Dinner indecision and endless Yelp scrolling have been eliminated in Charlotte, NC by Optimist Hall, Charlotte’s first food hall. Optimist Hall has all kinds of foods, drinks and even retail shopping. Fit for any kind of Charlottean, the Hall offers everything from Sichuan street food to southern-inspired gelato. So, no more wasting time trying to find one restaurant that pleases everyone in your dining squad.
Optimist Hill has a history almost as vast as its food selection. Its story traces back to 1892 when the Hall was built as a home to Charlotte’s largest textile mill. Almost a century later, in 1977, the mill began to produce and become known for pantyhose. Finally, in 2019, Optimist Hall became Optimist Hall.
The Hall was renovated but the renovations did not ignore the building’s rich history. Most of the original flooring and the original bricks from the walls were used. However, Optimist Hall put its own unique flair into the space. Fresh paint, reclaimed windows and tables, a forest of greenery, complimentary WiFi, and lively smiley faces mark the mill.
With 21 total current tenants and 2 more coming soon, Optimist Hall has many diverse and intriguing offerings. These include Italian food, Asian street fare, award-winning cocktails, an array of candy, modern Mexican cuisine, authentic Argentinian pastries, handcrafted coffee beverages, raw juices and much more.
Optimist Hall is open seven days a week. Monday through Thursday, the Hall’s hours are 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. On Friday, the hours are 7 a.m. through 10 p.m. On Saturday, the hours are 8 a.m. through 10 p.m. On Sunday, the hours are 8 a.m. through 9 p.m. Though, some individual tenets have slightly different hours than the Hall.
Optimist Hall is located at 1115 North Brevard Street, Charlotte, NC. The Hall is a short walk from Parkwood Station on the light rail. If you prefer to drive, parking is free but the lots can get crowded during busy times. No outside food or beverages are permitted inside the Hall. Dogs are allowed on the premises but have to stay outside.
Now that the basics are covered, here are all the vendors you can enjoy while in Optimist Hall, Charlotte, NC:
Archer Paper Goods is a gift retailer that specializes in stationary and other paper-based products.
Ava is an authentic Italian dining experience with a wood-fired oven and traditional Neapolitan pizza.
Bao and Broth is a celebration of Asian street food that offers an array of steamed buns and ramen bowls.
Billy Sunday is an award-winning cocktail bar with a menu ranging from classic to daring.
Botiwalla is an Indian street grill with a menu inspired by the chef’s childhood experiences with tea and kabab houses.
Collier Candy Company is a candy store with an array of sweets from different time periods from vintage treats to modern snacks.
Boxcar Betty’s is a Charleston-based fried chicken shop known for its chicken sandwiches and locally-sourced ingredients.
The Dumping Lady began as a beloved Charlotte food truck but has grown to also serve dumplings, noodles, and Sichuan street cuisine in a permanent spot at Optimist Hall.
El Thrifty is a quirky mix of a Mexican cantina and a gaming destination that offers authentic food, craft cocktails, and a selection of games and entertainment.
Felix’s Empanadas specializes in Argentinian pastries “made the same way Abuela did, every step of the way—no corners cut.”
Fonta Flora Brewery blends English tradition and Belgian inspiration into its brews to “create a menagerie of rustic and savory libations.”
Harriet’s Hamburgers is the quintessential American burger shop with its retro style and straightforward philosophy: “It’s simple, just be good. “
Honeysuckle Gelato is a southern-inspired dessert shop with unique flavors of milkshakes, gelato, and more.
Papi Queso is the premier grilled cheese eatery at the Hall, offering class grilled cheese sandwiches along with other traditional foods to leave you feeling nostalgic.
Pet Wants is the place to get your furry friends pet food as well as a special treat…or three.
The Spindle Bar is a vintage-inspired bar with a focus on fruit flavors and eccentric twists on classic cocktails.
Suárez Bakery is a dessert-focused Charlotte shop and a paradise for anyone with a sweet tooth or a craving for cake.
Undercurrent Coffee is dedicated to getting you your caffeine for the day with a menu that is “sourced, brewed and prepared with integrity and passion.”
Velvet Taco is a distinctive taco restaurant that “explores the edge of multi-cultural boundaries. [while] offering fresh takes on this much-loved food.”
Village Juice Co. is all about eating and drinking clean, offering a menu full of nutrients that is “Mother-Earth approved.”
Zukku is a sushi restaurant with tons of options, allowing you to customize your sushi roll, burrito or poke bowl.
You can order ahead directly through each vendor by visiting optimisthall.com
Words by Sloane Wick