New culinary concepts, must-see attractions straight from the set and more offer fun in the Queen City all summer long
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 17, 2013) –The temperatures aren’t the only thing heating up in Charlotte. With ovens firing up at new eateries in town to bright lights shining on the set of Showtime’s hit TV series “Homeland,” there’s a lot sizzling in Charlotte this season. New culinary concepts, attractions straight from the set, stimulating summertime sports and exhilarating events are just a few ways to have some fun in the sun in Charlotte.
CUISINE TO CRAVE
Food Network star and Cleveland chef Rocco Whalen is bringing a hot, new culinary concept to Charlotte—Fahrenheit Charlotte. Only the second location for the restaurant in the U.S., Fahrenheit Charlotte will be the first open-air, rooftop restaurant and bar offering panoramic views of the city. The menu will focus on American regional cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian accents. Slated to open in late summer/early fall, the nearly 9,000-square-foot restaurant will make its home on the 20th floor of the Skye Condominiums mixed-use development in Uptown Charlotte.
Additions at Uptown Charlotte’s 7th Street Public Market are shaping the growing venue into a must-see itinerary stop similar to public markets in Seattle and San Francisco. New counter-service eateries include Local Loaf, an artisan bakery featuring signature sandwiches like the Chicken & the Egg drizzled with NC Cheerwine Chipotle Honey glaze and served on a homemade buttermilk biscuit, and barCHOCOLATE, a small-batch chocolate confectionary producing hand-crafted treats like bon-bons, cookies and chocolate bars. The sweet aromas and savory samples you’ll find at these counters will put 7th Street Public Market at the top of your summer to-do list.
Other culinary concoctions are on the rise in Charlotte. The restaurant/butcher hybrid Block & Grinder specializes in premium, all-natural meats hand cut on the in-house butcher block daily. Fan favorites include the bourbon barbeque wild game meatloaf, the pimento cheese and bacon burger, and the refreshing bright green Gin Basil Smash cocktail. Cowbell, a new ‘70s rock ‘n’ roll inspired burger and whiskey bar from the minds behind Leroy Fox and Mortimer’s Café & Pub, offers more than 15 gourmet burgers including their signature GYF (Good for You) beef burger with flavorful fixins’ like foie gras, arugula, prosciutto, house-made apricot marmalade and creole mustard. And Bubble Charlotte at the EpiCentre, Charlotte’s first champagne bar and lounge, blends the atmosphere of a restaurant and nightlife venue with more than 30 champagne selections, liquid-nitrogen infused cocktails and a full menu of savory small plates including appetizers affectionately called “bubble bites” to entrees like champagne poached shrimp.
The stars of the Emmy®-winning TV series “Homeland” returned to Charlotte this summer to continue filming the third season of the popular show scheduled to debut on Showtime in September. Visitors can experience destinations from the set all across the Queen City. Recent filming locations for the third season have included The Capital Grille restaurant and the Historic Fourth Ward neighborhood in Uptown Charlotte. For a glimpse at Carrie Mathison’s house and other backdrops in the show, visitors can enjoy a relaxing horse-drawn carriage ride with Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours through Historic Fourth Ward, a quaint and charming 30-block section of the city with a mix of picturesque Victorian homes, luxury condominiums, urban apartments, businesses and parks.
For another refreshing outdoor adventure, visitors can explore many of the parks and greenways in Charlotte that played starring roles in season 1 and 2 of “Homeland.” The Little Sugar Creek Greenway features more than 19 miles of trails, small parks and flowing water in the midst of urban and suburban Charlotte and was the location where Nicholas Brody and Tom Walker met in season 1. Connected to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, Freedom Park is a 98-acre park featured prominently in the season 2 premiere and also the location where Brody meets with Tom Walker’s wife in season 1. Visitors won’t find any espionage in this lovely city park however. Full of tennis courts, soccer fields and walking trails, Freedom Park has been called the “Central Park” of Charlotte. Other parks highlighted in “Homeland” include Marshall Park, a 5.5-acre park nestled in Uptown Charlotte that served as the location of the explosion scene in season 1, and Independence Park just east of Uptown, where Brody hides the SD card in season 1.
