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Uptown Magazine: January 2010

Uptown Magazine: January 2010

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Published by Trimakas
We capture the people, places and events that shape Uptown Charlotte..
Table of Contents Page 22 – The Life – 365 Days of Sex, Organic Conflict, Fragrant Soy Page 28 – Love – How to Stay Single in 7 Easy Steps Page 32 – First Person – My High School Reunion Page 38 – Food – The Best Burger Page 44 – Afterlife - Imagining Heaven Page 52 – Living – Personal Turnaround Page 58 – Fashion – Resolution Page 65 – Guide – Dining and Nightlife
We capture the people, places and events that shape Uptown Charlotte..
Table of Contents Page 22 – The Life – 365 Days of Sex, Organic Conflict, Fragrant Soy Page 28 – Love – How to Stay Single in 7 Easy Steps Page 32 – First Person – My High School Reunion Page 38 – Food – The Best Burger Page 44 – Afterlife - Imagining Heaven Page 52 – Living – Personal Turnaround Page 58 – Fashion – Resolution Page 65 – Guide – Dining and Nightlife

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Published by: Trimakas on Dec 31, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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URBAN LIVING, SOUTHEND STYLE FROM $724/MONTH Choose from a variety of floor plans featuring ample sunlight and maximum livability equipped with gourmet kitchens, granite countertops, laminate wood floors and full size washer and dryers.


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Ashton mixes classic design with upbeat modernism. It’s an emerging “it” spot – the ideal locale for the urban sophisticate who thrives on energy and seeks out the unique and intriguing. Here, just south of Uptown Charlotte, South End’s distinguished galleries, shopping, entertainment and dining district is just outside your door.

• Unparalleled views of Uptown Charlotte • Pedestrian access to South End’s galleries, boutiques and chic eateries

• Dramatic living spaces with high ceilings, sleek-lined solar shades and custom-color accent walls • Open-concept gourmet kitchens with granite slab countertops, wine racks, custom European-style cabinetry and stainless steel appliances • Luxurious natural hardwood, travertine and Berber flooring • Spacious bedrooms that accommodate king-sized beds and feature extra-large walk-in closets • Upgraded fixtures and ceiling fans with decorative lighting • Luxury bathrooms with custom framed mirrors, marble slab countertops, sumptuous soaking tubs and available frameless shower doors • Full-size washer and dryer in every residence • Oversized terraces, french balconies, street-level entries, studies, dry bars, built-in bookshelves and computer niches are available in select residences


• One block from the East/West Boulevard station with LYNX light rail and trolley service • The Club with Wi-Fi Internet cafe and HDTV sports lounge with billiards • Private HDTV screening room with surround-sound and leather club seating • Elevated outdoor terrace with conversational seating • Gourmet demonstration kitchen with private dining room • Oversized spa-inspired fitness club • Executive conference room and business center • 11th floor Sky Lounge with resort-style pool, aqua bar, sunning cabanas, firepit and grilling areas • Premier resident services such as valet dry cleaning, package delivery and complimentary fitness classes • Daily coffee and hot tea service • Multi-level private garage parking with controlled-access entry; storage rooms available • Pet friendly

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the seen

pictures: catchlight studio

After 20 years, Second String Santa is still bringing together a good-looking crowd to help children during the holiday season in Charlotte. Held this year at Bobcats arena, the holiday party raised thousands of dollars, collected truckloads of toys to be donated and magnified the smiles of everyone involved.







the seen

pictures: catchlight studio

In a modern nook tucked away in Cotswold, the good folks of the McDevitt Agency celebrated the holidays in high style. The Element on Craig housed the event with a contemporary flair, while the artist Alejandro Hermann beautified the walls with his ultra-realistic artwork.




Clean & Convenient

Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to be difficult. Our state-of-the-art office makes your visit quick and easy. To make things even more convenient for you, we’ll buy first-time patients lunch or dinner at FIVE GUYS™ or right downstairs.

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Shelly Shepard, an editor/writer, called The Charlotte Observer home for over 10 years, writing headlines and copy editing countless front-page stories. Wanderlust has taken Shelly from teaching English in Prague, to living in a hut in Thailand. If not working, chances are you’ll find her hiking. Professionally, Shelly’s at home with a page of words in front of her, a mouse in hand and a deadline looming.


Greg Lacour is a Charlotte-based freelance writer who has written for an assortment of publications in and outside of the city, including The New York Daily News, Crossroads Charlotte and the UNLV alumni magazine. He was a reporter on The Charlotte Observer’s Metro staff for nearly 10 years and worked in daily newspapers for 16. A native of New Orleans, Lacour lives in NoDa.

Ryan Sumner is both Creative Director and Owner of Fenix Fotography, a full-service photo studio located in Plaza-Midwood that’s dedicated to creating compelling and artful images for corporate, advertising, fashion, and weddings. The studio also offers onsite studio work for executive headshots. Ryan’s photographs appear in the fashion section of this month’s issue. Click to fenixfoto.com to find out more about Ryan.

Charlotte native Matt Kokenes is no stranger to the media-sales business in the Queen City. He has been selling both print and television for almost seven years. Through perseverance and intestinal fortitude, Matt has shown he has the toughness to succeed in this business. This month Matt has come across some interesting folks in his search for the next account rep to join the Uptown Magazine team.

A man about town with his camera, George Lanis of Catch Light Studio has been photographing people in his native Charlotte for years. From friends’ weddings to parties to family photos for the holidays, his work is creative and diverse, and he’s always looking to show you in the best light. Check out catchlightonline.com for more.




with your smile!

say more

A native Charlottean, Jennifer Misenheimer is a hair stylist and artistic creator with a discerning eye for style. When she’s not doing hair at Escape Hair and Skin Studio, in Dilworth, or styling fashion shoots, Jennifer finds outlet for her creative passion through painting, personal styling, and designing one-of-a-kind custom costumes. This month, Jennifer styled our fashion layout.

Peter Reinhart is the Chef on Assignment at Johnson & Wales University, which means he does whatever they ask him to do and goes wherever they send him. He’s written seven books on bread, pizza, food and culture. In partnership with Pierre Bader, he opened Pie Town, an artisan pizzeria on Trade Street. And AS if he weren’t busy enough, Peter is also Uptown’s Contributing Food Editor.

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North Carolina native Hannah Mitchell wrote for daily newspapers, including The Charlotte Observer, for 16 years. She relishes stories about ideas and people, taking readers beyond surface details to show what her subjects reveal about life and its complexities. When she’s not trying to figure things out, she enjoys singing in a bluegrass jam group, hiking and deep conversation. And then there are life’s simple pleasures: hamburgers.


name: Little Shiva species: mutant here for: the smell of ink on paper interests: juxtaposition, transformation, mystery, clarity, the process of becoming, image and design contributions to this issue: table of contents website: littleshiva.com

Bryan Reed is a man of simple interests — among them, words, records, movies, and adjusting to life as a grownup (whatever that means). Since graduating from UNCChapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Bryan’s been living the dream, working as the assistant editor of Charlotte-based music magazine Shuffle, and freelancing for several publications including Tiny Mix Tapes and several weekly newspapers across the Carolinas.

A year and a half ago John Zoët was freezing his bollocks off in Modesto, California, trying to fall asleep in a Burlington Northern boxcar. Through grace and the generosity of good people, he now works in a kitchen, studies the culinary arts at Johnson & Wales, and sleeps in a warm bed. Torn between sanity and the life of a vagabond, he writes to quell the call of the road.

At one time a dancer, choreographer and aspiring writer, one day Amanda Pagliarini woke up to find herself in a cubicle. Since relocating from D.C. two years ago, she has found happiness in Charlotte and is currently pursuing her dream of writing full time. In the offhours you can find her trotting around Uptown with her boxer JJ.





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LetteR fRoM tHe editoR
in 2009, I’ve decided I want a magic number. I want someone to give me my magic number. I would love for someone to sit down with me and say, “Todd, this is how you did this year. This is where you exceeded expectations, met expectations and these are areas for improvement.” I wonder what it would look like. But seeing that no one is knocking on my door to deliver my performance review, I’m going to have to create my own. I imagine it would look something like this: exceeded expectations: Girls in swimsuits on the cover, using foul language, pretty pictures, bright colors, sexy auction and using nice paper Met expectations: Printed 12 editions Needs improvement: On a daily basis we are selflessly contacted by agencies and asked to cover a wide multitude of fascinating topics. I need to cover these topics more judiciously. These topics include: eye health, front door construction and maintenance, disposable underwear and the relative strength of our state’s 529 college savings plan. And then in the “other comments” category I would borrow something from my fifth-grade report card: Todd can be disruptive, needs to pay attention more, stop talking so much, and stop touching others. So what would that leave me with? What would my magic number be? Geez, I hope it’s not a 2. ~Todd Trimakas Publisher / Editor Todd@uptownclt.com


editor/Publisher Todd Trimakas Advertising Matt Kokenes 704.944.0551 executive editor Shelly Shepard Contributing editor Peter Reinhart (Food) Ryan Sumner (Fashion) Contributors Sheri Joseph Greg Lacour George Lanis Jennifer Misenheimer Hannah Mitchell Amanda Pagliarini Bryan Reed Peter Reinhart Alessandra Salvatore Little Shiva John Zoet Photography Ryan Sumner Todd Trimakas George Lanis distribution Sean Chesney office 1600 Fulton Ave., #140 Charlotte, NC 28205 Contact us at info@uptownclt.com Uptown Magazine is a trademark of Uptown Publishing inc., copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Uptown is printed monthly and subscriptions are $25 annually and can be purchased online at uptownclt.com.

hen I was in Corporate America, everyone went through the yearly performance review process. In all the large corporations in which I worked it was an onerous, stomach-churning process. My boss had to complete a portion and I was asked to complete a portion. I have an image in my mind of the form, multiple choices revolving around meeting or exceeding expectations, and then the dreaded free-form “other comments” category where you would plead for your job in long form. Humor and sarcasm were not appreciated, which decimated my chances. It was worse than filling out the application forms to apply to college. And the end result of this completely fuzzy, amorphous process would be a magic number. Get a 2 and you might as well pack up your shit and get out, 3 and you were safe for another year, and if you received the much-coveted 4 you would be deemed a magic child and were asked to join the Dali Lama in India. With our life-shortening, foreclosure-producing, depression-creating, economic roller coaster of a year





