shepherd, says, “America isn’t easy. You’ve got to want it bad, ‘cause it’s gonna put up a fight.” That’s Manhattan. It’s advanced citizenship, and it’s a members-only club. My initiation was tough, but I would only change about 10 percent of it. New York City makes you who you are and reveals your character. Like Biltmore Estate blacksmith Doc Cudd, who constructs works of art from simple steel rods, Manhattan is a massive anvil, and the experience you have living there is the blacksmith. Together they will heat and mold you, and either you’ll blossom from the process or cave beneath the pressure. For me, the hard times eventually morphed into things like $50 brunches at The Plaza sitting next to people such as Yoko Ono; The Hamptons, and late nights at places with iron-clad velvet ropes (but we always got in). I wound up working alongside accomplished actresses including the otherworldly beautiful Michele Persley, whose incredible talent has graced theaters and television’s General Hospital. I partnered with then-unknown Samantha Brown (now of Travel Channel fame) to give Nancy St. Alban (Guiding Light, Hallmark movies) her bachelorette party. I became close friends with Doublemint Twins Heidi and Alyssa Kramer, and I was photographed at the nightclub Chaos (made famous on Sex and the City) for New York Magazine with the caption “late night lovelies” underneath our picture. And in 1995, my dream of performing in a Broadway Theater came true when I made a guest appearance singing in a friend’s “Christmas in July” show at the Hudson Theater. In those days we didn’t have Sex and the City to tell us which character to be: we WERE Sex and the City. That wonderful, glorious show was about women like us, though we were

œ“iÊ̅i>ÌiÀÊ ÃœÊ>`Û>˜Vi`Ê ÞœÕÊV>˜Ê>VÌÕ>ÞÊ ÕÃiʈ̰Ê

ÊLiÌÌiÀʅœ“iÊ̅i>ÌiÀÊiÝ«iÀˆi˜ViʈÃÊ ˜œÜÊ>Û>ˆ>LiÊ>ÌÊ̅iÊ-…œ«ÃÊ>ÌÊœÀÀˆÃœ˜ ΙÓäÊ-…>Àœ˜Ê,œ>`ʈ˜Ê-œÕ̅*>ÀŽ Çä{‡™Çä‡{äää ÜÜÜ°iÝ«iÀˆi˜Vi…i°Vœ“ considerably younger than the characters on the show. Manhattan was the rock we broke ourselves against. I’ve traded in my dancing shoes for a typewriter, and traded Manhattan for the joy of being near my nieces (and a much lower cost of living). More than 500 articles later, many of my friends jokingly refer to me as their own “Carrie Bradshaw” and with each rerun of Sex and the City I watch, my heart breaks just a little bit that Manhattan is no longer my home. My life now is back here in the South, where I grew up. But I found my way, and found myself on the island of Manhattan. And to this day, some 17 years later, I still feel the pull of her lights, smells and sounds. Everyone should at some point live in New York City, because it’s more than just the capital of the world. It’s the crème de la crème of the school of life. Millions of years from now when we’re all dead and gone, Manhattan will be hallowed ground, its energy still swirling above it. It’s alive, rotating on its own axis. It doesn’t owe anyone an explanation and it doesn’t apologize for its shortcomings. They are part of its character. It takes what it wants to feed itself, and the energy that results is what you feel when you land at LaGuardia or JFK, or stroll out of Penn Station into the vortex. It’s simply electric. U You can reach Kelly at: kellygray@gotgraymatter.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com

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words: amanda mcVay pictures: fenix fotography


Live Free and Fry Hard I’m sitting in the grass, eating with my fingers and drinking the sweetest tea I’ve ever had, and I am not abashed. I am eating a piece of history and a cultural icon: fried chicken. It’s hot outside, but the chicken is fresh, juicy and delicious, and I am not alone. Other locals are having their chicken on the grass, in their cars, or on the curbs of the parking lot. We all nod to each other because, while we don’t know each other, we are part of a brother- and sisterhood. Whether it’s Sunday lunch at grandma’s or a New Year’s Day tradition with blackeyed peas, fried chicken isn’t just food; it’s legend.

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F

ried chicken has existed as part of Southern food ways for centuries, since slaves from Africa came into plantation kitchens as cooks and began to bread the chicken pieces and fry them in fat. It was a staple at church suppers and picnics. Harlan Sanders turned it into road food in Kentucky in the 1960s, and then into fast food in the 1970s. Before there was a chicken stand at every exit on the interstate, fried chicken had its place in homes and small country restaurants throughout the South. Fried chicken was born previous page: priceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original in the South, but it moved sign on top of their building throughout the country as this page: the hectic scene inside people left southern farms for priceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s during the lunch rush jobs in the cities. They brought

