Here Are the 2022 BOB Awards: The Best of the Best in Charlotte



Eat: The Best of Food and Dining

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Handheld Dessert
Bubble Waffles at Open Rice
Choose an ice cream flavor, two toppings, and two drizzles to adorn your soft, custardy egg waffle. It’s served in a cup and meant to be eaten like a cone, but no one will judge if you opt for a spoon. 9882 Rea Road, Ste. F

Fried Balls
Xiao Bao’s Fried Mochi Dumplings
They’re sweet and crispy on the outside with savory, caramelized minced pork on the inside. It’s tough to decide if these glutinous rice balls make a better appetizer or dessert, but once you bite into one of the soft, chewy bundles, you won’t really care. Optimist Hall, 1115 N. Brevard St., Ste. 14

Dessert for Breakfast
Day & Night Cereal Bar Milkshakes
You’ve heard of breakfast for dinner, but what about breakfast for dessert? It’s Day & Night Cereal Bar’s specialty. Choosing from their dozen cereal-packed milkshakes is half the fun. Latta Arcade,
127 Brevard Court

New Pizza
Bird Pizzeria
The sought-after pop-up opened its Optimist Park brick-and-mortar last winter. Each of the “East Coast-style” pies has a charred, light crust smothered with a rich sauce, basil, and fresh mozzarella. Order early or risk yet another sellout day for what’s no longer a local secret. 510 E. 15th St.

Legacy Restaurant
Gus’ Sir Beef
It needn’t be fancy to be tasty. Gus’ Sir Beef has slung humble, hearty Southern classics like fried squash, fried chicken, fried okra, collard greens, and beef tips since it opened in 1968. The restaurant has always used locally grown produce, and everything looks and tastes as it always has.
4101 Monroe Road

Pandemic Comfort Food
Thoughtful Baking Co.’s Chicken Pot Pie
Mary Jayne Wilson, laid off as Amélie’s executive chef at the start of COVID, built an online business around her chicken pot pies, which she’d prepared for years as gifts for friends and family. Customers couldn’t get enough of this ultimate comfort food, either. Wilson makes a plant-based version now, too, plus tomato pie, strawberry pie, and other seasonal flavors. Find her pies at Birdsong Brewing and various farmers markets, and stay tuned this year for updates on her planned brick-and-mortar store. @thoughtful_baking_co

Flour Shop
Cut into this exquisite ball of cheese and behold the creamy interior as it seeps from the center. Scoop some on to your bread with tomato jam and pistachio pesto for a delightful balance of flavors that hits all of your taste buds. 530 Brandywine Road, Ste. A

Stack of Sushi
Monsoon Asian Grill and Sushi’s Spicy Tuna Stack
If you can put away a boat of sushi rolls, come take down a sushi tower at this Asian grill in Mooresville. The Spicy Tuna Stack is a sexy cylinder of sushi rice, crab salad, avocado, spicy tuna, masago, jalapeño salsa, scallions, and sesame seeds, topped with wonton chips and drizzled with spicy mayo and eel sauce. Order one for the table, take a picture for Instagram, then grab some chopsticks and get after it. 235 Medical Park Road, Ste. 101, Mooresville

Use of Milk Bread
Katsu Kart Sando Shop
The popular food truck serves its “sandos” on Japanese milk bread with shaved cabbage and mayo. They’re variations on a popular street sandwich in Japan; the OG Katsu, its main offering, employs a fried chicken breast and Worcestershire-rich katsu sauce. (“Katsu” is an abbreviation of “katsuretsu,” which means “cutlet.”) Chef Perry Saito’s version of milk bread isn’t as buttery or sweet as others, but it’s ideal for street food: soft and light but dense and structurally sound enough to support the meat it cradles. Saito and team update the location schedule every week. @katsukart

Bánh Xèo
Lang Van
Pretty sure Drake was thinking about Lang Van’s bánh xèo when he wrote “Best I Ever Had.” The crispy rice pancake, yellow from turmeric, is filled with pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts, and served with lettuce, herbs, and sweet nước chấm dipping sauce. Roll it all up and eat with your hands. As a Yelp reviewer put it, “All hail the yellow pancake!” 3019 Shamrock Drive

Vegan Eats
EastSide Local Eatery
This breakfast-and-lunch spot serves vegan versions of down-home favorites. Greet the day on the pet-friendly patio with a Biscuit Impossible, topped with plant-based sausage, vegan cheese, grits, mustard, and hot sauce. Lunch options include chili; burgers; mac and cheese; and the Whistlestop Platter, a custom smorgasbord of sides and a biscuit. Ethical, local, and tasty? Now that’s comfort food. 3102 Eastway Drive

Smothered Fries
Calle Sol Latin Café’s Salchipapa
Calle Sol brought classic Peruvian food to Plaza Midwood when it opened last year. Chef Paul Cruz’s take on salchipapa is a heap of fries covered in chopped hot dog, a fried egg, ketchup, ají amarillo mayonnaise, and cilantro aioli. The challenge of fitting them all into every bite is more than worth the effort. 1205 Thomas Ave.

Cast Iron Cornbread
Golden Owl Tavern
This warm, fluffy Southern staple comes in an iron skillet with a dollop of honey butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. They may list it as an appetizer, but it’s as indulgent as a slice of cake. 9041 Robert D. Snyder Road

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Kounter K3a9876Use of a Blowtorch
Whipped Key Lime With Torched Vanilla Meringue at Kounter
This edible work of art is worth a trip to Chef Rob Masone’s modern diner in Rock Hill. Masone, known for his creative takes on bar food, wields a blowtorch to take a standard key lime pie from a predictable dessert to a sweet, tart, toasty delicacy. The Maillard reaction has rarely looked so sexy.
135 E. Main St., Ste. 101, Rock Hill, S.C.

Hot Dog
The Good Wurst Company
The only thing better than a bomb dog is a bomb dog with a side of Currywurst Fries topped with bratwurst slices and smothered in curry ketchup. Skip the utensils, take big, vulgar bites, and keep wet wipes handy. 3001 Central Ave.

