The culinary couple behind Uptown Yolk and Leah & Louise is taking over Camp North End with two new restaurants, a donut shop and a speakeasy.
Chef Gregory “Greg” and Subrina Collier, founders of the BayHaven Restaurant Group, are leaders and mentors in the culinary community.
- With projects like Soul Food Sessions and the BayHaven Food & Wine Festival, the Colliers’ mission is centered on uplifting, nurturing and promoting Black culinary excellence.
Why it matters: All four new concepts are Black-owned and Black-managed in the middle of a historically African American neighborhood, which is quickly being gentrified.
- “We’ve been saying this for a long time — if African Americans get the capital investments that other white-owned businesses get, we can be successful too,” Greg said.
- Two of the concepts opening in Camp North End are being led by people who have worked, or are currently working, for the Colliers.
What’s happening: The couple is partnering with Camp North End to open the spots in 2023.
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Here’s what you need to know about each of the four concepts:
B.A.D. (Beyond Amazing Donuts)
The shop, led by former Leah & Louise pastry chef Jasmine Macon, will serve donuts, fritters and cinnamon rolls, featuring classic flavors and rotating seasonal selections.
- A covered patio will have 30 to 40 seats with heaters as needed.
Bird is the Word
The counter-service concept will serve up the popular Leah & Louise chicken sandwich of the same name.
- The 1,400-square-foot space will be shared with B.A.D., and there won’t be indoor seating.
- The menu will also include a weekly smoked chicken family meal, stew, chicken-fat donuts and seasonal Southern-style sides.
This speakeasy will “take guests on a journey to a deeper understanding of craft cocktails,” the Colliers say.
- Leah & Louise mixologist Justin Hazelton is the brains behind the operation.
- It’ll serve a selection of dishes from next door’s Passage Seafood.
- The space is 1,300 square feet and will have 40 indoor seats.
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Connected to The Abyss, a modern fish-focused eatery will serve seasonal Atlantic seafood, oysters, raw fish, vegetable dishes and whole fish charcuterie.
- It’s a 2,000-square-foot space with 50 indoor seats and 38 outdoor spots next to The Abyss.
- “We want it to be one of the best seafood restaurants in the country,” Greg says.
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The big picture: The Colliers’ restaurants are like incubators that nurture and breed talent. These projects help them continue to open doors for people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to run their own restaurants.
- “There was no ‘Chef Greg’ for me to look up to when I first started,” Greg tells me.
- “Representation matters,” Subrina adds, explaining that in the 10 years that she worked in the restaurant industry she never had a Black female general manager or owner.
What they’re saying: “We want people to be better off when they leave than when they started,” Subrina said of the talent they bring into their concepts.
- They’ve worked with Hazelton since 2016. He was one of the people behind the idea of bringing cocktails to Soul Food Sessions at a time when there weren’t many Black mixologists in Charlotte.
- Meanwhile, Macon left Leah & Louise to open a pop-up donut shop. “We were never going to open a donut shop but [Macon] is so passionate about it that it made it perfect sense,” Greg said.
What’s next: B.A.D. is expected to open first, according to the Colliers. It will either open in tandem, or just ahead, of Bird is the Word. About a month later, The Abyss and Passage Seafood are planned to open in unison.
Location: 201 Camp Rd.
- The spaces will line the north end of the building.