At long last, the Mint Museum will have a restaurant once again. Mariposa opens in the former Halcyon on Friday, Oct. 15.
Why it matters: Charlotte’s urban core became a shadow of itself throughout this never-ending pandemic, but longtime restaurant operator Jill Marcus hopes Mariposa brings back some life to the area.
“I believe in Uptown,” she tells me. “I really do.”
[Related Axios story: Will Uptown make a comeback?]
What to expect: The new restaurant will shift from Halcyon’s farm-to-table concept to a “world-to-table” concept, Marcus says.
- It will have a more modern and youthful feel, she adds, with a black-and-white color scheme, velvet couches, an expanded bar and multiple murals painted by local artist Owl.
- And, of course, there’s the same great view of Uptown off the restaurant’s porch.
On the menu: Pulling inspiration from North African and Mediterranean mezze, Mariposa will serve sharable dishes of all sizes, from lamb belly bulgogi lettuce wraps and ceviche aguachile to wood-fired salmon and an heirloom tomato and burrata tart. (Full menu here.)
- At the helm is executive chef Jonathan Moore, who also led Halcyon’s kitchen. The general manager is Brad Grubb, formerly of 5Church, and Sam Carrasquero-Chappelle is the restaurant’s pastry chef.
- The restaurant’s theme was largely inspired by Marcus’ travels, especially in Morocco, one of her favorite destinations. With Mariposa, she says she’s excited to “bring those cultures and experiences to people here in Charlotte.”
Rebuilding the well-known restaurant space was a long process, Marcus says. The team went through about 100 possible names — including a joke to name it “Hot Toddy’s” after Mint CEO Todd Herman — before landing on Mariposa, the Spanish word for butterfly.
“We transformed Halcyon,” Marcus adds. “What better symbol than a butterfly?”
[Related Axios story: Halcyon will close and a new restaurant will open at Mint Uptown]
After this pandemic year, Marcus’ wish is for the restaurant to instill some energy and hope into the still largely quiet district. “I just feel like we need to come together,” she says, adding that she hopes Mariposa can be that place for locals, artists and tourists alike.
Timeline: Marcus hoped to open Mariposa on Sept. 18, but furniture deliveries and other delays pushed it back a few weeks.
- Bonus: Marcus, who’s also behind the Dilworth vegetarian restaurant Fern, is already planning her next venture. She plans to open a French fast-casual fried chicken restaurant called Coquette in Uptown in February 2022. More details to come.