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Meet Your Tour Guides
Who: Natalie and Jonathan Stewart. He’s a former Pro Bowl running back for the Carolina Panthers and together they’re co-owners of Charlotte Lately, which started in 2015 as an Instagram platform to highlight locally-owned businesses and now includes a print publication and (pre-Covid) in-person events.
Itinerary ideal for: Entertaining out-of-town friends (and their children).
From the Stewarts: “Even after football, we decided to stay in town. We know Charlotte has so much potential for growth and there are a lot of opportunities here. Charlotte’s unique in that it’s a big city, but it has lots of different neighborhood pockets. There’s the whole Uptown feel if you want it, but then when you’re out you’re going to run into someone you know, so it still feels like a small town. It’s fun to watch friends experience the city and be surprised and impressed.”
Here’s how Jonathan and Natalie would spend a weekend entertaining out-of-town friends.
(Note: Natalie did most of the talking so she’s the primary narrator. Anything from Jonathan is in quotes.)
FRIDAY: Barbecue and beer kind of night
Dinner: Friday night would be a Noble Smoke night. It’s just a great atmosphere. The turkey there is really good, and we also always get the brisket. “The ribs are the best in the world,” Jonathan adds. Their sides are great, because naturally you’ve got friends who say, I don’t eat this, or I don’t eat that. But you can get, like, 20 different sides, so there’s something for everyone.
Beer (and wine): From there, we’d head over to Resident Culture. Stew (Stew is what Natalie calls Jonathan) always looks for a Pilsner, or the beer with the highest alcohol content (laughs).
Amanda McLamb (co-owner of the brewery) is a childhood friend of mine. She’s amazing. I’m always pushing Resident Culture on people. I actually don’t even drink beer, but they have an amazing wine list there that Amanda’s helped curate, so that always keeps me happy.
SATURDAY: Active day with frequent stops for snacks
Breakfast: We’re big Not Just Coffee and Green Brothers Juice Co. people. If they’re bowl people they can head to Green Brothers, and everyone who wants caramel lattes and avocado toast can do that at NJC, too.
Lunch: “For lunch, we’d do a Price’s Chicken Coop situation,” Jonathan says. Yes, definitely. When Stew was with the Panthers, the running backs would do that for Friday lunch or on a Friday night. That was their team spot where they’d all eat together.
Whitewater center: Depending on who we’ve got with us, we might also head to the Whitewater Center. We love going there when we have people in town because it’s so cool and unexpected.
Donuts for the drive: “We’d get Pepperbox Donuts on the way out there,” Jonathan says. Sure, to have as a snack in the car. Why not? (laughs).
Dinner on Montford: For dinner, we’d probably go to Good Food on Montford. When it’s a no kids night, that’s definitely high on the list. We love the Korean beef with rice and kimchi. The soups they have are amazing, so we’d do that too, and then we’d probably get some kind of pasta. There’s always something new to try there. We just love the whole vibe. If you’re a foodie, you can try something adventurous, but if you’re just looking for comfort food, they’ve got that, too.
Rooftop drink: Then maybe we’d get a drink at one of the rooftop bars. We love Nuvole Rooftop TwentyTwo or Fahrenheit for drinks. That would be our way of showing people Uptown. We’re also excited to try Cordial at the AC Hotel in SouthPark.
SUNDAY: Church and croissants
Elevation service: If our friends are churchgoers, we’ll have them come to Elevation with us on Sunday morning. We’d do the early service and then come back home for breakfast.
Fresh bread and croissants: For breakfast, our new discovery that we’re obsessed with is Copain. The bread is great. You can even just eat it with butter and it’s so good. The ingredients are so fresh. We also love the croissants, and they have the best bacon. We’re big breakfast at home people, so we love doing that. That would be the way we send our friends off.
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