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the life


Married? Engaged? In a relationship? Chances are, you talk and think about sex more than you’re doing it. Has “CSI” replaced amour in the boudoir? Do you utter the words, ”I am soooo tired,” every night? Do you have a skincare routine that takes longer to complete than “War and Peace”? You might need to shake it up. Charlottean Charla Muller did just that when she gave her husband “the gift” of sex every night for a year for his 40th birthday. The result? A better marriage, and a book: “365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy,” which chronicles a year in the life of a couple who didn’t settle for evenings with the telly. Charla shares her insights. SJ: Your book was written about the year of the gift — sex every night for a year — you gave to Brad when he turned 40. What made you want to write a book about your sex life? CM: I did not go into the year even thinking this was going to turn into a book. I thought it could possibly turn into a funny magazine article, but nothing like this. I have a friend (co-author Betsy Thorpe) who had been in publishing in her former life and she thought this would be a great book concept, but the discussions didn’t even happen until after the year of “the gift” was over. I think the way the events unfolded was better than being something contrived, because what I wrote about really happened. SJ: What made you want to offer up daily sex for a year? I think a lot of guys would be happy with a few more Lewinskys thrown their way and that would be the end of it. CM: Brad and I had a great life and a happy family, but we had let intimacy fall off our to-do list. This was an honest attempt to reconnect and restart our marriage. It’s not a book about sex, per se; it is about intimacy and how that affects the relationship. SJ: So no hot sex tips? No wild antics, potions or aphrodisiacs? Are you saying this ain’t the southern version of “The Kama Sutra”? CM: Right! The book is less about the physical and more about the investment in a relationship. The book will be pretty boring if someone is looking for crazy stuff. It just shows one couple’s way of connecting in some way every day.

SJ: Does sex heal all wounds? CM: This book is not for someone who is trying to fix a broken marriage and it is not for Beavis and Butt-head husbands who think their wives should just submit. But if you as a couple find yourselves leaving intimacy off the priority list, then you should try it. It will change your game. SJ: What did you learn throughout your year? CM: When I offered my husband, Brad, “The Gift,” I really thought he would be thrilled because I thought guys just always want sex, but that isn’t really the case. I was surprised to learn that sex is just as much about reconnection for men as it is for women. It was nice to know that, with all the people out there in the world, even on my worst day Brad still thought I was pretty neat. That was a confidence booster to me. The other thing I learned is that women are the gatekeepers to intimacy in a relationship. There was a therapist I met on the book tour who said that sex stops happening in a relationship when the man stops asking. That has stayed with me. Every time we had sex, whether I had been in the mood or not, I never regretted it. The year of “The Gift” was truly the most transforming year of our marriage. Who wouldn’t want to try it? Charla’s tips for Bringing Sexy Back u Make it a priority; be intentional. u Remember: there is no magic number. Maybe every night seems daunting, so just double up whatever you’re doing now. (If it’s 2x a week, try it 4x; you get the picture, Einstein.) u Let your inhibitions go. (Did you know the Victoria’s Secret models have the same amount of sex as you? Don’t you feel better?) u Basic grooming is important (that includes nose hair). u Sometimes you just gotta do it! (You can always DV-R “Grey’s Anatomy.”) U You can reach Sheri at: sheri.uptown@yahoo.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com




words: sheri joseph

We know you’re busy. That’s why we offer CEREC restorations. With no temporaries needed, CEREC is absolutely the fastest way to receive crowns, fillings and veneers. All can be done in one visit, saving you time in your busy life. The one and only for one-visit dentistry.

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The Millennium South End luxury apartments in Charlotte represent the finest in urban upscale living. The stylish modern architecture, leading-edge apartment layouts, and chic décor provide an environment you’ll love to live in. The luxurious, top-of-the-line amenities reflect and enhance your active lifestyle. Work out using the latest equipment in the 24-hour athletic center. Lounge comfortably at the elegantly landscaped pool plaza or in the Spa. Or, relax in the privacy of your luxury apartment at The Millennium South End.


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Two Birds. One Stone.
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We’re conveniently located in the heart of Center City for easy access by uptown workers who don’t want to waste their weekend waiting for their car to be cleaned. Either drop off your vehicle or schedule it to be picked up, we will have all of your auto detailing completed by the end of your work day. LET US PROVE TO YOU THAT WE’RE THE BEST.

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My friend Mary Ellen and her boy toy went with another couple on a weekend away recently. She’s a meat and potatoes (not to mention trans fats) kinda gal and she was charged with bringing the snacks. She and her man brought the usual fare: Oreos, Cheetos, Hershey bars, chips and hot dogs. The other couple seemed put off by the purchases and brought their own organic alternatives. This was offensive to Mary Ellen and she called me after downing a few tequila shots. “Who does that B*&^% think she is? Is she trying to tell me she’s better than me because she eats organic Oreos? Gimme a break.” I realized that night that Mary Ellen hadn’t given me just a drunk dial; she gave me a story idea. Let’s say you’ve changed your McDonald’s-shake-chugging ways and converted to organic eating. You feel like your sister Amber did when she found the vision of the Blessed Virgin in the bathroom stall at Arby’s. Completely reborn. But not everyone gets your vibe. Stacie Wentz, of the Healthy Home Market on South Boulevard, has been in the health food biz for 20 years and she helps us bridge the gap.

the life


SJ: So let’s say you’ve decided to go completely organic and you want to share your passion with your friends. Do you have any suggestions? SW: It’s kind of like religion. If a person is willing to try, you can offer them suggestions, but if they’re happy eating McDonald’s, don’t push it. SJ: If you think your burger-eating, gun-toting, George-Bush-loving relatives might be open to trying an organic meal, what would you offer first? SW: I would make a typical meal with organic meat, potatoes and vegetables – something they might usually like to eat. I think once people taste the organic products out there, they won’t turn back. What you taste when you eat organic food is the real flavor of the food, with no additives or hormones. SJ: If you’ve been invited to a barbecue this summer and still want to eat organic, should you just bring your own food? SW: Instead of bringing your own food, I would suggest you prepare something to share. Bring an organic meat to try and have the other guests taste it. You can explain the difference to people, but they’ll be able to taste it from the first bite. SJ: What is the most accessible way for people to dip their toes into the organic food world? SW: I think that local farmers markets are the best way to discover a whole new world of not only organic, but local produce. They’re typically less expensive than grocery stores, the close-growing

location reduces your carbon footprint on the environment, and buying locally benefits the local economy. My favorite farmers market is on Yorkmont near the airport. There are all kinds of people there on an early Saturday morning. It’s very friendly and not intimidating. SJ: Does the Healthy Home Market sell local produce? SW: We sell only local produce; a lot of our prepared foods are from local vendors – even our honey is local. Everything is out for people to sample so they can taste how good it really is . U You can reach Sheri at: sheri.uptown@yahoo.com For more info go to uptownclt.com

words: sheri joseph





words: alessandra salvatore

the life

Candle lovers, brace yourselves: I’ve hit the mother lode. I may have found the best-smelling candles I have ever come across. This is a bold statement coming from someone like me, as I am completely obsessed with burning candles – so much so that the other night, when some friends were coming over, my husband had to tell me to leave some un-lit for fear that “they may think we are trying to seduce them.” But I can’t help it; something about the flicker of a candle instantly

and Cedarwood Vanilla, and I am trying my best right now to avoid gnawing through the jar of Banana Nut Bread that is burning next to me. Most of the ingredients in her candles are from local vendors, and she recycles virtually everything she can. While her line offers several sizes of glasses and tins to choose from, Susan will also take your favorite vintage tea cups or containers and fill them with your favorite scented candlem – great for wedding or shower favors! After the candle has burned, you may recycle your container by bringing it back to her for a refill. I’m also totally digging the fact that the candles are all white or cream, so I can put my favorite scents anywhere in the house and they will match perfectly. Perhaps Susan says it best: “Our products are designed to be simple, natural and unadorned, so you can enjoy the calm ambiance provided by the candle.” Susan, keep your phone on; I will need my fix again very soon. U

calms me. I met Susan by chance. We got to talking and she told me about how she started experimenting with making her own line of soy candles, which she named Classic Wicks, in her basement in 2008. “Great,” I thought, “How can I get out of hosting a candle party? My cat is allergic? I have to dye my hair? Think, think!” But before I could concoct a legitimate excuse, she pulled a few samples out of her bag. One sniff later and I was hooked: Susan has become my candle dealer. Even before taking a whiff, there’s a lot to love about them. They’re hand poured, and made from soy wax, which burns cleaner and is purportedly healthier to breathe than paraffin wax, which most candles are made from. An easy way to see the difference is to inspect the jar that your candle is in. Most times you will find heavy black soot around the rim of your candle jar. This is not the case with soy candles. A cleaner jar means cleaner air. Another pleasant surprise is how easily the soy wax could be cleaned from the container it is in. All it takes is soapy warm water and a damp cloth, which beats the hours in the refrigerator and the chisel you need to clean excess wax from regular candles’ containers. Although they are soy, this is not some sort of “green” marketing ploy. What I love most about Susan and Classic Wicks is her honesty and where her motivation stems from. She has truly created something that appeals to her personally, something that she would feel comfortable burning in her own home around her own family. She goes to great lengths to select which scents make the best-smelling candles, and which fragrances are compatible with which waxes. Her talent and experimental nature have yielded such amazing scents as Cranberry Marmalade, Sage & Pomegranate,

You can visit Susan’s Web site and view her line at ClassicWicks.com. You can reach Alessandra at alicatt29@aim.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com



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All too often, I’m asked for advice about men. But just like wine, massive consumption doesn’t make you a connoisseur – it just makes you a lush. So instead, I thought I’d wrap up 2009 with a list of things my friends and I have proved will make men run in the opposite direction. Consider it a personal guide to staying single in 2010, from me to you.

www.uptownclt.com uptown words: amanda pagliarini


take care 1 don’tRock 3-inch of yourself.an extra 10 minutes and throw your roots. Sleep hair into a ponytail rather than style it. Wear baggy clothes that don’t fit you perfectly because they’re comfortable and allow you to fool yourself into thinking you’ve been to the gym this month. Your personality will grab him from across the room. what you can get. 1takeDon’t be demanding. Don’t be clear about what you want.


