July 14, 2024 12:21 PM
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The D.E.A.L.: Charlotte

by Emily Olson

Dining: Charlotte Kitchens Are Cooking

The pandemic has been hard on Charlotte restaurants, but it also inspired creativity and even helped create a whole new category of restaurant: ghost kitchens. Startups sometimes rent part of an established restaurant’s kitchen to create their food or they might rent part of an industrial kitchen that serves as a sort of incubator for baby food businesses.

A lot of chains operate delivery businesses this way, but there also are several locally established restaurants operating out of ghost kitchens that provide a delicious takeout meal. Patty & the Dogs, Soul Miner’s Garden and The Alternative Chef operate out of Carolina Commercial Kitchen (3500 Labrobe Dr, STE 300). Honeybear Bake Shop, Best of Both Souls and Meals by Mariah operate out of The City Kitch (9545 Pinnacle Dr, Charlotte). 

If traditional dining is more your speed, Charlotte is no slouch. McNinch House Restaurant (511 North Church St, Charlotte), which is voted a city favorite year after year, is in the Uptown neighborhood of Charlotte. This fine dining spot provides incredible ambiance because it’s located in a Victorian home built in 1892. The menu offers everything from steak to scallops, and its desserts can’t be beat.  

And as the weather warms up in the spring, Charlotte opens its rooftops for dining. Aura Rooftop (600 S College St), located Uptown at the JW Marriott, is a perfect after work spot for small bites, and the bar’s botanical craft cocktails are a crowd favorite. Cloud Bar (555 S McDowell St), located on the roof of Le Méridien Charlotte, offers an incredible, 360-degree view of the Charlotte skyline. Chef David Burke, who calls himself not only a chef, but also an artist an inventor, came up with an incredible menu of small bites for this rooftop-with-a-view. 

The latest spot to join the Charlotte scene is Fidel’s Kitchen, which is opening inside a ghost kitchen just outside of Charlotte’s Uptown neighborhood as we go to press. The sure-to-be hot spot is owned by Jamaican-born Fidel Clarke, and he’s bringing the cuisine of his home country to Charlotte. Dishes like oxtails and rice and peas, which he learned to cook as his mother’s side, will fly out of his spot in the kitchen. 

Entertainment: Queen City Is King of Entertainment

Charlotte’s welcoming community and southern hospitality entice a lot of people to move to the area. And when people move in, entertainment venues spring up!

For lovers of the stage, Blumenthal Performing Arts is the name to know. The organization operates six theaters on three locations in uptown Charlotte. Those theaters are Belk Theater, Booth Playhouse, Stage Door Theater, Knight Theater, McGlohon Theatre, Duke Energy Theater and Ovens Auditorium.  

Belk Theater is the largest in the performing arts center and can seat more than 2,000 audience members. Stage Door Theater is the newest of the six, and many Charlotte locals consider it a hot spot on the entertainment scene. Duke Energy Theater is the perfect attraction for those who love the flexibility of black box theater. The theater regularly hosts interesting performances in a venue graced with stained glass windows and hardwood floors. 

For those who prefer to be entertained outdoors, The Green, located uptown, is a natural Charlotte attraction. This one and a half acre park is located right across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center, which is just one of the reasons why it’s popular among conventioneers who need a break from the hustle and bustle of the tradeshow floor. 

When warm weather arrives, The Green regularly is host to many public events, such as movie screenings and free plays. In the summer, the Charlotte Shakespeare Festival regularly performs. The park is a fitting venue for Shakespeare performances because the public sculpture located in the park all has a literature theme. 

Attractions: Attractions in the Convention Center’s Backyard

It isn’t easy to get away during a busy business to trip to Charlotte, but lucky, there are a couple of can’t-miss attractions just steps away from the Charlotte Convention Center.

NASCAR racing comes alive as the NASCAR Hall of Fame (400 East MLK Jr Boulevard), which is attached to the Charlotte Convention Center by a bridge. The facility planners selected Charlotte for its home because of the wealth of famous NASCAR drivers who came from the city. At the Hall of Fame, visitors can explore seven decades of NASCAR history and information about Hall of Fame honorees can be found on the building’s third floor, which serves as the centerpiece of the attraction. 

Across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center and through The Green, visitors will find the Mint Museum Uptown (500 South Tryon Street). The Mint Museum actually has two facilities. Mint Museum Uptown is the newer of the two, and the original is on Randolph Road. 

The uptown museum that spans five floors boasts an incredible collection of glass, ceramics and wood from the Mint Museum of Craft and Design. Also in the facility are contemporary, American and European art collections from the Randolph Road facility. 

Lodging: Sleep in Style in Charlotte

The most convenient spot for a tired conventioneer to rest their head is at the 700-room Westin, which is attached to the Charlotte Convention Center by a bridge. The hotel has all the amenities you’d need, including a fitness center and meeting space. It also has a cozy bar that’s flooded with natural light and an indoor/outdoor restaurant that offers southern cuisine. 

For a boutique hotel experience, The Ivey’s (127 North Tryon Street) is located mere blocks from the Charlotte Convention Center. The hotel’s 47 rooms were designed by famous interior decorator Nick Alain, and the building is proud of its 400-year-old French oak floors and custom lighting fixtures. The amenities also can’t be beat. The hotel offers luxurious amenities, such as a complimentary daily wine social and a private lounge that doesn’t allow public access. This hotel is truly Charlotte’s “it” spot.

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