Plaza Midwood | Urban Explorer's Handbook | Creative Loafing Charlotte
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Plaza Midwood 

Urbex 2008: Battle of the hoods

Plaza Midwood, located along The Plaza east of center city, was once an industrial neighborhood that sprung up around the city's original streetcar line. After the industrial and manufacturing plants moved out of the area, Plaza Midwood developed a reputation as a slightly seedy part of town. But because of an economic swing in the last 20 years, the area has become quite popular -- especially among young hipsters and members of Charlotte's alternative cultural scene.

Because Plaza Midwood went through an economic boom, then a fallout and then a revitalization, the architecture ranges in style from turn-of-the-century factories and blue collar housing, to pre-World War II suburban shopping strips and homes, to high-end living. In fact, the neighborhood is home to one of the city's most prestigious country clubs, the Charlotte Country Club.

In addition, Plaza Midwood has developed into one of the city's best restaurant hubs. It boasts a diverse collection of eateries that range from American fare (like The Penguin) to international cuisine (like Dim Sum).

What's so great about Plaza Midwood?

"I like it cause it's diverse. You've got all types of people: blacks, whites, Asians. There's all different types of restaurants. It's close to Uptown. It's constantly growing. It's a real happening area. And this area is great for business," says Lenn Bosley of Reflections Barber Shop, who has worked in Plaza Midwood for 12 years. "You can compare this to the Village in New York."

Favorite hangouts?

"I like the [Thomas Street] Tavern and John's Country Kitchen. You've got Boris and Natasha and Lotus. If you're looking for something different that you won't find in SouthPark or Northlake, you can get it here."

Hood Stats

 

Dimension ratings

Social Dimension:....................................Low

Crime Dimension:....................................Low

Physical Dimension..................................Low

Economic Dimension:..............................Low

Profile NSA City

Population.....................................................3,552 656,983

Youth Population...........................................691 168,188

Number of Housing Units.............................1,852 281,358

Area (Acres)..................................................716 150,093

Median Household Income...........................$56,650 $46,082

Average House Value....................................$227,378 $192,844

Number of Organizations..............................2 N/A

Unemployment Index....................................High N/A

Hood attractions

 

Restaurants and Bars

 

Creation, 1221 The Plaza, 704-372-2561. Asian-inspired cuisine.

DIAMOND RESTAURANT, 1901 Commonwealth Ave., 704-375-8959. Established in 1945, this is one of Charlotte's oldest restaurants. Good, solid home cooking with a down-home, almost small town touch.

DISH, 1220 Thomas Ave., 704-344-0343. With an easygoing, yet retro, atmosphere and simple, but satisfying Southern including Low Country, Cajun and Tex-Mex fare this is the perfect neighborhood joint.

INTERMEZZO PIZZERIA AND CAFE, 1427 E. 10th St., 704-347-2626. What makes this charming eatery such an exceptional place is the combination of Serbian specialties with the dishes demanded by Charlottean's preference for Italian mainstays.

LULU, 1911 Central Ave., 704-376-2242. Lulu's menu is typical of a bistro -- a real bistro, that is, not a place that attaches the word bistro to the name but is really a chef-driven restaurant. This is a small neighborhood joint offering good comfort food at a modest price, considering the quality of ingredients. It attracts a steady, loyal -- and nonfinicky -- local crowd for dependable lunches and dinners.

MAMA'S CARIBBEAN GRILL, 1504 Central Ave., 704-375-8414. In the summer, this island food is the perfect takeout to eat on a patio or balcony. Choose from entrees like ox tail stew, curried goat, chicken and shrimp, or saltfish.

NOVA'S BAKERY, 1511 Central Ave., 704-333-5566. A great Eastern European bakery. Wonderful cranberry pecan and orange chocolate bread, focaccia, baguettes, country bread, brioche, potato pizzas and more.

THOMAS STREET TAVERN, 1228 Thomas Ave., 704-376-1622. A hangout complete with ping-pong, foosball and "Beer Garden" patio. Try their boboli pizzas or specialty sandwiches from a 60 percent organic menu.

THE PENGUIN, 1921 Commonwealth Ave., 704-375-6959. Menu features burgers, foot-long hot dogs, Eastern-style barbecue, veggie burgers, fried pickles, and pimento cheese sandwiches. Here, blue collar meets white collar, singles meet great families, back tats share booths with soccer shin guards.

 

Entertainment And Cultural Venues

 

CAROLINA ACTORS STUDIO THEATER, 1118 Clement Ave., 704-455-8542.

CHARLOTTE COMEDY THEATER, The Graduate 1308 The Plaza at Central Ave., 1-866-467-7681. (Located in back of The Graduate) features improv comedy and headliner shows and offers improv classes.

GRAND CENTRAL, 1000 Central Ave., 704-373-1699. Located within a mile of Uptown, Grand Central is a live music venue and event space.

PETRA'S PIANO BAR AND CABARET, 1919 Commonwealth Ave., 704-332-6609.

SNUG HARBOR, 1228 Gordon St., 704-333-9799.

 

Park and Recreation

 

CHARLOTTE COUNTRY CLUB, 2465 Mecklenburg Ave., 704-333-9809. The city's oldest country club is surrounded by grand homes dating back to the 1920's. Amenities for golf and tennis in a quiet, picturesque setting.

MIDWOOD PARK, 2100 Wilhelmina Ave., Six acres with basketball, baseball, tennis, volleyball, picnic shelter, trails, playground, amphitheater.

VETERANS PARK, 2136 Central Ave., 704-432-4280. Twenty-two acres with athletic fields, volleyball, tennis, basketball, playground, picnic shelters, and a 9-hole disc golf course.

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