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their foods with them. Fried chicken was comfort food and soul food. It didn’t matter what you called it; it was good food. It reminded folks of home. Fast forward to modern times as everyone, it seems, became concerned about fat grams as heart disease started killing more Americans than cancer. Chicken, in its fried state, seemed to fall from grace. But still we eat it! What makes good fried chicken? According to Stephen Price of Price’s Chicken Coop, it’s the ingredients: “You have to start with quality product or you won’t produce a quality product.” For others, including Melissa Cole of Charlotte, it’s the crust: “It has to have a good seasoned crust, to seal in the juices. Otherwise it dries out or just soaks fat,.” My mother always seasoned her fried chicken with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, a staple in many southern kitchens. Some left: the man behind the myth, the chef of the coffee cup above: the coffee cup’s masterpiece

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season the flour, some the chicken. Others soak the meat in buttermilk or beaten eggs. No matter the recipe, a lot of what makes it the time-honored food that it is are the hands that make it. Fried chicken isn’t made by machines. It’s made by people. The care and pride of the cooks in preparing the chicken, breading and frying it, are what truly constitutes good fried chicken. The personal touch is something that fast-food chains can never replicate. Price’s

People who are fans of fried chicken largely fall into one of two camps, the pan fryers and the deep fryers. Pan-fried fans head to the Coffee Cup Grill, while the folks who love deep-fried goodness stand in line at Price’s.

Chicken Coop has people working there who have been there for 20 years. The Coffee Cup has only had five owners in the 60 years since it was founded by the Turner brothers in 1947 to feed factory workers. The building, fixtures, menu and recipes have all passed

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from owner to owner. Fans of fried chicken largely fall into one of two camps, the pan fryers and the deep fryers. Pan-fried fans head to the Coffee Cup Grill, while the folks who love deep-fried goodness stand in line at Price’s. “Fried chicken crosses all socio-economic boundaries,” says Stephen Price of Price’s Chicken Coop. Indeed, if you go to the Coop on any day of the week, you’ll stand in line with bankers, hairdressers, construction workers and doctors. You’ll pay cash for your choice from a menu that hasn’t changed in 20 years. Fried chicken is constant. Whether you drive a BMW or a beat-up Chevy, the smell of that frying chicken calls you in like a siren song. Price’s Chicken Coop has been in business since 1962, serving their fried chicken from the same small store on Camden Road in the South End of Charlotte. It began as a chicken market, where people would select a chicken and have it dressed in the store. he Coffee Cup, on the other hand, has closed its original location and reopened in the University area, but I still make the trip for that juicy, golden-brown nirvana, fried in cast-iron skillets at least as old as the chairs and tables, if not the sign. The customers sit in those timeworn booths, tearing pieces of savory chicken off the bones and spooning up some tasty peach cobbler. It isn’t fancy at the Coffee Cup;

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there’s no glass or silverware, just plastic and Styrofoam, but it is the genuine article. Authenticity is in every bite of the seasoned crust, every forkful of locally grown green beans. You’ll eat too much and be glad that you did. The Cup was Charlotte’s first racially integrated restaurant. Now, though the location has changed, the sense of family hasn’t. “It’s a family place,” says Chris, the cashier I met there. “You can come here and relax, bring the kids and have good food.” So it isn’t just the chicken that has a storied past, but the places that make it as well. The hands that fry it, the faces that sell it. They all tell their stories through the food that they serve, however simple and humble. It reconnects us to what we used to be, how we used to live. It reminds us of simpler times, even if we never see those times again. No matter which is your particular preference, pan fried or deep fried, we all know the joy of that first bite. That golden crust crackles under your teeth, spilling the savory juices across your palate. The tender meat tears away from the bones and melts like butter on your tongue. It’s delicious fresh out of the fryer but also out of the refrigerator for a midnight snack. Few things are as indicative of the American South as previous page left: all the major food groups are served with every meal at price’s: fried chicken, hush puppies and slaw previous page right: another satisfied customer

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fried chicken. Even fewer have the kind of cachet that this humble, country food has claimed both in our kitchens and in our hearts. No matter where you started out in this fine country, if you ended up in the South, especially here in Charlotte, you are in good fried chicken company. No matter what food trends come and go, fried chicken is a part of our history, our culture, and our collective soul. U You can reach Amanda at: almcvay1@gmail.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com

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hat do you call a food that’s as old as Genghis Khan, as versatile as a little black dress, and as comfortable as a pair of old slippers? You call it a hamburger, of course! Yes, that lowly mound of ground-up meat is all of those things and more. And in Charlotte, burgers are big with a capital B! I’m not joking about the Genghis Khan thing either. Rumor has it that Khan and his band of merry men were totally into fast food. You can’t conquer great chunks of the planet by sitting down for a nosh, you know. With their pressing schedule, cooking wasn’t always an option, so the basic Khan burger looked and tasted like an early version of steak tartare (don’t even ask how it was tenderized--you really don’t want to know).

