McNinch House $$$
511 N. Church St., Charlotte
HOURS: Tues.–Sat. 6:30 p.m.–midnight by reservation only
COST: Most entrées more than $20
In the 1800s, the McNinch House was home to leaders of industry and political figures. Today, the AAA Four Diamond restaurant and top pick in the Zagat dining guide still caters to the city’s movers and shakers.
The restaurant was built in 1890 as the home of W. J. F. Liddell, an executive in the textile industry, and was sold to S. S. McNinch, the mayor of Charlotte, in 1907. In 1909, while McNinch was serving as mayor, president William Howard Taft spent the night in the home. Chef-owner Ellen Davis purchased the house in 1988 and opened the McNinch House restaurant.
The home is on the National Register of Historic Places and is as well known for its place in Charlotte history as its highly choreographed dinner service.
The seven-course dinner ($89; wine pairings $75 pp) includes an appetizer, soup, salad, sorbet, entrée, cheese course, and dessert and is served by reservation only. An email with entrée selections is sent to guests with confirmed reservations earlier in the week; guests are asked to review the available options and RSVP with their choice of entrée.
It’s not dinner, it’s an event—and the length of the meal reflects the emphasis on creating an upscale dining experience; diners should set aside a full evening (minimum three hours) to enjoy the meal. There is a strict dress code in effect (jackets are required for men; ties optional).
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition