Eat & Drink

Your Guide to Optimist Hall

Headquartered in a former textile mill, this food hall blends the Queen City’s history with a vision for the future.

History and preservation meet local and regional restaurants and retail in an 1892-textile-mill-turned-food-hall, creating a hub for dining, shopping, hanging and more. Food vendors of nearly every variety occupy the food hall with tastes and treats from far and wide.

Optimist Hall

A diverse array of cuisine and beverages can be savored communally on the courtyard with thrilling views of Uptown, surrounded by voluminous greenery indoors with a picnic vibe or in a perfectly-curated alcove carved out for coziness. There is something for everyone at Optimist Hall with global flavors and vegan options, shopping for pets or humans, and cocktails and craft beer all under one roof.

Archer Paper Goods

Archer Paper Goods

One of the few specialty retail establishments in Optimist Hall, Atlanta-based Archer Paper Goods is an eclectic paper and gift retailer featuring an array of stationery, greeting cards, writing utensils and books. Stop in for curated goods from local and regional designers, Charlotte-specific items and a unique kids’ section filled with nostalgic and modern toys and books.

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Ava

This Italian eatery serves authentic pizza favorites like margherita and pepperoni with specialties like mushroom with mozzarella, ricotta and aged balsamic and vegan options baked to perfection in a wood-fired oven served alongside craft beer and Italian soda options

Bao and Broth

Bao and Broth Ramen & Bun Shop

This concept from the celebrated local Moffett Restaurant Group serves Asian street food favorites inspired by chef Larry Schreiber’s childhood desire to create the perfect recipe. Dine on ramen, baos with beef,pork belly or crispy tofu, and fresh cut fries with togarashi spice and sesame aioli.

Billy Sunday

Billy Sunday

Located in its own stand-alone bar with an elegant covered patio, this award-winning Chicago cocktail bar serves vintage spirits and an elevated bar menu.

Botiwalla Indian Street Grill

Botiwalla Indian Street Grill

One of four tenants with their own dining room (complete with a balcony overlooking the light rail), Botwialla offers an array of dishes as well as a curated market section. This Indian street food concept from James Beard Award-nominated chef Meherwan Irani is inspired by his love of kebabs, authentic Irani cafes and late-night eats in India. The flavorful menu focuses on grilled meats, hot buttered naan, “chaat” (snacks) and veggie dishes. Know for its lamb burger, Botiwalla has something for everyone in this bright and lively in-house restaurant.

Boxcar Betty's

Boxcar Betty’s

Boxcar Betty’s brings high-end chicken sandwiches crafted with locally-sourced ingredients to its only North Carolina location. This celebrated Charleston restaurant features chicken (or mushroom) sandwiches (like the signature “Boxcar” prepared with pimento cheese, peach slaw, house pickles and spicy mayo), hand-cut fries and fried pickles.

Collier Candy Company

Collier Candy Company

The first location in North Carolina, this Atlanta-based candy concept (from the same owners of Archer Paper Goods) offers a mix of modern sweets, old-fashioned treats, premium sodas and convenient essentials for kids of all ages.

The Dumpling Lady

The Dumpling Lady

The Dumpling Lady first graced Charlotte with Sichuan delicacies as a food truck in 2016. Executive chef Qian Zhang and sous chef Bea Vang are now serving authentic family recipes in a brick-and-mortar location at Optimist Hall. Choose from dumplings, noodle dishes and dim sum, with frozen dumplings and house-made sichuan chili oil sauce for home-pantry addition.

el Thrifty courtesy of el Thrifty

el Thrifty

Another eat-in restaurant, el Thrifty is a modern-Mexican-cantina meets-upscale-gaming spot with favorites like carne asada and braised short rib along with a library of tequila and mezcal.

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Felix Handmade Empanadas

Authentic Argentinian empanadas and a community “committed to carbs” are at the heart of this homemade operation. Here, empanadas are crafted with British, American and Peruvian flavors with savory and dessert empanadas including pulled chorizo, lobster, corn and chive, shepherd's pie, and guava and cheese.

Fonta Flora Brewery

Fonta Flora Brewery

Based out of Morganton, North Carolina, Optimist Hall’s only brewery serves brews inspired by English and Belgian culture with a focus on local agriculture. Enjoy wine, seltzer, house-made sparkling water and local sodas inside or in the biergarten or grab cans to go.

