Welcome to Plaza Midwood.
Here’s everything you need to know to eat, drink and shop your way through Plaza Midwood, a neighborhood that’s awake while others sleep, outspoken when others are quiet and a vital counter to Charlotte’s culture as a whole.
If Myers Park is Queen Charlotte’s crowned jewel, Plaza Midwood is her majesty after all the ornamentation is stripped away and the hair comes down, an unapologetic rebel against the misguided perception that this fast-growing, vibrant city is (or ever was) just a stodgy bankers’ town.
Last updated April 4, 2016. Check with individual businesses for updated information.
Ajbani – 2903-C Central Avenue – Technically just over the official neighborhood line in Merry Oaks, this Moroccan takeout counter is the place to be for authentic north African cuisine like spicy lamb tajine, couscous, falafel and more. Do not pass up the spicy homemade harissa hot sauce. They’ve got a few bistro tables if you want to hang around and eat on site.
Bistro La Bon – 1322 Central Avenue – Hit up Bistro on Sundays for the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet($22 adults, $10 children) with homemade pastries, house cured salmon, roasts, Swedish meatballs, salads and made-to-order chocolate waffles and French toast. If dinner is more your thing, this is also an excellent date night spot. Start with the crispy fried avocado.
Top 10 brunches in Charlotte, ranked (3/21/16)
Central Coffee – 719 Louise Avenue – This friendly, no-frills cafe is a pillar of the Plaza Midwood neighborhood (even though maps technically place it in Elizabeth). It’s not uncommon to find a line out the door during the morning caffeine rush. Try their cold brew (on tap) or the signature Central Shorty, a mini 6-ounce latter with vanilla and steamed milk. Also, don’t sleep on the homemade Greek yogurt, quiche and assorted other baked goods.
Comida – 1205 Thomas Avenue – This Mexican eatery had big, historic shoes to fill when it took over the former home of the iconic Penguin Drive-In. And it delivers. You won’t find fat burritos dripping in queso sauce or sticky sweet neon green margaritas. Comida is all about traditional Mexican flavors with a modern twist and everything is made in house. The totopos, chewy tortilla chips, are a must try.
Common Market – 2007 Commonwealth Avenue – The Deli is the perfect stop for grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and soups. They’ve also helped quell the wrath of many a hangover with their build-your-own breakfast bowls in the morning.
Being Yourself: Common Market (5/20/15)
The Diamond – 1901 Commonwealth Avenue – When you need late-night sustenance after all the bars have closed, this classic diner will save your life with a generous 4 a.m. closing time on Fridays and Saturdays. Vegetarians appreciate the black bean burger, jumbo soy dog and meatless meatloaf with mashed potatoes.
Dish – 1220 Thomas Avenue – Dish has been serving up unpretentious Southern comfort food since 2001. They’ll give mom (or grandma) a run for her money with their chicken & dumplings, shrimp & grits and pot roast.
Fern – 1323 Central Avenue – Head to Fern for meat-free food even your meat-eating friends will enjoy. The menu rotates but they’ve got hearty entrees like walnut risotto, bolognese with Italian seitan sausage and the always popular OM burger. For brunch, the chicken-fried tofu and waffles and the cinnamon rolls served in a cast iron skillet are major crowd pleasers.
Fuel – 1501 Central Avenue – Plaza Midwood is home to the original Fuel which is located, appropriately enough, in an old gas station. Open until 3 a.m. Thursday – Saturday.
Intermezzo – 1427 E. 10th Street – Don’t write this off as just another pizza joint. First of all, the pizza is excellent. Secondly, they also serve Serbian specialties like eggplant musaka, cabbage rolls and karadjordjeva. The traditional Serbian burek, phyllo dough stuffed with ground beef or spinach and cheese, is a requirement.
Kickstand Burger Bar – 1101 Central Avenue – Burgers are the star of the show but they’ve also got hot dogs, wings, flatbreads and shells-and-cheese (gluten-free available) with an assortment of “stir-ins”, including chili, broccoli, avocado, chicken and steak. Keep an eye on Facebook for regular half off BOGO deals.
Krazy Fish – 2501 Central Avenue – Krazy Fish’s menu can’t figure out where it is. They’ve got seafood specialties (as the name suggests) but then there’s also pad Thai, curry, tacos and roti. I’m a huge fan of the lemongrass tofu tacos with a completely unexpected blueberry tamarind chutney.
Mama’s Caribbean Grill & Bar – 1504 Central Avenue – Get your Jamaican food fix with jerk chicken, oxtail and ackee & salt fish, the country’s national dish. They’ve also got Jamaican drinks like Ting (a grapefruit soda) and sorrel, a red beverage made from steeping the petals of the sorrel plant.
Midwood Smokehouse – 1401 Central Avenue – Popular barbecue joint known for high-quality prime brisket smoked in a 100% wood smoker.
Nova’s – 1511 Central Avenue – Responsible for making the block smell like sweet baked goods. Stop in for fresh baked bread.
Okra – 1912 Commonwealth Avenue – This yoga studio is also home to a coffee and tea bar. Stop in for local Pure Intentions Coffee and Tea Rex Tea.
Pizza Peel – 1600 Central Avenue – There’s no shortage of pizza in Plaza Midwood. Pizza Peel has a little something for everyone, including vegan and gluten-free options.
Pure Pizza – 1911 Central Avenue – Pure is all about local ingredients. The flour for their dough is milled in North Carolina and their toppings are seasonally sourced through local farmers. They can also accommodate specialty diets with gluten-free crust and vegan cheese.