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s for versatility, I might have overstated a bit, but the hamburger is much more versatile than little black dress in terms of being suitable for all occasions. If you wind your way around town, searching out and devouring hamburgers as I have done for this article (poor me!), you discover that this particular dish can be both lavishly formal and scarf-down-on-the-run casual. As with the dress, it all depends on the accessories. The essential fact is that the hamburger is absolutely never out of place on any menu. The crux of hamburger popularity, though, may be in the comfort aspect. It is why children and less adventurous diners are so often drawn to hamburgers at restaurants. When they order a burger, they know what to expect. The hamburger is a classic, adaptable and safe, and even nostalgic. Just as Proust’s madeleines evoked a food memory of novel-length (over 1,000 pages), the taste and aroma of a hot, juicy burger is able to transport us back to an earlier time, possibly to our first, or most significant, restaurant experience. I grew up in the 1950’s and witnessed the birth of the drive-in, and there is definitely a specific burger flavor that can sling me back and make me tear up over the poodle skirt I gave away. When you consider that what constitutes a hamburger is ground beef (as I’m specifically addressing the original version, not poultry, game, or veggie hybrids), it is amazing that not all burgers awaken the same feelings. That they don’t is an absolute certainty. Otherwise, no one would have a favorite burger spot. So what is it that sets one hamburger apart from another? I’ve chewed that question over a lot in the past few weeks, and without even addressing the variety of toppings and condiments available, left: deliciousness at big daddy’s I believe I’ve found the above: the view of big daddy’s answer. Actually, there are

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two answers: the quality of the meat and the cooking method. It is a given that the meat will be beef. And menus frequently specify the type of beef â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Kobe, Angus, chuck. What isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t usually in print is the meat-to-fat ratio. And thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what makes all the difference in flavor. (Warning: the following paragraph may be disturbing to the health-conscious reader.) In the hamburger universe, fat is our friend. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s true. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to have it. It is essential. The best burgers generally have an 80/20 mix. They are moist, juicy, and flavorful. An 80/20 hamburger will make the bun a little soggy and your hands a little greasy, but in terms of taste, it canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be beat. However, the fat factor can be modified by the cooking method. And each method imparts its own unique flavor, generally by how much or how little of the fat it impacts. Burgers can be cooked on an open gas grill, a charcoal grill, seared on a flat-top, or fried in a skillet. Grilling is the healthiest method. It allows the fat content of the meat to cook away. The fat has the opportunity to baste the meat as it cooks, but not to linger. The burger retains some moisture, but not all. Gas grilling adds no flavor of its own. Charcoal, on the other hand, lends a nice woodsy, open-air taste that awakens memories of summer picnics at the lake. If what you look for in your burger is that distinctive roadside diner flavor, then a quick fry on the flat-top or in a skillet is going to work best for you. In both of these methods, the fat in the meat

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remains with the meat, flavoring it and keeping it tender and juicy. These are the â&#x20AC;&#x153;greasyâ&#x20AC;? burgers many of us grew up with and still (to the dismay of our cardiologists) gobble with delight. Any meat, however well marbled, will suffer from overcooking. Unfortunately, ground meat has gotten a very bad rap in the past few years and has been deemed unsafe unless thoroughly cooked. It is a North Carolina law that ground meats be served no less than medium rare, UNLESS the beef is a top grade of meat like Kobe, never frozen, and ground on the premises. This brings us full circle to Charlotte being big into burgers, and an answer to the burning question. Where in Charlotte can you savor an excellent burger? In my search I found a number of absolutely fantastic hamburger places, although not all of them were advertised as such. Those were lovely surprises. Most of the restaurants that make hamburgers their specialty arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t kidding. They have it down to a science. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll give you a rundown of some of the more outstanding choices and what, in my opinion, makes them worth a visit. My picks range from upscale to diner-type casual, and unless otherwise noted the burgers are cooked on a flat-top. For me, the Cadillac of burger places is Red Rocks CafĂŠ. Both the Strawberry Hill location and the Birkdale Village restaurant have a Kobe beef burger, ground in house, and served just as rare


as you can stand. Since I like my beef practically mooing, Red Rocks is the place for me. But even if you prefer your meat cooked a bit more, it is a great place to go. The Kobe beef is tender, juicy, and has a beefier flavor than most of the burgers you’ll encounter. And don’t pass up the Parmesan Potato Cakes. They are fantastic. If you can still manage dessert, plan on sharing. The desserts at Red Rocks are delicious and huge. Next on my list is the new kid in town, Big Daddy’s Burgers on East Boulevard. It is owned and operated by the same folks who brought us mouth-watering Italian cuisine at Mama Ricotta’s and innovative Mexican food at Cantina 1511. In terms of excellence, they’ve done it again at Big Daddy’s. Although the burgers are cooked to medium rare (unless you request well-done), the meat is moist and flavorful. At Big Daddy’s you really need to try the homemade potato chips or sweet potato fries. A South End favorite is Pike’s Old Fashion Soda Shop on Camden Road. The soda shop thing isn’t just hype. Pike’s was a pharmacy in the era when they were called drugstores, and the very best ones had counters where you could lunch and have a milkshake or malt with real ice cream. You still can, but don’t pass up the hamburger. It’s very thick and juicy, so bring an appetite and ask for extra napkins. If you venture out to the upper part of Providence road, be sure to stop in at Fenwick’s. It’s a cozy little restaurant that serves an excellent half-pound char-grilled burger cooked perfectly and presented beautifully. The side orders are generally very healthy and generous. If you still have room, try the blueberry pie. It’s superb! And for those of us who enjoy wine with our beef, the Fenwick’s wine list has some excellent options. In the realm of the very casual, diner-like burger joint, Penguin Drive-In is king. The clientele is an eclectic group of suits and boots, tattoos and tutus. It is located on Commonwealth Avenue and, although the diner looks rough from the outside, the folks inside are warm and welcoming and the burgers hit the spot. The Penguin is also famous for their fried pickles, which make a great accompaniment to the sandwich. And last but not least is Mr. K’s on South Boulevard. This is very much a family diner. It’s a perfect place to take the kiddos because the service is quick, the burgers are diminutive enough to fit little hands and appetites, and you don’t have to worry about spills. Mr. K’s burgers are done on an open grill that can be seen from the counter and the air is perfumed with the aroma of cooking meat. Not many Charlotteans are world conquerors looking for a quick nibble. Some are just busy executives in need of a taste from the past. Others of us are foodies taking a break from the trendy and unique to savor the comfortable and predictable. And some are the newest generation of food aficionados learning what tastes they love and why. Whoever you happen to be, there is a burger out there with your name on it. Vive l’ hamburger! U You can reach Sue at: suebartlett@bellsouth.net For more info go to www.uptownclt.com

