5Church team expands portfolio with acquisition of La Belle Helene

5Church team expands portfolio with acquisition of La Belle Helene
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La Belle Helene will reopen this spring with new, familiar owners.

Why it matters: The pandemic-related closure of La Belle Helene last spring was a sign of the challenging path ahead for Uptown. With offices closed and corporate employees working from home, the diners were gone, and the restaurant closed permanently in October.

  • News of its acquisition signals hope for a center city comeback.

What to expect: The 5th Street Group (5Church, Sophia’s Lounge) will reopen the popular French brasserie, known as one of Charlotte’s most beautiful restaurants, this spring.

  • Chef and partner Jamie Lynch of Top Chef fame will retain the French concept and add his own flare. “We are creating a menu steeped in classic French culinary tradition but with a modern sensibility,” he said in a press release.

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Background: Prior to opening 5Church in Charlotte, Lynch worked in a number of French kitchens in New York City like Le Cirque 2000, Café Boulud and Tocqueville in Union Square. He said he’s long wanted to open a traditional French restaurant in Charlotte.

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Charlotte is notably deficient in the high-end French restaurant category since the closures of Aix en Provence, Le Cochon D’Or and La Belle. I’m excited to see the tide turning — or the rotisserie spit spinning, you could say.

What’s next: The return of a street-level, upscale lunch and dinner restaurant like La Belle Helene is a good sign for Uptown’s recovery post-pandemic, but there’s still a long road ahead.

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