Leah & Louise will be the first full-service restaurant to open at Camp North End this fall — it’ll be a 58-seat juke joint with Southern food and blues music.
The concept comes from Chef Greg and Subrina Collier, the husband and wife team behind Uptown Yolk.
“My baby sister Leah and my Granny Louise both died too soon for me,” says Greg (the first black chef from Charlotte to get a James Beard Foundation nomination. “In the kitchen, Leah was always fun and creative, and my Granny was always classic and consistent with cooking and techniques.”
The inspiration: The Colliers hail from Memphis, and the concept draws from Southern culture, including juke joints, which historically have been an informal gathering place with music, dancing and drinking, primarily operated by African-Americans.
“We want to bring that ethos of placemaking into 2019,” Subrina says. “We’re drawing inspiration from the juke joint’s connection to blues music and food.”
Greg says “it will be like traveling to Beale or Bourbon street for an hour.”
The space: The restaurant will be 1,800 square feet with 58 seats total, 42 indoors, 16 outdoors.
The food: The menu isn’t finalized yet, but the’ll only be serving dinner to start.
“We’re working on dishes that have become my staples and show our heritage,” Greg says, “including hoecakes, chicken skins, ham hock jam. We’re taking a lot of inspiration from Mississippi river valley foodways: think Memphis, Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans.” He’s most excited about the smoked confit turkey wings and oxtail Southern tamale.
Every Sunday they’ll serve family-style meals, which include meat, two to three sides and dessert (a slice of pie, cake, etc.) for $20-$30 a person.
Why Camp North End: Picking an appropriate location for the venture was really important for the Colliers.
“Camp North end is one of the few places in Charlotte preserving the architectural history of the neighborhood,” Subrina says. “ATCO has done a great job of beautifying a historic space and that’s in line with what we want to do. Being located in a historically African-American neighborhood was also a key factor for us.”
Location: The exact address is 301 Camp Road, Suite 101.