Need a boyfriend. There is nothing sexier than desperation. Think about when you go into a store at the mall. It doesn’t matter whether you’re browsing, looking for something specific, walking in with intent to purchase, or simply killing time. If a salesperson approaches with an eagerness that suggests she works solely on commission and you’re the first customer to come in all day, it’s an instant turnoff and many times, a deal breaker. You are now justifying to yourself – But I don’t need a boyfriend, I just want one. If you spend more than an hour a day on match.com; if your friends, co-workers, and hairdresser know exactly how long you’ve been single and the sagas of the last three dates you went on; if you are a member of multiple online dating sites, are a part of an organized social outdoor activities club, and none of the TV remotes works because you’ve hijacked the batteries for your vibrator – you are sending the message that you need a boyfriend.

1inspire the world around you. on your Facebook page about Putting up inspirational quotes

Don’t set any standards for yourself and what you expect from a man if he wishes to date you. I mean, you might scare him off. Instead, take whatever you can get. I can almost guarantee he’ll give you just that.

attitude, opportunities, doors/windows opening/closing, paths, big pictures, or how you have the greatest friends and family sends the sexy message that you’re miserable and trying to talk yourself out of it. But if you can fool yourself into believing your world is full of sunshine and rainbows, maybe you can fool him, too.

1 text/call/e-mail him. cute two hours after exchanging Text him something
numbers. Don’t wait for him. Time’s a wastin’. Rob him of the thrilling experience of trying to woo you. Emasculate him by eagerly suggesting plans rather than allowing him to ask for your company. Make him overly confident, thereby encouraging his laziness, by always being the first to reach out.




same 1 takeIfadvice from those in theelse has,boat. they do. This you want what someone do what applies to all circumstances in life except dating. When it comes to finding and keeping a man, it is best to consult your fellow single gals struggling with the same challenge.

1 think that you are owed something. And react accordingly.
If he asked for your number, took you to dinner, or you chose to sleep with him, then he owes it to you to make you happy and act in accordance with how you wish him to. Any deviation from these things simply makes him a complete asshole worthy of frequent public slander. U Reach Amanda at mandipagliarini@yahoo.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com



At 7:50 on a Friday night, I sat second-guessing myself at a Charlotte bar. I waited nervously, drinking a pint of ice water, and wondered how I had gotten into this mess. I had graduated high school in 2004, thinking that I’d never look back on what, at the time, I considered to be some sort of gulag. I went to prep school. I was a punk. And it’s not that I was a bad kid, or didn’t perform well in my classes, only that I – without recognizing that anybody else might feel the same way – felt out of place. So nobody was as surprised as I was when, upon receiving notification of a fiveyear reunion, it actually seemed like it might be a good idea. My 17 year-old self would kick my ass.




words: bryan reed pictures: bryan’s mom




previous: bryan’s graduating class (Bryan is grad in back row) below: the author opposite page: the author and his lovely

The days ahead of the decision were fraught with anxiety and awkward jokes delivered via Twitter. “List of HS reunion RSVPs is publicly visible. I’m not too proud to admit that seeing who else is going is influencing whether I go,” read one tweet. After weeks of deliberation, checking the guest list over and over and weighing the pros and cons, I made a decision. I would attend my five-year high school reunion, the first such gathering in my still-young life. I figured that at worst, I could leave early, and at best it’d make for a good story. I never imagined I’d enjoy it. I tweeted my decision: “HS Reunion update. I am officially registered. Feel like I’m jumping into a shark tank with a sealflavored wetsuit.” And when the day came, I went. The event was at Tyber Creek Pub in South End, in the bar’s upstairs lounge: a room large enough to hold a class as small as mine, plus leave space for pool tables, and darts to be mostly neglected. I arrived early. And I sat by myself at the bar, drinking ice water for 10 excruciating minutes.




Eventually people began to trickle in. An old friend arrived, boyfriend in tow, and we started catching up. Others filed into the room as we began to quietly ignore each other. I flipped open my phone and started tweeting. “Trying to figure out subtle ways to read nametags,” I wrote. It’s remarkable how you can forget people over a few years of not seeing them, even if they look mostly the same. The first hour felt like five. Awkward sidelong glances and insular conversations slowly built, separately from each other. There was no reuniting going on, merely continued conversations among friends who had arrived together. But by hour two, the refreshments seemed to have dissolved the walls. Inside jokes turned to, “What have you been doing with your life?” as polite smiles and stiff side-hugs offered the friendly touch that was much warmer than, or unthinkable, five years before. Once the ice was broken, things moved much more smoothly. Conversation was easy. I found myself genuinely interested in the lives of these lost acquaintances. They seemed interested in me. The smallest of talk, perhaps, but sometimes that’s what you want. Why order an entrée when you can fill up on the rolls? They’d tell of their new careers – teachers, financial analysts, software engineers, whatever. I’d mention my work as a music critic. They’d invariably ask what my favorite band is. I’d pause, stammer and claim that wasn’t a fair question. We both knew they were looking either for a recommendation or for validation of their own tastes. I like weirdo heavy metal, they like Dave Matthews Band. That’s not even apples and oranges, it’s apples and spaceships. Quick change of subject, and then conversation spent. We’d glance around for somebody new to talk to. “Great to see you,” we’d say, smile, nod and part ways. But we’d leave the conversation feeling entirely pleasant about the exchange, even if the specifics of it had begun to dissolve before we’d even turned around. And we’re still not Facebook friends. As expected, there were a few marriages and engagements. The marrieds and betrothed felt it their duty to offer relationship advice to the daters and the singles. We daters and singles took it upon ourselves to feel weirded out by the willfully old permacouples. “She was never nice to me, and now she’s giving me relationship advice,” sneered a friend (a dater) after an encounter with a married. Five years past high school and some people just seemed to have their lives figured out. They’ve got job security and diamond



above: bryan (right) and a high school friend

rings. Others are idling away their 20s writing about bands and high school reunions for a living. They’ve got Twitter. The ones with their lives on track, they want to help you find your own path to the boardroom or the altar. The rest of us, we just wanna gawk at the guys who went bald. At this point, most people looked the same or better than they did in high school. But, as secretly hoped, some didn’t. There were the usual and unexciting receding hairlines and unshed Freshman 15. But there were bound to be a few extraordinary specimens to whom time had been utterly and deliberately cruel. Not that the cable-knit sweaters and corduroy didn’t lend life a hand in the aging process.. One had filled out considerably. His voice was graveled as though he’d been smoking three packs a day for 30 years. He wanted to offer investment advice – as if anybody at 23 would be in a position to invest in much more than rent? Another I couldn’t gather the nerve to talk to: An athlete in school, the years had left him hunched, combed-over and dressed like Mr. Rogers. A little unfortunate, I’ll admit. I was afraid if I tried to talk to him he’d sit me on his knee and tell me about “Matlock.” A part of me felt sorry for them, and sorrier for myself for making jokes in my head (and on the page) at their expense. I hoped they’d see the humor in it. But setting aside the awkward moments and schadenfreude, I left the reunion happy. It was fun to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen since adolescence, to hear about their adventures in college and their entry into the working world. It was a validation of my own career choices and a reminder of everything that still makes me nostalgic about high school. The changes were notable, but so was the ease with which, after a couple hours, old conversations seemed to pick up exactly where they’d stopped half a decade ago. The memories didn’t so much return as make it known they never went away. And by the end of it, every hesitant handshake and one-armed hug was a precious reminder that just as we had been in high school, we’re all still looking for our place in the world. And as awkward as that search can be, sometimes the most awkward experiences are the ones that leave the rosiest glow in memory. I might never be best friends, or even Facebook friends, with most of the people I graduated high school with. But I’m looking forward to seeing them all again in five years. Ready to return to my current life, I slid into my ’98 Accord (the same one I frequently borrowed from my dad in high school), peeled off my nametag and sent one final tweet. “My nametag is officially crumpled and on the floor of my car. This party is over.” U Reach Bryan at bryan.c.reed@gmail.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com




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words: john zoet pictures: fenix fotography

left: inside mueller’s sandwich shop

“Restaurant,” both the idea and the word, is French in origin. The word is a derivative of the French verb “restaurer,” which means to restore. To restore, by definition, is to renew, to bring into existence or to return to a previous and better state. Taken literally, the true purpose of a restaurant is open to interpretation. There are those of us who may interpret “restoration,” in regard to a restaurant, as a simple matter of filling what previously had been empty, the stomach. While this type of restoration is the most obvious, it is only superficial. Filling your belly doesn’t always mean you’ll be satisfied.