Mini Nosh
Giddy Goat’s Empanadas
Coffee and empanadas are an underrated pairing. Giddy Goat’s options for the latter include Breakfast (ham, cheese, egg, and bechamel), Sweet Corn, Chicken, Spinach, and Patagonia (beef, peppers, onions, and potatoes). 1217 The Plaza

Overblown Bloody Mary
Large Marge at Moo & Brew
Tell ’em Large Marge sent ya for Moo & Brew’s bloody mary, an appetizer—hell, a full meal—in a glass. Atop the branded highball glass (which you get to take home) of Tito’s and fresh-spiced tomato juice is a skyscraper constructed from an Angus slider with cheese, a jalapeño popper, cheese curds, fried banana peppers, carrots, celery, green olives, and peppered applewood bacon.
1300 Central Ave.

Bougie Chicken Wings
IRO at the Hyatt Centric SouthPark
Game-day chicken wings leave your fingers stained with buffalo sauce. At IRO, the underappreciated restaurant and bar on the Hyatt Centric SouthPark’s second floor, Chef Dustin Hilderbrandt tosses wings in a tangy gochujang hot sauce and garnishes them with black sesame seeds. You won’t need extra napkins, but you’ll definitely want a knife and fork. 3100 Apex Drive

Chip Dip
Loaded Queso at Bakersfield
The queso is rich and velvety, made with sherry and caramelized onions and served in a cast-iron skillet. Load it with chorizo, pickled peppers, and black beans for a decadent companion to a tangy margarita. On bright days, grab a seat near the open windows, watch the world go by on East Boulevard, and order a pitcher to split with friends. The queso will go quick. 1301 East Blvd.

Food Truck Expansion
Halal Street Food
Halal’s uptown street cart is so dependable, it’s practically the fifth Trade and Tryon statue. Its first full restaurant, right off Independence Boulevard, opened this year with the delectable gyros, kebabs, salads, and shawarma you’ve scarfed down between weekday meetings. 4044 Connection Point Blvd., Ste. B

Ice Cream Sandwich
The Squish at Swirl
A colossal scoop of ice cream pressed between two thick, fresh-from-the-oven cookies. That’s it. That’s the treat. 1640 Oakhurst Commons Drive, Ste. 103


Play: The Best of Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Nightlife, and Going Out

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Rum Selection
The Royal Tot
Yo-ho-ho, and … a hundred bottles of rum, actually. The Royal Tot, a tiki bar that opened in Belmont in January, boasts Charlotte’s largest rum selection, which it uses in 17 of its 23 signature cocktails. Join Admiral Vernon’s Rum Club for $250 a year to access more than 100 rare and vintage rums, plus other perks. 933 Louise Ave., Ste. 350

Spirits Library
The Crunkleton
Behind the 30-foot bar towers a wall of fine spirits that nearly touches the ceiling. The Elizabeth bar and restaurant’s spirits menu has five pages of “antique” selections (pre-Prohibition to the 1970s) and 11 of modern pourables.
1957 E. Seventh St.

Creative Drink Menu
Fin & Fino
Bar manager Brittany Kellum and her team, “BK and the Clams,” based the Happy Accidents Road Trip drink menu on the great American pastime of loading up the car, grabbing a stack of Mad Libs, and driving until the sun goes down. Cocktail names include Pork Rinds and Peyote, Apologies to the Housekeeping, and Drunk Karaoke in a Shania Twain Wig. Their tiki-style presentation matches the oyster shell decor above the bar. 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, Ste. 100

Mojito Monday
El Puro Cuban Restaurant
Shake off your Monday at this Madison Park joint, which serves half-off mojitos all day. The Classic Mojito is everything Cuba’s signature cocktail should be: a tall glass of Bacardi rum, fresh mint, raw sugar, lime juice, and bitters, with a side of live music. 5033 South Blvd.

New Brewery
Midnight Mulligan
This West End taproom specializes in West Coast-style beers like flagship IPA Embers Resurrected. Head brewer Jeff Bowman, a veteran of Birdsong Brewing Co., finely tuned that beer with Strata, Citra, Simcoe, and Chinook hops as “an homage to the IPAs up and down the West Coast.” Its slate of beers reflects the balance of big flavors with clean finishes. 2215 Thrift Road, Ste. A

General Excellence in Brewing
Wooden Robot
Overachiever, a pale ale, was our 2021 Beer Bracket champion, but don’t pass on others from this “urban farmhouse.” Coffee vanilla blonde Good Morning Vietnam, juicy IPA What He’s Having, and an array of sours dominate beer review apps. Hit both distinct locations: the original 15-barrel mothership in South End (1440 S. Tryon St., Ste. 110) and The Chamber in NoDa (416 E. 36th St., Ste. 100), a wood-aging shop that concentrates on farmhouse ales and sours.

Ale Switch
The Unknown’s Ginger Ale
The Unknown Brewing Co., once a big name in local craft beer, shifted last year to ginger ale, for now sold only in stores. Unlike most of its competitors, Unknown’s ginger ale avoids overbearing artificial sweeteners and comes in standard, spicy, and cranberry varieties. Lately, it’s added Craft Ginger Ale Mule, with fresh ginger, sugar cane, lime juice, and triple-distilled vodka.

Resurrected Bar
Tommy’s Pub
Charlotte doesn’t have many genuine hole-in-the-wall dives, so it was a major bummer when the original Tommy’s, on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood, closed in 2016 to make way for (surprise!) an apartment complex. But two years later, Tommy’s reopened under new ownership at Eastway Crossing Shopping Center and restored the locals’-joint atmosphere and open mic nights. Now, it’s as if the old times never ended—but added parking spots. 3124 Eastway Drive, Ste. 710

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Iced Latte Pouch
Wildroots Coffee
Last year, traveling espresso bar Coordinates Coffee rebranded and put down roots in a black cinder-block building, a vestige of South End’s industrial past. Order a Maldon Salted Maple Latte in one of the shop’s signature pouches, and walk across the street to explore the boutiques and restaurants that herald the neighborhood’s future. 1430 Winnifred St.

