Axios Charlotte

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February 22, 2024

🍹 Happy Margarita Day to all who observe. It's Alexandria.

πŸŒ₯ Weather: Cloudy and breezy. High of 66Β°.

🎈 Happy birthday to our Axios Charlotte member Ghazale Johnston.

Today's Smart Brevityℒ️ count is 814 words β€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: ⛽️ Wawa doubles down in N.C.

Wawa

The entrance to a Wawa in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Wawa's push into North Carolina may expand beyond the company's previously announced plans for the eastern part of the state, Axios' Katie Peralta Soloff reports.

Why it matters: Wawa is one of those once-regional convenience store chains β€” much like Buc-ee's and Sheetz β€” with a feverish following. Anyone from Philly will wax poetic about Wawa and its famous hoagies.

What's happening: Wawa plans to add as many as 280 new stores over the next decade in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, Bloomberg recently reported.

  • CEO Chris Gheysens described this plan as "the most aggressive growth" in the chain's history, per Bloomberg.

Zoom in: Wawa previously disclosed plans to open eight North Carolina locations this year.

Keep reading

2. πŸ—£ What they're saying about McColl Park

Rendering of crown park design

The Verdant Crown would be made of aluminum foam with small holes for seeds. Rendering: Courtesy of Charlotte Center City Partners/Hood Design Studio

πŸ‘‘ Is Charlotte's crown "cheesy?" That's a question McColl Park project organizers are pondering as they redesign the public square at Trade and Tryon.

Catch up quick: Charlotte Center City Partners is leading the charge to rebuild Polk Park and rename it after banking legend Hugh McColl. They've raised over $8 million for an endowment to cover the design, construction and long-term maintenance.

  • They recently sought feedback on three potential designs by Hood Design Studio.
  • Here's what community members had to say about each concept:

Crown Datum: A thin, tall spire and crown-shaped canopy.

  • People thought the spire would be memorable and easy to maintain. But they questioned whether the crown is timeless, CCCP's chief planning officer Cheryl Myers told the group's board members recently.

Floating Nest: A suspended sculpture of broze trees.

  • Respondents thought this was intriguing and practical. Many appreciate the reference to Charlotte's history as "the hornet's nest," Myers said.

Verdant Crown: A crown-shaped sculpture that grows plants, like a Chia Pet.

  • While people like the inclusion of nature, the garden may require too much upkeep. Plus, some suggested the crown is "cheesy," Myers noted.

What's next: A committee will select one scheme. The goal is to start construction by fall so the park is ready by June 2025, McColl's 90th birthday.

See the 3 designs

Sponsored job listings

On the job hunt?

πŸ’Ό Check out the fresh open positions in Charlotte.

  1. Museum Experience Facilitator at Discovery Place.
  2. Director of Philanthropy at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.
  3. WDAV Director of Major Gifts and Philanthropy at WDAV 89.9 Classical Public Radio (Davidson College).
  4. Network Engineer at UNC Charlotte.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

3. 🍣 A unique experience for sushi lovers

Chef Robin behind the counter

Chef Robin behind the counter. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Omakase Experience by Prime Fish is the latest restaurant in Charlotte to charge customers an upfront premium.

Catch up quick: Chef and owner Robin Anthony specializes in traditional Edomae (Tokyo-style) sushi, Axios' Laura Barrero writes.

  • He also owns Prime Fish in Ballantyne, Prime Fish Omakase near Cotswold and Nusa in the Arboretum.

Why it matters: Tasting menu restaurants β€” like L'Ostrica and Counter- β€” are elevating Charlotte's culinary scene.

3 things to know before you go

4. 🍢 Also from the chef

Japanese bottle

Prime Fish Cellar is currently in its soft opening phase. It will eventually host caviar tastings, sake pairings and other events. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Chef Robin Anthony also quietly opened Prime Fish Cellar this month, Laura reports.

What to expect: The gourmet market and bottle shop specializes in premium wine, Japanese sake and provisions.

  • Most of the ingredients used to make the food at Omakase Experience are sold at Prime Fish Cellar. You can pre-order prime-grade meat and fish shipped from Japan and pick it up in-store.

πŸ“If you go: 2921 Providence Road, near Cotswold and in the same shopping center as Omakase by Prime Fish.

  • Tuesdays 11am-7pm, Fridays 11am-7pm and Saturdays 11am-7pm.
Sponsored messages

πŸŒ€ The loop (we're keeping you in it)

News you can use from our partners.

  • πŸ“šπŸ‘ͺ Reading as a family is a simple yet powerful practice that helps children succeed in school. That's the idea behind Read Charlotte's new mural on Monroe Road, painted by Scott Nurkin. Snap and share a photo using #ReadTogetherCLT.
  • Save up to $5,000 in your first year with Flexcar β€” the monthly car subscription that includes insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and more. Use AXIOSCLT to get 100 free miles on your first order. You'll even get free car delivery.

5. πŸ—ž Speed reads

Illustration of a pair of eyes with the pupils moving left to right.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏈 Charlotte plans to submit a bid for the CIAA Football Championship game starting in 2025. (The Charlotte Post)

🩺 Mandy Cohen, current CDC director and former North Carolina DHHS secretary who led the state's COVID-19 response, will deliver the commencement address at Wake Forest University on May 20. (WFU)

πŸ—³ Nikki Haley is holding a presidential campaign rally at Suffolk Punch in South End on March 1. (WSOC)

πŸ’¦ Union County will stop adding fluoride to the water supply after some residents contended it violates their medical freedoms. Dentists say fluoride prevents cavities. (WBTV)

🎀 Bad Bunny performs in Charlotte at Spectrum Center on May 10. (Axios)

6. 😌 Weekend on our minds

Soccer player tries to kick a goal

Charlotte FC's first home match will be against NYCFC. Photo: David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This weekend is packed with events happening around the city, including Charlotte FC's home opener on Saturday, Axios' McKenzie Rankin writes.

A few other ideas:

πŸ“€ Friday: See music trio Cheat Codes at RSVP South End. Tickets are $25.

πŸ› Saturday: Shop Charlotte vendors and artisans at Sycamore's FeBREWary Handcrafted Market.

πŸ’ Sunday: Cheer on the Checkers during an early afternoon game. Ticket prices range.

Full weekender

7. πŸ’ Photo du jour: Wooden Robot's remembrance

Flowers outside Wooden Robot

Flowers left outside Wooden Robot on Wednesday. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Across the Carolinas and beyond, people are raising a glass to Dan Wade. The co-owner of Wooden Robot died Tuesday at the brewery's South End location.

What they're saying: For Charlotte magazine, Matt McKenzie writes about Wade's passion for his craft and how he shared it with so many β€” "It seems trivial to talk beer, but that's what Dan truly loved."

  • But what he loved more than anything was his wife and son, who was born on New Year's Day.

Read Matt McKenzie's "Farewell to a Brewmaster"

πŸ™‚ Hope you have a great day!

Thanks to Katie Peralta Soloff for editing and Lucia Maher for copy editing this newsletter.