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Plaza-Midwood Projects (Central, Commonwealth, The Plaza)

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where did this rumor come from? i'd bet lots of money that its 100% false, as i've never seen the place anything but packed and i eat there once a week. they don't seem to be struggling AT ALL.

It was pure party chatter....along the lines of "someone told me that Zada Janes is not making enough money and is going to close" no clue if it's true that's why they call it a rumor dontknow.gif The service is atrocious, I have waited almost an hour for a small takeout order when they place was dead empty. However, the food and vibe make up for it in my opinion.

They do a slammin weekend breakfast rush but the several times I have gone for dinner during the week it's been close to empty.

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It was pure party chatter....along the lines of "someone told me that Zada Janes is not making enough money and is going to close" no clue if it's true that's why they call it a rumor dontknow.gif The service is atrocious, I have waited almost an hour for a small takeout order when they place was dead empty. However, the food and vibe make up for it in my opinion.

They do a slammin weekend breakfast rush but the several times I have gone for dinner during the week it's been close to empty.

I don't care how good the food is. If you had to wait an hour for it to be prepared, especialy when the restaurant is slow, it ain't wurf it.

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my service has never been bad, but you don't go there if you're in a hurry. same with penguin for that matter. the wait to get seated is sometimes long but i always get my food quickly. or maybe i'm just enjoying my bloody mary too much to mind the wait :)

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Zada Janes is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Charlotte. But I agree with the service issues. They are always slam-packed for brunch on Sat/Sun, but the service issues have gotten noticeably worse over the past few months. In particular, they have gone through some waitstaff changes and I wouldn't say they were for the better. That being said, their brunch (when it gets to you) is amazing.

Zada's has three main problems with it, and neither of those problems lead me to believe that closing is the best solution.

Problem #1: They are slam-packed on Sat/Sun for brunch.

If you have too many customers to serve, I find it hard to believe that closing the entire restaurant would be the first thing you'd try. They could add seating inside, start taking reservations, or add wait-staff and cooks to get people in and out quicker (ultimately, this is the problem). I would like to think that management would try 'tweaking' some of these things before ever considering closing.

Problem #2: They have a non-existent dinner crowd. And they don't market that menu (lunch/dinner) hardly at all.

Zada Jane's niche is their brunch...and it's the best in town. People know the restaurant and love it. But when regulars like myself (my friends and I go there 3-4 times a month) have literally never ordered dinner from the place...then that is an issue. I've browsed the dinner menu, and I *want* to go there for dinner sometime. But I haven't up to this point, for no other reason than the fact that it "just doesn't seem like that's their thing". If I was ZJ, I'd mix up the dinner menu...give some tried and true things a spin...and MARKET IT.

I mean come on, put a sign on the wall that shows the day's dinner specials. That doesn't cost a dime, but it reminds me when I'm there that I need to come back for dinner.

There are so many things that can be done to increase the lunch/dinner traffic, but I just don't think they are doing enough of that.

Problem #3: They don't entice the "bar" crowd.

Again, it all comes down to impressions. People think of ZJ as a brunch spot, not a place to grab drinks. Even though they have a huge bar, the best Bloody Mary's in town, a large beer/wine selection, and are right across the street from TTT, Snug, Whiskey, Soul, Common Market, etc. There's no reason they couldn't tap into that market and make Zada Jane's one of the 'bar crawl' stops in Plaza Midwood. Some sort of drink specials - or maybe live music on the weekends? - would probably help too. I dunno, even adding a TV or two on weekend nights...that could help get the football crowds in there.

Bottom line: there is absolutely no reason why a place like Zada Jane's shouldn't succeed. They are insanely popular in Plaza Midwood, and the problems they face could easily be addressed with some forward-thinking and creativity, IMO.

Edited by plaza-midwood

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Switching topics: Has anyone heard anything about plans or movement at the 9-acre former Tuscan property at 3223 Central Avenue, at the intersection with Briar Creek Road?

Many of the trees are marked with pink ribbons or pink dots. The property is now owned by New Dominion Bank. Just wondering whether there were plans to clear or cut down trees.

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^Underoak, has your neighborhood ever come around on the issue of connectivity for this site? Linking Central with Cosby doesn't look like it would create cut-through traffic, when all streets inside Merry Oaks go nowhere but Merry Oaks.

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^Underoak, has your neighborhood ever come around on the issue of connectivity for this site? Linking Central with Cosby doesn't look like it would create cut-through traffic, when all streets inside Merry Oaks go nowhere but Merry Oaks.

My understanding it that the neighborhood wasn't the issue. Merry Oaks wanted the site developed. It is the city that has the connectivity policy. Tuscan didn't want to spend the extra money to connect the site to the neighborhood. There is a pretty significant ditch between the site and the neighborhood which would be costly to cross. I believe they even proposed just pedestrian crossing because it would be less costly. As you mentioned, the roads going into Merry Oaks don't really go anywhere. However, Arnold Drive is a pretty heavily used cut-through from Central to Eastway. There are several other streets that lead into the neighborhood as well.

