Achieving “destination cornerstore” status in Vancouver seems fairly simple, but it’s harder than you might think. In order to be a Marche Saint George or a Federal Store—somewhere that’s not just desirable for the people who live in the immediate vicinity but has a broader appeal—you have to nail down the delivery.
Your interior and exterior must feel fairly retro, but the store itself has to be packed to the brim with quality local products. You have to have good coffee, with dairy alternatives, as well as a bevy of baked goods on offer. There also needs to be a couple fridges for kombucha and a small freezer. If the latter doesn’t have Earnest Ice Cream in it, your Trendy Cornerstore licence is officially revoked.
Thankfully, the TCP (Trendy Cornerstore Police) won’t be getting any warrants to shut down Oh Carolina anytime soon.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the folks at Gooseneck Hospitality (the team behind Bells and Whistles, Bufala and Lucky Taco) got everything right with the former Charles Grocery, which sits a few blocks east of Main on 12th Avenue and Carolina Street.
For starters, there’s a pleasant, spacious patio out front—a necessity, as the interior is packed with local goods that assault the senses from entry. That includes sourdough loaves from Livia, dumplings from Dumpling King and Mumgry peanut butter.
The actual menu isn’t anything to sneeze at either, with a variety of very good sandwiches on offer, as well as some baked goods like delicious ham and cheese pizza rolls and donuts from Butterboom Bakery.
Really, the curation of this place is downright unreal, all the way through to Mexican Coke (I guess this is where I make a Blow joke?) and the fact they had only one flavour of Jarritos and chose the exact right one (lime—and this is not a debate).
It’s a fantastic addition to a neighbourhood already overflowing with great options for breakfast and lunch bites, but it’s also good enough to walk 30 minutes for in the boiling sun and I would definitely tell you if it wasn't.