Brewery Expansion
Resident Culture
Founded in Plaza Midwood in 2017, Resident Culture opened a second location in South End in January. The 17,000-square-foot space serves cocktails, coffee, and craft food in addition to beer. Chef Hector Gonzalez slings tacos, nachos, and other Mexican fare from a kitchen in the back. 332 W. Bland St., Ste. C

Rooftop Date Night
Aura Rooftop
Ride the elevator five stories up to JW Marriott’s rooftop bar and enjoy city views with a cocktail in hand. Sip botanical-themed drinks like Green Fairy in the Garden and The Queen’s Negroni at the bar, or grab a seat on an outdoor sofa or wicker queen chair and watch the sun set over uptown. 124 E. Stonewall St.



Artsy Dive
Starlight on 22nd
Ruth Ava Lyons and Paul Sires once owned Center of the Earth Gallery, widely credited as the establishment that made NoDa Charlotte’s arts district. Starlight on 22nd is their latest venture, an eclectic bar in a 1,500-square-foot structure that recalls the area’s grittier days. As with all great art, details distinguish the space: old doors from The Evening Muse above the bar, funky light fixtures that spotlight open mic events, and local artwork scattered throughout. 422 E. 22nd St.

Mixology Trend
Zero-Proof Cocktails
Forget ginger ale, kombucha, and tentative requests to hold the alcohol. Charlotte’s best bartenders are mixing nonalcoholic cocktails that rival their spirited counterparts in flavor, depth, and balance. Want the (zero-)proof? Try PARA’s Jasumin Garden, which combines an herbal nonalcoholic spirit with jasmine tea syrup, yuzu, basil, and mineral water. This trend is refreshing. So are the drinks.

Frozen Buzz
Boozy Pops at  Sycamore Brewing
Two words: boozy popsicles. Sycamore Brewing makes them from wine and cider. Enjoy the 5% ABV treats solo or in a glass of prosecco or beer. Flavors include raspberry, mango, and piña colada. 2161 Hawkins St.

Spiked Shake
Choc n’ Skrewed at Ace No. 3
What’s better than chocolate and peanut butter? Chocolate, peanut butter, and liquor. This shake blends chocolate ice cream and a shot of Skrewball peanut butter whiskey. Multiple locations

COVID-Safe Flight
Boba Tea Flights at Around the World Café
This “worldly dessert” shop in Park Selwyn Terrace serves customizable boba tea flights. Try one of their most popular combos—Taiwan or Paris—or choose four from more than 20 tea and milk drinks. (We recommend the Brown Sugar Boba.) Then select a size, topping, milk or milk alternative, and sugar level. But don’t get overwhelmed: Even with this many choices, it’s hard to go wrong. 5110 Park Road, Ste. 1K

Underappreciated Sporting Event
Checkers Games
Starting in 2005, the Checkers played 10 seasons at the uptown arena now known as Spectrum Center, then moved back to their traditional home, what’s now Bojangles Coliseum. Good call. The 67-year-old, 8,600-seat arena’s cozy atmosphere splendidly suits minor-league hockey, and reasonable ticket and concession prices—plus the inimitable organist Greazy Keyz’s renditions of “Enter Sandman” and “Killing in the Name”—make an evening with the Checkers a Zamboni’s worth of fun. 2700 E. Independence Blvd.

Detox Smoothie
Hip Hop Smoothies
Do they work as cleansers? That’s open to debate, but it hardly matters when you can suck down a fresh (as in Doug E.), refreshing concoction like Funkdafied, with chia, alkaline water, and four kinds of berries. The space slaps, too: Prints of Jay-Z, Tupac, Biggie, and other hip-hop royalty line the walls, and one counter’s done up like a late-’80s boombox. 249 Mount Holly-Huntersville Road, Ste. 210

Cocktail Chemist
Colleen Hughes
Supperland’s beverage director, Colleen Hughes, has tailored the cocktail menu to reflect the restaurant’s indulgent, detail-oriented dinners. But more goes into the drinks than the ingredients: It takes six man-hours to open the bar every day, which includes innovative methods to maximize ingredients and minimize waste. Supperland’s exclusive speakeasy experience showcases Hughes’ creative chemistry: One dessert cocktail, Science Is for Girls, calls for a clarified milk punch made with sous vide chocolate milk infused with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg. Science is for girls, and we’re lucky that Hughes has done her homework. 1212 The Plaza


Explore: The Best of Arts, Culture, and Entertainment



Outdoor Light Display
I Heart Rail Trail: Lights
This interactive light installation, one of the few public activities COVID couldn’t postpone, returned to South End for the third straight year. For 16 days in March, the Rail Trail between Carson Boulevard and Atherton Mill was decked out in colorful sculptures and digital projections that visitors could explore by bike, scooter, or on foot.   

Green Space Reclamation
Pearl Street Park
It opened in the 1940s to serve Brooklyn, Charlotte’s largest Black neighborhood. But urban renewal leveled Brooklyn in the 1960s and ’70s, and the 11-acre park south of uptown withered with it. A three-year, $3 million renovation that finished in December added grassy fields, playing courts, plazas, a playground, art installations, walking paths, and an open-air pavilion. Pearl Street Park bustles once more. 1200 Baxter Drive

Instagram Post
Mick Jagger at the Thirsty Beaver Saloon
Whenever Charlotte seems ready to settle into a “we cool now” swagger, someone reminds us that, as a city, we’re still a gawky middle-schooler at her first dance. In September, the night before the Stones played Bank of America Stadium, Mick dropped by what he later called “that bar, you know, the Beaver bar.” Someone took a photo. Mick posted it to his Instagram feed. The city’s reaction was devoid of chill—OMG OMG MICK OMG JAGGER AT THE THIRSTY OMG BEAVER—and characteristically Charlottean.

