Our Now Open series is proudly presented by Charlotte Center City Partners. New businesses are part of what makes Charlotte great but don’t forget to take some time to say hello again to the people and places that made us fall in love with our city in the first place. Check out UptownCharlotte.com + SouthEndCLT.org to find even more spots to explore.
The pandemic has certainly slowed down the rapid fire openings we saw in 2019, but restaurants and retailers are still finding a way to make it work.
Support from home: We’re at a low point in the pandemic as hospitalizations and new daily cases continue to climb to record highs. Health officials say it’s important to stay home as much as we can. Fortunately, there are still ways to support these budding businesses in safe ways: purchase gift cards, follow them on social media, leave a nice review. I’ve sprinkled in other tips throughout this guide.
My top 3: There are nearly 30 restaurants and retailers on this list. Here are my ultimate favorites this fall.
- Curry Gate – Indian and Nepali takeout near Camp North End.
- The Good Wurst Company – New York-style deli meets European street food.
- Good Earth Essentials – A zero-waste shop inside 7th Street Public Market.
Here are 29 new local businesses that opened this fall, and how to support them even in a pandemic.
First spiked seltzer taproom in Charlotte, located in Wesley Heights
What to order: Any of the $5 seltzers on draft. Unlike White Claw and Truly, Summit’s seltzers aren’t clear. They’re colorful and often a little hazy because they use real ingredients like cucumber, lime, pineapple, and jalapeño.
Support from home: Pick-up a crowler to-go.
Location: 2215 Thrift Road in Wesley Heights across the street from Lucky Dog Bark & Brew.
Between Camp North End, Optimist Hall, and 7th Street Public Market, four food stalls have opened this fall
- Harriet’s Hamburgers – Old school burger joint from the teams behind Plaid Penguin and Papi Queso. There are only two food items on the menu: a burger and fries. Order both.
- Collier Candy Company – Atlanta-based candy shop with new and vintage candy, premium sodas, and more.
- Plant Joy – Vegan food stall from the team behind Nourish, a meal delivery service.
- Momo Station – New dumpling food stall with Bhutan, Indian, and Nepali roots.
Sandwich shop in a former smoke shop in Plaza Midwood
What to order: The Bambino – capicola, pepperoni, salami, banana peppers, red onions, Duke’s mayo, lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, provolone, oil and vinegar.
Shop dog: Be sure to say hello to Apollo, owner James Ryan Ennis’ dog while you’re there.
Location: 1306 Central Avenue right next to the train tracks in Plaza, near Moo & Brew.
West African cuisine in Eastway shopping center
What to order: Jollof rice combo ($13.99).
Location: 3052 Eastway Dr. in East Charlotte.
Tasting menu concept in Wesley Heights
How it works: You have two options: ten or six courses for $110 or $85 respectively. Chef Sam Hart will serve you course by course so it’s all a surprise.
Support from home: Give a dining experience as a gift for the holidays. You can book as far out as April 2021.
Location: 2200 Thrift Road in Wesley Heights.
Peruvian restaurant in South Charlotte, owned by a former Hornets chef
What to order: Lomo saltado (a rice bowl with sautéed sirloin, onions, tomatoes, rice, and fries), yuca fries, and chicha morada (a bright purple drink made from purple corn and seasoned with cinnamon).
Support from home: Get a family meal ($35-$56) for contactless pick-up.
Location: 7510 Pineville-Matthews Road Unit 10A-2.
Indian and Nepali cuisine near Camp North End
What to order: I’m obsessed with the samosa chaat ($9), which is like a deconstructed sweet-and-sour samosa. It’s technically an appetizer, but it can feed me for two or three meals. Other menu highlights: palak paneer ($14), tikka masala ($14-$17), and gulab jamon for dessert ($5).
Space: Don’t be fooled by the interior stock photo on Curry Gate’s website. The North End restaurant is no frills and served takeout-style. The exact address is 630 W. 24th St. across the street from Camp North End.
Gulf Coast cuisine from the people behind popular brunch spot Cafe Monte
What to order: Catfish po’boy, corn soufflé, and key lime pie.
Location: 6706-C, Phillips Place Ct. in SouthPark.
Part-burger, part-sushi concept Blacow Burger recently opened its newest location in South End. There are also locations in University and Fort Mill
What to order: The Blacow with Wagyu (Japanese Black cow beef), lettuce, teriyaki glaze, nori furikake, mayo, tempura avocado ($13), which landed on our best burgers list.
Location: 1515 S. Tryon St.
LA-based ramen restaurant with new locations in South End and Concord
What to order: Pork buns and “The Blaze,” a spicy tonkotsu ramen bowl. “Our mission is to serve you affordable food that is made with love,” said local owner Leila Zhu.
Location: 2041 South Boulevard in The Avenues at Atherton shopping center.
Best new spot to grab a meal under $10 — with a side of Grateful Dead music
What to order: Reuben sandwich ($9.95), Belgian frites ($4.95), and a root beer float ($4.50).
