Lucia Zapata-Griffith came to the United States via Peru in 1985 as a trained architect. She fell in love with Charlotte: “I love the spirit of the people.” For the past 30 years, she has been designing and building throughout the Charlotte area.
In 1999, Zapata-Griffith purchased the Morrison House, a 130-year-old Victorian style home and renovated it a year later. It was important to Zapata-Griffith to keep the house’s character and history intact. Her architecture business, Metro Landmarks, has been located there since the remodeling was complete.
More than a year ago, Zapata-Griffith realized that she wanted to share the beautiful space of the Morrison House with the community.
In early March, Poplar Street Cafe & Wine Bar will open in the historic home.
“I own the house, but it belongs to Charlotte,” Zapata-Griffith said. “A café is a great concept to open it up for others.”
My expectations for the food were high because I knew Zapata-Griffith could not open a beautiful place in a historical home and ruin it with dull food. On one of their training days, Zapata-Griffith surprised me with a Quinoa and Kale tropical pesto salad. It did not disappoint. It was delicious.
I can only hope that all other items on the menu will be as tasty. The menu will feature paninis, salads, soups, pastries and charcuterie boards with a variety of coffee and tea options. Local beer and a selection of wine will also be available. All salads and sandwiches will cost less than $10.
Zapata-Griffith’s experience with designing cafés and restaurants made it easy for her to see the house’s potential.
When you meet Zapata-Griffith for the first time, she makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. “I love hospitality, serving and having a good time,” she said.
But don’t let Zapata-Griffith’s fun and light demeanor fool you. She has the energy and passion to do just about anything, and does everything with purpose and meaning. Each item in the house was carefully chosen by her because of how it would contribute to the feel of the café.
A burned antique bar serves as the lounge area’s centerpiece. Modern chrome chandeliers hang from the ceiling. An old wooden swing provides seating on the front porch. Zapata-Griffith’s artistic flair creates a comfortable place to meet up with friends.
A contemporary portrait of Queen Charlotte by artist ET Andress decorates the hallway. Zapata-Griffith says,
“The portrait of Queen Charlotte honors her belief in education and fits the tradition of women who have taken care of this house,” Zapata-Griffith says.
An entire room in the café is dedicated to artwork and is available for purchase.
Poplar Street Café and Wine Bar will open in the beginning of March.
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday closed.
Location: Morrison House at 224 W 10th Street
Photos: Vanessa Infanzon