Welcome to one of Charlotte’s most popular thoroughfares.
by Asha Ellison | photographs by Justin Driscoll
Some things get better with age: Turner Classic movies, your grandmother’s cast-iron pan, jeans that fit just right, a bold Sangiovese — and the Monroe Road corridor of Charlotte. The long stretch of road picks up at the end of 7th Street — just a stone’s throw from the iconic Lupie’s Cafe and Grier Heights neighborhood — and snakes southeast into the heart of Matthews. With it, Monroe Road carries a legacy of community pride, a hunger for continued cultural expansion, and booming commercial and residential development.
The bare-bones small-business corridor of yesteryear, with parking lots that emptied at dusk, has come a long way. For many southeast Charlotte residents, it’s the place to be: a hub for ethnic cuisine, healing arts, shopping and more. Next time you find yourself in the area, consider checking out a few MoRA favorites.
4506 Monroe Rd.
Don’t be afraid to work with your hands. Clayworks, a nonprofit ceramic arts studio, offers pottery classes for all ages and skill levels.
4732 Monroe Rd., Ste. 110
An airy and bright location for studio photography, videography, solo work or small gatherings, The Frame, owned by Camille Hughes, is a venue for creatives of all kinds. “[It] has become a community hub almost overnight,” writes @JennMoxley via Twitter.
The Photo Outfitters
4732 Monroe Rd., Ste. 130
Your adventure starts here: The Photo Outfitters offers photography accessories, equipment and studio rentals, and classes for all skill levels.
Sweet Spot Studio
4418 Monroe Rd., Ste. C
Owner Jossie Lukacik opened Sweet Spot in 2018, offering everything from baking basics classes for beginners to advanced workshops. Learn the basics of cookie decorating, how to make French macarons, brunch boards and more.
Edge City Brewery
6209 Old Post Rd.
MoRA’s first brewery, Edge City, fosters community and steals hearts with its beautiful aesthetics. “We love, love, love Edge City — such a great place for families and now that their outdoor area is fenced in, we love to let our little one run around!” writes Danielle (@DSofia21) via Twitter.
11136 Monroe Rd., Matthews
If the Angel Barrel Program doesn’t win you over, what will? Together with master distillers, local nonprofits bottle their own single-barrel whiskey to benefit their cause. Enjoy a whiskey flight on the patio at Oaklore Distilling or pick up a bottle to take home.
Vaulted Oak Brewing
3726 Monroe Rd.
Brewery sangria? It’s worth it every time at Vaulted Oak. Find food trucks, fun, trivia and home at this tried-and-true, well-loved Echo Hills watering hole, located in a former BB&T bank branch.
Night Swim Coffee
1620 Oakhurst Commons Dr., Ste. 307
Night Swim, from the teams behind Not Just Coffee and Undercurrent Coffee, continues to make a name for itself throughout Charlotte. In addition to coffee and lattes, the cafe’s food menu features frittatas, avocado toast, and other breakfast and brunch fare. “The addition of Night Swim has improved my life,” says Jenn (@jenn_clark) via Twitter.
OMG Donuts & Coffee
6902 Old Post Rd., Ste. 107
Craft coffee, handmade doughnuts and ice cream all in one spot? The name pretty much says it all at OMG Donuts.
GRAB & GO
4410 Monroe Rd., Ste. C
Baguette, whole-wheat pullman or English muffins? Bread so good you’ll want to buy it in bulk — and you totally can at Verdant. This is a judgment-free zone.
1640 Oakhurst Commons Dr., #103
It’s not unusual to see lines outside the door at this made-to-order cupcake shop and dessert bar. Swirl is conveniently located in the Oakhurst Commons shopping plaza.
AmiMya Latin Cuisine
1610 Oakhurst Commons Dr., Ste. 401
Another star has landed at Oakhurst Commons. AmiMya is the Latin food you’ve been looking for — affordable and delicious empanadas, fajitas, bowls and more.
Bé Em Asian Kitchen
1848 Galleria Blvd., Ste. K
Korean BBQ beef bowls never tasted so good. At Bé Em, you’ll also find pho, lettuce wraps, poke bowls and ramen at this modern family-owned restaurant, which touts local and organic ingredients and handcrafted plates.
The Common Market – Oakwold
4420-A Monroe Rd.
A community staple, this Common Market location serves up the best chicken sando and onion rings in town. Sit at the bar, enjoy local brews on tap, and make friends with strangers. It’s charming.
9010 Monroe Rd., Unit-I
The neighborhood’s pick is Everest Bistro for Nepali and Thai food to-go.
Halal Street Food
4044 Connection Point Blvd., Ste. B
A brick-and-mortar offshoot of the popular uptown food carts at Trade and Tryon, Halal offers a unique and robust blend of Pakistani and Dominican flavors.
New Zealand Café
1717 Sardis Rd. N, Ste. 6-A
A classic, bite-sized community favorite for sushi. Also on the menu at New Zealand Cafe: bento boxes, seafood and grilled specialties.
Red Sea Eritrean and Ethiopian Cuisine
4301 Monroe Rd., 704-375-4999
Enjoy the taste of traditional, family-cooked East African cuisine, including plenty of vegetarian options at Red Sea.
Royal Biryani & Kabob
9624 Monroe Rd.
Authentic, casual South Asian eats you don’t have to leave the country to enjoy. From chana masala to gluten-free and vegetarian options, Royal Biryani is committed to feeding everyone.
Roppongi Ramen Bar
9626 Monroe Rd.
Roppongi serves everything from classic ramen to Korean fried chicken, the question is: Will you have room for a mochi ice cream dessert?
Sal’s Pizza Factory
3723 Monroe Rd.
Charlotte’s own version of Mystic Pizza. Sal’s is classic, delicious and far above the rest.
8625 Monroe Rd., Suite G, 704-568-6624
Described by locals as an “old-school” and “super chill” dine-in spot, Ted’s American-style diner (burgers, fried chicken and sandwiches) has been serving families since 1959.
Taqueria Los Altos
8625 Monroe Rd. Ste. D
You’ll find authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex fare, from birria tacos to fajitas at Taqueria Los Altos.
McAlpine Creek Park
8711 Monroe Rd
Trails for days! Think you can spot the 188 documented bird species that inhabit the McAlpine Creek and Campbell Creek greenways? Give it your best shot. Or go for a run, walk or ride your bike off into the sunset. SP
Looking for more suggestions? Check out the Monroe Road Advocates at moraclt.org.
Featured image of New Zealand Cafe