Charlotte in the news: Breweries, celebrity chefs, the Onion, and where the poor stay poor

What people are saying about us

“The metro area has a population of 1.7 million. Craft brewing was a hot ticket. So, the site was right for it.”

That’s NoDa Brewing Company owner Suzie Ford, in a story that appears in today’s USA Today, talking about how she and her husband, Todd, made their transformation from laid-off banker and career pilot to owners of one of the most popular breweries in Charlotte.

Renowned chef Rocco Whalen said similar things on Friday, when he gave me and food writer Sarah Nowicki a tour of his new restaurant in the sky, Fahrenheit, which will open uptown later this month. We’ll publish some of the interview in an upcoming edition of the magazine, but he repeated what Ford says about Charlotte, what many of us say about Charlotte—that it's a place of opportunity. Whalen, who made his name in Cleveland, Ohio, said that when he visited Charlotte looking for a place to expand his list of restaurants, he talked with Bruce Moffett and other notable Charlotte restaurateurs. “Nobody said, ‘Don’t do it,’ ” Whalen said.

Charlotte’s been in the news a lot lately, mostly for good reasons. As I write this, a winter storm’s brewing, and it reminds us that only two weeks ago, when snow came, Atlanta shut down, and Charlotte was the good Southern son, prepared and ready. We'll see what happens this week.

A few weeks ago, the Onion even took time to make fun of Charlotte, and isn’t that a beautiful sign that we’ve made it? 

It's mostly good news, and mostly fun news, but then there was this report, released in January, which shows that Charlotte is the least upwardly mobile city in the country. We’ve heard this a few times in the past year: If you’re born poor here, you stay poor here. 

That leads to more trouble than you might realize, as our columnist Jeremy Markovich pointed out on his blog last week, showing that Charlotte’s most popular running routes mostly fall in our most well-off neighborhoods. In other words, if you're born poor here and stay poor here, you also probably stay unhealthy here.

Reports like this reminds us that as much as we fatten up on good news and craft beer and rooftop restaurants and business opportunities, many people in Charlotte will never taste any of it, and isn’t that a sign that we haven’t made it anywhere yet, after all?

Categories: The Buzz, Trade & Tryon