Billboard Art Display
ArtPop Street Gallery
What if billboards showcased local art instead of cringeworthy advertisements for lawyers and real estate agents? For the ninth year, nonprofit ArtPop makes art more accessible by installing works from 20 local artists on billboards across the city.

Rentable Vintage Car
Charlotte the Figgy
This baby-blue 1991 Nissan Figaro is the cutest thing on four wheels. Rent her for weddings, bachelorette parties, and gender reveals, or use her as a creative prop in your branding photos. Book her anywhere from one hour to an entire day or night, and see where this vintage beauty takes you.

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Local Artist
Irisol González
González is a Charlotte fine artist and muralist who immigrated from Costa Rica at age 10. Her work does more than reflect the experiences of Latino residents: It invites them to pick up paintbrushes, too. Last year, she organized a community-crafted mural at Compare Foods on Sharon Amity Road, a piece packed with the vibrancy and iconography of the family cultures that surround it—and the first of more in the near future.

Solution to Declining Tree Canopy
Cell Towers in Tree Costumes
The city’s zoning ordinance requires cell towers within 400 feet of residential zones to meet appearance criteria that include “be disguised as trees.” They’re all over town—one, off Interstate 485 in south Charlotte, has acquired a degree of local fame—and as convincing as bad toupées.

72-Foot Dog Mural
South End dog bar and day/night care Skiptown has the Great Dane of dog murals. Hand-painted by 16 local artists, the 72-by-12-foot mural incorporates the portraits of 750 heckin’ good puppers, Skiptown’s first members. 11/10 will boost your serotonin. 222 Rampart St.

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Fan Base
Charlotte FC
“Fanhood” means something different in soccer. Charlotte’s Major League Soccer team needed a fervent fan foundation by opening night this spring. With its first season delayed by COVID-19, Charlotte Football Club built anticipation with both soccer fanatics and newbies. MLS’ first-ever “chief fan officer,” Shawn McIntosh, interacts with groups like Mint City Collective, Southbound & Crown, Uptown Ultras, Carolina Hooliganz, and Blue Furia to ensure that the stadium rocks no matter the win-loss record.

Camping Spot
McDowell Nature Preserve Campground
Lake Wylie, thankfully, isn’t as overrun with visitors as its counterpart to the north, Lake Norman. If you want to camp but not drive deep into the mountains, McDowell has 56 campsites and a variety of options, from full RV hookup to primitive, plus a bathhouse and a camp store that sells firewood and ice. The “Great Urban Escape,” the park calls it. 15222 York Road

Piedmont Medical Center Trail
Of the multiple greenways in the Charlotte area, this one provides the best experience with the biggest waterway, the Catawba River. Here, it flows down a steeper grade than it does north of the state line, burbling south to where it eventually becomes the Wateree, near Columbia. The 3.35-mile, 10-foot-wide asphalt path offers pleasant river views and a few surprisingly steep inclines—and you can cap off your trot with dinner at the popular Pump House restaurant next to the trailhead. 575 Herrons Ferry Road, Rock Hill, S.C.

Charlotte SHOUT!
The four pillars of Charlotte SHOUT!, produced by Charlotte Center City Partners, are “ideas, music, food, and art.” All aim to showcase the city’s creativity. The latest multiweek edition included the Charlotte StrEATs Festival, with food from different neighborhoods; a local music stage with acts across several genres; massive, interactive public artworks, like the 300 glowing snails at Romare Bearden Park; and the inaugural Charlotte Center Festival of Ideas, which encourages open dialogue—and that’s just a small sample of the schedule.

Pup Crawl
Lucky Dog to Blue Blaze Brewing via Stewart Creek Greenway
Neighborhood: FreeMoreWest. Need: Self, dog, beer money. Start: Lucky Dog Bark & Brew, 2220 Thrift Road. Watch dog play with “frens” while you drink beer. Then walk dog half-mile up Thrift and Freedom Drive to Stewart Creek Greenway trailhead. Walk dog on asphalt path for about a mile through shaded creekside greenway, then left and through Seversville Park, where children play. Emerge to encounter, across street, Blue Blaze Brewing, 528 S. Turner Ave. Use restroom. Drink more beer with enervated dog. Works in reverse, too.


Live: The Best of Health, Wellness, Kids, and Family

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Laura Park Designs
What began as playful, abstract pastel paintings is now a vibrant collection of pillows, bedding, and wallpaper. Artist Laura Park launched her business in 2016 after she began to transfer digital patterns of her designs to fabric. Four years later, she opened a storefront in Myers Park, where she sells a rotation of original textiles that make your home look sunny even on the dreariest winter day. 1033 Providence Road

Rooftop Workout
This cycle studio offers open-air classes on the rooftop of Inizio Pizza in Dilworth and provides bikes, shoe rentals, towels, and DropSound headphones that stream the ride right into your ears. Book a 30- or 45-minute class on the app, clip in, and catch the beat. 2230 Park Road

Pharmacy for Your Face
Skin Pharm
This Nashville-based skin care clinic arrived in Charlotte in February with Botox, fillers, microneedling, chemical peels, and more. But before you do any of that, book a skin consult with one of their on-site nurse practitioners or physician assistants. If your current cleanser doesn’t have the right pH balance, or it’s time to start using nightly retinol, they’ll hook you up. They can also dispense prescriptions for acne treatment or wrinkles. The $125 consult fee goes toward a product or treatment of your choice, so feel free to stock up on youth serum, face cleanser, or mineral tinted SPF. 4600 Park Road, Ste. 450

Home Improvement Martial Artist
Crawl Space Ninja of Charlotte
If you own a home, you might not even want to look in the crawl space. But moisture down there can lead to mold, animals dead and alive, and other nasties. Crawl Space Ninja of Charlotte specializes in “crawl space encapsulation,” which closes it up with a waterproof seal, repels intrusive organic life forms, and improves air quality in the home.

