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May 7, 2010 11:47 PM

Help, maybe relocating...

I'm a chef/cook from New Orleans. Displaced by Katrina, I wound up in Miami, which is not a Food town, nor my kinda place. I'd like to visit Charlotte. Are all of the good dining spots close to Uptown? I ride a bike and don't like to commute more than 3 miles. What are the good areas to live in on the cheap? Are there any cool bars frequented by industry folk that I can visit when I do a recon this summer? How are working conditions up there?

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  1. Welcome! Charlotte is like most new cities - it sprawls out from the urban/corporate center and "progress" moves with that growth. The restaurants have moved with the people, That being said, there are plenty of places for your research.

    If I were you, I would look around in the NoDa (North of Davidson) and/or Central Avenue areas regarding housing - relatively inexpensive, artsy, a walk/bike ride to anyhthing you might need etc.

    Regarding working conditions - I worked primarily front of the house and have been selling wine for the past 6 years so I am a bit out of touch. The presence of Johnson & Wales seems to have raised the bar on the quality of overall staff. It's easy to find an inexpensive mercenary for the kitchen - it's better when you find someone passionate! I suspect there will be plenty of responses on this issue as well as the places to hang out.

    I know that "Intermezzo" on Central Ave. is an industry hangout. I live in the suburbs and need to be VERY careful about drinking and driving so I'm not out late with these "guys". I can say that the chefs in this town all seem to get along pretty well. They might rush to get their picks at the farmers market but then chat for an hour about what they'll make with the produce. Also, the is an established and growing locovore supply but the economy seems to be holding this back a bit at the restaurant level.

    If no one else offers up any ideas on where the hangout are, I'll do a bit more research and get back to you. Charlotte's a great town that thinks it's a city (or maybe the other way around?) I've been here for 14 years from the NY metro area and love it . Come up and check us out!

    1. You should check out the Triangle.

      1. What Suse said. Come to Raleigh!!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: cackalackie

          oh and I would love to check out Raleigh as well

          1. re: cheshire

            I agree with checking out the triangle. Durham has been named the "Foodiest small city" in the nation and loves food and diversity, and enjoys a reasonable cost of living.

        2. Cheshire........research Savannah/Charleston. I have relatives there and visit quite often. The restaurant scene in both cities is outstanding. Commuting on a bike in Savannah to work should be no problem. Charleston is a larger city but I am sure you can find living quarters near the downtown areas of both cities. I would love to live in either city. Charlotte is a huge city and spread out. I would hate to ride a bike there. I can see one riding in Savannah. It's a beautiful city. Good luck.

          1. Thanks to all y'all that replied. Let me respond to littleman, and cackalackie first; I, coincidentally, researched exactly those towns ( Savannah, Charleston) as well as Charlotte, before making my somewhat arbitrary choice, and was charmed by their cuisine. My fear was that they would be too small for a New Orleans type like myself, whom is always a lady but is also something of a tramp. I love the idea of Charleston, but wouldn't it be small for a vagrant chef from the bayou country? Will they accept a hard drinking, cigar smoking, female chef?
            to BDM1, Thanks so much for so much info. I just learned that I can drive a scooter there just as I do a bike here, which expands my territory vastly. I like the idea of the NO-DA area for a first start, but prefer historic districts.... after three horrid years in Miami , I'm willing to settle for almost anything. Sorry to sound glum.

            6 Replies
            1. re: cheshire

              cheshire, I would ADORE a hard drinking cigar smoking bayou chef in Chucktown. It's not a great biking town but it is fun. There is actually a Krewe here and we had Mardi Gras this year for the first time. It's not huge like Charlotte but we have a world class food scene. Bring it.

              1. re: cheshire

                scooters? cigars? vagrancy?

                Two words:

                Der. ham.

                1. re: peetoteeto

                  Yes, the OP would seem to fit into the Durham zeitgeist a touch better than with the Charlottean Lords of Finance.

                  1. re: peetoteeto

                    Yes come to Durham and wherever you land get Coop's fried chicken on the menu and maybe Shrimp Uggie too.

                    1. re: peetoteeto

                      my thoughts exactly! the Durty D. I know a wide array of NOLA Exiles in Durham begging for something good from home...

                    2. re: cheshire

                      Sounds like you might need to look up Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner in Raleigh for advice.