Help me make Charlotte more like home
June 25, 2008 4:18 AM   Subscribe

Moving to Charlotte, NC. I want recommendations on finding some local businesses/services.

I need recommendations on finding the following places, preferably non-chain businesses, to make Charlotte my new home. Thanks!

-Microbreweries and restaurants (bonus points if they have really great vegetarian meals)

-Natural and organic food stores - I'm told there is no food co-op in Charlotte, so I'm looking for something that would be similar, with a great bulk food section and lots of organic and vegetarian foods

-Tattoo artist/parlor. Clean, good reputation, and well respected. Bonus points for a female tattoo artist

-Veterinarian. We have cats, a bunny, a snake, and turtles. So preferably a vet who will also treat reptiles.

-Hair salon. Some place trendy.

-Bookstores. No real requirements here other than it really should be locally owned (not a Barnes & Noble)

-Family doctor - liberal and pro-choice. I have a friend who moved to NC (Fayetteville, not Charlotte) and had a hard time finding a doctor to write her a Rx for birth control pills. I'm now scared of moving to a southern state. lol

Any other cool things I should know about and check out when I get down there?
posted by to Travel & Transportation around Charlotte, NC (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Comparing experiences in Charlotte and Fayetteville is like comparing experiences between any large city and a far away small city boasting one of the largest military bases in the world. lols aside, NC is not a homogeneous place.

Rather than a great food co-op, Charlotte has had for decades The Home Economist which while not a co-op is a big step up from Whole Foods and the like.

As far as the hair salon, veterinarian, etc, maybe telling us what part of town you're moving to would help with recommendations. One thing Charlotte has is traffic, so you don't really want to drive all the way across the city with your yowling cat in the car.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:45 AM on June 25, 2008

Response by poster: I'm not sure where I'll be living yet. We're making a trip next month to go house hunting. I'm open to any suggestions that I can at least check out to get me started. Thanks.
posted by at 6:05 AM on June 25, 2008

I lived in Charlotte for two years in 2005-06. Your lifestyle and mine are completely different, so I can't really help with your specific inquiries, but I can share Visit Charlotte with you. It helped me get around and make choices when I was new in town.

As mentioned by hydropsyche, traffic is very, very bad in Charlotte. Choosing wisely the part of town you live in will go a long way toward helping you with the amenities and services you require. I enjoyed my two years. Hopefully you can make the most of your time there.
posted by netbros at 7:49 AM on June 25, 2008

I'll second the Home Economist for organic groceries. Also there are a number of organic vegetable deliveries available (I use Absolute Organics). And the county Farmer's Market off of S. Tryon street is really amazing - maybe not as great as some bigger cities but still- locally grown produce, meats from local and ethical farmers, flowers and herbs, etc.

Love my doctors at Mintview (on Randolph Road). I find them very modern and I'm pro-choice and have never had any issues with their care.

Carmen Carmen is a great salon at Cotswold. I do have a family member who works there so I get a discount on my cut/color (whew) but love that they are an Aveda salon and well connected with the corp offices in Minneapolis.

Can't help with the vet and there are so many restaurants it's mind boggling.

Good luck!
posted by lucydriving at 7:56 AM on June 25, 2008

Living Here is available on, the website associated with the Charlotte Observer newspaper. It might help to give you a feel for what things are like around here. You won't have trouble finding a doctor who prescribes birth control pills.

Allen Tate is one of the big real estate companies around here, you can use their website to search MLS listings.

Earth Fare is a regional chain organic/health food store with a couple of locations in Charlotte.
posted by Daily Alice at 8:15 AM on June 25, 2008

"[Familiarize yourself] with local publications: The Charlotte Observer has a great Friday Entertainment section that covers arts, movies, and events in town, as well as restaurants and other entertainment things. The free alternative weekly publication, Creative Loafing, is amazing.

Microbreweries: Rock Bottom Brewery, Alexander Michaels, Sir Edmond Halley's.

Restaurants: You MUST go to The Penguin. There is nothing better. Good vegetarian options (try the spicy black bean burger), cheap beer and drinks, and the most diverse crowd in town (bikers, families, tattooed teenagers, elderly couples).

For fancy dinners, go to M5. Also fun to go hang out in the fun, modern bar or listen to live music out on the patio.

Bao Ding is the best Chinese. Arpa has good tapas. Brixx pizza or Fuel pizza. Carpe Diem tea house and cafe. Harper's Restaurant for good American or quick to-go meals. Dish is delicious and has lots of vegetarian options. Mister K's for ice cream treats. Pewter Rose for a nice brunch. Zebra Restaurant and Sonoma Restaurant for nicer meals. (ALL of these are not-corporately owned restaurants.) Oh, and Copper is the best nice Indian restaurant.

Charlotte has all grocery store types - Whole Foods, Earthfare, Trader Joe's., etc. For good, fresh and organic foods, try the Fresh Market.

Veterinarian will really depend on the neighborhood you live in, but South Park Animal Hospital is well-known and liked.

Bookstore: Park Road books!!!

For doctors, try anyone at the Presbyterian Hospital Women's Center." -- suggestions from my ex-girlfriend, native Charlottean
posted by knile at 8:26 AM on June 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you all so much for the suggestions!
posted by at 8:47 AM on June 25, 2008

If you end up on the north side of town (University area/Harrisburg/etc.) for vets you can't go wrong with Mallard Creek Animal Hospital. All their vets are fabulous, but Mark Green in particular is a rock star IMHO.

Nthing Home Economist Market (there's one in Davidson, one on Idlewild and one in South Charlotte, so it's very possible you'll be near one no matter what). Earth Fare is also pretty good (they're a native NC company, HQ in Asheville, and I love the one in South Park). We have some great farmers' markets, and someone else mentioned Absolute Organics, which we use as well and absolutely LURVE.

Great suggestions for restaurants by knile; I'd add The Counter, next to M5 in SouthPark, for a great (if not extraordinarily healthy ;> ) veggie burger.

For bookstores, try the Book Trader on The Plaza. They have a great selection (but do NOT pet the cat; he's not people-friendly).

For doctors, unfortunately the best one I know is in Locust, so unless you end up in the Midland/Concord area, probably not a good location. But Lakeview Primary Care has a great reputation for good docs. Generally, though, I've not run into any problems with freaky thug doctors, something that does not surprise me coming from Fayettenam. (The closest was convincing my OB that being a vegan didn't necessarily mean I'd be damaging my unborn child. "But you need the red meat for protein!")
posted by tigerjade at 9:01 AM on June 25, 2008

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