he definition “to bring into existence” gave me an opportunity to question what I’m looking for when I eat at a restaurant. I was brought into this world incomplete, wanting something more, even from my first breath. This hunger, need, craving, whatever you want to call it, is a driving force in all areas of my life – seeking satisfaction in all that I give and receive, in all that I do. The very same hunger that compels me to find God, to find love and to find myself, compels me to find something wonderful to eat. I am ultimately seeking the satiety of my soul. I can only speak for myself but I believe that we all experience this food-induced soul-satiety on occasion, and, on a subconscious level, it is what we are looking for when we go out to eat or when we prepare an elaborate meal. Have you ever, after a nearly perfect meal, perhaps on Thanksgiving or Christmas, set your napkin and your drink down and remained in your seat, staring at the table. You do not speak, your eyes don’t drift, you do not move or even think – you stare. Before you want a cigarette or a cup of coffee, before you think about the dishes or your company, even before you want a nap, you sit saturated in renewal – it is euphoric. It may only last for a few minutes, but for those minutes you have neither want nor need, you haven’t a care – you are satiated, you are complete. There are times when I accept my limitations as a seeker. With only so much time in this life, I, unfortunately, can’t afford to make every meal a spiritual experience – most of the time I am so busy seeking fulfillment in other areas that a meal becomes the superficial matter of filling up in order to keep moving. These are the times that you’ll catch me eating chicken fingers and ranch dressing over a trash can in the dish-pit, or sitting in line at the drive-through of McDonald’s. But from time to time, I get a water break from the rat race and these are the times that I go out to experience food the way it should be experienced – fully. Recently I had such a break and

above: mueller’s chicago hot dog right: a touch of home in the neighborhood grill




what I really wanted, what I craved, was a burger. But not just any burger. I wanted one of those burgers that makes you wish you could walk into the kitchen, slap the cook on the ass and tell him he played a great game. With a recommendation from a friend who really knows food and knows Charlotte a lot better than I do, I took what felt like an insatiable appetite to Mueller’s Sandwich Shop. Mueller’s is at 119 Huntley Place, off Providence Road, right before the inconvenient intersection of Providence and Queens and Providence and Queens when driving away from center city. It’s a tricky little spot to find because there isn’t a sign visible from Providence, but as soon as you turn onto Huntley you’ll see a boldly painted, old-school sandwich cart with the name of the joint written all over it. A giant oak tree whose roots make the asphalt parking lot look like a topographical map and whose branches envelop the sky greets you. The tiny sandwich shop, tucked in the back corner of the parking lot, was clearly built as a cottage and not as a restaurant. I felt comfortable before I even got out of my car. Walking past the semi-circle of hinged-together picket fencing, I began to notice something. Among the mix and match iron patio furniture sits a metal fire pit, kids’ toys and flowerpots, a mailbox and an old sidewalk clock. This, I noticed, is someone’s restaurant. A Christmas wreath hangs in a window and a wind chime dangles from the crest of the awning, sharing its nail with a purple hula hoop. I pushed the door open and heard the ring of the saddle-bells nailed to the door. After rubbing my feet on the doormat, I lifted my eyes and saw Dave Mueller standing behind the counter. I knew without asking his name – the restaurant belongs to him. Dave has a face that reminds you of somebody you know. Appearing to be in his mid-40s (apparently I’m a bad judge of age – turns out he’s in his late 50s), he was wearing faded jeans and a green polo shirt that had a few years on it. He’s the kind of guy that you know you’re gonna get a handshake and a conversation from, whether you have something to talk about or not. He actually walked around the counter to introduce himself and take my order. I was so intent on having a burger that I ignored the list of my favorite sandwiches – the Cuban and the

above: the inner workings of the mueller’s burger left: no frills delivery




Reuben, the Philly and my dear chopped barbecue. I ordered the Carolina burger, and a side of Chicago-style hotdog, although I thought long and hard about doubling up and having the pimento burger. If you haven’t lived here long enough to catch the definition of “Carolina,” it means that my burger was waking up to one hell of a hot day on the grill and getting dressed with chili, slaw, mustard and onions, getting into his bun and driving into my mouth. What better way to wash it all down than with an Arnold Palmer? I knew I could ask for this most anywhere I go; it’s simply equal parts lemonade and iced tea, but actually seeing it on the menu warmed my heart. I went outside for a smoke and watched, through the center of the wreath hanging in the green shuttered window, as Dave and his help fixed my fare. Inside, I only had a few minutes before my attention was devoted to the delight of stuffing my face, but a few minutes was enough to observe that the interior of Mueller’s was just as original as the exterior. The black and white checkerboard floor scurries underneath Coke coolers with bottled soda and shelves of chips, wrapping around the “order here” counter, only 5 feet from the door and tucking back into the tiny open kitchen, which butts up against roughly painted, light yellow walls. On the walls hang the most eclectic collection of adornments I may have ever seen in a restaurant: a men’s basketball poster for Queens College, a Grand Marnier poster from the 1970s, a painting of tennis equipment from the ’50s, and a poster depicting the alkaline and antioxidant levels in various types of water. The Chicago dog hit the table first. I inhaled, exhaled, inhaled and it was gone – the perfect warm-up for a burger. She was a tasty little yipper, either deep-fried or grilled, I couldn’t be sure. The snap of the dog, coupled with the crisp pickle spear beside it, made for a refreshing mouthful with the additional relish, tomatoes, onions and banana peppers (more complementary than the spicier sport peppers). The ingredientbalancing act was made easier by the hearty poppy seed bun, but there was still enough love to let a little dribble off into the basket for finger picking after I finished. I would feel like a criminal if I ate a hotdog without making at least a small mess.

above: dave mueller right: detail of the deli




I had another conversation with Dave, in which he told me about the history of the Thies building next door, of the founding families of Charlotte, and damn near the rest of the city’s history. We talked about his former lives as a horticulturist, and working in the tennis shop at a country club (where he opened his first burger joint). We talked about the restaurant business – Mueller’s is almost three years old so the honeymoon period is over – and though he’s been struggling in the recent economy, he has hope and believes in what he’s doing. Most important, we talked about burgers. I asked Dave how he ate his. “I’m a purist; just meat and cheese and sometimes ketchup,” he said with half a smile. “I like to taste the meat of a fresh burger but I’ll fix it any way I’m asked to for anyone else.” It’s rare to find a nonjudgmental purist. The Carolina burger arrived on the tail end of the dog, and when Dave set it down I knew I had come to the right place. Holding the burger in both hands, before my face as if to say hello, I was aware of the warmth from the lightly toasted bun as I opened my mouth in anticipation. Perhaps my anticipation altered my sense of reality and fogged my memory, but man… that burger was G-double-O-D good. It had been laid to rest just long enough for the charred walls to hold back the flavor that was loosed on the first bite. I closed my eyes and let the juice run down my chin; I didn’t care if anyone was watching. I savored each bite of that burger, working my way around the outside first so as not to let any of the Carolina abandon ship, and finishing it off without once setting it down. I licked my fingers, and I sat there. I just sat. I had a long drive home, back through center city and up 85 North. I didn’t care about the traffic – I got in the right lane and actually drove the speed limit. I didn’t even turn the radio on. I wasn’t just full, I was satiated. U

Mueller’s is at 119 Huntley Place 704.940.6880 www.muellersgrill.com Reach John at JAZ042@students.jwu.edu For more info go to www.uptownclt.com

above: a masterpiece in beef left: you wouldn’t know it was there unless you knew it was there




words: hannah mitchell 44 uptown www.uptownclt.com pictures: fenix fotography

This is a love story. And like all love stories, it involves passion and angst and obsession. For what is love if not obsession? At least in the beginning. Linda Matney’s love has been that all along, a center she revolves around while still functioning whole and separate. His name is Jack.







left: meditation labyrinth at presbyterian hospital above: angel looking over the labyrinth

inda and Jack shared a 25-year marriage that ended with Jack’s death from cancer in 2006. The widow grieved and worked to keep her footing, immersing herself in a project to build a meditation labyrinth at Charlotte’s Presbyterian Hospital, where Jack died in Hospice care. Though the labyrinth fulfilled Linda and helped turn her loss into gain for others, her mind kept turning to a different place to help her cope and stay connected to “the greatest earthly present God ever gave me.” She thought often of her husband and what it would be like to reunite with him in heaven. Especially at night, the hardest time she says she faces, visions of Jack and her in that other world keep her focused and moving ahead. Then one day the fantasies gave her an idea that would adapt her coping mechanism into a bigger goal: if her reveries of heaven transformed her loneliness and longing into joy, she thought, wouldn’t the same exercise also help other people? She envisioned a compilation of musings about what heaven is like, a project anyone could contribute to.



above: linda matney right: detail from the labyrinth

“She took this horrible situation and turned it around. She found something to bless so many people.”

Linda shared her idea with writing teacher and life coach Maureen Ryan Griffin, who helped her formulate a plan to solicit contributions from the public, find a publisher and partner with Presbyterian Hospice & Palliative Care to donate the proceeds of the book to the organization. “Imagining Heaven,” a collection of essays, poems and songs about heaven, is scheduled for release in May, four years after of Jack’s death. Linda says the project has been a balm for her. With its wildly divergent views of a place that, for the living, can only be experienced in imagination, the book is not unlike a collection of children’s make-believe stories. In fact, some of the contributors are elementary school students. One piece depicts heaven as an other worldly Wal-Mart, where a nice person welcomes new residents to a place where they can find whatever they want. Another contributor imagines eating the fried lemons that her developmentally disabled brother used to make for her before he died. In heaven, she writes, the strange dish will taste delicious. Others show heaven as a place where God will answer questions, where friends separated on Earth will catch up, and where a mother will meet the baby she lost to miscarriage. Then there’s the woman who dreams of dancing in heaven with a naked cowboy.






Linda smiles at the thought of that one. Other contributions, she says, make her cry. She waited until her annual Christmas cruise trip last year to write her own piece for the book. Since Jack’s death, she has traveled with friends during the holiday season to avoid the pain of Christmas at home. She still feels his absence in even the most mundane of details. Since true love is one of life’s greatest gifts, it makes it that much harder when the object of that love is gone. A Match Made in Heaven Linda and Jack used to argue – debate may be a better word, because she says they never actually argued – about which of them would die first. It sounds morbid, but for them, that question amounted to just another thing they shared. Life with Jack was an easy, happy exchange that contrasted sharply with a hard childhood. Linda’s mother died when she was 7, her grandmother six months later. She met Jack when she was in her early 20s. He was six years older than she, and though she quickly fell in love with the dashing, gregarious man, after dating him for six months it didn’t work out. Both ended up in other relationships and moved on with their lives. Jack never completely left Linda’s mind, though. She says that no matter what difficulty she faced, she would think of him, and rest in the idea that he was out there somewhere, and that if she really wanted to, needed to, that she could find him, and he would be there for her. Both Jack and Linda, West Virginia natives, had each ended up in Washington, D.C. One day, five years after they had parted ways, and as Linda dealt with a personal crisis, she got a phone call. It was Jack. “He asked me if I would meet him for coffee,” she remembers.

