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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

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Late Ellen Davis

Founder

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.

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Late Anthony Wesley

Sommelier

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.

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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.

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Melanie Berry

Executive Chef

Chef Melanie Berry, an alumna of Central Piedmont Community College, has been an integral member of the McNinch House Restaurant team for the past 2 years. Taking on the role of Executive Chef in January 2024, Chef Melanie brings decades of versatile experience in the food and beverage industry. Chef Melanie is passionately dedicated to showcasing the best of local farmers, emphasizing sustainability, and sharing the rich narratives behind each ingredient. Her enthusiasm for educating guests about the intricacies within each dish reflects her commitment to culinary excellence and cultivating an exceptional dining experience.

She is honored to be a part of the McNinch House family, striving to elevate the dining experience for every guest and honor the profound legacy left by Ms. Ellen.

Dress Code

Our dress code is dressy casual.

Jackets are not required.

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