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About Us

Our History

The property at 511 North Church Street was acquired by Vinton Liddell in 1891 for a sum of $3,000. It was on this very plot that Mr. Liddell erected the residence that now stands, becoming the abode of the McNinch family for the majority of its existence.

Samuel Sylvanus McNinch (1867-1929), the first of four successive Sam McNinches, held the esteemed position of Mayor of Charlotte from 1905 to 1907. Notably, President William Howard Taft visited during his visit to Charlotte for the celebration of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence on May 20, 1909.

A legacy of political engagement was ingrained in the McNinch family, with Franklin Alonzo McNinch (1841-1893), a veteran of the Civil War and Sam McNinch's father, setting the precedent. Serving 3 terms as Charlotte's chief of police and garnering respect as a trial justice for 15 years, he was a founding figure in the Pioneer Fire Company and later elected chief of the Volunteer Fire Department.

Following the passing of S.S. McNinch (Sam the First) in 1929, survived by 4 children, 1 of whom, Miss Mattie McNinch, remained unmarried and resided in the home until 1978. Ellen Davis then purchased the home and worked tirelessly to its restoration. She was a dynamic entrepreneur who operated several businesses. She ultimately opened the McNinch House Restaurant in 1989.

Embodying the authentic Queen Anne/Shingle architectural style, the Liddell-McNinch House garnered acclaim during the Fourth Ward Preliminary Survey conducted by the Mecklenburg County Landmarks Commission in March 1975. Deemed by participants as perhaps the quintessential representation of this style in North Carolina, it now proudly graces the National Historic Register. Adorned with shingles on the upper portion, clapboards below, and a meticulously patterned slate roof, its exterior features a harmonious fusion of towers, wings, gables, and inviting porches, topped with an elegant eyebrow window.

Inside, the craftsmanship is a testament to Victorian artistry, with intricate, richly molded woodwork adorning both levels of the residence. Under the guidance of the esteemed architect Mr. Karl Bitter, renowned for his work at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, many of these designs, including the exquisite, coffered ceiling in the Library, were replicated. The residence boasts 10 tiled fireplaces, with a distinctive 3-way fireplace serving as a focal point, connecting the foyer, library, and dining room, adding both warmth and architectural allure.

Our Staff


Late Ellen Davis


Ellen Davis was a trailblazer. The Charlotte, North Carolina native was a pioneering businesswoman and the driving force behind McNinch House Restaurant. After purchasing the historic Queen Anne-style home from the McNinch family in 1978, Davis spent a decade restoring the landmark. She opened the McNinch House Restaurant in January 1989, and – primarily as a self-taught cook – served as the restaurant’s first chef. She said at the time, “I’m living my dream.” The restaurant was her passion. Her legacy and impact within the Charlotte community will live on forever.


Late Anthony Wesley


Anthony "Wes" Wesley's 22-year tenure at McNinch House leaves behind a legacy of excellence and dedication. His curated wine lists, recognized by esteemed publications like The Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator, elevated the dining experience. Beyond his contributions, Wesley's warmth and hospitality made him a beloved figure in the community. He leaves behind a lasting impact on the countless guests whose lives he touched.


Tracy Webb

Front of House Manager

Tracy Webb joined the McNinch House Restaurant in 2016. With over 15 years experience in hospitality, she has a passion to deliver an exceptional dining experience for every guest. She leads the front of house team to create a dining experience, not just a dinner, for all of our guests.


Our Awards

Since its opening, the McNinch House Restaurant has been the winner of a great number of awards and accolades from AAA, Wine Spectator, Zagat, and more.

Triple A

Four Diamond Award 1998-2022

Wine Spectator

Best Restaurants for Wine 2011-2018

Wine Enthusiast

Award of Distinction 2008–2009

Charlotte Magazine

Charlotte's Most Romantic Restaurant 2022
Open Table

Charlotte's Highest Rated Restaurants 2022

Notable Wine List, Special Occasion 2020
Best Ambiance, Best Service, Notable Wine List,

Special Occasion 2019
Top 100 Restaurants in the US, 2017
100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the US 2014-2015

Best Restaurant Service in Charlotte 2016
Best Restaurant Décor in Charlotte 2016
Most Romantic Restaurants in Charlotte 2016
Best Restaurants in Charlotte 2016
Top “Extraordinary” Restaurants 2016-2017
Charlotte’s Most Romantic Restaurant 2016-2017
America’s Best Restaurants: 15 Top-Rated Spots 2013
Charlotte’s Top 10 Restaurants 2011

Charlotte Magazine
Best of the Best Charlotte’s Most Romantic Restaurant 2020
14 Best Restaurants in Uptown Charlotte 2019
10 Best Restaurants in Uptown 2018
14 Best Restaurants in Uptown Charlotte 2017
50 Best Restaurants in Charlotte 2011, 2015-2019
Charlotte’s 25 Best Restaurants 2011, 2015-2019
100 Best Dishes in Charlotte 2010

Dress Code

Our dress code is dressy casual.

Jackets are not required.

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