Simply Dare
Simply Dare founder Kenzie Harkey spent a decade in the health and wellness industry before pursuing her passion for home curation and organization. She and her team will tackle any space, plus help with moves and offer virtual consulting—all confidential and “judgment-free.” Visit them on Instagram for inspiration and tips to wrangle clutter and cultivate a peaceful living space.

Rolling Branch
Under new CEO and Chief Librarian M.T. Turner, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has rolled out a series of programs to make resources more accessible. This one rolls for real: MoLi (pronounced “Molly”) is a 33-foot-long mobile library that began service in January and holds books, audiobooks, magazines (including this one!), and eight public-use Chromebooks. Consult the calendar at the library system’s site or on its app to see where MoLi will be and when. 

HVAC Company
Adams Heating & Air
Adams has kept Charlotteans comfortable since 1944, and their technicians are the square dealers you want when you’re staring down the barrel of extreme cold or heat with a monstrous bill behind it. They provide options, sell quality systems (Trane and Rheem), don’t push the upsell, and back their work.

Curated Makeup Box
Swan Beauty Box
Lindsey Regan Thorne and Leigh Humphrey launched this digital beauty service to save you the hassle and guesswork of shopping for cosmetics. Take their online beauty quiz to determine your budget, skin type, and favorite brands, and they’ll select products for you. When your Swan Beauty Box arrives at your doorstep, test out your swag, keep what you like, and send back what you don’t.

House Cleaner
Two Maids & A Mop
There’s nothing nicer than coming home to a clean house—especially when someone else has done the cleaning. Two Maids & A Mop handles the dirty work, and unlike most cleaning services, its maids are compensated based on homeowner ratings after each service.

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Shear With Beer
Arrow occupies a midway point between pricey salons and cheap, turnstile haircut franchises. Founders Pete and Andy Phipps, who opened the first location in Raleigh in 2013, have expanded with eight more, including two in Charlotte—at Atherton Mill in South End and Park Road Shopping Center. The stylists are personable, the atmosphere chill, and—the best part—you get a complimentary beer, brewed especially for Arrow by Fullsteam Brewery in Durham. Multiple locations

One-Stop Glam Shop
Julie Yamada
There are hairstylists who focus only on hair, makeup artists who do only makeup, and then there’s Julie, who can do everything a whole glam squad does in one appointment. If you have a professional headshot or a special occasion, visit her at the Denise Antonacci Salon, and she’ll get you looking camera-ready. She’ll wash, dry, and style your hair and apply your makeup to look as natural or dramatic as you’d like. Your glass of rosé will never empty, and your lashes will always be on point. 4810 Ashley Park Lane, Ste. B

Gentle Giant Moving Co.
You don’t realize how important a quality mover is unless you’ve experienced a bad one. Gentle Giant helps with moves of any scope—local or long-distance, residential or commercial. Their movers are clean-cut, punctual, efficient, and, incredibly, leave homes and belongings in the same condition they found them.

Car Detailer
Hi-Line Detailing & Protection
Hi-Line opened in Pineville in 2010 and offers paint enhancement, ceramic coating, detailing, steam sanitizing, even storage and concierge service—everything you could want for your car short of wet nursing. 605 N. Polk St., Ste. E, Pineville

Spa Add-On
VIP O2 Booster at Toska Spa and Facial Bar
Toska Husted’s Triple Lift Luxury Facial is a favorite among celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian, and Charlotte clients pay up to $500 for her advanced treatments. Her $65 VIP O2 Booster is like CPR for your skin cells. Husted calls it “Champagne for the skin” because of the softness and radiance it adds to your complexion. You’ll experience a crackling sensation as your esthetician works the formula into your face, but that’s just the oxygenating complex doing its thing. 4401 Barclay Downs Drive, Ste. 110

Pet Caretakers
Little Friends Pet Sitting
Founded by Terry Richardson and Jon Noyes in 2010, Little Friends doesn’t just tend to dogs and cats; over the years, sitters have cared for rabbits, chickens, ferrets, snakes, bearded dragons, and more. Little Friends offers flexible packages that include overnight sitting and dog walking, and its responsible, responsive sitters use the company’s mobile app (adorably named “Time to Pet”) to send detailed messages and plenty of photos after each visit.

Lash Guru
Christina Elliott
Lie down on a plush treatment bed and close your eyes while lash artist Christina applies synthetic or silk hairs along your lash lines with pinpoint precision. At $150 for a full set, it’s not cheap, and at two hours in the chair, it’s not quick. But you’ll awaken with long, thick lashes that give you that I-didn’t-even-try-but-still-look-flawless glow. 9208 Ardrey Kell Road, Ste. 300


Shop: The Best of Style and Shopping

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Qc Crete Boob 8429Concrete Planters
Queen City Crete
Shamila Varner’s booby planters are what every cactus or floral arrangement needs to live its best life. Her one-of-a-kind concrete planters are perfectly imperfect (like real boobies), and you can order them in standard or custom colors. If you’re partial to big butts, see her booty planters, which are available in a variety of sizes as well.

Art Gallery-Wine Bar Hybrid
Rosie’s Coffee & Wine Garden
Rosie’s concept: “coffee and wine served in magical places.” The original location near uptown, with its extensive wine menu and lights strewn across an urban garden, creates a vibe that would be difficult to duplicate. So the owners opted for a different kind of magic this year when they opened The Galleries at Eight Eleven on Providence Road, where visual art and live music enliven a gorgeous enclosed space. Multiple locations

Board Game Selection
Luck Factory Games
A library of more than 1,000 games at this board game café gives you the chance to try something new with friends, and themed nights incubate micro-communities within the gaming arena: Players pack the tables here throughout the week. 305 McGill Ave. NW, Ste. 80, Concord

Farmers Market
Matthews Community Farmers’ Market
Founded in 1991, this market hosts diverse local producers on Saturdays year-round. Meet the folks behind your food as you browse seasonal fruits and vegetables, artisanal doughnuts, sourdough bread, mushrooms, flowers, and pasture-raised meat in a lively community atmosphere. Check the website for up-to-date vendor information, and arrive early for the best selection. 188 N. Trade St., Matthews

Women’s Clothing
Leenie Rae Boutique
Walking through Waverly, you might miss Leenie Rae if you don’t know it’s there. But the women’s boutique, which owner Arlene Cook moved from San Francisco last year, is worth seeking out. Cook curates based on texture, comfort, and craftsmanship, which you’ll find whether you’re looking for a dress for a night out, a quippy graphic tee, or a new pair of earrings. 7415 Waverly Walk Ave., Ste. F2-1B

Plant Shop
Twigs & Figs
Booze and houseplants are the hot duo in Charlotte these days. Twigs & Figs, which opened in Ballantyne in September, is the latest shop to offer beverages while you browse plants, pots, and accessories. Grab a boozy (or nonalcoholic) beverage and peruse the shop, or sign up for a workshop like terrarium-making, indoor gardening, or yoga. 15205 John J. Delaney Drive, Ste. B

Skate Shop
Armada Skate Shop
Armada fits right in at Eastway Crossing, a refuge for businesses priced out of Plaza Midwood: Tommy’s Pub, Dairy Queen, Book Buyers. Armada’s move placed it closer to two skater hot spots: Grayson SkatePark off Wendover Road and the recently departed Eastland DIY skate park. But its recognizable bumper stickers, which you’ll find throughout the region, demonstrate its influence beyond any one neighborhood. 3046 Eastway Drive, Ste. A

Interior Design Hookup
The Sourced Home
You know when you page through a gorgeous home feature and discover that all the fixtures and furniture are available only to interior designers? Yeah, neither do we. But if we did run into that hurdle, we’d hit up The Sourced Home, where you can buy trade-only furnishings at a discount. Find high-end fabrics, wallpaper, rugs, lighting, pillows, and more, and have them shipped directly to your home.

Skate And Hand 8453


Erin McDermott Jewelry
Erin McDermott’s colorful earrings, beaded and layered necklaces, and stackable bracelets are versatile and easy to wear, but she doesn’t shy away from statement pieces. The Coco Hill line, a collaboration with artist Kiki Slaughter, turns hand-painted canvas into one-of-a-kind wearable art. 2608 Roswell Ave.

New Boutique
Betty by Moxie
Michelle Castelloe’s fourth boutique is bright, airy, and tasteful—much like the eco-friendly adult and children’s apparel she sells there. Castelloe, who owns Moxie Mercantile, brought her local focus into the new store, which carries Charlotte-made accessories, candles, crafts, and even roller skates. Go on a Tuesday, when you can treat yourself to mini-versions of The Batchmaker’s batch boxes and Babe & Butcher’s charcuterie boards. 1219 Thomas Ave.

Shopping Daycation
Markets at 11
Ballantyne’s Backyard, a sprawling private park on a former golf course, hosts Markets at 11 on the second Saturday of each month from May to December. Bring the whole family (dogs, too!) and make a day of it: Shop local health and home products, spread out a picnic blanket, pick up a food-truck lunch, and enjoy beer or wine to live music. Here, the hubbub of Charlotte is, literally and figuratively, miles away. 11611 N. Community House Road

Custom Cakes
Brittani Rayfield of CTO Sweets
Name a thing, any thing, and Brittani Rayfield of CTO Sweets has probably made a cake that looks like it. Sushi? Yep. A sloth? Yep. An Amazon Prime package? You bet. The two-time Food Network challenge winner whips up made-to-order cakes and desserts that range from whimsical to hyperrealistic. @ctosweets

Gifts for Dudes
The Sporting Gent
There are only so many neckties and mugs you can give the dude in your life. If you want to really impress him, head to this store tucked in the back of Colony Shopping Center; you’ll know you’re in the right place when two swamp collies greet you at the door. Shop for hunting and fishing gear, leather wallets, camo rain shells, cast iron skillets, and a range of other items designed and made in North Carolina. 2848 Selwyn Ave.

Skylar Boom Box


New Toy Store
Harper & Skyler’s Toys & Sweets
Since opening last October, this independent toy store has become Charlotte’s go-to for stuffed animals, scooters, fidgets, and candy boards. You won’t find big brands like Mattel and Hasbro, but owner Dan Weiss has a curated mix of trendy and unique toys from lesser known manufacturers and local vendors. When you need a fail-safe gift for a birthday party—or you want to bribe one of your own womb gremlins—head to this toy store and candy shop in Park Road Shopping Center. Good luck getting out the door without a chocolate-covered pretzel. 4317 Park Road, Ste. B

Cocktail Supplier
The Cocktailery
Home goods stores and gift shops often have small sections of curated, high-quality cocktail wares. But it’s rare to find a place like The Cocktailery, a droolworthy store in South End’s Atherton Mill that’s dedicated to barware and cocktail supplies, like handmade strainers, cocktail books pretty enough to leave out on your coffee table, and a whole wall of bitters and syrups. Founded by Tamu Curtis of Liberate Your Palate, The Cocktailery also offers mixology classes, in-person and virtual, where you can learn how to use your new supplies. 2000 South Blvd., Ste. 430

Floral Arrangements
Pretty Things by Ashley Manning
This local flower shop began as a pandemic hobby for Ashley Manning, a 39-year-old mother of four. Friends and neighbors bought her floral arrangements, and soon she couldn’t keep up with demand. She converted two rooms in her house into a florist’s studio, where she fills vases, buckets, and hand-painted porcelain jars with an array of seasonal blooms. Order one when you need a mood booster. @prettythings.charlotte

Rebelbase K3a0076


Rebelbase K3a0093Pop Culture Cavern
Rebel Base Comics & Toys
Like the Rebellion bases of Star Wars, you’ll find the wares of this store in an unlikely spot: underneath the pristine Cotswold Village plaza and adjacent to a Great Clips. It’s a surprisingly rare breed for a city of Charlotte’s size. There are other comic book stores, but this one stands apart with a vast mine of new and vintage fare, from toys and model kits to life-sized superhero standees and collectible cards. If you have a love for the nerdy, just try to escape the Rebel Base without a bag of pop-cultural artifacts. 701 S. Sharon Amity Road, Ste. C



Results from online polls from January-February 2022


The Marguerite dress from Vestique, voted runner-up for best women’s boutique. Courtesy.