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^True, there are other streets leading to Central, but none are signalized, making it difficult to cross or turn left. I believe the Tuscan development proposed to have a driveway aligned with the signal, so why not a street? Would the residents of this site not also be part of the larger neighborhood? And as someone living in nearby Midwood, I've taken Arnold Drive just once to see if it saved any time going from Eastway to Central, but it doesn't, especially with all the speed humps.

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The ReZoning for what was to be the future Jackalope's site on Pecan Ave was finally approved by City Council last night. This is the building that used to be the Steeple Nightclub and has sat dormant for a couple years while it went through the rezoning process. Anyone in the neighborhood know what this will become? Is it still going to be the future Jackalope's site?

Approved Site Plan:

http://ww.charmeck.org/Planning/Rezoning/2008/148_158/2008-154%20site%20plan%203rd%20rev.pdf

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I've taken Arnold Drive just once to see if it saved any time going from Eastway to Central, but it doesn't, especially with all the speed humps.

Hee. Thank goodness for those speed humps.

Arnold's not a huge cut through most of the time, and some brave souls have even begun parking their cars curbside. That seems to slow traffic down.

I believe Charlottegirl is right about the ditch (a small creek with the rain and snow we've been having) and the added cost to any developer building a connectivity road across that ditch. A culvert or bridge, done in an environmentally sensible way, could add to development costs. The downhill apartments to the west have had flooding issues. I'm not sure what kind of responsibility a developer would have to mitigate runoff to neighbors. Maybe someone here knows?

Anyway, updates on the Tuscan Property are in the latest Merry Oaks newsletter, in a .pdf under "Documents and pages," labeled Newsletter, Winter 2010. Info. is on Page 12. Nancy Pierce did the reporting. I might be able to get that info. on Underoak the blog later if Nancy's OK with that....

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Did anyone catch the write of for Cuban Pete's in Creative Loafing this past week. It listed some of the specs of the restaurant. It should be interesting, I hope it holds up during these tough times. Maybe with the tropical fish store gone, the strip mall won't appear so sketchy.

Things that caught my eye.

- Four total bars: coffee bar, liquor/beer bar, sangria bar, and a rum bar.

- Open till 2 am as a bar

- No breakfast

From Creative Loafing:

The menu will include everything from appetizers and soups to sandwiches, seafood, and meats. And if that isn’t enough, Pete’s has a variety of bars to suit any taste.

Their Coffee Bar will be offering traditional coffee drinks like espresso, cafe con leche, cortadito (an espresso topped with steamed milk), plus sweet and savory foods too munch on – Cuban sandwiches, media noches, guava pastries, stuffed potatoes, empanadas, croquets and more.

If you are looking for something “stronger,” check out their other three bars. The main bar will offer specialty drinks, various mojitos, and local beers. The Sangria Bar will offer six different types of sangrias, and the International Rum Bar will offer, well … rum!

Cuban Pete’s Café

1308-E The Plaza, Charlotte, NC 28205 (Midwood Corners Shopping Strip)

11am-10pm Monday to Thursday

11am to 11pm Friday & Saturday

Bar open until 2am

Closed Sundays

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^ me neither. how does a tropical fish store contribute to sketchiness anyway? i actually loved browsing around in that place, they had some really unique fish.

Sketchy wasn't the best word selection. I still feel that the shopping center feels somewhat rundown, maybe worn is a nicer way of putting it. It seems that they are working to clean it up some. I think by removing the tropical fish "mural" has brightened/cleaned things up. It still has the feeling of a low rent/run down strip mall with the cricket store, nail place, tax place, and Hong Kong Chinese restaurant.

I would like to see this shopping center cleaned up alot more. It could really add to the aesthetics of the area. As far as chinese food goes, Hong Kong Chinese restaurant has some of the worst tasting Chinese food I have ever had. Every time I have been in their, a bunch of the people were only ordering fried chicken wings, maybe they could just become a chicken wing place.

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Does anyone have any idea of what is going in the corner spot of the Family Dollar shopping center on central. There has been a good bit of work going on for the past few weeks in this location. A deck is under construction in the back and it looks like they have constructed a bar inside. I assume it is going to be a restaurant/bar.

I would be interested to find out.

On a side note, the wife and I checked out Loco Lime last night which is next to Common House on Central. I believe these two restaurants are both owned the the group that owns Hawthorne Pizza. We had very good food.