Tip: Good Wurst has a window you can order and pick-up from so you don’t have to go inside.
Location: 3001 Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood.
Micro-sweets shop in South End and an extension of the popular East Charlotte bakery
Background: BW Sweets Bakery expanded its east Charlotte storefront earlier this year and then opened a new express location in South End. Owner Frankie White began baking as a form of therapy while caring for his son, Bradley, as he battled brain cancer. Bradley died in 2011 at age eight, and Frankie opened his first bakery later that year. BW are his son’s initials.
What to order: Cake slices ($3.95), mini cheesecakes ($6), and banana pudding cake ($4.50).
Support from home: BW ships cakes, cupcake jars, assorted cookie boxes, and more. Local deliveries can be made same day, and beyond that, items are shipped within three to five business days via USPS priority mail.
Location: 1425 Winnifred Street at Centro Railyard.
- Petty Thieves – Located just north of Charlotte, Petty Thieves has a secret room that you can access through a bookcase.
- Protagonist – The NoDa micro-brewery’s second location is anything but micro. There’s also pizza.
- Free Range – A new taproom from the NoDa brewery recently opened in Camp North End.
NoDa’s first distillery comes from a familiar name: Great Wagon Road, which previously had a location in Lower South End
What to order: Anything made with its award-winning whiskey. Whiskey is served straight from the barrel or in cocktails. There are other liquors, too — like GWR’s new 704 gin.
Support from home: Next time you’re at the ABC store, head to the North Carolina section and scoop up a few of GWR’s liquors. My favorites are Rúa and 704 Gin.
Location: 610 Anderson Street near Divine Barrel Brewing and Deejai Noodle Bar just north of central NoDa.
A farmers’ market stall with a cult-like following opens its first brick-and-mortar
Opening: Dee’s just made the cut-off for this list. It opens today (December 8) with vegan comfort food.
Location: 1540 West Blvd., Ste. 100 in West Charlotte.
Part-escape room, part-game bar, and all-post-apocalyptic adventure experience
Background: District 57 is hard to describe. Even owners Jelani “Jay” Patterson and Mylene Labrie have a hard time pinpointing the words to describe their new entertainment complex in west Charlotte. But they felt that way when they opened Charlotte’s first escape room in 2014, too. District 57 is another first for Charlotte with a 30-room course called the “Grid” with both physical and mental challenges.
The Grid: Playing in the Grid requires a team of two to four people. You can reserve your spot on The Grid in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute intervals. Reserve your spot in advance for $15-$26 per person, depending on how long you want to be in the grid.
Location: 1526 Alleghany St., Ste. B. District 57 in Ashley Park.
A “social game club” with self-serve taps and a food menu
Game inventory: 8 SuperSkee lanes, six duckpin bowling lanes, five Connect 4 Hoops, 4 PuttSkee lanes, NBA hoops, Time Crisis 4, tabletop bubble soccer, tabletop bubble hockey, four-person Pacman, Guitar Hero, and more.
Cost: Slingshot is a private club so it’ll charge $1 for first-time guests. Duckpin bowling costs $5 per person and SuperSkee, Connect 4 Hoops, and PuttSkee costs $4 to play. Arcade games will range from $0.50 to $1, and you’ll earn virtual tickets on a reusable Slingshot card that can be redeemed for prizes. Prizes include Uber credits, gift cards, and merch.
Location: 332 W. Bland St., Suite A and B.
Zero-waste shop inside 7th Street Public Market
Buy this: Lotion bars, zero-waste makeup, loose leaf tea, and bulk shampoo, laundry detergent, and toothtab refills (zero-waste toothpaste).
Location: Inside 7th Street Public Market in Uptown.
This was the year of the house plant, judging by the number of new plant shops that opened.
- PlantBar – Virginia-based plant store now open in Dilworth with a workshop and a bar.
- Grow – The cutest micro plant shop inside a storage container behind Moxie Mercantile in Plaza Midwood.
- Shades of Moss – Elizabeth plant shop with a calming vibe. [Support from home via Shades of Moss’ online shop here.]
Support from home: All of the boutiques listed below have online shops. Hello, more loungewear.
- Lilbelle – Look for the tropical mural outside this Design Center shop. Owned by 23-year-old Lily Sanford, Lilbelle sells women’s clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Most items are under $100.
- Arivella – Family-owned shop in Dilworth with women’s clothing — a mix of “statement pieces and wardrobe staples,” owner Jillian Hill says.
- Boem – A SouthPark favorite, Boem recently expanded with a new location in South End’s Atherton area.
Still to come:
- Orto, a new Italian concept in NoDa from chef Paul Verica of The Stanley. Except it to open before the end of 2020.
- Botiwalla will also start serving its Indian street food before the end of the year in Optimist Hall.
- Supperland is planning an early 2021 opening. It’s the fifth restaurant from Jeff Tonidandel and Jamie Brown, owners of Haberdish, Crepe Cellar, Growlers Pourhouse, and Reigning Doughnuts.