Work Life

Came, Loved, Stayed: 6 questions for Chrissie Nelson

This week’s “Came, Loved, Stayed,” features a local public defender by day, and a food blogger by night: Chrissie Nelson.


The 28-year-old moved to Charlotte three years ago, following a summer internship at a public defender’s office. Initially from a suburb of Washington, D.C., Nelson went to college for law in Wisconsin before she relocated to Charlotte. Now she is an assistant public defender at the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office by day, and runs a food blog titled Off The Eaten Path by night.

(1) What brought you here?

Work. I interned with a public defender’s office in the summer of 2011 after my second year of law school. They offered me a job in the fall of 2011. So after that I signed up and took the North Carolina bar exam in the summer of 2012. And then I moved to Charlotte in October of 2012.

//><!--I really enjoyed my summer experience … I really enjoyed the people I was working with at my office, I enjoyed the size of the city. Not too big and not too small and easy to get around. It’s close to home, closer than Wisconsin, but far enough away that my mom would have to warn me if she wanted to come visit.//--><!

(2) What made you stay?

I really think it’s the people. I was very lucky that I had a lot of people my age who I work with, who are passionate, caring, friendly, outgoing people who I’ve made a lot of really close friendships with. Probably about six months into it, I started to feel like Charlotte was home. I hated it before then, but once I really got settled I loved it. I like that I feel like I have a family here.

(3) What was your first impression of Charlotte?

That it was sprawling, it didn’t have an identity. It had a lot of corporate chains. When I first interned in 2011, it took me a while to figure out where people hung out because uptown was such a ghost town on the weekends.

A lot of the places that dotted the scene at that time were chain restaurants, so it took me a while to dig deeper to find Charlotte’s local cool spots and local ambiance.

(4) What’s your favorite aspect of Charlotte culture?

I love the neighborhoods. I love that each neighborhood has its own flavor, and once you’ve been here for a while you know where to go.

… I’m a Charlotte food blogger, so I’ve really loved exploring Charlotte through the culinary scene. I think it’s a completely different picture than it was four or five years ago.

(5) Why would you (or wouldn’t you) recommend Charlotte to friends?

I would recommend Charlotte to friends because I think that Charlotte gets a bad rap, and it doesn’t deserve that … There are a lot of opportunities for people to find their niche.

(6) Describe Charlotte in one word.


Feature photo courtesy of Chrissie Nelson.

Madysan Foltz
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