About Us

Our History

The property at 511 North Church Street was bought by Vinton Liddell in 1891 for $3,000. The house that stands on that lot now was built by Mr. Liddell and was the residence of the McNinch family for most of its history.

Mr. Samuel Sylvanus McNinch (1867-1929), the first of four Sam McNinches, served as Mayor of Charlotte from 1905 to 1907. At his invitation, President William Howard Taft visited in the house when he came to Charlotte to participate in the celebration of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1909.

Political involvement had become a tradition in Sam McNinch’s family, beginning with his father, Franklin Alonzo McNinch (1841-1893), a South Carolina native who fought in the Civil War. Mr. McNinch served three terms as Charlotte’s chief of police, and he was a highly respected trial justice for fifteen years. The old Pioneer Fire Company elected him as its first chief, and later he was elected chief of theVolunteer Fire Department.

In 1929, S.S. McNinch (Sam the First) passed away and was survived by four children, one of whom, Miss Mattie McNinch, never married and resided in the home until 1978. As part of the Fourth Ward revitalization effort, the home was purchased by an enterprising Ellen Davis, who has operated several signature businesses, helping to fund the ongoing restoration.

The Liddell-McNinch House is of the authentic Queen Anne/Shingle style. Participants of the Fourth Ward Preliminary Survey, sponsored by the Mecklenburg County Landmarks Commission in March 1975, felt that it was possibly the finest representative of that style in North Carolina. The house currently stands on the National Historic Register. The exterior of the house is covered with shingles on the upper portion, clapboards on the lower portion, and patterned slate on the roof. Tower, wings, gables, and porches are massed together and topped with an eyebrow window. The interior has fine, richly molded woodwork upstairs and down, created by Victorian craftsmen led by world-famous architect Mr. Karl Bitter, who duplicated many of the designs at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, including the beautiful coffered ceiling in the Library. The 10 fireplaces are all tiled and there is a three-way fireplace opening into the foyer, library, and dining room.

Our Staff

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Ellen Davis

Owner

Ellen Davis is a trailblazer. The Charlotte, North Carolina native is 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.” She still feels the same way. 

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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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Anthony Wesley

Sommelier

Starting at the McNinch House in 2002, Anthony  "Wes" Wesley is a wine educator and lecturer with 35 years of fine dining experience. He transitioned into Fine Dining after a career in finance from New York. His background and training began at the Prestigeous Lamplighter Restaurant in 1987 and completing at the Windows of the World Wine School in 1992. His Wine List has recieved several Awards and Acclamation including The Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator: has been guest on morning shows and featured in the Wine Spectator including the Spectator's Sommelier Round Table Discussion.

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Executive Chef

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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 1998-2020

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

Zagat
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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