above: prayer wall adjacent to the labyrinth

Linda didn’t hesitate to say yes, and that time the relationship stuck. She believed she’d been given a second chance at a life with the man of her dreams. Linda and Jack moved to Charlotte when he took a job here, marrying in 1981. He worked in customer service for a phone company, she moved her way up from a clerical bank job to partner in an investment management firm. The couple enjoyed simple bliss together. He treated her like royalty and didn’t complain when she served him eggs and frozen waffles for supper. She would hang up his strewn clothes and silently withstand his cigar smoke. “I’ve never known a woman who loved a man as much as Linda loves Jack,” her friend Jackie Balsley once told one of Linda’s coworkers. Balsley and Linda became acquainted when Linda visited Arthur’s, the downtown restaurant Balsley owns with her family. “Jack was Linda’s whole life,” says Balsley, who shared the same observation with other people. “I’ve just never seen another couple like it, and I’ve been around a lot of people in my lifetime.” Linda claims the marriage had no sticking points, that Jack did nothing to drive her crazy, calling minor annoyances his “idiosyncrasies.” She even kept her peace when Jack installed a horn in his Cadillac that played “Dixie,” a la “The Dukes of Hazzard.” She drew the line, she says, only when Jack talked of buying a pair of bib overalls to wear during his down time. Too homey for such a regal man, she said, and best wait until after she was gone. So their conversations about who would precede whom in death seemed like more harmless banter. “I said he needed to, because there was no possible way he could get things at the house organized,” Linda says. “He said I needed to die first because he could take care of everything.” She now wishes the latter had happened. But then, as she points out, a person wants the one he or she loves to be happy, and Jack wouldn’t be happy with her gone. Joy out of tragedy In the spring of 2005, Jack began to itch all over his body. At first, he thought nothing of it, but when the symptom persisted, he visited




his doctor. Test after test showed nothing. Then a scan of his kidneys in December of that year revealed a tumor in his liver. By then, the cancer had advanced too far to overcome, and Jack entered the Hospice at Presbyterian in April 2006 for the first of two stays. The news came shortly after Linda had made plans to retire and enjoy the rest of her life with Jack. As she stayed with her dying husband, she found it hard to focus amid the endless stream of friends and health care providers that cycled in and out of his room. That’s when she envisioned the labyrinth as a way for her and others to find peace and stability as they coped with sickness and death. She began working with Presbyterian on the project, and saw the labyrinth open in November 2007, named in memory of Jack. After his death, though, Linda needed something else. Simple things, such as putting on her coat without Jack’s help or driving around Charlotte alone, would bring her to tears. She read any description of heaven she could find, and her fantasies of meeting Jack there soothed her at night, as well as at other times. In this way, Jack himself was helping her face his absence. The “Imagining Heaven” project became a natural extension of that process. Now Linda says she hopes the book will similarly help others cope with loss or even the prospect of their own deaths. “I’ve seen how excited Linda is, seeing the stories come in and hearing how many people have benefited from this exercise,” says

Griffin, Linda’s writing instructor and coach. Griffin also contributed a piece for the book that she wrote as she prepared for her father’s death. “She took this horrible situation and turned it around. She found something to bless so many people.” Griffin, a practicing Catholic, said that writing about heaven helped her take unexpected steps in her faith. Maybe heaven exists just as each person imagines it, she says, or maybe it isn’t a place at all, but instead who we ultimately become. Her Angel Linda’s imagined heaven, of course, includes Jack. He will wave to her, greet her lovingly and show her around her new home. “It gives me immense joy to imagine being in heaven with my husband,” she says, “because nobody is going to tell me that’s not the way it is.” For now, that vision keeps her grounded, she says, despite the pain of living without him. “I would relive every day of that marriage. He was, is and will forever be, unbelievable for me.” U Reach Hannah at hmitchell29@gmail.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com

The release of “Imagining Heaven” is scheduled for May 14, with a reception at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte. For details, visit the project’s Web site at www.imaginingheaven.com.

Excerpt from “Imagining Heaven”
She wants to believe she will like being dead as much as she likes being alive but she finds that hard. All day, she’s been listening to the lovely sound of pens moving across paper as she leads a weekend writing retreat. She’s seen faces suffused with the joy of capturing experience, creating art. Truly, what could be better? Then she recalls someone suggesting that the heaven each of us gets is the heaven we have imagined for ourselves. What an outlandish idea! And yet, this weekend itself is nothing if not a dream. She is living a “future” she imagined for herself for years, and it came to pass, she has to admit, with much more imagination than elbow grease. So maybe it’s true. Maybe she can design her own heaven. Since she doesn’t need any more love, any more beauty, she figures what will make her heaven heavenly will be what isn’t. Obligation, for one. She pictures shedding that To Do list; better yet, shredding it. Because wouldn’t it be great to do what she wants whenever she wants to? Away with fear, self-doubt, and recrimination No worry. No hurry, so that not only can she watch the sun go down every night, but she can also hang around for the afterglow without having to rush off somewhere. No illness, of course. No pain, no suffering. Which of course makes her think of her father, whose doctor told him five months ago he had six months left to live. She’s asked him what he thinks heaven will be like but he doesn’t want to play that game, something she finds hard to understand. Instead, he quoted 1 Corinthians 2:9: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But much has entered her heart. She has heard and seen. What she needs to do is step, like Ralph Waldo Emerson, into a faith that claims, “All that I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all that I have not seen.” As the ocean sings and sparkles beside her, she thinks of how, the night her mother died, she dreamed of butterflies, a multitude of colorful wings illuminated, shining. It’s the only time she’s ever dreamed of butterflies; she’s always figured that was her mother’s way of telling her there was a heaven, and she’d arrived safely. But heaven isn’t really a place, is it, a particular intersection of latitude and longitude? Maybe heaven is right here, in all she loves most. Maybe Heaven is everywhere, is all the beauty she’s ever experienced, all at once, all the time. In order to hold all that beauty, all that love, she’d have to be bigger, grow beyond any limitation she’s ever known. In her father’s heaven, she decides, his heart and lungs will be strong and perfect. He’ll take that trip to Tuscany with Janet. It won’t be too late. Maureen Ryan Griffin, Charlotte




Life WitH oUt A Net

words: greg lacour pictures: fenix fotography

courtesy of joel cadman 52




ell, that year wasn’t any fun. We were still stuck in the tar pit of recession. People who a few years before had snuggled deep into what they imagined was a clearly mapped future of economic security and rising home values realized it was all coming apart. They had to make choices, big ones, about the directions of their lives and livelihoods. Charlotte, like the nation, owns plenty of those stories as it staggers into a new decade. Here are two. One is about a woman who realized, suddenly, that she and her career were separate things. Another is about a man who seemed years ago to have reached the same conclusion, then chose to double back to the career he’d left. Sort of. As it happens, I meet Emily Achenbaum Harris for coffee a day after the announcement that Editor & Publisher, the venerable trade journal that covers the newspaper industry, was shutting down. To a pair of veteran newspaper reporters, this seemed like the tolling of the big bell. The explanation, from Nielsen Business Media President Greg Farrar, was vintage corporate media newspeak: “This move will allow us to strengthen investment in our core businesses – those parts of our portfolio that have the greatest potential for growth – and ensure our long-term success.” Translation: There’s not much point in continuing to publish a trade journal covering a dying trade. For years, the trade dominated – defined – Emily’s life. Mine, too. We were colleagues and friends at The Charlotte Observer, where we worked as reporters. In March 2007, the Observer published a story of hers about a mentally retarded Anson County man accused of murder under suspicious circumstances and held without trial for 14 years. The man, Floyd Brown, was freed, thanks largely to Emily’s reporting. This is the sort of story reporters can hang careers on; Emily pulled it off before she hit 30. The Michigan native left to work for The Chicago Tribune in early 2008. A year later – a few months after I took a buyout from the Observer, a few weeks after The Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy – she was back in Charlotte with her fiancée. She’d told Tribune readers in a column: “I’m leaving to see how self-sufficient I can be. I’m going to try growing our own vegetables, learn how to can and preserve them, and shop locally for everything else.”





few years ago, I – hell, everyone we’d worked with – would have approached Emily and gently asked her if she was OK, possibly offering to e-mail her a list of therapists. But I’d been through 2007 and most of 2008 in the newspaper industry, and believe me, compared to that, growing and canning vegetables sounded sweet. “It got to the point where I thought, ‘I’m going to quit or I’m going to crack,’” she says, dunking morsels of muffin in her coffee. “The big thing was the sensation of, ‘I have no control over my life. I could lose my job at any time.’ The industry was collapsing before my eyes, and there was no other news organization where I wanted to go. It basically was a pre-emptive strike. It felt that inevitable.” But that was only the half of it, really. Ex-newspaper people have their own unofficial fraternity, and we talk. When we do, we speak with sad resignation about the economic reality that has gutted newspapers: Essentially, when they lost their dominance of advertising markets to online and other platforms, the game was over. What gets us boiling, though, is the corporate doubletalk, like Greg Farrar’s, directed by people who should know better at people who do. Papers nationwide cut staff and news hole while desperately latching onto (and assigning staff to) whatever new, shiny object they thought might draw a few more readers – Twitter, Facebook, rapid-fire stories on the Web, interactive this and that. All well and good, but managers’ demand for in-depth stories never flagged, and they continued to insist, to staff and public, that the wave of buyouts and layoffs wouldn’t lessen their commitment to quality journalism. Toward the end of 2008, even as Emily was helping cover Barack Obama’s preparation for the presidency, having thought her career and life were made, she began thinking along the same lines. “Do I want to be a full-time Twitterer? No, I don’t, actually,” she says. “Do I want to be in a shrinking newsroom where I’m

being told that we’re still serving readers the same? I don’t want to do that for five years, no, thank you … and if I’m going to work at a dissatisfying job, why am I making this salary and working on Christmas Eve?” So what now? She married Erik Harris, a software programmer, and they live in a 1,200-square-foot brick ranch house on a three-quarter-acre lot in east Charlotte. She’s expecting her first child, a daughter, in late January. She’s freelancing a bit and volunteering for a China Grove nonprofit that cares for abused and rescued horses. She’s written 150 pages of a novel “about vigilante justice and race horses.” (Hmm.) She’s trying to grow food. Trial; error. “The things that died? Wow. The list is so long,” she says. “The pumpkins really looked like they were going to make it.” But this isn’t exactly a case of a 31-year-old woman who suddenly finds herself careerless and tries to cobble together a new life out of spare parts. There’s a method to all this. Emily researched it before she quit. It’s called “voluntary simplicity.” In essence, it means living the life you want on as little money and material goods as you can, or care to. That’s another thing she’s done: launched a blog, Little House on the Southern Prairie (littlehousesouthernprairie.wordpress.com), chronicling her new life. (Check out the post on the baby snake. Fun-ny!) “I still think good journalism can be world-changing and life-changing. I was just seeing a lot less of that,” she says. “But I managed to isolate what I love about journalism – I have to write, and I have to make a difference in the community. I still do those two things.” It’s not as if she’s gone completely off the grid. She doesn’t want to. She still lives comfortably, has a computer, has a car. (She also freely acknowledges that, with an employed and supportive husband, she can afford to; it’d be a much tougher proposition if she were still single.) But, she explains, she’s no longer on the treadmill of thinking constantly about the next promotion, the next bonus, the next job, and what those might buy her. Instead, she’s asking an essential question: What is wealth, really?

