In 1991 developer Johnny Harris saw 1,756 acres of farmland in south Charlotte and had an idea. Harris, then president of Bissell Companies, wanted to turn that land into offices, residences and shops for up to 12,000 people.
Observer writer Doug Smith called it “one of the most ambitious (developments) ever envisioned for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.”
Now Ballantyne has has experienced meteoric growth, covering 2,000 acres in deep south Charlotte centered around the 4.5-million square foot Ballantyne Corporate Park.
Ballantyne and the surrounding area is abundant in delectable restaurants, sipping spots, shopping options and plenty to do.
At this fast-casual, family-friendly pizza place, you’ll find pies crafted with “00” flour from Italy, as well as imported Italian water. To top it off, the pizzas are cooked in two Italian ovens at high temperatures for just 90 seconds. Salads, gelato flavors and cannolis are also on the menu.
Pro tip: The Pistacchio Pizza with pistachio pesto sauce, buffalo mozzarella and ricotta gets rave reviews.
10620 Providence Road
Here, you just might find the best bowl of vegetable korma in Charlotte. Opt for a seat on the patio or in one of the four themed, eclectic dining areas in this restaurant featuring Indian cuisine. Order a side of the crispy, traditional naan (no garlic) and a glass of wine to pair with a spicy entree.
Pro tip: Don’t skimp on an appetizer. The mango-chickpea chaat is a must.
14815 Ballantyne Village Way
This casual hot dog joint serves every type of dog from beef, to veggie, to turkey with a variety of imaginative topping combinations.
Pro tip: Don’t miss $2 signature hot dogs on Tuesdays after 3 p.m.
15105 N. John Delaney Dr.
If you’re craving a progressively Southern approach to new American cuisine with an upscale spin, try this space at Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge for breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch or dinner to experience the seasonally changing menu.
Pro tip: Take in the art exhibit from Ciel Art Gallery.
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
The pad thai or curry lover deserves something spicy at this Carolinas-based Thai hotspot. Especially when in need of a vegetarian option.
Pro tip: Start with an order of the egg rolls.
7800 Rea Road, A
Because everyone needs a chips and salsa (and margarita) fix. The original Cantina opened in the Dilworth neighborhood at 1511 East Blvd. in 2004. Even with its change in ownership and expansion to south Charlotte, the Mexican restaurant still hits the spot with quesadillas, fajitas, tacos and large chopped salads.
Pro tip: Go for the guacamole made tableside.
7708 Rea Road
This is just what you need when you’re hankering for breakfast all day. Dishes range from a Smoked Salmon Scramble, to a Tofu Scramble, to Heavenly French Toast. Lunch and dinner items are also available.
Pro tip: Say “yes” to a Fluffy Flying Biscuit on the side, with apple butter.
7930 A Rea Road
This juice bar was opened locally in 2015 with the goal to nurture healthy bodies and strong spirits. Order a juice (like The Detoxifying One), a bite (like The Almond Toast), a protein smoothie (like The Chocolate One) or an acai bowl (like The Berry Bowl) and soak up the goodness.
Pro tip: Clean Juice offers a cleanse program “designed to give (y)our insides a little ‘R&R.'”
7918 Rea Road, C
The menu at this casual spot is heavy on surf and turf, from Maryland Style Crab Cakes, to Danish Baby Back Ribs, to Fresh Catch Tacos.
Pro tip: Ask about the Cast Iron Cornbread on the list of starters.
9886 Rea Road
Drop in for your barbecue fix. The meats are smoked onsite in one of three smokers and brisket, chicken, pork shoulder and ribs are seasoned with a proprietary dry rub.
Pro tip: Get a taste of the homemade sauce, Swine Wine.
11212 Providence Road W.
A little farther from the heart of Ballantyne, Vintner sets a quiet, cheerful vibe. Pick a wine by the glass at the bar or pull a bottle off the shelf (there are more than 1,500 wines to browse) to open in-store.
Pro tip: Pop in on a night when live music is scheduled on their events page.
8128 Providence Road
Did we mention there’s a full bar and bar menu at Gallery Restaurant as well? Head to this spot in The Ballantyne Hotel before or after dinner, take a look at the wine, single malt Scotch, whiskey and cocktail selection. Opt for a monthly tasting (like the Whiskey Club of Ballantyne) or seasonal al fresco dining.
Pro tip: The full Gallery Restaurant menu is available right here.
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
Rush is one of the few independent coffee shops to drop by in south Charlotte, so take advantage. The café and wine bar offers a selection of international coffee, teas, beers and wines, plus breakfast, lunch, dinner, pastries and desserts.
