Let's get everything out on the table. Dave and I have an involvement in this restaurant. We negotiated the deal between the Landlord and Tenant. I have known Patrick, Alejandro, and Mills since they were making Butter the hot place to see and be seen. You may think this will give us some sort of bias when it comes to this restaurant... You are correct. I want these guys to own the Uptown scene, but not for the reasons you may think. Mine are more of a philosophical bias.
Patrick Whalen is a true operator. He lives to be in the trenches of a slammed Saturday night. When people are screaming and running into each other trying to keep ticket times down, he sees the big picture of hospitality. Cameron Mitchell is another operator who understands the philosophy of hospitality. It is actually quite simple when you boil it down as Chef Mitchell once did for me in his hometown of Columbus, OH. "Yes is the answer, what is the question?" Your customer is king when he walks through that door, and it is your duty to make sure when he walks out, he has the desire to tell others about his positive experience. This funnels down from Owner to GM to Floor Manager to Chef to Line Cook to Server to Hostess. You can feel it as you walk through a restaurant. There is not an abundance of places in Charlotte that subscribe to this philosophy. If I know Patric, we just got one more. 5Church is open to the public for dinner and Sunday Brunch, lunch to follow next week.
The interior is a mixture of understated elegance and big city bombast. The lighting package creates a sense of creativity, the concrete columns and bar mix simplicity with a Ayn Randish feeling of strength and ingenuity. Speaking of literary nods, make sure to notice the script overlooking you as you dine. Sun Tzu's Art of War adorns the ceiling.
We were on a limited tasting menu that consisted of black bean hummus, sezchuan pork belly, house made grilled shrimp flatbread, gnochii, lamb burger, Grouper, and orange pound cake. All were well prepared and timely to the table, but the lamb burger was the best I have tasted in the city. Keep in mind that I have eaten the lamb burger at Illios Noche and The Liberty, so this is high praise indeed...