CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, including the food industry. Charlotte has said goodbye to some of its longstanding restaurants, due to several reasons like staff shortages or rising food costs.
But against the odds, several new businesses are opening.
Just outside of Uptown, Camp North End is all about innovation.
“This area has created a place, a platform for people across the city,” Tommy Mann Development Director with Camp North End said.
Now, BayHaven Restaurant Group, led by chef Gregory Collier and Subrina Collier, is partnering with Camp North End to open four new concepts just like their own Leah & Louise, which already has a home there. One of the things that makes them unique is they’re all Black-owned.
“It’s in a historically African American neighborhood which is extremely important to us,” Chef Collier said.
Collier and his wife are on a mission to inspire and encourage black culinary excellence.
“Charlotte is about the be the next culinary place, specifically I think it could be the mecca for Black culinarians. It’s kind of wide-open, we're still a young city,” Collier said.
“It’s incredibly important, the diversity of business ownership across camp north end is reflective of the type of impact we're trying to have on Charlotte,” Mann said.
It’s an impact that Collier hopes other developers will follow.
“Developers need to directly invest money into these Black-owned businesses, Collier said.
Here's a breakdown of the four restaurants coming to Camp North End:
- B.A.D. - A concept born of the donut pop-ups of former Leah & Louise pastry chef Jasmine Macon. This quick-service restaurant will be where the Johnson & Wales University graduate will serve up donuts, fritters, and cinnamon rolls that feature staple flavors and rotating seasonal selections
- Bird is the Word - This chicken-centric counter service restaurant features the same popular chicken sandwich from Leah & Louise, along with chicken stew, a weekly smoked chicken family meal, chicken fat donuts, and a host of seasonal Southern sides. Chef Collier, who has been nominated twice for the James Beard Foundation Award, will head this operation personally.
- Passage Seafood - This modern fish camp will focus on seasonal seafood from the Atlantic Ocean, featuring oysters, raw fish, a rotating whole fish option, composed vegetable dishes, and even an entire fish charcuterie. The terroir of the Carolinas will be reflected on Passage's menu, along with the Colliers' own style, heritage, and culture.
- The Abyss - A modern speakeasy, this concept promises a journey for guests to better understand craft cocktails. Justin Hazelton, the award-winning mixologist at Leah & Louise, will lead this darker, more sultry counter to its next-door sister, Passage Seafood. Both concepts will still be closely tied together beyond being neighbors, however; The Abyss will feature 40 indoor seats where guests can enjoy a selection of Passage's menu along with a modern diner menu. The goal: to elevate the idea of "late night eats" in the Queen City.
All four new restaurants will be in the north end of the Camp North End building, lined up with each other and facing into the Crossroads district. Doors open for service in summer 2022.