Pro tip: Don’t overlook the list of craft cocktails on the menu.
14825 Ballantyne Village Way #135
The French bakery was named after the 2001 romantic comedy “Amélie” and is intended to be a Parisian place with a whimsical and comfortable ambiance. Take in all of the quirky decorations the shop is known for and order a coffee, tea, beer or wine with your French pastry.
Pro tip: The salted caramel brownie is a must.
7715 Pineville-Matthews Road #34B
With an intimate, Tuscan vibe and a wine-cellar-like entryway, this Italian restaurant offers a variety of wines to indulge in.
Pro tip: There’s a list of antipasti items if you need something to nibble on.
5349 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
With 80 beers on tap, this is the perfect spot for beer lovers. Great food and plenty of TVs make this and ideal place to watch the big game or grab a couple of beers after work.
14015 Conlan Circle, Charlotte
Another bar for the beer lover, Growler USA offers 100 taps of craft beer, wine, cider, non-alcoholic kombucha tea.
Pro tip: Earn your beer by joining the Ballantyne Running Club for one of its bi-weekly Thursday runs that start and end at the bar.
12206 Copper Way, Ste 124
Shop flowy dresses, stylish tops, accessories and shoes.
Pro tip: Take a peek at their under $50 list, featuring items from earrings to tops.
14835 Ballantyne Village Way, Ste. 115
Search for gifts in the kitchen, baby, bath and body categories, plus take a look at handbags, accessories and inspirational gifts.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of the free gift wrap.
15235 John J Delaney Dr.
Sometimes you just need to kill two (or 12) birds with one stone. A short drive into Pineville, the list of stores at the mall is long, from Belk, to Francesca’s to Men’s Warehouse.
Pro tip: Take a break at Harper’s for lunch.
11025 Carolina Place Pkwy., Pineville
Browse gifts for all occasions, including stationery, monogrammed wine glasses and trays, and bags.
Pro tip: There is a variety of fonts and thread colors to choose from for monograms.
9848D Rea Road
Most products in this shop are produced in nearby Waxhaw, with aromatherapy candles, wax melts and essential dead sea salts in stock.
Pro tip: If you need a gift, check out the Essential Oil Bath Salt & Tealight Gift Box.
9830 Rea Rd. Ste G.
This family-owned business carries watches, fashion jewelry, bridal jewelry and more.
Pro tip: Brownlee specializes in diamonds and luxury.
7868 Rea Road J.
Pause to check out the four tall archways that border the intersection of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Johnston Road. “The Monuments of Ballantyne” were commissioned by Charlotte developer Johnny Harris and crafted by Yugoslavian artist Boris Tomic to represent transportation, technology, finance and the human spirit.
Pro tip: Park at Panera Bread (14835 Ballantyne Village Way) so you can walk down the grassy knoll to take a closer look.
Intersection of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and Johnston Road
An outdoor oasis in the suburbs with plenty of parking. Surfaces along this 5.8-mile stretch include asphalt, gravel and boardwalk as you walk, bike or jog.
Pro tip: Plan to back-track to your car. And maybe grab a kombucha at Trader Joe’s at the finish line.
5803 Bevington Pl.
Owned by a local artist, this gallery offers anything from realism to abstraction and both two- and three- dimensional artwork from various techniques, styles and artists across the country. The gallery contains a studio where instructors can teach classes, where nationally recognized artists can host workshops and where private events can take place.
Pro tip: Plan your visit around a Meet the Artist reception.
7510 Pineville-Matthews Road, Suite 9 A
This theme park is filled with roller coasters, water park amusements and family rides.
Pro tip: Try a seasonal event like Scarowinds, the annual Halloween-inspired (and super spooky) spin on the park.
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
This classy theater serves alcoholic beverages at the concessions stand and features a strong lineup of independent films.
Pro tip: Walk out onto the terrace after your movie. You can just make out the Uptown skyline from here.
14815 Ballantyne Village Way
This is a public, PGA golf course anchored by the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge that offers daily tee times, golf outings and tournaments, plus a practice area, pavilion and pro shop.
Pro tip: Sign up for a golf lesson while you’re at it.
10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkway.
This theater offers a family friendly experience with a wide array of the latest feature films and the chance to experience stadium seating and IMAX.
Pro tip: Try at least one movie in 3-D.
7824 Rea Road
Photos: Eric Osterhus, Colby Alvino, Katie Toussaint