CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Anyone walking by a news stand today saw the unexpected headline. Nationally, the economy has lost some momentum. But that is not the case right now in Charlotte, where five new restaurants have opened uptown in the past five months.
"The restaurant business is kind of like sociology - you see people's spending habits and what they buy and how often they come in, " says restaurateur Patrick Whalen. And what he's seeing in town is very positive. Great groups of people dining out again on a regular basis. "I definitely see things starting to move in a very positive direction in the city," he says.
Which is why Whalen moved here from Manhattan to open Five Church with his partners. The group spared no expense, hiring an army of area artists and local designers to refurbish this 6,000 square foot space. A lot of local bills have changed hands thanks to this place, and every new restaurant like it is like a battle won in the war for the economy. Maybe that's why The Art of War is inscribed word for word on the ceiling.
5 Church is a prime example, but why exactly is it that Charlotte is faring better than the rest of the nation? Local leaders say issues in banking hit us hard, yet early...meaning the city was forced to get a jump on diversity and growth.
And then, there's the Democratic National Convention.
"Whatever return that needed to happen to normalcy, that kicked into overdrive by having the DNC here," Whalen says. "It's been great."
The convention will infuse millions of dollars into local businesses and Charlotte.