Greg Collier has had a big year, and it’s only May.
What’s happening: The Yolk and Leah & Louise chef/owner is adding executive chef of the Amex Centurion Lounge at Charlotte Douglas International Airport to his list of duties.
- Collier’s menu rolls out today, May 31, at the lounge located between Concourse D and E.
- While Collier has steered the menu and trained the staff, he won’t be at the lounge most days.
Why it matters: The James Beard Award finalist says this isn’t just an opportunity to get his name and the BayHaven restaurant group brand in front of the thousands of people from around the world who come through the lounge every day. It’s the chance to “represent the South, and show off stuff beyond fried chicken,” Collier says.
Menu: Collier’s menu at the airport will feature some favorites from his local restaurants, including Leah’s cabbage and a catfish stew like Leah & Louise’s “mud island” dish.
- In the morning, he’ll serve twists on classics like French toast with a black pepper whipped cream.
How to access: Complimentary admission is allowed to those with platinum Amex card, a Delta SkyMiles reserve card or the like. More details.
[Related Axios guide: Definitive guide to CLT Airport — Where to eat, how to kill time and skip lines]
Zoom out: Collier will learn if he’s the first Charlotte chef to win the coveted James Beard Award on June 13. He’s already the first to make it to the finalist stage.
- “Do I want to win? Sure,” he tells me. “I’m not really worried about it. I feel confident.”
- While in Chicago for the award ceremony, Collier will also have the opportunity to cook for the Chicago Cubs on Wrigley Field.
What’s next: In addition to the airport lounge restaurant, Collier will open five more businesses through his restaurant group, BayHaven, to add to his existing Leah & Louise restaurant at Camp North End.
- Uptown Yolk will reopen in South End this summer.
- Former Leah & Louise pastry chef Jasmine Macon will open a donut shop called B.A.D. (Beyond Amazing Donuts) at Camp North End.
- A counter-service fried chicken sandwich restaurant called Bird is the Word will also open this year at CNE.
- Leah & Louise mixologist Justin Hazelton will open a speakeasy called The Abyss.
- And a modern seafood restaurant called Passage Seafood will also open this year in CNE. “We want it to be one of the best seafood restaurants in the country,” Collier says.
- The restaurant group will also host its annual BayHaven festival, dedicated to celebrating Black food and culture, this fall.
[Go deeper: Speakeasy and 3 more Black-owned restaurants to open in Camp North End]
Yes, and: Collier is weeks away from becoming a first-time dad with his wife and business partner, Subrina Collier.
The bottom line: There’s a lot to keep track of in the life of one of Charlotte’s most prominent chefs, but we’ll keep y’all posted.