18 things to do, eat and drink in Elizabeth — from $1 tacos to Cajun Queen’s beignets

18 things to do, eat and drink in Elizabeth — from $1 tacos to Cajun Queen’s beignets

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

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Our Elizabeth guide is proudly presented by Wyndham Capital Mortgage. With its charming historic homes to hot spots like The Crunkleton and The Stanley, don’t sleep on Elizabeth. If you’re looking to move in, call Wyndham Capital to take advantage of their competitive rates and digital home loan process.

The walkable, tranquil neighborhood of Elizabeth borders the action of Uptown and Plaza Midwood without getting caught up in it.

The big picture: Century-old bungalows border (and house) some of Charlotte’s best restaurants — from the iconic Fig Tree to the farm-to-table favorite The Stanley. And right in the middle of it is the city’s first public park: Independence Park.

  • By day, sidewalks along Elizabeth Avenue fill with healthcare workers in scrubs as they pick-up lunch from Viva Chicken or Hawthorne’s Pizza.
  • By night, daters stroll hand-in-hand from dinner at The Crunkleton to a show at Visulite Theatre.

There’s so much to see and do, but here are our top 18 picks.


(1) Hunt for comic books at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find.

Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find is one of the country’s oldest and largest comic retailers. The store’s selection includes Marvel and DC comics, graphic novels, manga and anime, and even Silver and Golden Age comics.

Location/hours: 417 Pecan Ave. Open from 10am to 7pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays through Saturdays; 10am to 9pm on Wednesdays; and 1-6pm on Sundays.

Heroes Aren't Hard to Find

(2) Try Italian-American desserts at Villani’s Bakery.

This New York-Italian-style bakery serves everything from cannolis to sfingi (Italian doughnuts). All orders are served to-go.

Order this: Tiramisu. Homemade ladyfingers soaked in espresso, covered in mascarpone cream, and topped with cocoa powder.

Location/hours: 901 Pecan Ave. Open daily from 7am to 10pm.

Villani's Bakery

Tiramisu from Villani’s.

(3) Order the “Elizabeth Pasta” at Caswell Station.

Situated on the corner of Pecan Avenue and Caswell Road sits Caswell Station, a neighborhood pub serving new American fare like wings, burgers, and shareable plates.

Order this: The cheesesteak egg rolls to start and for a main, go with the Elizabeth Pasta which is made with penne pasta, blackened chicken, roasted vegetables and cajun cream sauce.

Location/hours: 366 N. Caswell Rd. Open Monday through Wednesday from 11am to 1am, Thursday through Saturday from 11am to 2am, and Sunday from 10am to midnight.

Caswell Elizabeth

Elizabeth Pasta ($13).

(4) Try all the flavors at Elizabeth Creamery.

This family-owned and operated ice cream shop makes all of its ice creams on location. You can find a wide variety of classic flavors like mint chocolate chip and butter pecan as well as more out-there options such as “Smurf” or green tea.

Location/hours: 1535 Elizabeth Ave., Ste. 100. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 1-9pm.

Elizabeth Creamery

(5) See live music again at The Visulite Theatre.

The independent theater has seen performers of all genres grace its stage. After a long intermission due to the pandemic, the Visulite will resume live shows starting with Cosmic Charlie on June 4.

Location: 1615 Elizabeth Ave.

The Visulite Theater

(6) Build your own cheese board at Earl’s Grocery.

The neighborhood market has a curated selection of everyday pantry staples, hard-to-find ingredients and house-made prepared meals.

Location/hours: 1609 Elizabeth Ave. Open Monday through Saturday from 10:30am to 7pm.

Related read: Carpe Diem Restaurant closes permanently due to coronavirus. Earl’s Grocery shifts to takeout only

Earl's Grocery

(7) Do date night at The Stanley or Fig Tree.

The Stanley details: Chef Paul Verica’s menu rotates frequently and draws from seasonal flavors and locally sourced ingredients. (He also recently opened Orto in NoDa.)

  • Location/hours: 1961 E 7th St. Open Wednesday and Thursday from 5-9pm, Friday and Saturday from 5-10pm, and Sunday from 10:30am to 1:30pm.

Fig Tree details: Situated in a restored, 1913 Craftsman-style bungalow, you won’t find many dining experiences like this around the Queen City. Order the restaurant’s famous elk chop.

  • Location/hours: 1601 E 7th St. Open Monday through Thursday from 5:30-10pm, Friday 5:30-11pm, Saturday from 5-11pm, and Sunday from 5-9pm.
meat at fig tree restaurants in charlotte

The famous elk chop at Fig Tree.

(8) Stroll through Independence Park and find a picnic spot.

The 24-acre park is Charlotte’s first public park. The park is located slightly below street level, creating a secluded and peaceful atmosphere. The lower section of the park has winding paths, a rose garden and several gazebos, while the upper section of the park has trails, a playground and several athletic fields.

