Charlotte, start your cash registers: Uptown merchants excited about 16th edition of Speed Street festival
By Sam Boykin Thumping techno music and sushi rolls are probably not what you’d expect a typical NASCAR fan to go for while enjoying a night out on the town. But that’s not stopping Colin Jones from trying to lure as many as he can to Enso Asian Bistro this weekend during Food Lion Speed Street. The three-day festival, which kicked off yesterday, is expected to draw some 400,000 people to Uptown, with everything from live music, cooking demonstrations, interactive promotions and activities, and some of racing’s biggest stars. Now in its 16th year, the event capitalizes on all of the NASCAR fans who will be in town for the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday. For folks like Jones, general manager at Enso Asian Bistro, the influx of people could really rev up his cash registers. The restaurant is located in the EpiCentre, a big dining and entertainment complex at the intersection of Trade and College streets about a block away from the festival. But Jones admits the upscale and chic Enso is probably not the hangout of choice for most NASCAR fans. Especially compared to places like Whisky River, a rowdy bar complete with a mechanical bull also located in EpiCentre and owned by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr.