All-day breakfast on your way to (and from) uptown?
Yes. And a new sit-down restaurant that draws inspiration from its owner’s Eastern Carolina roots in tobacco country.
So what is she up to now, in the new contemporary office tower at 500 E. Morehead (right next to the Dowd YMCA and Caldwell Street)? When you step inside, it’s a real surprise.
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Mills has two new restaurants (“I always say go big or go home”):
▪ The Packhouse, a full-service sit-down restaurant and bar, and
▪ Joe and Nosh, right next door, an all-day breakfast restaurant (yes, uptown, breakfast from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday).
The Packhouse is the product of three tobacco packhouses: They were taken apart and turned into its reclaimed-wood walls, its distressed brick and the tin ceiling on its small private dining area. The roof is covered with 27 tobacco baskets, and the bar is a real work of art, made from shellacked layers of goldleaf tobacco leaves. Mills calls it “recycling and upcycling.”
“Half my life was spent in (Eastern North Carolina) and half my life was in Charlotte,” says Mills. “So I wanted to show my growing-up and my now.”
The menu offers some nicely creative bar food: housemade Cracker Jacks, with prize; horseradish deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes with crab salad; housemade “nabs” – cheese crackers for those of you who didn’t grow up in tobacco country – and even a “chef’s choice”-flavored bacon that will change regularly.
Mills also is making her own muscadine wine and muscadine juice, which will be used in the salad dressing and in drinks like the Golden Leaf. Fitting with her interest in causes, 15 cents from every bottle of muscadine juice or her Cured muscadine wine will go to nonprofits that work on cures for various diseases, such as an effort to end fistulas in Ethiopia.
Out in the dining room, the supper menu (no small shared plates, she insists) will be things like N.C. shrimp and grits, grilled salmon, milk-braised pork shoulder with cauliflower mash and daily specials. The chef is John Brandon from the Summit Room. Lunch will include chicken pot hand pie, skillet tomato pie and a barbecue chicken sandwich.
Next door, at Joe and Nosh, expect coffee, baked goods and quick-service items such as salads, soups and sandwiches.
Extra nice touch at Joe and Nosh: Mills put up large photos of the disappeared Coffee Cup, that late/lamented Charlotte landmark, and the decor will have a ’50s diner feel.
Parking is free in the deck behind the building.
And for your drinking and dining purposes, note that it’s on the right leaving uptown, an easy pull-in for people heading toward the busy Providence Road neighborhoods. Yes, we notice these things for you, Charlotte. Making a left for breakfast on your way to work is your own problem.
Opening dates? Expect The Packhouse to open in late June and Joe and Nosh in mid-July.