Soul Gastrolounge – 1500-B Central Avenue – Always expect a wait at Soul. The intimate, dinner-only spot is one of the most popular date night locations in town. The menu is served tapas-style with small plates for sharing. They’ve also got a legit sushi operation with nigiri, sashimi and some inventive original rolls like the Godzilla: “salmon, cream cheese, kani stick and jalapeño, coated with spicy fish mix, flash fried, finished with sweet and sour sauce, wasabi mayo and sweet sushi sauce.”
Three Amigos – Located next door to Ajbani (and technically just outside the Plaza Midwood neighborhood limit), Three Amigos is home to some of the best Mexican food in town. For something different, try yaro, a Dominican street food specialty consisting of french fries smothered in beef or chicken and then topped with ketchup, mayo and melted cheese.
The Workman’s Friend – 1531 Central Avenue – The soup of the day at this Irish joint is whiskey but they’ve got real food too, like pork & beans, shepherd’s pie and fish & chips.
Yama Izakaya – When microwave noodles won’t do, head to Yama for the real deal in the form of big bowls of ramen. They’ve also got yakitori, teriyaki and udon specialties.
Zada Jane’s – Don’t be surprised to find a line out the door here on the weekends. Although the serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, weekend brunch is a big draw. At least they have yard games to play while you wait.
Common Market – 2007 Commonwealth Avenue – Beer tastings on Monday nights, wine tastings on Wednesday nights and an extensive wine, beer and sake retail section where you can buy and then drink on site
L4 Lounge – 2906 Central Avenue – LGBT-friendly dance club, bar and lounge
Legion Brewing – 1906 Commonwealth Avenue – The neighborhood’s only brewery
Peculiar Rabbit – 1212 Pecan Avenue – This is a full restaurant but I’m listing it as a drinking spot because it has one of the rare rooftop bars in town, making it a popular spot for cocktails at sunset
Petra’s – 1919 Commonwealth Avenue – Piano bar with live music
Pint Central – 1226 Central Avenue – Restaurant and bar with a sizable patio out back
Snug Harbor – 1228 Gordon Street – Intimate music venue with shows every night of the week
The Station – 2131 Central Avenue – Casual dive bar
Thirsty Beaver – 1225 Central Avenue – Biker bar, casual saloon, Plaza Midwood icon
Thomas Street Tavern – 1218 Thomas Avenue – Casual neighborhood bar known for patio games out back
Twenty Two – 1500 Central Avenue – Combo wine bar and art gallery with lots of craft beers on tap and Monday night figure drawing classes
Whiskey Warehouse – 1221 The Plaza – Like Peculiar Rabbit, Whiskey Warehouse is a full restaurant, but it’s second to the draw of its rooftop bar Top Shelf
1510 Antiques – 1510 Central Avenue – 3,500 square feet of antiques from the 1800s to mid-20th century
Armada – 1200 The Plaza – Skate shop with gear and apparel
Book Buyers – Used bookstore home to a cat named Page and The Greener Apple, an eco-conscious selection of vegan grocery items, cookbooks and other sustainable products
Boris & Natasha – 1214 Thomas Avenue – Trendy men’s and women’s apparel under the watch of the owner’s friendly pit bull
Buffalo Exchange – 1521 Central Avenue – Buy, sell and trade new and used clothing and accessories
Century Vintage – 1508 Central Avenue – Vintage furniture, home decor, clothes and more
CLTCH – 1512 Central Avenue – A curated collection of unique accessories and one-of-a-kind collaborations with local labels
CLTCH is now open in Plaza Midwood (8/10/15)
Frock Shop – 901 Central Avenue – Resale shop selling curated vintage apparel and accessories
Green with Envy – 1111 Central Avenue – 4,000-square-foot boutique filled with “necessary luxuries” like candles, home decor, stationery and Charlotte-branded gifts
Gumbo – 1916 Commonwealth Avenue – Yoga apparel and accessories, snacks, gifts and other products that support healthy living
House of Africa – 1215 Thomas Avenue – Authentic African goods, including jewelry, instruments, furniture and more
Junior League Wearhouse – 1117 Pecan Avenue – Nonprofit resale shop stocked with apparel (including designer consignment), housewares and accessories
Lunchbox Records – 1419 Central Avenue (moving to 825 Central Avenue) – Record store buying and selling new and used LPs, 7″s, CDs and DVDs
Moxie Mercantile – 2008 Commonwealth Avenue – Lifestyle shop featuring handmade home and personal accessories
Reggae Central – 1506 Central Avenue – Specialty shop with reggae music and merchandise
Slate Interiors – 1401 Central Avenue – High end furniture and art
Social Status – 1519 Central Avenue – Sneaker and apparel store
Stash Pad – 1216 Thomas Avenue – Funky vintage accesories and apparel shop
Tuft – 1222 Central Avenue – Reupholstered vintage furniture, local art and furniture showroom
White Rabbit – 920 Central Avenue – LGBT bookstore
Food Truck Friday – The Light Factory, 1817 Central Avenue – A weekly roundup of popular food trucks every Friday night during the warmer months (Fridays)
Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride – meet at Common Market at 7:30 p.m. – A casual 10- to 15-mile bike ride to a different destination every week (Tuesdays)
Shuck & Awe Oyster Roast & Winter Fling – End of winter celebration hosted by the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association (March)
Midwood Maynia & The Plaza Midwood Home Tour – Festival, 5K race, live music and home & garden tours (May)
Plaza Midwood 4th of July Pig Pickin’ – Live music, food and views of the Uptown fireworks show (July)
Yard Art Day – Grassroots arts exhibition curated by the community (September)
Plaza Midwood – Chantilly Chili Cook Off – Enter your own recipe in the competition or just come for the samples (October)
Charlotte Marathon – Yes, it’s a citywide course but there’s something special about watching it in Plaza Midwood where you’ll find live music and cheer stations lining the streets (November)