Charlotte’s nonprofit, mission-based food hall, managed by Charlotte Center City Partners, serves as a small business incubator in the heart of Uptown.
Situated directly on the Blue Line at 224 E 7th St., 7th Street Public Market (not to be confused with 7th Street Market) is the ideal place for popping in for lunch while using its free Google Fiber WiFi, grabbing a beer or glass of wine at the end of your work day, or bringing the family on the weekend before you explore the ever-changing Queen City.
Additionally, 7th Street Public Market is conveniently connected to the 7th Street parking deck where you receive 90-minutes of free validation with your market visit.
Here is an updated guide so you can maximize your enjoyment of everything the market has to offer:
Janelle Doyle will greet you with a sample of her unique popcorn creations as soon as you walk in the front door. Take it. With flavors ranging from fried chicken to cookies and cream to jelly donut—she’s got both your sweet and savory tooth covered. Janelle, with the help of her chef husband, takes inspiration from customers to explore new flavors. Her powdered donut popcorn came into being when a child said, “You know what? You should have a powdered donut flavor!” And Janelle replied, “You know what? You’re right!” Her sweet popcorns are a treat but her most popular flavor is fried chicken. “It’s fried chicken without the chicken,” Janelle declares. I, for one, can’t get enough.
Acai (pronounced ‘ah-sigh-YEE’) is a superfood fruit, full of antioxidants, indigenous to South America. The flavor is a mix of dark berries and chocolate, serving as a healthful, delicious base to the fruit bowls at Rico’s. But the first thing you will notice is the stunningly colorful presentation. The dishes look almost too good to eat and are some of the most Instagrammed items in the market. So, take the picture first—then chow down on guilt-free goodness.
Sometimes it’s hard to choose whether to begin or end your meal at Hazelnuts. The ‘Undo Your Thai’ (chicken, mozz, mushrooms, red onion, garlic, chiles, romaine lettuce, mixed nuts, house made peanut vinaigrette) challenges the senses with bountiful umami flavors, while the Crème de la Crepe (strawberries, Nutella, whipped cream and powdered sugar) dessert crepe is a shareable conclusion to your day in the market.
Bonsai Fusion’s sushi is excellent—but I find myself serially ordering its salmon poke bowl. It comes filled with loads of fresh salmon, with mango and toasted sesame seeds in a light miso sauce—served over sticky sushi rice. But don’t sleep on the sushi burritos. Grab one and take it to First Ward Park for a midweek picnic to break up the monotony of your work week.
Featuring local craft beer, Tank’s Tap U-shaped bar sits on the light rail side of the market—in perfect people watching position. Order a draft from their constantly-rotating selection of beers and ciders or try something from their extensive cooler of canned beer. Jade IPA from Foothills Brewing out of Winston-Salem is a fan favorite, but I always keep an eye out for any new seasonal offering.
Miracle and James Yoder, co-owners of Charlotte’s fast-growing coffee franchise, take the process of making your coffee, cappuccino, or cortado very seriously. Their head trainer, Michelle, spends time with each new staff member teaching them how things should be done for customers. What also sets this coffee shop apart is its use of a North Carolina Roastery for its beans, and Homeland Creamery (Julian, NC) milk in its espresso drinks.
*Pro tip: order the cortado—it’s equal parts espresso and whole milk—and all-parts delicious.
Josh Villapando started his own wine bar and retail shop after learning his trade at Pasta & Provisions and Reid’s Fine Foods (formerly in the spot where the market is now). He leaves pretensions about wine at the door and just wants you to enjoy wine as he does. Assorted Table’s Weekly Tuesday Night Wine Flights offer four tastings of wine for $5, which are all 10 percent off that day, as well as a $5 gift certificate towards any bottle of wine. It may be the best deal in Charlotte’s wine world.
Victoria Custodi Zabel began importing retail products from her favorite regions of Italy to the 7th Street Public Market in 2014. After moving into the space in the back of the market in early 2017 she began serving food to highlight these ingredients. Favorites like a classic spaghetti marinara, made simply with San Marzano tomatoes and authentic extra virgin olive oil, highlight the simplicity of regional Italian cuisine. “When only a few ingredients are used in a dish, those ingredients should be of the highest quality,” says Zabel. And you can certainly find those here.
Rather than approaching a raw food diet in a limiting capacity, Scott Harris believes in the complementary way that uncooked nutrients allow for your body to be more receptive to what it needs. And his logic is sound. According to Harris, vitamins and minerals are more easily received by the body when in their natural state and many practices used by commercial methods like pasteurization can break down and destroy these nutrients. He suggests using a plant-based diet to supplement your own—in-turn providing a more natural absorption of what the body needs. Grab a ‘Green Harvest’ juice (kale, cucumber, apple, collards, celery, lemon, parsley) and a ‘chococadita’ cookie for your late-afternoon snack during your commute home.
I bought guitar socks and a coaster with a stunning photo of the Charlotte skyline. My wife bought me a locally-made leather travel bag for my birthday along with some earrings and a CLT baseball hat (her every-weekend hat) for herself. Such is the wide selection from over 40 local artists and makers. The dreamchild of three good friends, Toni South, Christy Pope, and Britt Misenheimer, CLT Find is the perfect spot to buy that unique gift for someone special while supporting the creative artisans in our community.
Maybe the best cheese shop in North Carolina, Orrman’s features cheese by-the-pound as well as other goods to complement your next cheese plate—from preserves to crackers to pickled okra. My go-to is their sandwich of the day which features a few simple ingredients—highlighting one cheese as the star. In a world filled with ‘chicken, pesto, avocado, mushroom BLTs,’ it is wonderfully refreshing in its simplicity.
*Pro tip: Come on Thursday evening for ‘Raclette Night’ and enjoy vegetables and charcuterie with bubbling melted cow’s milk Raclette scraped over the top—it is a luxurious treat.
My last experience at Pure Pizza was with a friend before the Willie Nelson concert at PNC Music Pavilion near UNCC. We shared a 10-inch ‘Pure Country’ pizza (tomato sauce, mozz, caramelized garlic, country ham, basil) while sitting at the bar at Tank’s Tap and enjoying a couple cold ones before hopping on the light rail to the UNCC area (oh—and Willie can still bring it). It was the ideal use of the diversity of vendors and accessibility of the market. Order the garlic knots even if you aren’t hungry. When they arrive—you will be.
Husband and wife team Gabby Janceviciute and Anthony Vecci are set to open their new, European-inspired bakery at the end of July. According to Anthony, their pastries will be small with a focus on quality and technique over mouth-numbing sweetness. We discussed Tartine, San Francisco’s world-famous bakery and patisserie, as an example of what they hope to achieve with their new space. Having worked and lived just down the street from Tartine, I will be first in line for their canelé—a French custard pastry flavored with vanilla bean and rum.
7th Street Public Market’s bakery serves fresh-baked bread, sandwiches, and salads. I watched a grown man squeal while eating the ‘Breakfast Burger’ (tri-tip beef blend, bacon, aged white cheddar, over-easy egg, on a bagel)—and he seemed not in the least bit embarrassed about it.
Follow the market on Facebook for updates on events at the market—from live music on Fridays to bi-monthly wine and cheese classes to board game night to collaborative events like multi-course vegan dinners put on by Viva Raw, Orrman’s Cheese Shoppe, Zia Pia Imports + Italian kitchen, and Assorted Table Wine Shoppe.
Images by: Ben Jarrell