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John “JD” Duncan enters Las Ramblas restaurant and scans the dining room. “Hola, senora. Como estas?” he asks before pecking the hostess on the cheek. He waves to the bartender and buzzes over to a table of regulars to say hello. In a starched blue chambray shirt and khakis, Duncan exudes the friendly demeanor of a man in charge, a combination of command and comfort.

words: sheila saints pictures: fenix fotography


D

uncan owns Las Ramblas, a Spanish tapas café and bar in Dilworth that’s named after a street in Barcelona that invites people to stroll, shop and unwind. His tapas restaurant attempts to capture that same warm ambiance: a Moroccan table and chair set, antlers hanging from the walls, Ave Maria sheet music pressed behind glass, a color scheme of deep red and muted taupe, a magnificent custom chandelier forged from wine bottles, a bustling open kitchen. Duncan came up with the concept for Las Ramblas with some friends who share their time between Charlotte and Barcelona. He and his long-time executive chef Blake Hartwick traveled to Barcelona twice to gather ideas for the décor and menu. Hartwick stayed behind for six weeks working in kitchens to learn authentic Spanish recipes. The list of tapas (appetizers meant to be shared) includes calamari frita, crab-stuffed piquillo peppers, artichoke cakes and paella. Desserts include mango saffron sorbet with mascarpone and olive oil ice cream. The wine is list extensive. Coming up with new ideas is what Duncan calls the fun part. “I’m a creative person. My forte is finding a concept I like and filling a need for it in the marketplace.” His philosophy has kept him in the restaurant business for ten years in Charlotte. He owns Las Ramblas, Mac’s

the star out front of mac speed’s shop

Speed Shop and Bonterra Dining and Wine Room. And while Duncan appears to have a lot on his plate, he’s actually working less these days. At this level of success, it’s more about maintaining momentum than creating it. “I work less than when I just had Bonterra,” he said. “Now, I delegate. I go from restaurant to restaurant. My lifestyle has changed; it’s not as stressful. “I don’t mean to sound egotistical, but running restaurants comes natural for me. I’ve been doing it for so long.” Duncan grew up in Atlanta, where his childhood shaped his future career. His mother is Greek (all that good cooking!) and his father is an entrepreneur. “I learned a lot about how to run a business from my father,” he said. At 17, Duncan worked at Houston’s restaurant group in Nashville where he did a little bit of everything and learned a lot. “It was very structured there. This is how you do this, this how you do that. They tracked your consistency and quality,” he said, adding that many of Charlotte’s top restaurateurs worked there. He worked for 12 years with the Buckhead Life Group in Atlanta. Duncan is also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Napa Valley. In 1997, he moved to Charlotte with the idea of opening a fine dining establishment. Two years later, he opened Bonterra with his


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“for Americans, food is fuel. Europeans sit with friends; the drive-thru is not part of their life. it’s nice to have Americans slow down and chill out and eat at local restaurants.”

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parents as partners. Bonterra, a “special occasion restaurant,” is housed in a renovated church on Cleveland Avenue. When you walk in, the understated elegance transports you from Charlotte to Europe. “In Europe, food and wine are a way to get together and have a conversation,” Duncan said. “For Americans, food is fuel. Europeans sit with friends; the drive-thru is not part of their life. It’s nice to have Americans slow down and chill out and eat at local

