Madison Park emerged in the late 1950s as one of Charlotte’s first modern post-World War II neighborhoods. It was designed to cater to middle-class families and boasts sidewalks, a bike lane (on Seneca Road) and amazing proximity to hip hangouts on Montford and fun eateries at Park Road Shopping Center. The shopping center was developed in 1956, to become the first open air shopping center in the city.
With its rise as a hub for dining, shopping and adventuring in a quaint neighborhood setting, it’s little surprise that the Montford/Madison Park/Park Road Shopping Center neighborhood sphere won the popular vote for the 2018 Charlotte Neighborhood Bracket.
In honor of that win, we present to you the insider’s guide to Montford/Madison Park/Park Road Shopping Center. Here’s what you should eat, drink and do when you visit.
4125 Park Road
This sunny salad spot is overrun by veggie worshipers daily at lunchtime. At this fast-casual eatery, salads are made to order and you can watch the prep process and endless tossing of salad-topping add-ons, with the dance-like chopping of the salad saved for the very end.
Tip: Check out the rotating Destination Salads menu for far-away influences and meal inspiration.
4241 Park Road
You come here for the all-day breakfast, featuring a Southern-inspired, comfort-food heavy menu.
Tip: Try a scramble (from tofu to smoked salmon) and get a side of the “creamy dreamy grits.”
4151 Park Road
Whether you’re in the mood for a dark and snug pub vibe or a quaint patio experience, Sir Ed’s has it. Grab a Guinness, some Irish potato cakes and bangers and mash.
Tip: Don’t miss special happenings like trivia on Monday nights and half-price bottles of wine on Wednesdays.
4201 Park Rd D.
Come here for all of your poke, pho, Vietnamese ramen and curry cravings in an elegant atmosphere. It’s great for a date night.
Tip: Start with the crispy edamame spring rolls.
540-C Brandywine Road
This casual dining experience is just what you need when you’re hankering for BBQ. From the Chicken BBQ Chopped Salad to the BBQ Pork Sandwich (tossed in Eastern NC vinegar sauce and served on a bun with slaw), you can’t go wrong.
Tip: Start with the Pimento Cheese Fries (plain or with meat) if you’re feeling particularly sinful. And hungry.
4321 Park Road
Nothing beats Amélie’s when you’re in the mood to get some work done with a pastry and a good cup of coffee in a quirky environment.
Tip: If you’re one of the crazy people (*cough* C5 staffer Sallie Funderburk) who thinks the Salted Caramel Brownie is overrated, consider the Pecan Sticky Bun.
1601 E Woodlawn Rd. A
This grill boasts a “legendary” scratch kitchen intended to customize the menu offerings to meet customers’ dietary needs. As C5 writer Jess Bentley pointed out about her Whole30 experience, “Not only does this casual dining spot have a plethora of Whole30 compliant appetizers and entrees, but they also offer separate menus for gluten sensitive, vegetarian and paleo. They will create a custom meal to accommodate your dietary restrictions and list all ingredients for you to double-check compliancy.”
Tip: For that Whole30 taste, try the Pan Seared Salmon featuring bronzed gulf of Maine salmon, charred tomato salsa, julienne vegetables and romesco sauce.
4271-B Park Road
This Charlotte institution originally opened in 2004 and while ownership has changed overtime, you can always count on a strong margarita and heaping, hot plates of Mexican food.
Tip: Start with the guacamole, prepared table-side.
530 Brandywine Road
This is the latest venture from Charlotte chef Trey Wilson (if you’ve eaten at Customshop, you know and love his food). Expect fresh pasta and bread, plus roasted meats from an open-fire grill.
Tip: As Kathleen Purvis at the Observer wrote, Wilson is serious about the wines and emphasizes wine that matches the food (there are 60 wines under $100).
1701 Montford Drive
This exquisite space was made for intimate conversations over small plates (and seasonally-driven dishes), plus a delicious glass (or bottle) of wine.
Tip: It’s easy to convince your dinner date to split the falafel.
1521 Montford Drive
One of Carolina Panthers player Luke Kuechly’s favorite restaurants (along with Thai Taste), this laid-back rotisserie spot features dinner combos, salads, veggie sides, sandwiches and more.
Tip: If you eat chicken, that’s what you should order here, whether it’s the 1/4 Dark Chicken Dinner, the 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken Dinner, or the 1/4 White Chicken Dinner — all with two veggies and cornbread.
4245 Park Road
May all your dessert dreams come true here, with items from cupcakes, to cookies, to doughnuts.
Tip: The in-store menu includes a list of year-round cupcakes: Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Red Velvet, and Vanilla Fudge, just for $3.25.
512 Brandywine Road, Suite 500
ROCKSALT is known for its menu of sustainable seafood, plus craft cocktails and seasonal dishes.
Tip: $1 Oyster Happy Hour is celebrated Monday-Friday: 3-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
4127 Park Road
This business has been family owned and operated for more than 35 years and offers homestyle options like meatloaf, fried fish and spaghetti.
Tip: The Daily Breakfast Special is served from 7-11:30 a.m. and features two options (pancakes or eggs with a meat protein, grits, hash browns or home fries, and coffee or tea) for $5.99.
