Hidden gem: Julia’s Café & Books combines lattes and used books to support Charlotte’s affordable housing

Hidden gem: Julia’s Café & Books combines lattes and used books to support Charlotte’s affordable housing
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julias cafe

This content was created in partnership with Julia’s Café & Books.


For decades, Julia’s Café & Books has served up coffee and used books in support of affordable housing in Charlotte.

The cafe and bookstore, located off Wendover Road, is connected to Habitat Charlotte Region ReStore’s flagship store but it’s a destination all its own.

julias cafe

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Related story: Habitat’s Charlotte Region ReStores are magical places for home décor thrifters and bargain hunters 

Margaret Upchurch, Julia’s Café & Books Manager, has been with the shop for 10 years. I asked her what she loves most about it and she says, “It’s just a great place to go for great coffee with great people and it helps the community we live in.”

The cafe itself is very eclectic and, most importantly, insanely cute. Margaret says that’s partly because the interior was designed by Brenda Knight Ische, the style brains behind the Amelie’s French Bakery aesthetic.

When it comes to coffee, Julia’s offers any kind of espresso beverage or drip coffee you could want.

They source their coffee from Magnolia Coffee Co. in Matthews, NC and they even sell bags of it in the shop, if you want to take it home with you.

julias cafe

julias cafe

julias cafe

Each week they offer new seasonal beverages. During my visit, I tried a butterscotch mocha and it was delightful. They were also offering eggnog hot chocolate. The barista told me one of their most popular drinks is their chai latte.

In addition to coffee, they also sell pastries from Yia Yia’s Specialties and offer salads and sandwiches for lunch from Anderson’s Catering. “We try to keep everything as local as possible,” says Margaret.

The other half of Julia’s is their bookstore, which is filled with pre-loved titles at a deep discount.

They have a huge selection of books ranging from popular fiction to cookbooks to children’s books. They even have a selection of rare books.

julias cafe

julias cafe

julias cafe

Paperback books are $3.95 or 3 for $10 and hardback books are $5.98 or 3 for $15. I found a few rare books that I was pretty excited about.

Aside from books, they also sell DVDs, vinyl records, CDs, and even cassette tapes.

If you’re looking for a cool holiday gift idea, Julia’s offers holiday gift baskets, which you can customize. The filling for the gift baskets is recycled, shredded pages from books that haven’t sold. “We call them ‘Novel Nests’,” says Margaret. Sustainable and also extremely cute.

Trying to stay home? No worries. Julia’s also has an online book shop.

You can browse their online selection here. They sell through Amazon and ship right from the store. They also offer curbside pickup. Titles range from “Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” to “Judgment and Planning in Chess” (anyone else been watching “The Queen’s Gambit”?).

The absolute best part about Julia’s is that all proceeds support Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte, which works to provide opportunities for affordable housing for families in our area.

Because of that, the bookstore is run primarily by volunteers, says Margaret. “That’s really the best part of the job – working with these volunteers who are so passionate. It drives you to want to be bigger and better and help even more.”

If you’re looking to volunteer, you can learn more about it here. Margaret says they’ve scaled back a bit during the pandemic but are still always looking for dedicated volunteers.

Fun fact: Julia’s gets its name from Julia Maulden, one of Charlotte’s pioneering public servants. She worked on the first Habitat Charlotte home and helped bring Jimmy Carter to our city for a fourteen-home Build-a-Thon. She was also instrumental in the founding of Habitat for Humanity Charlotte.

Another way you can help out is through book donations.

Margaret says they’ll accept any books or media item in good condition (they just ask no encyclopedias or magazines). You can drop them off right when you walk in the door. A great excuse to go grab a coffee, too.

julias cafe

You can also drop off books for donation at any Habitat Charlotte Region ReStore location.


Learn more about Julia’s Café & Books here and browse their online selection here.

This content was created in partnership with Julia’s Café & Books.

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