to order your soufflé first because it takes 45 minutes to bake. Your water glass is refilled without you noticing. The menu includes entrees such as halibut over fava beans and polenta, black pepper encrusted tuna with morel mushrooms, duck breast, quinoa, and lobster tail. The fish comes in fresh everyday. The menu changes with the seasons. Hartwick tries to find the best product available. The salads, entrees and dessert are equally timed so one never arrives before you’re through with the previous. The attention to detail is palpable. Duncan calls it his 23-item list. It starts with the person taking your reservation, then to the valet, the hostess, the flowers, the wines, the waiters, the food. “We have to hit each one and make it perfect,” he said. “If someone is spending $75 to $100 a person, that’s what they expect.” But this white tablecloth, linen napkin, fine dining restaurant is the last one he’ll open. “I’ll never go back to the Bonterra level. I used to spend all my time there the first few years. It took a lot of effort for Bonterra. Las Ramblas is not as much of a challenge to make a profit. The “list” for Las Ramblas is about 12 or 13. The list for Mac’s Speed Shop is about four. “I was surprised Mac’s did what it did. That’s a profitable restaurant,” he said. A second location has opened at Lake Norman. Mac’s, he said, was an expandable concept. Located on South Boulevard, Mac’s Speed Shop is located in a www.uptownclt.com

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a challenge just guessing what something’s going to cost, like the bathrooms or the hood over the stove. I would suggest they start small. The kids out of college want to start on the Bonterra level, but the more you charge, the more the customer expects. At Mac’s,” he added, “the volume is high and the food cost is low. That’s why it’s profitable.” Duncan has another restaurant idea percolating for South Boulevard: a California-style Dairy Queen called “Carolina Classics.” The menu would be standard burgers and fries but with a twist for adults: wine and beer and quirky milkshakes with espresso or pistachio. With this fourth concept restaurant, Duncan will have captured every economic segment. “I want to be the king of the South End,” he jokes. Will his new idea be successful? Just look at his past. “What has worked for me is that I have worked in every aspect of the restaurant business. I have a great appreciation for my employees, for what it takes: the hours, the energy, the lack of appreciation from the owners. I can’t pat them on the back every night, but I try to do it often. Most restaurateurs are looking for what employees are doing wrong or what they’re not supposed to be doing. I try to do the opposite. My employees are the biggest part of my success.” U You can reach Sheila at: cltwriter@gmail.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com

former automotive joint. The site sat vacant for years until Duncan and Hartwick transformed it into a local hangout known for its smoky atmosphere, tasty barbecue and weekend biker crowd. “My passion is coming up with concepts, creating a niche that foodies can appreciate which can’t be duplicated. With Johnson & Wales on the scene, people in Charlotte understand the different levels of food beyond the ordinary,” he said. He welcomes the influx

Vision and passion are one thing, capital is another. Duncan said that, given the current economic environment, would-be restaurant owners have to know how to run a business and a menu. of new chefs and new restaurants: the more, the better. “We need chefs with great vision.” Vision and passion are one thing, capital is another. Duncan said that, given the current economic environment, would-be restaurant owners have to know how to run a business and a menu. “A lot of people have ideas for restaurants, but they’re undercapitalized. If you’re starting a business, double the estimate. It’s 82

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Uptown: How long have you been reviewing restaurants? Patricia (Tricia) Childress: I have been writing for Creative Loafing since September 1995, but freelanced wine and food articles before that. U: Are there any major food critics or writers you admire or emulate? PC: Although I am amused (isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t everyone?) by Anthony Bourdainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 84

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salacious approach to the business of restaurants, I am an avid reader and rereader of Calvin Trillin, A.J. Liebling and M.F.K. Fisher. Her essays are magically succulent. I also never hesitate to sit back and enjoy the food/travel essays and books by Peter Mayle. A few years ago, Heidi (Billotto) graciously invited Kathleen Purvis and me to have lunch with Peter in her home one afternoon. We had Carolina barbecue and memorable conversation.

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words: peter reinhart pictures: fenix fotography

U: What are some of the most significant restaurant developments you’ve seen in Charlotte and nationally during your years of reviewing? PC: It’s hard to believe, but in 1995 Charlotte didn’t have sidewalk dining in downtown Charlotte. In fact, downtown didn’t have much dining at all. The place to dine was East Boulevard. In 1995 the Panthers played their first season in Clemson, so the eye of the upscale chain restaurants hadn’t fallen upon Charlotte. In 1995, it was common for female diners in Charlotte NOT to be offered a wine list. On many occasions while dining with other women we would repeatedly request the wine list. Very few places offered a selection of wines by the glass. Fast forward to 2008 and Charlotte is brimming with corporate chains, sidewalk dining, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Park Lanes opened a wine bar. Food, both locally and nationally, has gone from the fusion of the 1990’s to organic in the aughts. Food now has star power. During the past 13 years Charlotte’s immigrant population has grown and with it so have associated ethnic markets, bakeries, and restaurants. I’m loving the expanding cultural diversity of the city. In addition, Johnson & Wales University (where I am an Assistant Professor in Arts and Sciences), CPCC, and the Art Institute are all playing a part in developing an educated pool of potential employees for area restaurants. U: How do you manage to keep up with all the new trends and food styles? How do you stay attuned to both the local, national, and even international food scene? PC: I read, eat, and travel. I love New York (have family there) and try to get to Manhattan once a year. I’ve been fortunate to travel extensively. I’m writing this from Greece, where I have been teaching a Johnson & Wales University summer studyabroad program; last year tapas lured me to Spain; and the year before I spent a month tasting wines in Australia. I’m lucky: I’ve had barbecue in Memphis, Tennessee, and on the site of ancient Memphis in Egypt. Does life get better?

