Food & Drink

What are the best stops for food along Charlotte’s new light rail extension?

Scroll down to find the interactive version of this map, with pins for all the restaurants chosen.
Scroll down to find the interactive version of this map, with pins for all the restaurants chosen.

One thing Charlotte has learned from light rail: Where Lynx goes, restaurants follow. Remember when Price’s Chicken Coop and Pike’s Soda Shop were pretty much the only places to get lunch in South End?

The new section of Lynx opens Friday, running between 9th Street uptown and the north side of the UNC Charlotte campus, with 11 new stops to explore.

The first thing we want to know is: Can I get dinner at Haberdish without spending six hours searching for a parking space?

To find out, and to find the most up-to-date list of restaurants near each stop, we drove the new tracks.

Best tip for now: “Walkable” is personal. There’s still rubble and construction around some stations, so watch your step and wear comfortable shoes. Some places will be easier to reach if you have a bike.

The landscape around the stations will change quickly. Maybe we should all meet back here in March 2019 and compare notes.

1. 9th Street near Brevard.

The first stop after 7th Street Station is a good place to fuel up. Right across from UNCC’s uptown building, you’ll find Subsecreto, the magic-themed coffee shop run by marketer Corri Smith of Black Wednesday. If you haven’t been in, it’s not like anything else in Charlotte’s coffee world.

2. Parkwood near Brevard.

Be patient. The new Tompkins Hall is just a block from the station. It won’t be open until next winter, but it will eventually have two restaurants and a food hall. Fonta Flora Brewery of Morganton will have a large tasting room, and the food hall includes local players like Aix en Provence. More announcements are expected soon.

3. 25th Street and North Brevard.

Can you walk from the station to Brooks’ Sandwich House? Yes, theoretically. It’s only a third of a mile, but there are no sidewalks, so be careful. A block farther will get you to Heist Brewing. If you want the lower end of NoDa – Amelie’s, Birdsong Brewery and Free Range Brewing – Jordan Place is a good cut-through.

4. 36th Street at Cullman Avenue.

It’s a two-block walk from the station, but you’ll be in the heart of NoDa. Boudreaux’s Louisana Kitchen, Smelly Cat Coffee House, NoDa Company Store, Cabo Fish Taco and Haberdish and its siblings (Crepe Cellar and Growler’s Pourhouse) are all easy to reach.

5. East Sugar Creek at Raleigh Street.

This is still blocked off by construction, but you should be able to easily reach Bold Missy Brewery, Deejai Thai and Crown Station Coffeehouse & Pub once the dust dies down.

6. Old Concord Road.

This is where the track curves sharply and heads up North Tryon Street. There’s not much there yet. (Wouldn’t it be cool if someone restored the abandoned Amber House, the first restaurant by the late George Fine, who went on to build Beef ’n Bottle?)

7. Tom Hunter, at Tom Hunter and North Tryon Street.

Right across the street, there’s the Indian store Around the World Market, right next to the Old Hickory House site, which is being remodeled for a steakhouse called Prime at 6538. On the other side of the tracks, you can walk to El Taco Veloz to the north. To the south, you could reach the small shopping center with Panaderia Odalys, the Mexican ice cream chain La Michoacana and Ely Carneceria.


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8. University City Boulevard, at North Tryon and Stetson Drive.

There’s only one restaurant, but it’s a good one to know: There’s a Waffle House on the side of the station.

9. McCullough, at North Tryon Street and East McCullough Drive.

There’s a large Showmars across from the station. Fuse Buffet, the Asian restaurant across the street, is closed. It’s a little far to walk, but you can also find Thai House and Bahn Mi Brothers closer to W.T. Harris Boulevard and Le Kebab Grill a few blocks from Showmars.

10. J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte.

This is the motherlode for lunch. Right behind the station, there’s a small Middle Eastern restaurant, Lazeez. Across the street, in the Shoppes at University Place, there’s a cluster of fast-casual restaurants, including already-popular CAVA (yes, crazy feta), City BBQ, Blaze Pizza, Pei Wei and 5 Guys. It would be a brisk walk, but you also could reach the Boardwalk, with restaurants including the ice cream shop Nineties, House of Leng, Famous Toastery and Delish Cakery.

11. UNC Charlotte.

There’s nothing here yet unless you bring your own food for a tailgate: It’s on the north side of campus on Cameron Boulevard, not far from Jerry Richardson Stadium.

Kathleen Purvis: 704-358-5236, @kathleenpurvis