Axios Charlotte

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March 26, 2024

Hello, Tuesday. It's Ashley and still March, the month that refuses to end.

🌧 Weather: High 63°. Chance of rain in the afternoon.

πŸ₯³ Happy birthday to Axios Charlotte members Sharon Campbell and Connie Rogers.

🍽 Situational awareness: Savor Charlotte ends today.

Today's Smart Brevityβ„’ count is 903 words β€” 3-minute read.

1 big thing: πŸ• Pizza Baby opens in Elizabeth

Sausage, mushroom and red onion pizza (front) and pesto, burrata and tomato pizza. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Pizza Baby East opens today, March 26, in Elizabeth. It's more of a sibling than a twin to popular Pizza Baby West.

Why it matters: Instead of the NY-style pizzas that made Charlotte lose its mind on the internet, the new restaurant will serve Roman-style pizzas, available by the slice and whole.

Catch up quick: Pizza Baby East is the latest restaurant by Art & Commerce Food Group, the team behind Flour Shop and Pizza Baby West. It's also the fourth restaurant for Charlotte chef Trey Wilson, who opened Customshop in 2007. He later sold Customshop to chef Andres Kaifer.

  • Pizza Baby East is about continuing Wilson's legacy and establishing Art & Commerce Food Group, owner Steven De Falco tells Axios.

If you go: Hours are 8am-2:30pm daily, with breakfast and lunch to start. Expect long rectangular pizzas served on a focaccia base, salads and sandwiches, pastries and coffee.

  • Pizza Baby East is at 1603 Elizabeth Ave. in the former MY Realtor space near The People's Market.

The big picture: It's one of many new restaurants to recently open in Elizabeth β€” from locally owned spots like Puerta and Rosemont to big-name ties like Catalina Kitchen + Bar by Mike Ditka's restaurant group.

Take a look around Pizza Baby East

2. 🏨 "We at the hotel, motel, Holiday Inn"

Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Now that Pitbull's "Hotel Room Service" is stuck in your head, too, let's talk Charlotte hotels.

Why it matters: This year's inaugural Lovin' Life Music Festival will bring several big-name artists and an estimated 90,000 attendees to First Ward May 3-5. That means people will need a place to stay nearby, Axios' Alexis Clinton writes.

State of play: Alexis used Tripadvisor's nightly price trends to determine rates for 11 Uptown hotels. Here are a few:

πŸŒƒ Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel: Typically $299 per night.

  • A popular option that features the well-known rooftop bar Merchant & Trade.

🏨 Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte, Autograph Collection: Typically $349 per night.

  • A luxury hotel in Third Ward with a rooftop bar.

🏩 The Dunhill Hotel: Typically $269 per night

Check out more Uptown hotel options

3. 🍝 From "Chopped" to Optimist Hall

Photo: Courtesy of ESO Artisanal Pasta

A new Italian food stall called ESO Artisanal Pasta will open at Optimist Hall later this year, Axios' Laura Barrero writes.

Context: Husband-and-wife duo Kristina Gambarian and AJ Sankofa started ESO as a delivery business during the pandemic. Their handmade pasta and sauces got so popular that they were able to open a storefront in New Jersey in 2021.

  • Sankofa, who grew up in Charlotte, has also appeared onΒ Food Network's "Chopped" and "The Great Food Truck Race."

Dig in: ESO will serve pasta dishes and sides like fried risotto balls, Italian meatballs and Sicilian fried chicken.

πŸ“ Optimist Hall is at 1115 N. Brevard St. ESO Artisanal Pasta will be in the old Collier Candy Co. spot, between Schreiber's on Rye and Zukku Sushi.

Full Optimist Hall guide

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4. β˜•οΈ Something's brewing for Summit

Photo: Axios archives

Summit Coffee will open two new cafes in Charlotte this year: one in Wilmore and another in Highland Creek, Axios' Katie Peralta Soloff writes.

Why it matters: Davidson-born Summit has been on an expansion spree in recent years.

  • The local coffee chain opened locations on The Plaza and in Eastover in the last couple of years. Both have become in-demand spots for remote working, meetings and dates.

If you go: Summit's new locations at 536 West Tremont Ave. Ste 102 (Wilmore) and 4701 Goose Creek Dr., Ste B (Highland Creek) will open in 2024 at yet-to-be-announced dates.

Find more cute Charlotte coffee spots here

5. 🎀 Concert news and other speed reads

Maxwell performing. Photo: Prince Williams/Wireimage

🎀 Maxwell's "The Serenade" tour will stop at Spectrum Center on Thursday, Oct. 3. (Axios)

πŸ€ City leaders voted 7-1 to move forward with altered plans for a standalone Hornets practice facility and redistributing city-committed funds from the practice facility to Spectrum Center. Councilmember ReneΓ© Johnson was the only person to vote no. (Axios)

🏑 Construction of triplexes in most single-family neighborhoods could be limited to corner lots if recommendations from the city of Charlotte's planning staff are followed. (Charlotte Ledger πŸ”’)

πŸ₯ƒ Charlotte FC and Southern Distilling Company will release a special edition bottle of Southern Star Double Shot Bourbon Cream Liqueur. (Axios)

🏈 Roaring Riot Kickoff Jam Festival will take place at NoDa Brewing Company on Saturday, Sept. 14. The music lineup includes Moon Taxi, The Nude Party, Simplified, Cutty Cutright and Deaf Andrews. Tickets start at $39 and go on sale today at 10am. (Instagram)

🌾 North Carolina A&T State University will lead a project to connect underserved areas and small farms across the state. (WUNC)

6. ⚾️ Stepping up to bat, All Knight Long

Photo: Courtesy of Birdsong Brewing

Baseball returns this week, along with Birdsong Brewing's blonde ale called All Knight Long.

State of play: Birdsong has been brewing All Knight Long since 2017. It's slightly sweet and has a dry finish, according to the brewery. It will be available at Birdsong (1016 N. Davidson St.) starting March 28 at 3pm.

  • A pint costs $5 and a four-pack costs $11. It will be available in select grocery stores and bars starting in April.

Between the lines: A song inspires the name of each Birdsong brew. In this case it's "All Night Long (All Night)" by Lionel Richie.

What's next: The Knights open their season Friday, March 29, at Memphis. Their home opener, kicking off their 10th season in Uptown, is scheduled for 7:04pm Tuesday, April 2, at Truist Field vs. Norfolk. Tickets start at $16.

πŸ“– Just finished: "The Women" by Kristin Hannah.

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