In our second edition of Behind the Lens, Allie P spoke with Shannon of Uptown Girl CLT. This food/lifestyle blogger has been sharing her eye for beautiful food, scenic shots, and fashion since 2016 and is currently celebrating 10,000+ Instagram followers.
What inspired you to start Uptown Girl CLT? When did you start?
I came up with the idea for Uptown Girl CLT after we moved to 7th street and started exploring the city and finding our favorite places. As a past owner of a lifestyle photography business, I have a passion for documenting life and by design thrive when I have outlet to do that. Creating Uptown Girl CLT was the perfect way to fulfill that passion and support local as much as possible at the same time. I transitioned from a personal IG page in 2016 and can’t believe how much it’s grown since then!
What’s your favorite part of ‘gramming/blogging about food?
My favorite part of sharing what I eat, is that at the same time I’m also sharing other’s passions as well. By bringing awareness to local restaurants, I’m sharing the passion of the entrepreneur who owns the company, the chef who prepares the food, the employees who make the experience so great , and more. When I share what I’m eating, it’s often because I’ve invested time in learning about what I’m eating and the mission and story of the people that made it possible.
How difficult/easy has it been to transition to a gluten-free/dairy-free lifestyle in CLT?
I would say 50/50 for sure. Personally, it’s been great, but there are times for the Uptown Girl CLT brand that it’s not easy. Since having to change my diet abruptly 5 months ago, I’ve had to turn down invitations to many tasting events due to the limited menu options that just aren’t adaptable in those specific instances. I do miss eating at some of my favorite restaurants that unfortunately can’t work with the restrictions simply because there isn’t a way to, however will always support them and recommend them to others! On the flip side, there have been restaurants that were able to fully cater to my dietary restrictions. I decided to look at this lifestyle change in a positive way, and let it open my eyes to new places in Charlotte to experience and share, as well as sharing the restaurants that will gladly alter their menu items and ensure you can enjoy them safely!
What are your thoughts on Charlotte’s culinary scene?
I think Charlotte has an absolutely amazing culinary scene that continues to grow, and fast! We have a city full of talented and passionate chefs and restaurateurs who are bringing great places for locals and tourists alike to experience!
What’s your day job?
I manage Uptown Girl CLT in my personal time and work at an animal hospital for a living. I have been there since moving to Charlotte in 2010.
Favorite spot for date night dinner?
One of my favorite spots to go for date night would definitely be Living Kitchen. For me, I can eat just about anything on the menu I want without worrying, but for most it offers a unique and plant-based spin on favorite dishes like sushi, sliders, pizza and cheesecake. They have a lovely outdoor patio (dogs allowed!) a beautifully designed interior, and a great selection of wine, craft beer, coffee and teas.
What restaurant are you most excited about in 2018?
There are so many great places opening around the city this year, and one I’m most excited about is the Yafo Kitchen opening in my neighboorhood (Plaza Midwood).
What is one thing about you that your followers don’t know or wouldn’t guess?
I have family from Wisconsin and have been a Packers fan since childhood. We watch NFL games every week during the season whether it’s at a local bar (@angryalesmofo) or at home with family. We love to play Fantasy Football and I even won one year!
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I would have to say it was probably a bite of frog leg when I was a kid at my cousin’s house. I may be a foodie, but I’m definitely NOT “adventurous”! I hesitantly tried octopus for the first time this past year!
What’s the strangest thing in your purse or in your home right now?
The strangest thing in my purse is definitely a thermometer. Remember what I do for my day job?
Allie Papajohn is the creator and face-behind-the-food on EatDrinkCLT’s Instagram and blog. She is constantly thinking about her next delicious meal and enjoys spreading the word about Charlotte’s culinary scene.