Charlotte magazine isn't coy in its praise of Clean Catch Fish Market. "Simply stated, Clean Catch Fish Market is the fish market Charlotte has been waiting for," it raved when it awarded the market its 2012 Editors' Choice Award for Best Fish Market, citing the "quality and freshness." The market also came out on top in that year’s Voters' Choice Awards.
Living up to the accolades, staffers curate seasonal selections of the freshest fish possible, such as Alaskan cod or swordfish caught wild in state. Though they're continually searching for exciting, new seafood, they always offer a selection of sushi-grade fish, oysters, and shellfish. Clean Catch Fish Market dedicates itself to sustainable seafood, and the vast majority of catches are wild.
The market's chefs can give shoppers tips on how to cook their finds or give recipe suggestions, but they also whip up dishes of their own, such as shrimp gumbo, jumbo crab cakes, and complete fish-taco kits. Every day, staffers post links to the day's offerings on their Twitter page, and they allow customers to text in their orders to the shop rather than making them send their overworked carrier pigeons.
An acronym for Fabulous Art Buying Opportunity, FABO began as just that: an art store. It still is today, only along with art, the Park Road shop quenches thirst and quiets hunger, too. Inside, artwork from nearly 60 local artists—including paintings, photographs, jewelery, and pottery—sprawls across blue-gray and wine-colored walls. Visitors kick back in this funky atmosphere to sip on coffee, espresso, and even a carefully selected roster of wines and beers, some from local breweries. When stomachs begin to rumble, guests can also munch on muffins, bagels, and other bakery treats made to eat while on the move or during a secret detour from a nearby marathon.
From its humble origins as a small, old-fashioned ice-cream parlor operating out of a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, Ben and Jerry's now delights taste buds in locations across the U.S. and 25 countries. Their brand easily attracted customers––homemade ice cream churned from wholesome, high quality ingredients and blended into creative flavors. Some of their popular scoops include Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie.
The epicurean engineers at The Original Italian Pie slather homemade sauce across gourmet pizzas, which beckon hungry stomachs from a mouthwatering menu stocked with salads, pastas and sandwiches. A meaty triumvirate of pepperoni, italian sausage, and ground beef joins forces with a bevy of fresh veggies to invigorate combo pies, and modest margherita masterpieces enjoy simpler existences with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella. A garden of more than 25 toppings, including canadian bacon, herbed ricotta, and jalapeños ($0.95–$2.75 each), endows customers with more choices than an edible Choose Your Own Adventure novel at the create-your-own pizza or calzone station. Unlike their circular counterparts, a selection of salads, pastas and entrees, such as seared tuna salad ($9.95), spinach lasagna ($10.95) and chicken parmesan ($11.95), provide a purpose for utensils, keeping hand-jealous forks from throwing themselves off the table.
Ben & Jerry's came from humble beginnings—in 1978, its eponymous founders served ice cream out of a renovated Burlington gas station, and delivered pints of their now-classic flavors to grocery stores out of the back of Ben's VW Squareback wagon. Today, its myriad shops dispense cups, cones, shakes, and smoothies brimming with a variety of quirky flavors, including Phish Food and Cherry Garcia, named for famous revolutionary Cherry Garcia. The duo is also famous for their social responsibility, which is evident in their community activism and in their use of fair-trade products, such as cage-free eggs and sustainable, growth-hormone-free dairy.
The chefs at Nom Nom Burger put an Asian spin on classic American burgers, yielding fusion creations such as the pad-thai burger, teriyaki-chicken burger, and kalbi burger made from a Sterling Silver premium-beef patty. Appetizers include salt-and-pepper fries, pot stickers, and shrimp tempura, and orders of wings soar through sauces such as buffalo, spicy-tangy korean, or honey habanero.