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Dear Santa, please give Charlotte these 10 things

Dear Santa,

It’s me, Sarah. Wait! I know I’ve got some naughty and nice explaining to do, but before you put this letter down, just hear me out. I’m writing on behalf of Charlotte.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful. Charlotte has significantly increased its cool factor in recent years. The week I moved to Charlotte was the week Uber arrived. Now, we use that like a verb. I used to want distilleries, a nationally acclaimed sports team and a chic boutique hotel. Check. Check. And soon-to-be check. But I’m greedy, so I’d like these 10 things too:

A bookstore with a café

I want a hip, independent bookstore with an impressive curated collection and a charming café that ideally serves both desserts and alcohol. Asheville’s Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar and DC’s Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café are good models.

A champagne bar

When Bubble arrived I was hopeful for some kind of sophisticated champagne bar — like the one in The Plaza in New York or Pops for Champagne in Chicago. But it got all EpiCentre’d. SouthPark’s Corkbuzz is getting closer, but a serious champagne focus would be fun.

An iconic drink

New York has the Manhattan and New Orleans has the Sazerac. Charlotte has some great nationally recognized beers (hello, Hop Drop ’n Roll), but I want a signature drink. Maybe I should be writing this letter to Bob Peters.

Exciting celebrities

I miss the days of Claire Danes wandering our streets. I’m not asking for Leonardo DiCaprio to move here (although, to be clear Santa, I’m not not asking that), but it would be fun to see Charlotte occasionally appear in the pages of “US Weekly.”

A really great Jewish deli/bagel shop

I’ve lived within walking distance of Atlanta’s Goldberg’s Bagel Company and Boston’s Zaftigs Delicatessen and they’ve ruined me for life. I can’t eat lox from Bruegger’s. I don’t want those limp pickles at Einstein Bros.

Minimalist restaurant concepts

I’d like some super focused restaurants. A place dedicated entirely to French fries (Example: New York’s Pommes Frites). Or, my personal favorite, one for the serious cheese lover (Example: Portland’s Cheese & Crack Snack Shop).

Luxe Valet App

This San Francisco-based app is rolling out in cities around the country. It’s an on-demand valet service so that when you’re driving around uptown on a Saturday night and can’t find a parking place, you just request a valet.

A Saturday morning market

This season Charlotte has exploded with charming holiday markets packed with local vendors. I want this to continue Portobello Road-style. There should be a Charlotte street that gets blocked off every Saturday morning and filled with local vendors selling their wares.

A thriving waterfront

I know, I know, we’re landlocked. But we’ve got the Catawba and I think there’s some potential there. There are other growing cities we could learn from like Denver. I just want to spend an evening on a sunny riverside patio with a nice meal.

A good public transit app

We have Ride CATS. It’s terrible. Charlotte has some pretty impressive public transportation offerings, but most of us never even venture to use them. With an app like Moovit, we all might be more inclined to plan our trips to catch the bus or train.

Thanks for your help, Santa! I’ll be sure to leave out some milk and warm cookies for you. Which reminds me, could we also have a gourmet cookie spot? I like LA’s Milk Jar Cookies. (Sorry, but I did warn you about the greedy thing.)

Very Merrily,


Photo: The Charlotte Observer