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Charlotte’s New Uptown Neighborhood Coffeehouse

Coco and the Director (100 West Trade Street, Charlotte, NC, 704-353-6003, www.cocoandthedirector.com, IG @cocoandthedirector) brings a new neighborhood coffeehouse, café and retail shop showcasing local North Carolina products to the city’s commercial hub at Trade and Tryon.

The bright, soaring space features large windows overlooking Charlotte’s historic crossroads, welcoming local business people, entrepreneurs, students and artists. Amphitheater-style platforms rise up to a balcony with additional seating, allowing for a quick coffee break, laptop work session or impromptu meetings. Reclaimed oak, black iron and color accents create a lively but comfortable space with white subway tile walls, zinc bar tops and black chalkboard painted upper walls that serve as a canvas for local Charlotte chalk artist Jennifer Hill. Opposite the coffee bar, retail kiosks and shelves are stocked with locally produced goods, hearkening back to the intersection’s historic importance as a center of trade.

Coco and the Director offers an array of coffee options, including single origin pour overs, aeropress, small batch drip, cold brew, latte, cappuccino, flat white and more. The Andante coffee blend of beans from Brazil and Cameroon is exclusively roasted by Forte Legato Coffee Company in Fort Mill, SC, while single origins beans are sourced from Indonesia, Colombia, Cameroon and Tanzania. Founded in 2012 by Nick Peñaloza, Forte Legato works directly with farmers as a member of “More Than Fair,” a direct trade program that compensates farmers properly and ensures the highest quality standards.

Stoke Executive Chef Chris Coleman oversees a menu that features a daily housemade specialty sandwich, along with grab and go salads and sandwiches, housemade breads, pastries and more. The limited quantity Sandwich of the Day will be announced each morning on Twitter @CATDCLT. The signature Wednesday Hump Day Porchetta stars Carolina Heritage Farms pork brined for two days then roasted overnight in the wood-fired oven, with house pickles and chimichurri-aioli. Friday’s Fried Chicken Sandwich comes with pickle-brined thighs and slaw on housemade ciabatta bread, while Meatless Mondays offer vegetarian options such as BBQ Carrot with carrot top pesto and Buttercup Cheddar and Charred Broccolini with U.A.V. mozzarella and pickled onion. On Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, the sandwiches rotate with offerings including smoked turkey, house-cured pastrami, or a BLT with carved slab bacon.

The all-day menu includes Chef Billy’s Kimchee Oatmeal Risotto with pulled chicken; Organic Quinoa & Super Grains Salad with pickled onions, tomato, cucumber and green goddess dressing; Springer Mountain Farms Chicken Cobb Salad with Benton’s bacon, soft boiled egg, tomato and blue cheese; a BLT with jalapeno-pimento spread, lettuce, tomatoes on ciabatta; the 7th Street Market Grilled Cheese with Boxcarr Handmade Cheese’s washed rind Lissome, mozzarella, apple butter and spicy mustard on housemade chocolate rye. At night, the kitchen offers a culinary tour of the world’s street foods by serving up kebabs, tacos, gyros, yakitori and more.

Complementing house-baked banana bread, coffee cakes and muffins, Coco and the Director also serves a selection of croissants and pastries from acclaimed chef Sylvain Rivet of Charlotte’s Renaissance Patisserie. Loose leaf teas are sourced from Charleston Tea Plantation, the only working tea estate in the U.S., located on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

The retail nook showcases a wide range of products, from tableware to stationery and books to jewelry to local foods. A rotating series of carts display the work of local artisans, including Buckskin & Mane, a line of men’s grooming products from three military veterans, and Thad Cline’s handmade women’s jewelry.

An innovative new community program – part of the Charlotte Marriott City Center’s renovation – is the introduction of three co-lab meeting spaces. The rooms are available to local entrepreneurs for informal meetings and brainstorming sessions with no minimum purchase. Weekly and bi-weekly events include “Final-e Friday Acoustic” sessions with local musicians and $4 craft beers; free “Throwback Thursday Movies” with complimentary popcorn every other Thursday; and “Wine n Color Wednesday” with $5 glasses of select wine and other specials.

Coco and the Director is located at 100 West Trade Street in the Charlotte Marriott City Center. The cafe is open daily 6am to 10pm. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.

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