1601 E Woodlawn Road, Suite B
This cookhouse is known for preparing its meats on the Big Green Egg with local hickory wood and lump charcoal.
Tip: The restaurant offers grab-and-go options (in “take home tubs”) like chicken salad, broccoli salad, bake-at-home orange rolls and fruit.
4700 Park Road
Everything is easy here, whether you’re ordering fresh salads or sandwiches from the deli, or looking for some pasta sauce and fresh pasta to take home for dinner. Plus, there are craft beers on tap to enjoy on the cool patio in back.
Tip: The frozen ravioli (stuffed with your choice of mushrooms, cheeses, spinach and more) is begging you to take it home for later.
1600 E. Woodlawn Road, Ste. 100
This quaint restaurant carries classic pubfare favorites (from burgers to wings), daily specials, craft cocktails and more.
Tip: Every day before 6 p.m. you can get $1 oysters, shrimp and wings.
1730 East Woodlawn Road F
This low-key hole in the wall owned by a husband-and-wife team is ideal for a quiet sushi outing, plus a beer or glass of wine
Tip: Relish the cheap rolls (they start at $3.95).
1600 E Woodlawn Road, #150
Thai and Korean dishes abound, along with comfort food from Southeast Asia. Order soups, curries, noodles, dishes cooked in the wok and more.
Tip: $8 craft cocktails are Tuesday’s treat.
Dot Dot Dot
This is your members-only speakeasy stop any time you’re waiting on a dinner reservation in the area or are weak for an impressive cocktail and a cheese and charcuterie board.
Tip: You’re here for a drink, yes, but don’t overlook the food menu. C5 has eaten everything here from Braised Beef Cheeks to Ricotta Gnocchi.
4435 Park Road
Duckworth’s should be opening their recently renovated space this week. As Charlotte Magazine reported, updates to expect include a name change (from Duckworth’s Grill & Taphouse), a craft burger line, loaded nachos with tofu, hand-battered chicken tenders and a build-your-own salad with 38 different toppings. Other changes include a new bar top, booths and small tables.
Tip: Start with a look at the extensive beer menu.
4620 Park Road
Established in 2003, Brawley’s is a beloved neighborhood hangout stocked with hundreds of craft beers (and some wine).
Tip: Ask for a recommendation when you’re looking to try something new.
1518 Montford Drive
If you’re feeling rowdy, you wind up at Angry Ale’s for the young crowd and the expansive, loud patio.
Tip: All appetizers are half-price Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. and 11 p.m.-2 a.m.
1627 Montford Dr.
Stop in at this easygoing pub for a draft beer or glass of wine — and make your way to the patio.
Tip: Monday is $5 burger night.
4325 Park Road
This bright little bar carries largely vegetarian, gluten-free and organic items, from juices to superfoods salads.
Tip: If you’re craving something green, there are at least six green juices to choose from, including Ginger Greens and Fresh Greens.
4225 Park Road
This locally owned hardware store and garden center has everything from paint, to door and cabinet hardware, to kitchen needs.
Tip: There’s free popcorn to nibble while you shop — just follow the hot aroma of salt and butter.
1600 E. Woodlawn Road
All of your wine dreams and beer needs can be met right here.
Tip: Be on the lookout for fun events in-store. The next one in April involves a sampling of cookout friendly wines with winemaker Joe Wagner.
4337 Park Road
This craft store comes in handy for random arts inspiration and home decorating.
Tip: You can find good deals on picture frames from time-to-time.
4217 Park Road
Good value, same amazing signature styles from the J. Crew Brand. Browse men’s and women’s clothing, plus Crewcuts, J.Crew’s clothing line for children.
4139 Park Road
Open since 1977, Park Road Books serves as the neighborhood’s independent bookstore.
Tip: Keep an eye on the website for local author events. The Observer’s own Kathleen Purvis will be present with her book “Distilling the South” on May 9 at 7 p.m.
530 Brandywine Road
Artist Gian Garofalo opened Stella G. in 2017 with the goal to exhibit emerging, mid-career and established artists who are creating contemporary paintings, works on paper and sculpture.
Tip: Look out for opening receptions to take in new works with other community members.
1700 Montford Drive
From DJ music on the weekends to 32 craft beers on tap to chef-driven food service at this bowling venue, it’s impossible to get here with friends and get bored.
Tip: The weekdays feature plenty of drink specials — like $4 craft cans on Tuesdays.
1601 Montford Drive
Come here prepared to sing — this is a karaoke hotspot.
Tip: Jeff’s uses the Karafun App (with 26,000 songs) for karaoke. Download or browse it here.
Little Sugar Creek Greenway
Just behind the Park Road Shopping Center Backlot, you can spot the paths of Little Sugar Creek Greenway. Grab a bike or a pair of running shoes, and get on your way.
Tip: You can follow the trails all the way to Freedom Park, if you feel like adventuring to another neighborhood.
What did I miss? C5 continually updates these neighborhood guides, so share your feedback below!
Featured photo: Justin Driscoll/SouthPark Magazine