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Does anyone have any idea of what is going in the corner spot of the Family Dollar shopping center on central. There has been a good bit of work going on for the past few weeks in this location. A deck is under construction in the back and it looks like they have constructed a bar inside. I assume it is going to be a restaurant/bar.

good to hear that something is going in. it was clear that the renovations to the building were intended to make it a bar/restaurant but i wasn't sure they'd be successful with that.

if they never demo that building, i really wouldn't mind keeping it if something were built on the parking lot. whenever i pass i imagine a new block of shops there, creating an extension of Clement Ave between it and the family dollar building. it wouldn't feel like a strip mall anymore at least.

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Just drove by there and a sign is up for a restaurant that appears to be named Luxe. Here's hoping it is good, what a great addition to that miserable shopping center.

good to hear that something is going in. it was clear that the renovations to the building were intended to make it a bar/restaurant but i wasn't sure they'd be successful with that.

if they never demo that building, i really wouldn't mind keeping it if something were built on the parking lot. whenever i pass i imagine a new block of shops there, creating an extension of Clement Ave between it and the family dollar building. it wouldn't feel like a strip mall anymore at least.

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Just drove by there and a sign is up for a restaurant that appears to be named Luxe. Here's hoping it is good, what a great addition to that miserable shopping center.

I asked the owner of Zada Jane's if he new anything about the space, he said that there would be a bohemian restaurant going in that space. I don't know if that means it is going to be a gypsy style place or a Czech place or a what. Hopefully we will see soon.

With this place opening that will take the list of Plaza Midwood restaurants/places to get food to 24.

Intermezzo

Central Coffee

Common House

Loco Lime

Rib Palace

Something Classic

Cafe Central

Dairy Queen

Luxe

Soul

Fuel

Mama's Carribean Grill

Sammy's

Diamond

John's Country Kitchen

Zada Janes

Thomas Street Tavern

Dish

The Penguin

Common Market

Whiskey Warehouse

Cuban Petes

Hong Kong

Subway

LULU

McDonalds?

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The developer for the 2nd building at Elizabeth Square apartments just picked the building permits the other day. I hope that means we will see construction soon.

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^Yet again, Plaza-Central is blooming towards Uptown and Elizabeth, not Eastway. I think it has something to do with good bones.

I think the strongest blocks of Central are those that are actually small blocks and well-connected to adjoining residential. From Louise to The Plaza, you have strong block structure that links gentrified rooftops (Sunnyside, P-M historic dist.) with reborn storefronts (numerous restaurants).

But to the east of The Plaza, you get superblocks killing street life. That's why it's so important to make connections like that in Merry Oaks to Central. Otherwise, you don't get walkable retail/restaurants east of The Plaza. And without better block structure, you ultimately have a weaker corridor for streetcar accessibility and transit-supportive development.

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^Great observation. I would go a step further and point out that many of these blocks also have service alleys. Pedestrian blocks, onstreet parking, etc. are difficult to implement with curb cuts every 25-50 feet.

Edited by archiham04

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I asked the owner of Zada Jane's if he new anything about the space, he said that there would be a bohemian restaurant going in that space. I don't know if that means it is going to be a gypsy style place or a Czech place or a what. Hopefully we will see soon.

With this place opening that will take the list of Plaza Midwood restaurants/places to get food to 24.

Intermezzo

Central Coffee

Common House

Loco Lime

Rib Palace

Something Classic

Cafe Central

Dairy Queen

Luxe

Soul

Fuel

Mama's Carribean Grill

Sammy's

Diamond

John's Country Kitchen

Zada Janes

Thomas Street Tavern

Dish

The Penguin

Common Market

Whiskey Warehouse

Cuban Petes

Hong Kong

Subway

LULU

McDonalds?

It's been a while since I've been over this way... Now, I'm craving a Penguin burger and sweet potato fries and a Zada Janes omelet :D

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The developer for the 2nd building at Elizabeth Square apartments just picked the building permits the other day. I hope that means we will see construction soon.

Based on my drive-by impressions, it didn't look like Elizabeth Square was exactly bursting at the seams. Maybe they found a good niche market.

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I asked the owner of Zada Jane's if he new anything about the space, he said that there would be a bohemian restaurant going in that space. I don't know if that means it is going to be a gypsy style place or a Czech place or a what. Hopefully we will see soon.

With this place opening that will take the list of Plaza Midwood restaurants/places to get food to 24.

Intermezzo

Central Coffee

Common House

Loco Lime

Rib Palace

Something Classic

Cafe Central

Dairy Queen

Luxe

Soul

Fuel

Mama's Carribean Grill

Sammy's

Diamond

John's Country Kitchen

Zada Janes

Thomas Street Tavern

Dish

The Penguin

Common Market

Whiskey Warehouse

Cuban Petes

Hong Kong

Subway

LULU

McDonalds?

They have a website.

Nothing much to look at but hopefully we'll get at least a menu to look at soon. I'm always excited to try something new and hopefully different.

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