Focus On: Charlotte, NC

Jason McGathey
14 min readMay 30
mural in southside Charlotte, North Carolina

Though it’s come a long way in the past decade or so, I still maintain that Charlotte, NC is the most boring city of its size that I have ever seen. Now, of course, any time you say something like this, a town’s defenders are going to launch an offensive, pointing out, say, seven good restaurants and one cool place to hang out, and therefore this means you’re a moron who hasn’t given it a fair shake. But I never said Charlotte sucked completely — only that, given its massive sprawl, there should be a whole lot more to rally around.

For starters, the live music scene has always been curiously lackluster. In about 15 years of truly trying, I’ve found maybe five musical outfits that I thought were any good. Okay, okay, though, you might saying, this really isn’t our thing. Here’s a rundown on my thoughts concerning this city, based upon personal experience, in a few loosely defined categories:

Camp North End

This project looks like a bomb went off inside a modern market, flinging every business a quarter mile in every direction. And then a bunch of really cool looking and creative art flourishes were added to spruce up the spaces in between. I’ve never seen anything quite like this setup here, and though not even all that old, it’s already among the city’s most defining features. As such, it rates its own section. This is some sort of decommissioned military compound and the basic deal here is that you park and walk around to check out various shops, restaurants, art installations, you name it. Therefore there’s a little bit of exercise involved, but nothing too strenuous. Anyway, here are some random highlights, culled from our adventures:

Patty & The Dogs: everything we try here is awesome. Erin has the St. Bernard, which is an Italian sausage with basil garlic aioli & grilled onions (hold the peppers) on a bun. The turkey patty I try (no onions) is maybe not quite so original, but the meat tastes fresh and the chipotle mayo has a wonderful kick. As far as sides…