You’ve driven by so many times: 10 reasons to stop along The Plaza/Shamrock Drive

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Courtesy of Jackie DeLoach/Hattie's Tap and Tavern

I’ve become business-blind to the places along my usual routes. Like many other Charlotteans, I travel a certain flight path that keeps me focused on my destination and don’t always explore what’s right around me. But there are a variety of businesses along that path at The Plaza and Shamrock Drive worth investigating.

Get to know these 10 businesses in the Plaza/Shamrock corridor:

(1) Crispy Banh Mi

2934 Shamrock Dr., (980) 237-7704

Photo courtesy of Crispy Bahn Mi

Banh Mi means sandwich in Vietnamese. Think ‘crispy sandwich,’ said Bunny Yun, Crispy Banh Mi’s manager. The restaurant is celebrating one year at the Shamrock Drive location, and they have another location on South Boulevard. The grilled pork is a favorite among customers. Smoothies and juices are made with freshly squeezed juices.

Their savory and sweet Vietnamese desserts in a cup are a novelty in Charlotte, Yun added The most popular is called three color bean. It’s made with sweet red beans, white beans, mung beans with pandan jelly and topped with coconut cream and peanuts. Their Thai dessert is a mix of Asian fruits and jellies such as coconut, jackfruit and ruby pearls in a milky base.

(2) Colonial Florists of Charlotte

2119 Shamrock Dr., (704) 568-2709

Photo by Vanessa Infanzon
Colonial Florist

Raymond Chance, 70, has been a florist for 42 years, five of them in his shop on Shamrock. He studied at the American Institute of Floral Design. Colonial Florists provides flowers for any occasion. He has many repeat customers, and most of his business comes from word of mouth.

Chance has met several celebrities through his work. After delivering flowers to “Sweet Caroline” artist Neil Diamond, he was invited to eat dinner with him. Chance has also personally delivered flower arrangements to President Jimmy Carter, Cher, Bette Midler and all the actors in the movie, “Days of Thunder,” during its filming at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

(3) Finga Lickin’ Caribbean Eatery

2838 The Plaza, (980) 430-5120

Photo by Vanessa Infanzon
Finga Lickin’ Caribbean Eatery

The bright green building on The Plaza serves Jamaican food. Favorites include jerk chicken and oxtails, along with typical Caribbean sides of rice and peas, and fried plantains. Plus, there’s mac and cheese.

(4) Digital Apparel and F4mily Matters

3124 The Plaza, (980) 939-8066

Photo by Vanessa Infanzon
Digital Apparel and F4mily Matters

When Samir Hamid was 18, he purchased the digital printing portion of the Infinity’s End smoke shop. He opened Digital Apparel with a cutting edge direct-to-garment process. He requires no minimum orders or setup fees with a one- to three-day turnaround. Hamid, 27, prints for companies such as Social Status, the Hornets and Bank of America.

In 2016, Hamid opened F4mily Matters, a street-wear clothing brand. He and his in-house design team design the products, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jerseys and track pants.

(5) The Fried Rooster

3128 The Plaza, (980) 219-8033

Photo by Jamal Bahabri
The Fried Rooster

Fried Rooster opened earlier this year with wings, crispy sandwiches and wraps. Chef TaDameon Kelly, formerly of Price’s Chicken Coop, has his own special recipe for fried chicken. In the next few weeks, the restaurant is changing its name to Sugar and Spice Restaurant and Cafe to reflect the Mediterranean dishes they plan to add to the menu.

The dessert menu features banana pudding, date cake, lemon cake, saffron cake, lotus cheesecake and New York cheesecake.

(6) Hattie’s Tap and Tavern

2918 The Plaza, (980) 938-6228

Photo by Vanessa Infanzon
Hattie’s Tap and Tavern

Hattie’s Tap and Tavern is an unexpected gem tucked in a small strip mall on The Plaza. Owner Jackie DeLoach wanted to create a neighborhood bar with a “Cheers” vibe when she opened in 2014. It’s a dog-friendly hangout, inside and out, with 24 craft beers on draft, 50 types of beer in bottles and cans, and a full-service bar. They have an outdoor patio, pool table, dart boards, various video games and the NFL package. Most days feature a drink special, live music or bingo. Although they don’t serve food, they allow customers to bring it in.

(7) Letty’s on Shamrock

2121 Shamrock Dr., (704) 817-8702

Photo by Vanessa Infanzon
Letty’s on Shamrock

Honey pecan chicken is expected to be on the menu at any restaurant located at 2121 Shamrock Dr., said Letty Ketner, owner of Letty’s on Shamrock. Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop started the tradition in the 1990s, and Letty’s has kept it going since Ketner opened in 2012.

Letty’s menu features sandwiches, salads, soups, chili, fish and chips, and New Orleans Creole. The restaurant hosts wine tastings and special events, such as the Golden Girls Brunch in March. Ketner welcomes small office parties, neighborhood book clubs, baby and bridal showers and birthday parties.

(8) Pike’s Pharmacy

2133 Shamrock Dr., (704) 563-2286

Photo by Vanessa Infanzon
Pike’s Pharmacy

Pike’s Pharmacy celebrates 100 years in business this year. Jesse Pike, 73, is a third-generation pharmacist. His grandfather, Joseph William Pike, opened a pharmacy in 1919. Jesse took over the family business from his father in 1982 and moved the pharmacy to Shamrock Drive in 1990.

Pike’s is a full-service pharmacy with medicine management and consultation, flu and travel vaccines, and delivery service. They offer Pike’s Pass Packs free through a computer system used to create individual pill dosage packs. A month of medicine is stored in a cardboard box. Each dose is in a small easy-to open plastic bag, labeled with the name of pill and what day and time to take it.

(9) Sweet Sensations

2819 The Plaza, (704) 576-7829

Photo by Vanessa Infanzon
Sweet Sensations

Sweet Sensations is a family-owned shop. They serve desserts such as pound cakes, pies, cobblers, cookies, chocolate truffles, fudge and caramel. They also carry old fashioned candy and sodas, ice cream, honey and Italian ice.

(10) Tip Top Daily Market

2902 The Plaza, (980) 299-4151

Photo by Vanessa Infanzon
Tip Top Daily Market

Twenty years ago, at the corner of 35th and N. McDowell Streets in NoDa, sat Tip Top, a family-owned store. The building is still there, but now it houses Local Loaf. Jason Michel’s Tip Top Daily Market is a nod to the original Tip Top.

Tip Top Daily Market opened in 2015. It has a wide range of products for sale, from curated local, regional and international craft beer and wine to vinyl records. The market carries items from Pasta and Provisions, such as pizzas, ravioli, linguini, sauces and vegetarian take-and-bake dishes. Local farm meat, eggs and milk are available.

On Fridays and Saturdays, Killer B’s Yellow Truck parks outside and serves global fusion street foods such as Sloppy Joe Empanadas, Smoked Brisket Double Tacos and McDimSum Buns. Look for performances and special events with regional and national talent. On Wednesday, Don Telling’s Island Mysteries, an exotica band, will be performing.

Editor’s note: Tip Top Daily Market has been updated. A previous version of this story had it incorrectly listed.

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