Joe and Katy Kindred, local restaurateurs with a name known around the country, are taking over the tiny Dairy Queen building in Plaza Midwood and putting an all-day cafe there called Milkbread.
Why it matters: That old building needed the tender touch only a local could provide.
- Before they moved to Davidson and created the standout restaurant Kindred — a regular James Beard Award semifinalist and the No. 1 spot on our list of best restaurants in Charlotte — Joe and Katy’s first house in Charlotte was actually in Plaza Midwood.
- Their presence will surely be welcome news in a long-proud, inked-up, corporate-shunning neighborhood where owners and residents worry about development washing away color and character.
- The Dairy Queen ran there for nearly 60 years before closing in 2019.
What’s happening: The chain Velvet Taco was in talks with the building’s owner about opening there earlier this year. The Kindreds, who had expressed interest months ago, got the call to say that deal fell through in July. And they immediately put their name in.
- “It’s just such a cool spot,” Katy tells me. “We were like, ‘I think we can handle it.’
- “We do understand the sort of gravity of it and how important it is to everyone. And we take that responsibility very seriously. We are going to work very hard to restore it.”
Details: The new concept, Milkbread, comes from the name of one of the Kindreds’ most widely praised dishes — the milk bread they serve with each meal at Kindred.
- It’ll be an all-day café offering milk bread doughnuts, crispy chicken, vegetable-focused bowls, and salads, with coffee, espresso, and non-alcoholic drinks served all day, according to a release.
- It’ll have a rotating selection of small production independent wine and beer available at night.
- They’re also opening a Milkbread in Davidson, hopefully later this year, Katy says.
Zoom out: The Dairy Queen shut down in September 2019, people saw it as another sign the neighborhood they knew might be vanishing.
- And to be sure, the Kindreds won’t soften the sting of the other locally owned businesses that have either moved or closed, from Tommy’s Pub to to Boris + Natasha to Elizabeth Billiards.
- Earlier this month, folks went berserk online (to the tune of 1,600 comments here) over the renderings of Crosland Southeast and Nuveen Real Estate’s plans to transform 12 acres in the heart of the neighborhood into apartments, retail and offices.
But the Kindreds are familiar, known faces. Joe was born and raised in Charlotte. He was chef at Rooster’s and Katy was the general manager at Good Food on Montford before they started a family and their own restaurant business.
- Back then they lived in a 900-square-foot home that wasn’t a whole lot bigger than the 765-square-foot space they’re about to make into a cafe.
- Restoring an old space is nothing new for them. Kindred is in an old pharmacy in downtown Davidson.
“I hope we make the neighborhood proud,” Katy says.