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May 21, 2007 07:46 AM

Charlotte - Best Food Neighborhood for Visit

I'm going to be in Charlotte for two weeks in June for work, and at the same time will be celebrating my birthday and my girlfriends birthday while we're there. I'll be working during the day, but my girlfriend will be staying at the hotel without a car and would like to be able to walk and eat, so what neighborhood would be best for us to stay in? Should we be downtown, or are there other areas of town that have developed better food scenes for us to enjoy? Thanks.

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  1. You're better off staying downtown. The Westin is the nicest, cleanest of the downtown hotels, and from what I remember, decently priced as well. None of the quaint neighborhoods, like Plaza-Midwood, Dilworth or Elizabeth, have hotels nearby. Cab rides are $5-10 into these neighborhoods. In Plaza - Midwood, check out the Penguin for their burgers and fried pickles, Lulu's, and Dish, good southern-style comfort food. There's also a handful of shops on Central Ave. & Thomas St.

    In Elizabeth, there's Carpe Diem, a perennial favorite, & Customshop, the newest addition to the foodie scene. Downtown, there's Bentley's on 27 with a nice view of the city at night, Town, Sonoma, Taverna 100, Mert's for good Southern cooking, etc.

    Walking 1 mile south on Tryon, at the intersection of Camden, you can reach some restaurants and shops as well in SouthEnd.

    Hope that helps!

    1. Downtown would be a good place to stay. The night scene has really revitalized in the past few years. Quite a few nightclubs & restaurants to go to. These ahve been well covered here in the past. Just do a search for Charlotte, and you should be able to dig up some good info.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Jibe

        If your girlfriend is going to be there the full 2 weeks, you may want to consider renting a car (or having her drop you off and pick up if you've got the car). Charlotte has a ways to go in terms of mass transit and 2 weeks is a good while to be stuck in any one area in Charlotte without a car unless she's going to be working from the hotel room or otherwise occupied most of the day. Although I agree downtown is probably the best choice, you might also consider splitting up your stay and moving to the Southpark (or other area) at some point just to check out the full scene.

        1. re: Guilty Gourmand

          She's only going to be there one of the weeks, I'll be there both weeks, and she has work to do during the day that will keep her busy, but she wants to be able to walk to get something for lunch, or a cup of coffee when she needs a break.

          1. re: cheinonen

            The Westin downtown is your best bet for a hotel. Mert's Heart and Soul is great for a cheap soul food lunch or dinner. Ratcliffe on the Green is fantastic for a pricier yet delicious lunch or dinner with a strong focus on using local and/or organic ingredients. Both are walking distance from the Westin. There are also a couple locations of Caribou coffee downtown. Johnny Burrito is a good local lunch option downtown as well if you're in the mood for that sort of thing. If you take the free trolly into the Gateway neighborhood (red line), Town is a good spot with an interesting menu. I like all the Plaza-Midwood spots recommended by pinogirl above. Penguin is great for what it is - a total dive that is well-known for it's burgers, fries, and pork chop sandwiches. Dish is very cheap for the quality and quantity of comfort food with a southern accent. Lulu is pricier but worth it - classier, lighter "comfort" food with sort of a french and southern twist - also with a focus on local/organic ingredients. They are not as successful as maintaining this focus as Ratcliffe, but I appreciate any effort at all in this area.

          2. re: Guilty Gourmand

            Southpark is great if she wants to be near shopping, but the food options in that area are a far cry from what you could find in the neighborhoods others have mentioned. Southpark's food choices are fairly limited if you want to really get a taste of the local food scene here. Although I do recommend Nolen Kitchen on Selywn (kind of near Southpark) if you end up in that area.