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Lauren Levine Corriher

Located just northeast of Uptown Charlotte, the NoDa neighborhood is a vibrant arts district, peppered with trendy restaurants and popular bars. However, rewind a century or so and the neighborhood (named for its North Davidson Street main drag) looked very different.

Historically, NoDa revolved around the textile industry and was home to several mills, including North Carolina’s largest. Between 1880 and 1940, the area became the world leader in cotton manufacturing, and NoDa was filled with homes and stores to support the millworkers. 

Though Charlotte’s last mill closed in 1975, the NoDa neighborhood still reflects its textile-focused roots. Many of the places that make NoDa a destination are situated inside renovated mills or mill homes that pay homage to its history. This includes the NoDa Company Store, which operates out of a circa-1910 millhouse. “We feel like we live in a small town in the middle of a big city,” say Scott Lindsley and Joey Hewell, owners of the NoDa Company Store.

“We love the neighborly feel.”

Image courtesy of Room & Board

Room & Board
This former boarding house was built in 1905 and frequented by millworkers and traveling salesmen. Though you can’t sleep there anymore, the bar is a neighborhood favorite for grabbing a beer (they have 28 on tap to choose from), watching a game on one of 18 televisions, enjoying live music and indulging in elevated pub fare like homemade pizza and juicy burgers.
rbnoda.com

Image courtesy of NoDa Company Store

NoDa Company Store
The bar feels like a party at a friend’s house, casual and intimate, complete with porch swings. Murals add a pop of personality to the exterior of the home, which looks quite different than it did when it was millworker housing in the early 1900s. Owners Scott Lindsley and Joey Hewell describe their bar as “NoDa’s back porch.” It’s known for seasonal sangrias, but visitors will also find a vast selection of Charlotte beers, as well as a rotating lineup of food trucks.
thecompanystorenoda.com

Image courtesy of Reigning Doughnuts

Reigning Doughnuts
Just off North Davidson Street, this tasty shop operates out of a walk-up window that used to serve as a closet for the adjoining restaurant. The menu features simple, classic flavours like cinnamon sugar and honey glaze, plus more adventurous daily creations.
reigningdoughnuts.com

Image courtesy of Optimist Hall

Optimist Hall
This 147,000-square-foot mixed-use food hall and office space occupies the former Highland Park Mill #1 building, which used to be the nation’s third-largest gingham manufacturer. Food-hall tenants serve up everything from Asian street fare to elevated grilled cheese, gelato and cocktails. You’ll find indoor and outdoor seating, including a dog-friendly courtyard.
optimisthall.com

Image courtesy of The Goodyear House

The Goodyear House
One of the newest additions to the NoDa food scene set up shop in an early-1900s millhouse this year. When Depression-era families had a “good year” financially, they’d add a room onto their home. The restaurant reflects this concept in both name and design, as each room is built with a distinctly different feel. Chef/partner Chris Coleman says the Goopy Burger is their most talked-about dish, describing it as “if every aspect of the Big Mac was perfect.
thegoodyearhouse.com

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