U.S. Census Bureau data show New York is the No. 1 source of newcomers to the nine-county Charlotte region from outside the Carolinas. An estimated 13,000 people move here from the Empire State annually.
As a result, neighborhoods around Charlotte are filling with people who prefer beef on weck (roast beef on a special salty roll) and white-hots (spicy white hot dogs) to barbecue and pimento cheese.
Upstate New York-oriented restaurants such as Tavern on the Tracks in South End and Township Grille in Matthews are thriving. And the area will be the first place outside Buffalo for expansion of the Anchor Bar, pioneer of the famed Buffalo wings (slated to open near Concord Mills mall and in uptown Charlotte later this year).
Rich Rust Belt traditions live on in the booming South, though I'm curious to see if any local variations develop into a Great Lakes Creole. Meanwhile, these Northern transplants are desperate to connect with others from the same hometown. Thanks to virtual social networking, new arrivals can quickly discover familiar comforts in a strange environment.