Harriet's Hamburgers

Harriet’s Hamburgers

This nostalgic ‘50s-style burger joint serves a diner-style hamburger or hamburger +cheese on a brioche bun with house-made pickles, ribbon red onions and their signature Simple Sauce. No burger is complete without crispy fries (with sauces like garlic rosemary aioli or dilly ranch) and a soda, in this case all-natural Boylan sodas with options from cola and root beer to orange soda and ginger ale.

Honeysuckle Gelato

Honeysuckle Gelato

Honeysuckle Gelato serves up the perfect cool treat with gelato and sorbet served by-the-scoop or in pints to go. Enjoy milkshakes and floats or gelato sandwiches with flavor options like butter pecan blondie and salted caramel brownie and an ever-changing menu of creative flavors.

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Mezeh Mediterranean Grill

Anchored by cage-free, grass-fed proteins, this Northern-Virginia based concept offers signature Western interpretations of Mediterranean foods. Create your own bowl, flatbread wrap or pita pocket with nearly 30 fresh toppings.

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Noble Smoke

From local restaurateur Jim Noble comes Noble Smoke’s second location complete with barbeque options found at the flagship Freedom Drive location. Order as sandwiches or in bulk with sides like pickles and potato salad.

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Papi Queso

Another food-truck-turned-tenant, Papi Queso serves an upscale spin on the classic grilled cheese sandwich. Options like the Pig Mac (piled with Heritage Farms pork, and mac and cheese stacked between cheddar cheese and topped with caramelized onions), Mushroom Gruyère and Bacon Jalapeño sandwiches are menu staples with sides like Golden Fries with rosemary and lemon zest make for the perfect meal of comfort food and flavor.

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Paradiso Plant Shop

Tucked away in a shop all its own, Paradiso Plant Shop is true to its name and is a plant-lover’s paradise. Whether dabbling in low-maintenance greenery or looking for exotic plants, Paradiso is reminiscent of greenhouse shopping paired with tools, candles, books and other swoon-worthy home goods.

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Pet Wants

The founders of Pet Wants set out with a purpose to create small-batch pet food prepared with the highest-quality ingredients. Look for food, chews and treats for your furry friends. Knowledgeable staff help find the perfect items for pets from house-made nutritional supplements to gourmet treats and lovely accessories.

The Spindle Bar

The Spindle Bar

From cocktails to craft beer, Spindle Bar’s walk-up bar front offers patrons the option to sip on cocktails throughout the entire food hall. The retro-inspired counter is a nod to drug stores and soda shops with a modern twist specializing in classic cocktails like negronis and rob roys, house wines, local beers and kombucha.

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Suárez Bakery & Barra

A Cuban-inspired bakery and sandwich spot, Suárez serves a selection of sweets and savory items as well as coffee and craft beer. Choose sweets from cookie sandwiches and tres leches cake or doughnuts and flavored croissants or sandwiches, bowls and snacks with global flavors.

Undercurrent Coffee courtesy of Kate Magee Photography

Undercurrent Coffee

Designed to create a neighborhood coffee shop feel, Undercurrent Coffee brews their sister concept’s Night Swim coffee beans for classic and seasonal specialty espresso drinks or classic batch brew. Teas, treats and coffee to go are found at Undercurrent Coffee’s second location (the first in Plaza Midwood) and Optimist Hall’s only café-specific shop.

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Velvet Taco

Inspired by inner-city taquerias, Velvet Taco combines global flavors with modern execution to create bold menu items like spicy tikka chicken, “elote” corn and fried paneer. Favorites like Nashville Hot Tofu and Chicken & Waffle keep diners coming back for signature flavors wrapped in flour tortillas and served to perfection at their walk-up counter.

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Village Juice Co.

This charming family-owned eatery serves signature cold-pressed juices and nut milks as well as organic, photo-worthy dishes bursting with color. Build a bowl or salad, grab goods to go or sip a smoothie bursting with goodness perfect for any meal.

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Xiao Bao

Charleston-based Xiao Bao brings Asian comfort food to the food hall with bold and funky dishes like okonomiyaki, som tum and pad kra pow — menu items that have earned the restaurant prestigious accolades. With focus on Southeast Asian favorites from Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, Xiao Bao’s store front is inspired by street cafes and offers dine-in or cook-at-home options with flavors found nowhere else in the Queen City.

Zukku Sushi

Zukku Sushi

Serving up some of Charlotte’s best sushi, Zukku, meaning “canvas,” serves as the base for both the company’s concept and specialty-crafted menu.your meal. Combine fresh ingredients in a roll, burrito or bowl to create a colorful — and delicious — work of culinary art and curb your boba craving with fruity tea options.