Charlotte’s Plaza-Midwood neighborhood is famous for The Penguin, a hole-in-the-wall burger joint so good that it was featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. In June, the ASC’s Young Donor Society (YDS) checked out other noteworthy restaurants in the area on a food tour.
Tom Hanchett, staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South, led the tour through four different restaurants. Members of the YDS were invited to try different types of bread at Nova*s Bakery, chips at Whiskey Warehouse, barbecue at Midwood Barbecue and Swedish meatballs at Bistro La Bon.
“It’s been fascinating to watch [the Plaza-Midwood] area blossom,” he said.
“People love to walk around a neighborhood and see history,” he said. “We kind of expect to do that with the night sky, to look up and know the stars… it’s the same skill.”
In addition to the food, YDS members were treated to information on the beginnings of each restaurant, as well as a few well-kept secrets. When Midwood Barbecue lost the parking spaces that permitted the use of the upstairs deck for seating, the owners bought the lot next door. During the interim, the restaurant was allowed to let patrons use the deck; however, the staff could not serve anyone there. When the YDS members visited, servers brought barbecue samples and water up to the deck and allowed the members to serve themselves, which they did—while enjoying the “best” view of the Charlotte skyline.
The Plaza-Midwood area is the home to the original Family Dollar and Harris Teeter. It features European restaurants like Bistro La Bon alongside The Penguin, and its streets boast thrift stores and boutiques.
“Midwood has had a real mix of old and new buildings, big and little buildings,” said Dr. Hanchett. “It turns out that that kind of environment is a great place for new ideas to grab hold… the new food ideas are just the latest chapter.”
To see more photos from the walking tour click here.