My second Every Street CLT was less of a street, and more of a block. In lieu of Common Market Southend getting demolished, I wanted to walk around it and photograph it before that happened, and since I can't write about Common Market without also sharing our 'Coming to Charlotte' story, here goes...
Common Market Southend held a special place in many people's hearts - including mine and Carl's. Before we moved here in August 2012, we visited Charlotte three or four times and Common Market was the second place we ever ventured inside of - after Phat Burrito [which is sadly, now also gone.]
We walked down the narrow brick alley, turned the corner, and BOOM - the coziest 'hidden' courtyard we'd ever seen. There's NO WAY we would have found this place on our own, thankfully Carl's cousins knew about it and shared it with us. Entering Common Market for the first time, from the courtyard entrance no less, made us feel like instant locals - that we knew about this long time staple of Charlotte and we were in on how cool it was.
After that, we'd end every Charlotte visit with a cold beer in the courtyard - and on one of those visits, we looked around at everyone else enjoying the space and the people they were with and decided right then and there that Charlotte was home and we would be moving there from Virginia Tech when our leases were up in August.
We didn't have jobs or a place to live - we didn't move here for that - we moved here for how Charlotte made us feel and knew the rest would work out.
On one of those Charlotte visits, we went to a Bastille Day Party in NoDa. We were invited by our Mentor and didn't know a single person. Out of nerves, we drove around the neighborhood to kill some time until our Mentor arrived to the party, and completely fell in love with NoDa. We drove down every street, but one stood out. There were paintings hanging on the houses, sculptures in the yards and one house that looked like it had escaped from the set of an old western ghost town.
We dreamed we would live on that street.
Fast forward to the party. Our Mentor had still not arrived but we gathered our fresh-out-of-college nerves and knocked on the door of the red house filled with people 10-20 years older than us. We handed them a baguette [a Bastille Day themed host gift] and said, "Hi - Don invited us."
They were extremely welcoming and we had an incredible time! On a trip to the fridge to grab another cold one, one of the guests asked us where we got our beer. I stood up and beaming like the little local wannabe that I was, I answered, "Common Market."
He was surprised I knew what it was, having not even moved there yet. I went on explaining everything I've already told you above and in his best Barney Stinson impression he said, "Welll, have you met Chuck?!?"
I turned and standing directly behind me was the owner of Common Market. Carl and I talked about how much we loved his place, the vibe, the beer, the food, etc. We got to know each other and talked about our love of Charlotte. We mentioned we were moving here without jobs or a place to live, to which he replied, "Oh, well, I've got a place..."
And where was that place you might ask? Oh, in NoDa. On the street with the house from every John Wayne movie. Yep. We moved into the cutest little mill house on the best street in the best neighborhood in the best city. Can't get much better than that.
From then on, Common Market would continue to be our 'spot.' It's where we'd meet up with friends, it's where we'd hear Hank sing Tom Petty for the first time, it's where we'd celebrate all of our Charlotte-versaries [August 3rd] and it's where we got our engagement photos taken.
I along with many others were just HEARTBROKEN when we found out that Common Market and that special courtyard would soon be demolished. The going away party was bitter sweet. I was glad for the role that little courtyard played in establishing Charlotte as home and getting us to move here, but sad for Chuck and sad that more memories wouldn't be made there.
Thankfully, Common Market Southend will be reopening in a new location less than a mile from it's first - and I. CAN'T. WAIT. They'll also be opening a BRAND NEW location in Oakhurst and of course, there's the Plaza Midwood location - which is actually the closest to our home, but we were always biased towards the Southend location for reasons already stated.
Here's a look into their newest location. It's safe to say, I'll be doing another Every Street CLT on their new street when they open. Until then, enjoy a few more shots from their old block and my second 'Street' adventure.
It was a rare day indeed - I essentially had the courtyard to myself!!! Food is often a part of these adventures, so of course, I had to go with their classic Egg Salad sandwich complete with a Lenny Boy. SO GOOD.