For a different behind-the-scenes experience, the NASCAR Hall of Fame recently opened “Lights. Camera. NASCAR.,” a Hollywood-themed special exhibit that illustrates the tremendous reach and appeal NASCAR holds as both a means for movie promotion and the starring focus of a film. Walk the red carpet and view more than 40 artifacts on display including items like the Cole Trickle car from “Days of Thunder,” the Doc Hudson car from Disney’s “Cars,” the Wonder Bread car from “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and dozens of other artifacts straight from the set. “Lights. Camera. NASCAR.” will be on display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame through mid-October.
Summertime games may get even more exciting in Charlotte in the next few years. Charlotte has been named as one of the top four contenders to host the 2014 ESPN Summer X Games after being selected from 14 proposals. Chicago, Austin and Detroit are the other cities being considered. If selected, the four-day extreme sports competition featuring skateboarding, BMX freestyle, Moto X and more would take place at various venues at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and would bring an estimated 150,000 fans to the region. As the host of three major motorsports events each year including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600 and Bank of America 500, Charlotte Motor Speedway is an idea location able to transform its infrastructure built for speed to a venue made for the caliber of X Games competitions. Imagine the strip at the zMax Dragway transformed into a large ramp with high-flying BMX competitors. The new host city will be announced in late June.
For a classic summer pastime, grab some peanuts and Cracker Jacks and head out to a Charlotte Knights baseball game for their last season at the current Knights Stadium. Construction continues this summer on the new 8-acre, LEED certified BB&T Ballpark development slated to open in April 2014 in Uptown Charlotte for the Charlotte Knights 25th season. With capacity for more than 10,000 fans, the new stadium will offer remarkable views of the natural grass field and the city skyline from every seat. The development will also include a 5.4-acre park across from right field and future construction of a 150-room hotel with mixed-use office/retail space as well as underground parking.
FRESH AIR FUN
Thrilling celebrations and fresh air fun abound in Charlotte this summer. Each Sunday in June and the first Wednesday in July, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will perform alfresco as part of the Summer Pops in the Park concert series. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy symphonic sounds that span classics from Broadway musicals to Beethoven’s best. From July 3-7, spectators can watch in amazement as Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam brings unbelievable acrobats and mystifying stunts to Time Warner Cable Arena. For those looking for foodie fun, Charlotte Restaurant Week returns to the Queen City July 19-28. The 10-day eating extravaganza showcases the best of the Charlotte region’s ever-evolving restaurant landscape with more than 100 restaurants offering delicious and affordable three-course meals. And to wrap up the summer fun, more than 45,000 people will flock to Uptown Charlotte along Tryon Street for the two-day Pride Festival and Parade Aug. 24 -25 featuring a diverse lineup of drag, dance, cabaret, musicians and comedians on multiple stages celebrating the LGBTQ community in the Queen City.
With so much to see and do, there is no better time to explore Charlotte. For more information on events, attractions, hotels, dining and more, go to charlottesgotalot.com or call the Visitor Info Center at (800) 231-4636. Get the latest updates on what to do, see and eat in town at facebook.com/fan.charlottesgotalot, twitter.com/charlottgotalot, instagram.com/charlottesgotalot, pinterest.com/charlottgotalot and youtube.com/charlottesgotalot.
About Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA)
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) works to ensure the visitors and events that choose Charlotte have a positive experience. Responsibilities include destination marketing through Visit Charlotte and the region’s destination marketing brand, ‘Charlotte’s got a lot,’ and management of Charlotte’s public assembly facilities, which include the Charlotte Convention Center, Time Warner Cable Arena, Bojangles’ Coliseum, Ovens Auditorium and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. CRVA’s mission seeks to leverage its hospitality marketing and management expertise to maximize the impact of the Charlotte region’s economy, creating opportunities and jobs for the community. charlottesgotalot.com