a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

By Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

I’ve arrived in Minneapolis, contemplating a big city post, but my head (and heart) is still in my home town of Carrboro, known in some circles as “The Paris of The Piedmont”. In the last few weeks, I’ve been lured into the world the world of Johnny’s – a both evolved and devolved gathering spot nestled in a downtown residential neighborhood on Main Street. What is Johnny’s? Go here for a good local story. Then, I’ll share what I’ve seen and let you decide.

*Johnny’s is a store. They sell milk, local butter, local baked goods, and very local eggs and vegetables from the chickens and garden beds out back. Local small farmers also show up on the weekends to peddle their wares.

*Johnny’s is a coffee shop. Their coffee is an exclusive “Johnny’s Blend”, roasted by behind the store. Since Johnny’s used to be many things, including a bait shop, a grocer and a house, it can feel a bit like being at grandmas on a warm Spring day – come in the back door and enjoy the breeze blowing through the windows while you connect online.

*Johnny’s is a music bar. Local musicians perform regularly – early shows to please the neighbors – serving a wide variety of unique local and international beers and wines by the bottle.

*Johnny’s is a gathering place. Speed Bingo happens every Wednesday, wine tastings on Thursdays, and a fish fry on Fridays. The locally owned and loved Taco Truck shares the lot space (along with bicycle racks) and made to order crepes show up on Saturdays. A fire pit in the yard sits on the brick patio where patrons are known to linger long after closing hours.

*Johnny’s is a work of art in progress. Owner, Brian Plaster, is an accomplished metal sculpter (and, as rumor has it, an outrageous off-road cyclist). In addition to changing art pieces and outdoor furniture (much of it is for sale), there is a hut in the middle of the yard made from reused lumber, providing a serving bar for special gatherings. Several picnic style tables encourages meeting and greeting in small groups.

*Johnny’s is a dream-come-true for Carrboro and I wish the same fortune upon every town across the world. It’s a home away from home, somewhere to share art, music, ideas, food, drink and fun – as casually as walking across the street to the neighbor’s house.

Thanks Brian and the others who make Johnny’s a special place. Minneapolis may be “The Little Apple”, but Johnny’s is giving Carrboro something Big.

ps. I”m away from my iphoto on this trip, but watch for some great pictures of life at Johnny’s next week. Tao

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 291 user reviews.

2 Responses to “”

  1. phyllisdiehl Says:

    just love this blog… described it so beautiful. it sounds like a place for me. casual, music, coffee, animals. and it makes you happy. that is enough for me…………can’t wait to see the pictures.

  2. Roger Hartsell Says:

    hey Tracey,
    i’ll meet you there one day, hope you’re having a good trip otherwise.
    maybe Jessica can turn you on to some local spot there!

    jolly ROger

Leave a Reply

THE TAO OF CHANGE [the way of a better world]

brought to you by The Change, a strategy and design agency with an agenda to change the world