geoff owens




Her provisional answer: “Being able to have as much time as possible to do the things I want.” She and Erik are still working out the details. “That’s definitely part of the learning curve – what we like, what we don’t like, what’s fantasy and idealistic, what’s realistic,” she says. “We don’t want to live without a TV and computer. I’d rather buy eggs from a local farmer than have chickens myself. Erik would never want to go without air conditioning. “So it’s kind of a game: ‘How much electricity can we cut back on?’ ‘Cause everyone has a different threshold.” Not surprisingly, she’s taken some ribbing, both from friends who think she’s nuts for giving up her career and from those who think she’s a dilettante ascetic because she still has Internet access. Whatever. “I’m definitely happier,” she says. “The job seemed that hopeless, whereas now I feel that there are so many possibilities in front of me.” And one of her unexpected, though humbling, pleasures has been learning what she doesn’t know. “How was I allowed to graduate from high school,” she marvels, “without knowing when to plant spinach?” eoff Owen spent three years as a finance officer for Wachovia, managing the issuance of tax-exempt bonds and the like, then just got sick of it. The employees in the unit he was in seemed to care less about shareholders than about their own portfolios, and the job struck Geoff as a cold, meaningless way to make a living. In 2005, he and his attorney wife, Missy, opened their own business, Owen’s Bagel & Deli, in South End. It was rough at first, but gradually business picked up, and Geoff stayed true to his original idea of a small, homey deli that’d stay intimate and friendly to its customers and treat employees to an occasional early shutdown if they’d done enough business. As 2010 approached, the deli was doing fine and Geoff had hired a fulltime manager, meaning he no longer had to put in 18-hour days. He’d taken his chance, followed his gut and built a success out of nothing, his way. You’ve heard this story before. It’s a staple of places like Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore., where the Frank Zappa clone frothing up your latte behind the counter at Chilly Bean Coffee & Sundries turns out to be a former probate attorney. He was plenty good, of course, editor of the law review, cum laude grad, pulling down six figures at 28, on his way to making partner, but man, the work was such a drag, and he couldn’t see himself at 55 hammering out another brief, so he opened this little coffee shop, and he’s enjoying life and roller-blading to work every day. Like that. Except Geoff did something weird, or reverse weird. He went back. We talked the evening of his second day at a new job as a financial adviser. (He declined to identify the firm.) He still owns the deli, though, which makes for strange careerfellows. “I had a customer tell me, ‘Man, you should name a sandwich Sell Your Soul to the Devil,’” he says, laughing.


So what happened? “We’d achieved our goal, you know, built a deli for the neighborhood. I’m not creative, but I’d like to think we’ve created a place where people can be creative,” Geoff says. “It had just gotten to the point where I was counting straws and mustard packets, and I realized I’d kind of made myself expendable. “I’ve just had the opportunity in the last couple of years to learn a little about myself. I have an MBA, and I’m a lot better at this than at restaurants. I guess it’s returning to a core strength of

emily achenbaum harris



mine. It’s building relationships with people and hopefully having a positive impact on their lives. That’s what we tried to do with the deli, and this position affords me the opportunity to do the same thing.” Geoff, who grew up in Cleveland, is like thousands of transplanted Rust Belters who moved to Charlotte in the boom years of the early 2000s. He and Missy were living in Pittsburgh before they moved in 2002, and they settled in nicely with their careers. But both felt something was missing. “My wife and I were living in Charlotte, lower case, but not Living in Charlotte, upper case,” he says. “We were not really establishing ourselves here, making connections, getting involved in the community.” Thus the deli idea was born. Geoff had earned his undergraduate degree at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, home to a well-established deli shop and restaurant that steamed its bagel sandwiches. Good idea, Geoff thought. But once the deli began earning a profit, he intentionally steered it away from runaway success. Some days, he’d close early. He consistently rejected offers to expand to other locations. When the economy began tanking, he set up a job nook in one corner, where customers could take advantage of free Wi-Fi, soup, tea and coffee while they looked for jobs. The Owens have always donated food and a percentage of the deli’s earnings to area nonprofits. “We don’t operate on all the b-school’s advice. It’s our fault, and it’s our greatest strength,” he says. “You see these restaurants going out of business left and right … but we don’t beat vendors down, and we stick with employees for the long haul. We’ve had a certain sense of loyalty, and customers want to make sure businesses like ours make it. And we’ve been incredibly fortunate.” Then again, Geoff is 37. He has two daughters, ages 3 and 5. The freedom you win by being your own boss is offset by the responsibility that comes with being someone else’s boss and having a business venture ride, entirely, on you. Somebody broke in overnight? Your problem. Planning a Saturday trip? Hope nobody calls in sick. Paperwork, payroll, arranging benefits for you and everyone else … “Sometimes you just want to have your health insurance taken out of your paycheck,” he says with a sigh. “Just take one decision off your plate.” So he’ll keep owning it, but his friend Richard will manage it, and Missy will help oversee the books. The child can look after itself now to some extent, and Geoff can get back to doing what he’s suited for. And here’s the funny thing: As risky as starting the deli was four-plus years ago, taking a job as a financial adviser in the midst of a recession might be even riskier. Geoff is fond of saying he expects his kids to work at the deli someday. But who knows? He might find himself working alongside them. “I guess,” he says, “I’m just one of those who likes working without a net.” U Reach Greg at lacour.greg@yahoo.com For more info go to www.uptownclt.com









pictures: fenix fotography | fenixfoto.com fashion styling: jennifer misenheimer hair: jennifer misenheimer | escape hair and skin studio makeup: scott “scooter” arnold clothing & accessories: boris & natasha, american apparel shoes: niche | thenichemarket.com models: whilhelmina-evolution | evolutionmt.com location: frye gym | chris-frye.com


















Dining and Nightlife Guide
Alexander Michael’s – $ 401 W. 9th St. 704.332.6789 BlackFinn – $$ 210 E. Trade St. 704.971.4440 Camilles – $ 1518 E. 3rd St. 704.342.4606 Cans – $ 500 W. 5th St. 704.940.0200 Cedar Street Tavern – $ 120 N. Cedar St. 704.333.3448 Champions – $ 100 W. Trade St. - Marriott Hotel 704.333.9000 Comet Grill – $ 2224 Park Rd. 704.371.4300 Cosmos Cafe – $ 300 N. College St. 704.372.3553 Dogwood Cafe – $ 138 Brevard Court 704.376.8353 East Boulevard Grill – $ 1601 East Blvd. 704.332.2414 Ember Grille – $$$ 601 S. College St. WestinHotel 704.335.2064 Fenwick’s – $ 511 Providence Rd. 704.333.2750 Fox and Hound – $ 330 N. Tryon St. 704.333.4113 French Quarter – $ 321 S. Church St. 704.377.7415 John’s Country Kitchen – $ 1518 Central Ave. 704.333.9551 Nix – $ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.347.2739 Pike’s Soda Shop – $ 1930 Camden Rd. 704.372.0097 Presto Bar and Grill – $ 445 W. Trade St. 704.334.7088 Providence Café – $ $ 829 Providence R d. 704.376.2008 Providence Road Sundries – $ 1522 Providence Rd. 704.366.4467 Rock Bottom – $ 401 N. Tryon St. 704.334.2739 Selwyn Pub – $ 2801 Selwyn Ave. 704.333.3443 Simmons Fourth Ward Restaurant – $ 516 N. Graham St. 704.334.6640 Something Classic Café – $ 715 Providence Rd. 704.347.3666 South 21 – $ 3101 E. Independence Blvd. 704.377.4509 Southend Brewery – $$ 2100 South Blvd. 704.358.4677 Stool Pigeons – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.358.3788 The Gin Mill South End – $ 1411 S. Tryon St. 704.373.0782 The Graduate – $ 123 W. Trade St. 704.358.3024 The Penguin – $ 1921 Commonwealth Ave. 704.375.6959 The Philosopher’s Stone – $ 1958 E. Seventh St. 704.350.1331 The Pub – $ 710 West Trade St. 704.333.9818 Thomas Street Tavern – $ 1218 Thomas Ave. 704.376.1622 Tic Toc Coffeeshop – $ 512 N. Tryon St. 704.375.5750 Union Grille – $ 222 E 3rd St. – Hilton Towers 704.331.4360 Vinnie’s Sardine – $ 1714 South Blvd. 704-332-0006 Zack’s Hamburgers – $ 4009 South Blvd. 704.525.1720 Bentley’s on 27 – $$$ 201 S. College St. Fl. 27 704.343.9201 (Charlotte Plaza Building) BLT Steak – $$$ 201 E. Trade St. 704.547.2244 Bonterra Restaurant – $$$ 1829 Cleveland Ave. 704.333.9463 Carpe Diem – $$$ 1535 Elizabeth Ave. 704.377.7976 Coastal Kitchen & Bar – $$$ 222 E. 3rd St. 704.331.4360 Custom Shop – $$$ 1601 Elizabeth Ave. 704.333.3396 Fig Tree – $$$ 1601 E. Seventh St. 704.332.3322 Lulu – $$ 1911 Central Ave. 704.376.2242 McNinch House – $$$ 511 N. Church St. 704.332.6159 Mimosa Grill – $$ 301 S. Tryon St. 704.343.0700 Monticello – $$ 235 N. Tryon St. – Dunhill Hotel 704.342.1193 Pewter Rose Bistro – $$ 1820 South Blvd. 704.332.8149 Ratcliffe on the Green – $$ 435 S. Tryon St. 704.358.9898 Zink – $$ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.444.9001 Zen Asian Fusion – $ 1716 Kenilworth Ave. 704.358.9688

Cloud 9 Confections – $ 201 S. College St. Suite 270 Great Harvest Bread – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. Amelie’s Bakery – $ 2424 N. Davidson St. Nova’s Bakery – $ 1511 Central Ave. Panera Bread – $ 601 Providence Rd. 704.334.7554 704.333.0431 704.376-1781 704.333.5566 704.374.0581

Art’s Barbecue – $ 900 E. Morehead St. 704.334.9424 Jolina Tex Mex & BBQ – $ 500 S. College St. 704.375.0994 Mac’s Speed Shop – $ 2511 South Blvd. 704.522.6227 Rib Palace – $ 1300 Central Ave. 704.333.8841

Einstein Brothers – $ $ - 201 S. Tryon St. 704.332.4015 Einstein Brothers – $ 1501 South Blvd. 704.333.4370 Java Passage – $ 101 W. Worthington 704.277.6558 Jump N Joe’s Java Joint – $ 105 E. Morehead St. 704.372.3217 La Tea Da’s – $ 1942 E. 7th St. 704.372.9599 Nova’s Bakery – $ 1511 Central Ave. 704.333.5566 PJ’s Coffee & Lounge - $ 210 E. Trade St. (Epicentre) 704.688.0366 Port City Java – $ 214 N. Tryon St. (Hearst) 704.335.3335 SK Netcafe – $ 1425 Elizabeth Ave. 704.334.1523 Starbucks – $ 545 Providence Rd. 704.372.1591 Starbucks – $ 101 S. Tryon St. 704.374.9519 Tic Toc Coffee shop – $ 512 N. Tryon St. 704.375.5750

Adams 7th Street Market – $ 401 Hawthorne Ln. 704.334.0001 Art’s Barbecue – $ 900 E. Morehead St. 704.334.9424 Blynk – $ 200 S. Tryon 704.522.3750 Common Market – $ 2007 Commonwealth Ave. 704.334-6209 Dikadee’s Deli – $ 1419 East Blvd. 704.333.3354 Dogwood Cafe – $ 138 Brevard Court 704.376.8353 Fresco Cafe & Deli – $ 3642 Moultrie St. 704.376.5777 Grand Central Deli – $ 101 N. Tryon St. 704.348.7032 Great Harvest Bread Co. – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. 704.333.0431 Groucho’s Deli – $ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.342.0030 Halfpenny’s – $ 30 Two First Union Ctr. 704.342.9697 Jason’s Deli – $ 210 E. Trade (Epicentre) 704.688.1004 Jersey Mike’s Subs – $ 128 S. Tryon St. 704.343.0006 Jersey Mikes Subs – $ 2001 E. 7th St. 704.375.1985 Jump N Joe’s Java Joint – $ 105 E. Morehead St. 704.372.3217 Laurel Market South – $ 1515 South Blvd. 704.334.2185 Leo’s Delicatessen – $ 1421 Elizabeth Ave. 704.375.2400 Li’l Dino – $ 401 S. Tryon St. 704.342.0560 Matt’s Chicago Dog – $ 425 S. Tryon St. 704.333.3650 Owen’s Bagel & Deli – $ 2041 South Blvd. 704.333.5385 Philadelphia Deli – $ 1025 S. Kings Dr. 704.333.4489 Phil’s Tavern – $ 105 E. Fifth St. 704.347.0035 Rainbow Café – $ 400 South Tryon 704.332.8918 Reid’s – $ 225 E. 7th St. 704.377.1312 Ri-Ra Irish Pub – $ 208 N. Tryon St 704.333.5554 Salvador Deli – $ N. Davidson St. 704.334.2344 Sammy’s Deli – $ 1113 Pecan Ave. 704.376.1956

Art’s Barbecue – $ 900 E. Morehead St. 704.334.9424 Coffee Cup – $ 914 S. Clarkson St. 704.375.8855 Einstein Brothers – $ 201 S. Tryon St. 704.332.4015 Einstein Brothers – $ 1501 South Blvd. 704.333.4370 IHOP – $ 2715 E. Independence Blvd. 704.334.9502 Monticello – $$ 235 N. Tryon St. – Dunhill Hotel 704.342.1193 Owen’s Bagel & Deli – $ 2041 South Blvd. 704.333.5385 Tic Toc Coffeeshop – $ 512 N. Tryon St. 704.375.5750

88 China Bistro – $ 1620 E. 4th St. 704.335.0288 Basil Thai – $ 210 N. Church St. 704.332.7212 China King – $ 128 Brevard Ct. 704.334-7770 China Queen Buffet – $ 127 N. Tryon St. Ste 3 704.377.1928 China Saute – $ 2214 Park Rd 704.333.1116 Creation – $ 1221-A The Plaza 704.372.2561 Cuisine Malaya – $ 1411 Elizabeth Ave. 704.372.0766 Dim Sum – $ 2920 Central Ave. 704.569.1128 Eggroll King – $ 8907 Steelechase Dr. 704.372.6401 Emperor Chinese – $ 337 S. Kings Dr. 704.333.2688 Fortune Cookie – $ 208 East Independence Blvd. 704.377.1388 Fujiyama – $ 320 S. Tryon St. 704.334.5158 Fuse Box – $ 227 W. Trade St. 704.376.8885 Ginbu 401 – $ 401 Providence Rd. 704.372.2288 Great Wok – $ 718 W Trade St. Ste M 704.333.0080 Hong Kong – $ 1713 Central Ave. 704.376.6818 Indochine Asian Tapas Lounge - $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.688.0078 Koko – $ 6609 Elfreda Rd. 704.338.6869 Monsoon Thai Cuisine – $ 2801 South Blvd. 704.523.6778 Orient Express – $ 3200 N Graham St. 704.332.6255 Pho An Hoa – $ 4832 Central Ave. 704.537.2595 Pho Hoa – $ 3000 Central Ave. 704.536.7110 SOHO Bistro – $ 214 N Tryon St. 704.333.5189 Thai Taste – $ 324 East Blvd. 704.332.0001 Taipei Express – $ 731 Providence Rd. 704.334.2288 Tin Tin Box & Noodles – $ 101 N. Tryon St. 704.377.3223

Big Ben’s Pub – $ 801 Providence R d. 704.334.6338

Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen – $ 501 E. 36th St. 704.331.9898 Cajun Queen – $$ 1800 E 7th St. 704.377.9017

Anntony’s Caribbean Cafe – $ 2001 E. 7th St. 704.342.0749 Austin’s Caribbean Cuisine – $ 345 S. Kings Dr. 704.331.8778

88 China Bistro – $ 1620 E. 4th St. 704.335.0288 Vanloi Chinese Barbecue – $ 3101 Central Ave. 704.566.8808 Wok Express – $ 601 S. Kings Dr. 704.375.1122


131 Main – $$ 1315 East Blvd. 300 East – $$ 300 East Blvd. 704.343.0131 704.332.6507

Caribou Coffee – $ 100 N. Tryon St. 704.372.5507 Dilworth Coffee – $ 1235 East Blvd # B, 704.358.8003 330 S Tryon St, 704.334.4575 Dilworth Playhouse Cafe – $ 1427 South Blvd. 704.632.0336 www.uptownclt.com



Dining and Nightlife Guide
Sandwich Club – $ 525 N. Tryon St. Sandwich Club – $ 435 S. Tryon St. Substation II - $ 1601 South Blvd 1941 E. 7th St. 704.334.0133 704.344.1975 704-332-3100 704-358-8100 Open Kitchen – $ 1318 W. Morehead St. 704.375.7449 Pasta & Provisions – $ 1528 Providence Rd. 704.364.2622 Portofino’s Italian – $$ 3124 Eastway Dr. 704.568.7933 Primo Ristorante – $$ 116 Middleton Dr. 704.334.3346 Cafe Siena – $$ 230 N. College St. 704.602.2750 Salute Ristorante – $$ 613 Providence Rd 704.342.9767 Terra – $$ 545-B Providence Rd. 704.332.1886 Villa Francesca 321 Caldwell St. 704.333.7447 Volare – $$ 1523 Elizabeth Ave. 704.370.0208 Zio Authentic Italian – $$ 116 Middleton Dr. 704.344.0100 Sullivan’s – $$$ 1928 South Blvd. The Corner Pub – $ 335 N. Graham St. 704.335.8228 704.376.2720

Brixx – $ 225 East 6th St. 704.347.2749 Donato’s Pizza - $ 718-A West Trade St 704.714.4743 Domino’s Pizza – $ 343 S. Kings Dr. 704.331.9847 Fuel Pizza – $ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.350.1680 Fuel Pizza – $ 1501 Central Ave. 704.376.3835 Hawthorne’s NY 1701 E. 7th St. 704.358.9339 Latta Pizza – $ 320 S. Tryon St. 704.333.4015 Papa John’s Pizza – $ 1620 E. 4th St. 704.375.7272 Picasso’s – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.331.0133 Pie Town – $$ 710 W. Trade St. 704.379.7555 Pizza Hut – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. 704.377.7006 Rudino’s Pizza & Grinders – $ 2000 South Blvd. - Atherton Mill 704.333.3124 UNO Chicago Grill – $ 401 S. Tryon St. 704.373.0085 Villa Francesca 321 Caldwell St. 704.333.7447 Zio Authentic Italian – $ 116 Middleton Dr. 704.344.0100

Crave the Dessert Bar – $ 501 W. 5th St. 704.277.9993 Dairy Queen – $ 1431 Central Ave. 704.377.4294 Dolce Ristorante – $$ 1710 Kenilworth Ave. 704.332.7525 Luce Ristorante – $$ 214 N. Tryon St. – Hearst Plaza 704.344.9222 Monticello – $$ 235 N. Tryon St.– Dunhill Hotel 704.342.1193