Beauty + Wellness

Physical Therapist
Carolina Sports Clinic

Core Purpose

Yoga Studio
ZanZen Studio

Y2 Yoga

Pilates/Barre Studio
Hilliard Studio Method

Pure Barre SouthPark

Cardio Workout Class
West Kept Secret

Sweat Method

Boutique Gym
West Kept Secret

Functional Fit

Caliber Men’s Grooming


Women’s Hair Salon
Denise Antonacci Salon

Carbon Compass Beauty Bar

Aloha Nails Blakeney

Frenchies Modern Nail Care Charlotte

Lashes and Brows
Le Petit Spa

Craft Beauty


Denise Antonacci Salon

Hair Removal
Providence Plastic Surgery

Essential Aesthetics and Laser

Place to Get Your Makeup Done
Look Love Beauty

Denise Antonacci Salon

Med Spa (Botox, Injectables, etc.)
Carolina Facial Plastics

Skin by Blair

Day Spa
Toccare Day Spa

The Ballantyne Hotel

Plastic Surgery Practice
Charlotte Plastic Surgery

Providence Plastic Surgery

Facial Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Jonathan Kulbersh (Carolina Facial Plastics)

Dr. Vincent E. Voci (Voci Plastic Surgery Center)

Modern Acupuncture at Blakeney

Carolina Sports Clinic

Matthews Chiropractic Center

Carolina Sports Clinic

Mental Health Therapist/Counseling
Bright View Counseling

Matone Counseling

Hearing Services
Hearing Solution Center

Levine Hearing

Dr. Scott Paviol (Paviol Dermatology)

Dr. Elizabeth Rostan (Charlotte Skin & Laser)


Women’s Boutique


Men’s Clothing Store
OMJ Clothing


Custom Suits
OMJ Clothing

Stitched by Mitch

Store for Charlotte Apparel
Glory Days Apparel

704 Shop

Fine Jewelry 
Diamonds Direct

Perry’s Jewelry

Local Jewelry Designer
Perry’s Jewelry

Skatell’s Manufacturing Jewelers

Local Gift Shop
Paper Skyscraper

OMJ Clothing

Pet Supplies
Pet Wants

Pet Supplies Plus

Craft Beer Bottle Shop
Salud Beer Shop

Brawley’s Beverage

Wine Store
Foxcroft Wine Co.


Home Furnishings and Decor
House of Nomad

Cotswold Marketplace

Charlotte Shopping Destination
SouthPark Mall

Design Center South End

Auto Dealer
Hendrick Automotive Group

Subaru South Blvd

Bridal Boutique
Ladies of Lineage

Hayden Olivia Bridal

Charlotte-Made Products
CLT Find

Paper Skyscraper

Independent Bookstore
Park Road Books

Book Buyers

Place to Shop for CBD
Crowntown Cannabis

Get Me Some Green Apotecary

Plant Nursery
Pike Nurseries



Residential Remodeling
Urban Building Group

Andrew Roby

Home Builder
Jeff Chance Custom Homes

Andrew Roby

Interior Design
Swell Decor Design

House of Nomad

Home Organization
Simplicity Organizers

CW Home


(Runner-Up: TIE)
Carolina Greenscapes
The Plant Guys

Kitchen and Bathroom Resources
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Crown Point Kitchens Design Studio

Real Estate Agent
Misty Hurd (eXp Realty)

Danielle Edwards (RE/MAX)

Plumbing Service
Busy Beaver Plumbing

Wonderful World of Plumbing

Window Resources
Hunter Window Cleaning

World of Windows

Heating and Cooling
Roby Services

Appliance Medic CLT

Housekeeping/Cleaning Service
Big Time Clean

Extreme Property Services

Staycation Hotel
Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte

The Ballantyne Hotel

Financial Adviser/Wealth Management
Carter Financial Group

Ryan Saunders, Plancentric Financial Group

Law Firm
Sodoma Law

Katten Muchin Rosenman

Assisted Living/Retirement Community

Sharon Towers

Tax Preparation
Fisher, P.A.

Means Income Tax Service

Tattoo Parlor
Made to Last

The Grey Ash

Auto Repair
Woodie’s Auto Service and Repair Centers

CMD Automotive

Graphic Design/Web Design Firm
Yellow Duck Marketing

Well-Run Media + Marketing

PR Firm
Yellow Duck Marketing

Well-Run Media + Marketing

Ad Agency
Well-Run Media + Marketing

Spark Strategic Ideas

Carolina DJ Professionals

Split Second Sound

Best Impressions Caterers

The Uptown Catering Company

Caroline York Photo

Carolyn Ann Ryan Photography

Event Rentals
The White Bounce House

Party Reflections

Party/Event Planner
SoHo Event Planning & Design

Katrina Hutchins Events

The 5 and 2 Project

Little Eye Film Co.