(Note: The park is currently undergoing a renovation which you can read more about here.)

Location: 300 Hawthorne Ln.

Independence Park

(9) Sip on an Old Fashioned at The Crunkleton.

Located steps away from The Stanley, The Crunkleton is a members-only cocktail bar and restaurant specializing in classic cocktails with a modern twist. Membership costs $10 per year, but it’s well worth it. If the weather is nice, opt to sit outside on the recently unveiled patio.

Location/hours: 1957 E 7th St. Open Monday through Thursday from 5-10pm, Friday from 5-11pm, Saturday from 11am to 11pm, and Sunday from 11am to 10pm.

[Full patio guide: The 19 best patios in Charlotte, right now]

crunkleton patio

The Crunkleton revamped its patio during the pandemic. Photo: Courtesy The Crunkleton

(10) Order the original Bang Bang Burger.

Bang Bang specializes in steakhouse-style burgers in a fast-casual setting. Each week they feature a different “specialty burger.”

What to order: Bang Bang Burger. American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, homemade pickle and “Bang bang” sauce with fries.

Backup order: Cowboy Burger. Sharp cheddar, bacon, and homemade barbecue sauce with fries.

Location/hours: 2001 E 7th St., Ste. D. Open Sunday through Thursday from 11am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 10pm.

[Full burger guide: 25 best burgers in Charlotte]

Bang Bang Burgers Elizabeth

Single patty Bang Bang Burger ($10.80).

(11) Find your perfect bike at The Spoke Easy.

The Spoke Easy is a full-service bike shop and bar that aims to make cycling more accessible. In fact, most of the store’s inventory is geared toward the everyday rider.

Location/hours: 1530 Elizabeth Ave., Ste. 100. Open from noon to 9pm on Mondays and Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays; and Wednesdays from noon to 10pm.

The Spoke Easy

(12) Transport yourself to New Orleans at Cajun Queen.

Cajun Queen is as New Orleans as it gets for Charlotte — from the jazz performances to creole cuisine.

Order this: The étouffée ($17.95-$22.95) and an order of hot beignets ($10).

Location/hours: 1800 E 7th St. Open Monday through Friday from 5-8pm, Saturday from 4-8:30pm, and Sunday from 11am to 8pm.

Cajun Queen

(13) Enjoy the view from Devil’s Logic Brewing.

Devil’s Logic is an edgy, garage-style brewery that occupies the former American Billiards building. Guests can enjoy a beer from the lower-level patio or take in clear views of Uptown on the elevated patio.

Location/hours: 1426 E 4th St. Open Tuesday through Thursday from 3-10pm, Friday and Saturday from noon to 11pm, and Sunday from noon to 8pm.

Devil's Logic Brewery

(14) Order the half chicken at Viva Chicken.

Yes, it’s a chain, but it’s worth noting that Elizabeth was home to the first Viva Chicken. This fast-casual Peruvian chicken chain specializes in authentic pollo a la brasa or charcoal-fire rotisserie.

Order this: The quarter or the half chicken which comes with two sides plus the arroz chaufa which is basically Peruvian fried rice.

Location/hours: 1617 Elizabeth Ave. Open daily from 11am to 9pm.

viva chicken meal deal

All this for $24.45. [Full Axios guide: 27 family meal deals and DIY dishes]

(15) Do $1 Taco Tuesday at Sabor Latin Street Grill.

Sabor is a locally-owned chain restaurant serving authentic street food from El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. Its Taco Tuesday deal is especially popular here and at all of its many locations.

Order this: The birria taco.

Location/hours: 415 Hawthorne Ln. Open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Related story: 4 must-try birria tacos in Charlotte


(16) Shop vintage goods at East 8th Vintage.

Stop in to find vintage home decor, furniture, clothing, and everything in between.

Location/hours: 1950 E 8th St. Open Thursday through Saturday from 11am to 7pm, and Sunday from noon to 6pm.

(17) Take the streetcar to Uptown (soon enough!).

The CityLYNX Gold Line is currently undergoing testing, but once service resumes in August, the route will run from Elizabeth to the West End.

Hours: Monday through Thursday from 6am to 11pm, Friday from 6am to midnight, ​Saturday from 8am to midnight, and Sunday from​ 9am to 7pm

Soon the streetcar will cross over the Hawthorne Lane Bridge and connect Plaza Midwood and Elizabeth.

(18) And finally, we can’t forget about our favorite Halloween tradition: The Great Elizabeth Pumpkin Wall.

The Great Elizabeth Pumpkin Wall is a Halloween tradition in Charlotte. Each year, community volunteers in the Elizabeth neighborhood build a 60-foot wall lined with jack o’ lanterns galore. The street location of the wall varies from year to year, but the event normally takes place the week leading up to Halloween.

Location: Elizabeth Neighborhood

pumpkin wall elizabeth

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