Quiznos Sub – $ 127 N. Tryon St. 704.374.9921 Quizno’s – $ 320 S. Tryon St. – Latta Arcade 704.372.8922 Roly Poly Sandwiches – $ 317 S. Church St. 704.332.6375 Sbarro – $ 101 S. Tryon St. 704.332.5005 Simply Subs – $ 212 S. Tryon St. 704.333.0503 Smoothie King – $ Epicentre - 210 Trade St. 704.979.6911 Smoothie King – $ One Wachovia Center 704.374.0200 Spoons – $ 415 Hawthorne Ln. 704.376.0874 Woody’s Chicago Style – $ 320 S. Tryon St. - Latta Arcade 704.334.0010 Zack’s Hamburgers – $ 4009 South Blvd. 704.525.1720

The Melting Pot – $$$ 901 S. Kings Dr. Stuite 140-B 704.548.2431 Therapy Cafe – $ 401 N. Tryon St. 704.333.1353 The Fig Tree – $$ 1601 E. 7th St. 704.332.3322

Havana – $ 145 Brevard Ct. 704.342.4700

Aquavina – $$$ 435 S. Tryon St. 704.377.9911 Cabo Fish Taco – $ 3201 N. Davidson St. 704.332.8868 Capital Grille – $$$ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.348.1400 Fig Tree –$$$ 1601 E. Seventh St. 704.332.3322 LaVecchia’s – $$$ 225 E. 6th St. 704.370.6776 McCormick & Schmick’s – $$$ 200 South Tryon St. 704.377.0201 Outback Steakhouse – $$ 1412 East Blvd. 704.333.2602

M E AT & T H R E E
Dish – $ 1220 Thomas Ave. 704.344.0343 Mert’s Heart & Soul – $ 214 N. College St. 704.342.4222 Blue – $$$ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.927.2583 Intermezzo Pizzeria & Café – $ 1427 E. 10th Street 704.347.2626

Terra – $$ 545-B Providence Rd. 704.332.1886

Greek Isles – $$ 200 E. Bland St. Little Village Grill – $ 710-G W. Trade St. Showmars – $ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.444.9000 704.347.2184 704.333.5833

Cabo Fish Taco – $ 3201 N. Davidson St. Johnny Burrito – $ 301 S. Tryon St. La Paz – $$ 1910 South Blvd. Phat Burrito – $ 1537 Camden Rd. Salsarita’s – $ 101 S. Tryon St. Taqueria La Unica – $ 2801 Central Ave. 704.332.8868 704.371.4448 704.372.4168 704.332.7428 704.342.0950 704.347.5115

Bojangles’ – $ 310 E Trade St. 704.335.1804 Boston Market – $ 829 Providence Rd. 704.344.0016 Burger King – $ 310 E. Trade St. 704.334.3312 Chick-fil-A – $ 101 S. Tryon St. 704.344.0222 Chicks Restaurant – $ 320 S. Tryon St. – Latta Arcade 704.358.8212 Church’s – $ 1735 W. Trade St. 704.332.2438 Dairy Queen – $ 1431 Central Ave. 704.377.4294 Domino’s Pizza – $ 343 S. Kings Dr. 704.331.9847 Fuel Pizza – $ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.350.1680 Fuel Pizza – $ 1501 Central Ave. 704.376.3835 Green’s Lunch – $ 309 W. 4th St. 704.332.1786 Mr. K’s – $ 2107 South Blvd. 704.375.4318 Papa John’s Pizza – $ 1620 E. 4th St 704.375.7272 Pasta & Provisions – $ 1528 Providence Rd. 704.364.2622 Pita Pit – $ 214 N. Tryon St. 704.333.5856

Lupie’s Cafe – $ 2718 Monroe Rd. 704.374.1232 Mert’s Heart and Soul – $ 214 N. College St 704.342.4222 Price’s Chicken Coop – $ 1614 Camden Rd. 704.333.9866 Savannah Red – $$ 100 W. Trade St. 704.333.9000 Marriott City Center

Copper – $$ 311 East Blvd. Maharani – $ 901 S. Kings Dr. 704.333.0063 704.370.2824

Carrabba’s Italian Grill – $$ 1520 South Blvd. 704.377.2458 Coco Osteria – $$ 214 N. Tryon St.–Hearst Plaza 704.344.8878 Dolce Ristorante – $$ 1710 Kenilworth Ave. 704.332.7525 Fig Tree – $$$ 1601 E. 7th St. 704.332.3322 Hawthorne’s NY Pizza – $ 1701 E. 7th St. 704.358.9339 Intermezzo Pizzeria & Café – $ 1427 E. 10th St. 704.347.2626 Luce Ristorante & Bar – $$$ 214 N. Tryon St. – Hearst Plaza 704.344.9222 Mama Ricotta’s – $$ 601 S. Kings Dr. 704.343.0148

Arpa Tapas – $$$ 121 W. Trade St. 704.372.7792 Sole Spanish Grille – $$$ 1608 East blvd.. 704.343.9890

Kabob Grill – $ 1235-B East Blvd. 704.371.8984

Big Ben’s Pub – $$ 801 Providence Rd. Cans Bar – $ 500 W. 5th St. East Boulevard Grill – $ 1601 East Blvd. Ember Grille – $$$ 601 S. College St. - Westin Hotel Ri-Ra Irish Pub – $ 208 N. Tryon St 704.334.6338 704.940.0200 704.332.2414 704.335.2064 704.333.5554

Beef & Bottle – $$$ 4538 South Blvd. 704.523.9977 Capital Grille – $$$ 201 N. Tryon St. 704.348.1400 Chima – $$$ 139 S. Tryon St. 980.225.5000 LaVecchia’s – $$$ 225 E. 6th St. 704.370.6776 Longhorn Steakhouse – $$ 700 E. Morehead St. 704.332.2300




Dining and Nightlife Guide
Morton’s – $$$ 227 W.Trade St.- Carillon bldg. 704.333.2602 Outback Steakhouse – $$ 1412 East Blvd. 704.333.2602 Ruth’s Chris – $$$ 222 S. Tryon St. 704.338.9444 Sullivan’s – $$$ 1928 South Blvd. 704.335.8228 Dilworth Billiards 300 E. Tremont Ave. 704.333.3021 Dixie’s Tavern 301 E. 7th St. 704.374.1700 DoubleDoor Inn 218 E. Independence Blvd. 704.376.1446 Ed’s Tavern 2200 Park Rd. 704.335.0033 Evening Muse 3227 N. Davidson St. 704.376.3737 Fox and Hound – $ 330 N. Tryon St. 704.333.4113 Hartigans Pub – $ 601 S. Ceder St. 704.347.1841 Hawthorne’s NY Pizza – $ 1701 E. 7th St. 704.358.9339 Howl at the Moon – $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.936.4695 Jillian’s SouthEnd – $ 300 E. Bland Street 704.376.4386 Loft 1523 – $$ 1523 Elizabeth Ave. 704.333.5898 Madison’s – $$ 115 Fifth St. 704.299.0580 Morehead Tavern – $ 300 East Morehead St. 704.334.2655 Phil’s Tavern – $ 105 E. Fifth St. 704.347.0035 Picasso’s – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.331.0133 PJ’s Coffee & Lounge - $ 210 E. Trade St. (Epicentre) 704.688.0366 Pravda – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.375.8765 Presto Bar and Grill – $ 445 W. Trade St. 704.334.7088 Ri-Ra Irish Pub – $ 208 N. Tryon St 704.333.5554 Selwyn Pub – $ 2801 Selwyn Ave. 704.333.3443 Stool Pigeons – $ 214 N. Church St. 704.358.3788 Suite – $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.999.7934 The Attic – $ 200 N. Tryon St. 704.358.4244 The Corner Pub – $ 335 N. Graham St. 704.376.2720 The Forum – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.375.8765 The Gin Mill – $ 1411 S. Tryon St. 704.373.0782 The Penguin – $ 1921 Commonwealth Ave. 704.375.6959 The Pub – $ 710 West Trade St. 704.333.9818 Thomas Street Tavern – $ 1218 Thomas St. 704.376.1622 Tilt – $$ 127 W. Trade St. 704.347.4870 Town Tavern – $ 200 N. Tryon Tremont Music Hall – $ 400 W Tremont Ave. 704.343.9494 Tutto Mondo – $ 1820 South Blvd. 704.332.8149 Tyber Creek Pub – $ 1933 South Blvd. 704.343.2727 Vinnie’s Sardine – $ 1714 South Blvd. 704.332.0006 Visulite Theater – $ 1615 Elizabeth Ave. 704.358.9250 Whiskey River – $ 210 E. Trade St. 704.749.1097

Cosmos Cafe – $$ 300 N. College St. Enso – $$ 210 E. Trade St. Fujo Uptown Bistro – $$ 301 S. College St KO Sushi – $$ 230 S. Tryon St. Nikko – $$ 1300-F South Blvd. Room 112 – $$ 112 S. Tryon St. Ru-San’s Sushi – $$ 2440 Park Rd. 704.372.3553 704.716.3676 704.954.0087 704.372.7757 704.370.0100 704.335.7112 704.374.0008

Arpa Tapas – $$$ 121 W. Trade St. Cosmos Cafe – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.372.7792 704.372.3553

Blynk – $ 200 S. Tryon 704.522.3750 Dish – $ 1220 Thomas Ave. 704.344.0343 Something Classic Café – $ 715 Providence Rd. 704.347.3666

Pho An Hoa – $ 4832 Central Ave. 704.537.2595

Amos SouthEnd – $ 1423 S. Tryon St. 704.377.6874 Apostrophe Lounge – $$ 1400 S. Tryon St. 704.371.7079 BAR Charlotte – $ 300 N. College St. 704.342.2557 Big Ben’s Pub – $$ 801 Providence Rd. 704.334.6338 Buckhead Saloon – $ 201 E. 5th St. 704.370.0687 Cans Bar – $ 500 W. 5th St. 704.940.0200 Cedar Street Tavern – $ 120 N. Cedar St. 704.333.3448 Connolly’s on 5th – $ 115 E. 5th St. 704.358.9070 Cosmos – $$ 300 N. College St. 704.375.8765 Coyote Ugly – $ 521 N. College St. 704.347.6869 Crave the Dessert Bar – $ 501 W. 5th St. 704.277.9993 Dilworth Bar & Grille 911 E. Morehead St. 704.377.3808







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