“I suppose I ought to eat or drink something or other; but the great question is ‘What?’” - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Recently online someone was asking for the “must see-must dos” of Charlotte, as they planned a weekend visit to Charlotte. Someone mentioned Amélie's and a hearty chorus of folks echoed their agreement.
For many in the Charlotte area, or who visit the Charlotte area, a trip to Amélie's, A French Bakery & Cafe', is a sweet treat.
The café' first opened in NoDa in 2007, but now has four locations in the Charlotte area. The sweet pasteries are what they are most known for, but a full savory menu also delivers. Delicious soups, sandwiches, and salads are sure to satisfy.
They also offer all-day breakfast. I don't know about you, but I believe breakfast is an anytime meal. More places should make it available for longer hours. Busy lives, shift work, and crazy sleep schedules mean our bodies don't all work on the same clock. Especially on weekends.
I'm always going to have a preference for the NoDa location. The eclectic decor makes me feel as though I am Alice having an adventure in Wonderland. The unique chandeliers are a signature, as is the mix of old and new. The quirky fun French touches are sure to garner your attention.
Don't go when you're in a rush. There is no table service and almost always a line. The line typically moves a bit slowly, though it is not usually the fault of the staff. Most customers want to get a good look at their options before ordering, so there will be natural delays as they get to the cases, peruse and decide. Be patient with them. It's a tough decision. And a fun one.
I hadn't been since pre-COVID, so did find a few changes. Everything is now prepared to go. No more mugs and plates. Truly I miss the mugs. Coffee in a paper cup just doesn't have the same flavor or satisfaction level. I do enjoy that you can buy a few pastries and anything left is already boxed and ready to go.
There used to be a large space for indoor dining, but there appears to now be just one small room. There are picnic tables outside and many sat there due to the weather, but I wanted the indoor atmosphere I remember from the past. I did get an indoor table, but it's just not the same.
That day I chose a vanilla eclair, and two macarons (berry and pumpkin cheesecake.) Flavors do vary from visit to visit, some seasonal and some due to demand. All were delicious, though though there is a reason they are most known for the macarons. The texture, that pop of intense flavor. It’s an exquisite combination.
Did you know you can buy the macarons online? Yes you can, and I suspect they would make a great gift for someone homesick for Charlotte or to give your business customers a slightly unusual gift.
The café au lait was also good, but I would have loved a shake of cinnamon on top. I am pretty sure they would have obliged if I had thought to ask for this.
Besides the NODA location, you can also find locations at Park Rd., Carmel Commons, and Rock Hill. NODA used to be open 24/7/365, but now is open 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. Check the website for the hours of the other locations.
Wifi is available at all locations. Wine and beer are available at the Park Rd. and Carmel Commons locations.
It was a nice day for a relaxing treat and as always, Amélie's delivered. No wonder people recommend it to out-of-towners. Not quite Paris, but a touch of different.