Wedding/Special Event Venue
The Bottle Factory Venue

Duke Mansion

IRIS blossom

Blossom Shop

Dry Cleaners
Jung’s Laundry and Cleaners

Elite Cleaners

Anna’s Alterations

Myers Park Tailors

Travel Agency
Corporate Travel Management / CTM Vacations

Mann Travels

Public/Charter School
Telra Institute

Charlotte Lab School

Private School
Charlotte Country Day School

Providence Day School

Summer Camp
Camp Mindy

Lanti Performing Arts

After-School Care
J-Team Afterschool Program (Levine Jewish Community Center)

Harris YMCA

Tutor Service
Ballantyne Reading Academy for the Very Young


College Planning Service
Out In Front College Counseling

EWC Consulting

Pet Boarding/Day Care
Paw’d CLT

Lucky Dog Bark & Brew

Long Animal Hospital

Rea Road Animal Hospital

Dog Trainer
Charlotte Dog Wizard

Star Dog

Moving Service
Huneycutt Moving Delivery and Installation

Gentle Giant Moving Company

House Painter
Valentine Painting

Pro-Clean Carpet, Paint & Total Home Services

Media + Culture + Entertainment

Mel Dau

Bucleigh Kernodle

Charlotte Influencer
Laura Long (@SmartSouthernStyle)

Miranda in Charlotte (@mirandainclt)

Charlotte Instagram Account
Meghan Trainor (@BodybyTrainor)

Laura Long (@SmartSouthernStyle)

Charlotte Twitter Account
Brad Panovich (@wxbrad)

StarMed Healthcare (@StarMedCare)

Company to Work For
Choate Construction

Third Rock Events

DIY Studio/Class/Workshop
Holt School of Fine Art

AR Workshop

Family Attraction

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Golf Course
Quail Hollow Club

Carmel Country Club

Charity Event/Fundraiser

Beers and Burpees

BuildStrong Charlotte

HSC Pet Palooza

Holiday Event
Charlotte Christmas Village/Light the Knights

Southern Christmas Show

Pop-up Event
Girl Tribe Co.

Curated by Canopy (at Canopy Hotel SouthPark)

Karaoke Spot
Jeff’s Bucket Shop

Seoul Food Meat Company

Live Performance Venue
The Evening Muse

The Fillmore

Local Band/Musician
Josh Daniel

Of Good Nature

Performing Theatre Group
Charlotte Comedy Theater

Three Bone Theatre

Local Artist
Amy Moffatt

Mar + Roe

Art Gallery
Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art

Sozo Gallery

The Mint Museum

Harvey B. Gantt Center

Confetti Wall 1 Crop

Evelyn Henson’s “Confetti Hearts Wall” in South End, voted best mural. Photo by Logan Cyrus.

Public Art
Confetti Hearts Wall (Evelyn Henson)

#colormehappyclt (Caroline Simas)

Local Podcast
Wake Up To Your Life (Colleen Odegaard)

Champagne Problems (Queen City Podcast Network)

Radio Show
The MRL Morning Show (Kiss 95.1)

Charlotte Talks (WFAE 90.7)

Local Sports Show
Charlotte Sports Live (Queen City News)

The Mac Attack (WFNZ)

Local TV News Team


Joe Bruno (WSOC-TV)

Molly Grantham (WBTV)

Weather Forecaster
Brad Panovich

Larry Sprinkle

LaMelo Ball

Christian McCaffrey

Sports Team
Charlotte Hornets

Carolina Panthers

Sporting Event
Carolina Panthers Games

Wells Fargo Championship

Food + Drink

Sam Diminich

Greg Collier

Place for a Date Night
The Artisan’s Palate


Girls’ Night Out
Dilworth Tasting Room

Merchant + Trade

Family-Friendly Restaurant
Mama Ricotta’s (FS Food Group)


Café Monte
The Artisan’s Palate

Easy Like Sunday

Poppy’s Bagels

Crust Punk

Suárez Bakery

Amélie’s French Bakery & Café

Rhino Market

The Common Market

Food Truck
Cousins Maine Lobster

Tin Kitchen

Smoothie/Juice Bar
Green Brothers

Clean Juice

Midwood Smokehouse (FS Food Group)

Mac’s Speed Shop

Ace No. 3 (High Tide Hospitality)

Harriet’s Hamburgers

Baoding Restaurant

Sun’s Kitchen

Café Monte

La Belle Helene  (5th Street Group)

Fried Chicken

Bossy Beulah’s

Ilios Crafted Greek

The Mad Greek


Curry Gate

Irish Pub
Workman’s Friend

Rí Rá Irish Pub Charlotte

Mama Ricotta’s

Little Mama’s

O-Ku (The Indigo Road Hospitality Group)

Ru San’s

Calle Sol (FS Food Group)

Sabor Latin Street Grill

Three Amigos Mexican Grill & Cantina

Paco’s Tacos and Tequila

Inizio Pizza Napoletana

Sal’s Pizza Factory

O-Ku (The Indigo Road Hospitality Group)

New Zealand Cafe

Sea Level (High Tide Hospitality)

Fin & Fino



Barcelona Wine Bar

Miro Spanish Grille

Beef ‘N Bottle Steakhouse

Steak 48

Small Plates
Barcelona Wine Bar

Soul Gastrolounge

Thai Taste

Deejai Thai

Oh My Soul

Living Kitchen

Charlotte, Nc August 13th: Coffee, Pho, Summer Rolls, Spring Rolls, Yellow Pancake And Crispy Quail From Lang Van In Charlotte Nc On August 13, 2019. Photo By Peter Taylor

A variety of dishes from Lang Van, voted best Vietnamese food. Photo by Peter Taylor.

Lang Van

Pho Hoa Noodle Shop

New Restaurant (less than a year old)

Calle Sol


Local Brewery
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Legion Brewing

Sports Bar
Ed’s Tavern


Local Distillery
Great Wagon Road Distilling

Muddy River Distillery

Rooftop Bar
Merchant + Trade


Wine List
Dilworth Tasting Room
Foxcroft Wine Co.


Craft Cocktails
Dot Dot Dot



Lost & Found

Azure Cassidy

Paulina Bauer

Happy Hour
Sea Level (High Tide Hospitality)

Merchant + Trade

Winery Within an Hour’s Drive
Veronét Vineyards & Winery

Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery, LLC



Coffee Shop
Bitty & Beau’s

Not Just Coffee

Duck Donuts

Pepperbox Doughnuts

Honeybear Bake Shop

Ashworth’s Cookies


Suárez Bakery

Custom Cake
Suárez Bakery

Wentworth & Fenn

Dessert Menu


Ice Cream
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Two Scoops

Frozen Yogurt

Sweet Frog

Chocolate Shop
Twenty Degrees Chocolates

JF Chocolat