This week’s “Came, Loved, Stayed” series delves into the life of Juli Ghazi, owner of Pure Pizza.

Pure Pizza, a “farm-to-fork” restaurant focused on holistic sustainability, opened its first location in the spring of 2012. The restaurant is projected to open a second location in Plaza Midwood (in the former Lulu restaurant) by the end of the month, according to Ghazi.

Ghazi first came to Charlotte on a job transfer in the late 90s. She wasn’t too excited. But her mind quickly changed.

(1) What brought you here?

I was working in Atlanta for a sales company and they asked me to move to Charlotte. I didn’t want to!

At the time I was in my early 20s, I was living in Atlanta. Prior to that (I spent) five years in Europe. Having lived in these places where there were a lot of options when it came to art, to food, to places that dwell in a community … Charlotte just did not have a lot of amenities that I felt catered to a young woman in her 20s.

(2) What made you stay?

After I got here and allowed myself to accept that this is where I was going to live for the time being … I started to realize that I liked a little bit of a quieter taste. … There was something that was really sweet about being here that I had never experienced before.

(3) What was your first impression of Charlotte?

(It is) really green. I love the tree canopy in Charlotte. I love it to this day.

(4) What’s your favorite aspect of Charlotte culture?

I love how much the biking scene is growing. … Adults getting back on their bikes and being kids again.

(5) Why would you (or wouldn’t you) recommend Charlotte to friends?

I would recommend Charlotte to friends. … One of the things I remember when I first moved here is that the restaurant scene (was comprised of) all corporate chains. To come from the places I did where food was just the fabric of the cities, that was a hard thing. We have grown so far beyond that. 

(6) What’s next for you?

I’ve started a farm in Jamaica. After this restaurant opens, I will be focusing time and effort on that. The next big thing is, as much as I love Charlotte, I do intend to live four or five months out of the year on the south side of Jamaica.

(7) Describe Charlotte in one word.


Photo by Bethany Otten. 

Madysan Foltz Madysan Foltz is the Northeast transplant to the CharlotteFive team interested  in social issues, (inter)national travel, entrepreneurship, live music, and Oxford  commas. Follow her on Twitter @MadysanFoltz.