Running a business in Charlotte has not been easy for Tricia Maddrey and Bonnie Warford, proprietors of Carpe Diem Restaurant. Since starting the business in 1989, they have been forced to move twice, finally settling, hopefully for good, at their present location on Elizabeth Avenue. They both agree that working together as sisters has been helpful, saying they've always gotten along and that the close relationship allows them to help each other when needed.
Creative Loafing: How did coming from Miami help shape your culinary interests?
BW: The town we came from at the southernmost tip of Florida, Goulds, was a huge agricultural hub. So many of our tropical exports come from that area. Avocados would literally fall out of the trees as you walked down the street.
TM: We were introduced to many different ingredients that you couldn't get anywhere else at the time. We were always able to attend a lot of different festivals and try different foods.
How have you seen Charlotte change since starting in '89?
BW: The biggest thing is the diversity that the banks have brought. It's so much more international than it used to be. There's a really good combo now of Southern charm and an urban feel.
TM: When we first opened Uptown, people thought we were crazy because people would leave after work. Now people go out after work, to a ballgame or a show, and that's a big difference.
What do you think of the lack of women in lead roles in Charlotte restaurants?
BW: It was hard to get someone to sign a lease with two women under 35. That's not easy for anyone anymore. But it doesn't feel like there's many more female restaurant owners than there used to be. If anything, Johnson & Wales will help bring female chefs into the city, and that will happen later.