U: What are some of the things that impress you most in a restaurant, your criteria for a positive review? And what things bring a negative review? PC: It’s the overall experience, but keep in mind restaurant reviewing is more similar to the assessments of a theater critic than to a movie critic. There are so many variables in a restaurant. Some nights everything clicks while others are fraught with challenges. For a restaurant to achieve a good review, the balance of service and food must tip to the good, or recommendable, side. The food has to work. My preference is for clean tastes: salmon needs to taste like salmon. In my view, a good chef lets the food speak. I’m not one for a party on the plate. Also, a good server allows the guests to dine in the classic sense. I also need to say that some people read my reviews online years after they were written. That’s like reading the reviews of an original Broadway cast and thinking you’ll have the same experience with

In 1995, it was common for female diners in Charlotte NOT to be offered a wine list. the fourth season cast. You may have a similar experience, even a better experience. Some people, like chef-owner Bruce Moffet of Barrington’s, consistently put out a great product year in and year out. But once a review is in the digital twilight it seems to achieve immortality. U: Can you describe one dining experience, here or anywhere, that totally blew you away? PC: It was dinner in a home last year. Isabella (a native of Spain) and Gino (a native of Peru) Macchivello had a restaurant in Charlotte years ago, Lo Speido. I had lost touch with them, but became reacquainted through an article I wrote about a friend of theirs. I had never met them in person, but had chatted with them on the phone. They invited me for tapas, and many of the ingredients shipped directly from Spain. Also at that dinner was Rudolpho Montero, whose Spanish restaurant Tio Montero (on East Boulevard) was a favorite of mine (and many other Charlotteans). It was an evening not unlike the final dinner in ‘Big Night’ or ‘Babette’s Feast’ where each dish surpassed the previous. It left me speechless. U: What are your predictions for the restaurant scene here in Charlotte during the next year and beyond? PC: The economy is the big factor. Nationally and locally people are gravitating towards more casual dining, smaller plates, organic foods. During economic downturns, though, comfort food emporiums are top choices. U You can reach Peter at: Peter.Reinhart@jwu.edu For more info go to www.uptownclt.com www.uptownclt.com

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Dining and Nightlife Guide AMERICAN Alexander Michael’s – $ 401 W. 9th St. 704.332.6789 Brevard Court Sundries – $ 145 Brevard Court 704.342.4700 Camilles – $ 1518 E. 3rd St. 704.342.4606 Cans – $ 500 W. 5th St. 704.940.0200 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 Dogwood Cafe – $ 138 Brevard Court 704.376.8353 East Boulevard Grill – $ 1601 East Blvd. 704.332.2414 Ember Grille – $$$ 601 S. College St. WestinHotel 704.335.2064 Fenwick’s – $ 511 Providence Rd. 704.333.2750 Fox and Hound – $ 330 N. Tryon St. 704.333.4113 French Quarter – $ 321 S. Church St. 704.377.7415 The Graduate – $ 1308 E. The Plaza 704.332.8566 John’s Country Kitchen – $ 1518 Central Ave. 704.333.9551 Pike’s Soda Shop – $ 1930 Camden Rd. 704.372.0097 Presto Bar and Grill – $ 445 W. Trade St. 704.334.7088 Providence Café – $ $ 829 Providence R d. 704.376.2008 Providence Road Sundries – $ 1522 Providence Rd. 704.366.4467 Rock Bottom – $ 401 N. Tryon St. 704.334.2739 Selwyn Pub – $ 2801 Selwyn Ave. 704.333.3443 Simmons Fourth Ward Restaurant – $ 516 N. Graham St. 704.334.6640 Something Classic Café – $ 715 Providence Rd. 704.347.3666 South 21 – $ 3101 E. Independence Blvd. 704.377.4509 Southend Brewery – $$ 2100 South Blvd. 704.358.4677 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 Zack’s Hamburgers – $ 4009 South Blvd. 704.525.1720

AMERICAN MODERN 131 Main – $$ 1315 East Blvd. 300 East – $$ 300 East Blvd.

704.343.0131 704.332.6507

Bentley’s on 27 – $$$ 201 S. College St. Fl. 27 704.343.9201 (Charlotte Plaza Building) Bonterra Restaurant – $$$ 1829 Cleveland Ave. 704.333.9463 Carpe Diem – $$$ 1535 Elizabeth Ave. 704.377.7976 City Tavern – $$ 1514 East Blvd. 704.343.2489 City Tavern – $$ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.334.6688 Custom Shop – $$$ 1601 Elizabeth Ave. 704.333.3396 Fig Tree – $$$ 1601 E. Seventh St. 704.332.3322 Harry & Jeans 201 S. Tryon St. 704.333.4300 Lulu – $$ 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 – $$ 435 S. Tryon St. 704.358.9898 Taverna 100 – $$$ 100 N. Tryon St. – Founder’s Hall 704.344.0515 Zown Restaurant – $$ 710 W. Trade St. 704.379.7555 Zink – $$ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.444.9001

ASIAN 88 China Bistro – $ 1620 E. 4th St. 704.335.0288 Cherry Blossom – $ 2001 E. 7th St. 704.376.0880 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 Ho Ho China Bistro – $ 1742 Lombardy Cir. 704.376.0807 Hong Kong – $ 1713 Central Ave. 704.376.6818 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. 704.358.9688

BAKERY Cloud 9 Confections – $ 201 S. College St. Suite 270 Great Harvest Bread – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. Marguerite’s Bakery – $ 2424 N. Davidson St. Nova’s Bakery – $ 1511 Central Ave. Panera Bread – $ 601 Providence Rd.

704.334.7554 704.333.0431 704.675.5756 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.

704.334.6338

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

COFFEESHOPS 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 – $ 2135 Southend Dr. 704.343.3000 Java Passage – $ Inside the design center 704.343.3000 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 SK Netcafe – $ 1425 Elizabeth Ave. 704.334.1523 Starbucks – $ 545 Providence Rd. 704.372.1591 Starbucks – $ 704.374.9519 101 S. Tryon St. Tic Toc Coffeeshop – $ 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 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 Jersey Mike’s Subs – $ 128 S. Tryon St. 704.343.0006 Jersey Mike’s Subs – $ 1408 East Blvd. 704.295.9155 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 Panera Bread – $ 601 Providence Rd. 704.374.0581 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


Dining and Nightlife Guide 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

DESSERT Ben & Jerry’s – $ 507 Providence Rd. 704.333.1003 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

ECLECTIC The Melting Pot – $$$ 901 S. Kings Dr. Stuite 140-B 704.548.2431 Therapy Cafe – $ 401 N. Tryon St. 704.333.1353 The Fig Tree – $$ 1601 E. 7th St. 704.332.3322

FRENCH Terra – $$ 545-B Providence Rd.

704.332.1886

GREEK Greek Isles – $$ 200 E. Bland St. Showmars – $ 2004 East 7th St. Showmars – $ 214 N. Tryon St.

704.444.9000 704.376.0565 704.333.5833

INDIAN Copper – $$ 311 East Blvd. Maharani – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. Suruchi’s – $ 129 W. Trade St.

Luce Ristorante & Bar – $$$ 214 N. Tryon St. – Hearst Plaza 704.344.9222 Mama Ricotta’s – $$ 601 S. Kings Dr. 704.343.0148 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 Cloud 9 Confections – $ 201 S. College St. 704.334.7554 Latorre’s – $$ 118 W. 5th St. 704.377.4448 Coffee Cup – $ 914 S. Clarkson St. 704.375.8855

M E AT & T H R E E 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 704.333.0063 704.370.2824 704.372.7333

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 Frankie’s Italian Grille – $$ 800 E. Morehead St. 704.358.8004 Hawthorne’s NY Pizza – $ 1701 E. 7th St. 704.358.9339 Intermezzo Pizzeria & Café – $ 1427 E. 10th St. 704.347.2626 Little Italy – $ 2221 Central Ave. 704.375.1625

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. Taqueria La Unica – $ 2801 Central Ave.

704.332.8868 704.371.4448 704.372.4168 704.332.7428 704.342.0950 704.347.5115

MIDDLE EASTERN Kabob Grill – $ 1235-B East Blvd.

704.371.8984

OUTDOOR DINING Big Ben’s Pub – $$ 801 Providence Rd. Cans Bar – $ 500 W. 5th St.

704.334.6338 704.940.0200

East Boulevard Grill – $ 1601 East Blvd. Ember Grille – $$$ 601 S. College St. - Westin Hotel Ri-Ra Irish Pub – $ 208 N. Tryon St Sullivan’s – $$$ 1928 South Blvd. The Corner Pub – $ 335 N. Graham St.

704.332.2414 704.335.2064 704.333.5554 704.335.8228 704.376.2720

PIZZA Brixx – $ 225 East 6th St. 704.347.2749 Donato’s Pizza - $ 6555 Morrison Blvd 704.644.4644 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 Italian Village Pizza 1225 East Blvd 704.332.2880 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 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

QUICK BITES 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 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 Spoons – $ 415 Hawthorne Ln. 704.376.0874 Subway – $ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.333.3302 Wendy’s – $ 211 N. College St. 704.376.8577 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 –$$$ 1601 E. Seventh St. 704.332.3322 GW Fins – $$ 525 N. Tryon S 704.716.3467 LaVecchia’s – $$$ 225 E. 6th St. 704.370.6776 McCormick & Schmick’s – $$$ 200 South Tryon St. 704.377.0201 McIntosh’s – $$$ 1812 South Blvd. 704.342.1088 Outback Steakhouse – $$ 1412 East Blvd. 704.333.2602

SOUTHERN & SOUL 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 Arpa Tapas – $$$ 121 W. Trade St. 704.372.7792 Sole Spanish Grille – $$$ 1608 East blvd.. 704.343.9890

S T E A K H O U S E Beef & Bottle – $$$ 4538 South Blvd. Capital Grille – $$$ 201 N. Tryon St.

704.523.9977 704.348.1400


Dining and Nightlife Guide LaVecchia’s – $$$ 225 E. 6th St. 704.370.6776 Longhorn Steakhouse – $$ 700 E. Morehead St. 704.332.2300 McIntosh’s – $$$ 1812 South Blvd. 704.342.1088 Morton’s – $$$ 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 Cosmos Cafe – $$ 300 N. College St. Fujo Uptown Bistro – $$ 301 S. College St KO Sushi – $$ 230 S. Tryon St. Nikko – $$ 1300-F South Blvd. Restaurant i – $$ 1524 East Blvd. Ru-San’s Sushi – $$ 2440 Park Rd.

704.372.3553 704.954.0087 704.372.7757 704.370.0100 704.333.8118 704.374.0008

T A P A S Arpa Tapas – $$$ 121 W. Trade St. Cosmos Cafe – $$ 300 N. College St. Town Restaurant – $$ 710 W Trade St.

704.372.7792 704.372.3553 704.379.7555

V E G E T A R I A N Dish – $ 704.344.0343 1220 Thomas Ave. 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.

704.537.2595

B A R S Big Ben’s Pub – $$ 801 Providence Rd. Alley Cat – $ 300 N. College St. Amos SouthEnd – $ 1423 S. Tryon St. BAR Charlotte – $ 300 N. College St. Brick & Barrel – $ 200 N. Tryon St. Buckhead Saloon – $ 201 E. 5th St. Cans Bar – $ 500 W. 5th St. Cedar Street Tavern – $ 120 N. Cedar St. Connolly’s on 5th – $ 115 E. 5th St. Cosmos – $$ 300 N. College St. Coyote Ugly – $ 521 N. College St. Crush – $ 300 E. Stonewall St. Dilworth Bar & Grille 911 E. Morehead St.

704.334.6338 704.375.8765 704.377.6874 704.342.2557 704.370.2808 704.370.0687 704.940.0200 704.333.3448 704.358.9070 704.375.8765 704.347.6869 704.377.1010 704.377.3808

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 The Graduate – $ 1308 E. The Plaza 704.332.8566 Grand Central Deli – $ 101 N. Tryon St. 704.348.7032 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 Phil’s Tavern – $ 105 E. Fifth St. 704.347.0035 Picasso’s – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.331.0133 Pravda – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.375.8765 Presto Bar and Grill – $ 445 W. Trade St. 704.334.7088 Ri-Ra Irish Pub – $ 208 N. Tryon St 704.333.5554 Selwyn Pub – $ 2801 Selwyn Ave. 704.333.3443 Southend Brewery – $$ 704.358.4677 2100 South Blvd. 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 Breakfast Club – $ 225 N. Caldwell St. 704.374.1982 The Corner Pub – $ 335 N. Graham St. 704.376.2720 The Forum – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.375.8765 The Gin Mill – $ 1411 S. Tryon St. 704.373.0782 The Graduate – $ 123 W. Trade St. 704.358.3024 The Penguin – $ 1921 Commonwealth Ave. 704.375.6959 The Pub – $ 710 West Trade St. 704.333.9818 Thomas Street Tavern – $ 1218 Thomas St. 704.376.1622 Tilt – $$ 127 W. Trade St. 704.347.4870 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 Visulite Theater – $ 1615 Elizabeth Ave. 704.358.9250 Whiskey River – $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.749.1097

Now offering

Full Service Delivery to the Uptown and Dilworth areas!

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704-377-2458 1520 South Boulevard


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8-1242_


The ultimate choice for luxury living in Uptown Charlotte.

INSPIRATION + VISION =

From the developers of Avenue Condominiums - launching the regeneration of Charlotte’s Third Ward - a stunning 27 story tower complete with first-class amenities, including a fabulous fitness center, stylish clubroom, beautiful outdoor terrace with pool, sun deck and fireplace and so much more. Make the first move. It all starts here.

HOMES FROM THE $180,000’S. MOVE IN EARLY 2009. CONDOMINIUM SALES CENTER 222 SOUTH CHURCH STREET

704.930.2900 catalystcharlotte.com

Specifications, pricing and availability are subject to change without notice. Illustrations are artist’s impression. Photography is representational. E. & O.E. Obtain the Property Report required by Federal law and read it before signing anything. No Federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. ORAL REPRESENTATIONS CANNOT BE RELIED UPON AS CORRECTLY STATING REPRESENTATIONS OF SELLER. FOR CORRECT REPRESENTATIONS, REFERENCE SHOULD BE MADE TO THE PUBLIC OFFERING STATEMENT REQUIRED BY CODE SECTION 47C-4-103 OF THE NORTH CAROLINA CONDOMINIUM ACT AND THE www.uptownclt.com PROPERTY REPORT REQUIRED BY FEDERAL LAW. NEED NOT BE BUILT. Sales by Cottingham Chalk. 704-364-1700.

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Uptown Magazine September 2008  

Capturing the people, places and events in Uptown Charlotte

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