CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Supperland in Plaza Midwood is off to a roaring start after opening earlier this month.
The restaurant has revitalized an old church on the corner of Plaza and McClintock in Plaza Midwood.
The new restaurant is the latest resident in a building never meant to serve the physical body, but the spiritual one. Jon Rosenberg, Supperland’s general manager, says reservations have taken off since opening.
"The amount of reservation emails, phone calls— it’s been way more than expected and we expected a lot,” Rosenberg says between seating tables.
Rosenberg grew up in Plaza Midwood. As a native to the neighbhorhood, he knows it well. His group of friends would hang out around town and explore some of the very streets surrounding Supperland.
Having worked in restaurants most of his adult life, when an opportunity presented itself to help pair his favorite neighborhood with a relic of Charlotte’s past, he jumped in head first.
"Just to be part of the growth of Plaza Midwood and to be able to run and manage a place that’s local that I consider to be a great area of town, it’s something that I’m going to enjoy,” Rosenberg says.
But, Rosenberg’s opportunity happened by chance after a date.
"I actually was on a date with my now fiance. We trespassed on the property and I was like this is going to be an awesome restaurant, it’s great,” Rosenberg adds.
The trespassing did not get Rosenberg in any trouble, but instead a job. He made sure to follow the project on Instagram and eventually applied for the open position.
The Supperland property used to be a church. The Plaza Church of Christ congregation met for the first time on the property in 1948. At the time, the first building was small and in the back of the property, costing $10,000. It is now Supperland’s cocktail bar.
It took until 1956 for the larger building to be complete and hold its first service. Now, it’s the focal point of the new restaurant, sporting a wood fire grill, main dining room, and drink service.
The church operated until the 1970s. After congregations had merged and moved, it stopped being a church and turned into a variety of shops.
Jeff Tonidandel and his wife Jamie Brown, well-known restauranteurs in Charlotte, decided to turn it into a restaurant.
"It turned out to be the perfect fit,” Rosenberg says.
Jeff and Jamie were inspired by the old building’s vaulted ceilings, neat look, and opportunity for creative design.
"The soul of the city is in some of these old buildings, so doing everything we can to save them, to just kind of keep it all alive,” Tonidandel says while taking a break from dinner with his family at the new spot.
With a menu meant to be shared, inspired by church potlucks, and other Southern staples, they decided even the seats should be on theme.
"The pews are over a 100 years old from Denver, Colorado, and we resized them and redid them to fit the restaurant,” Tonidandel says showcasing the dining room’s seating pews.
Tonidandel and Brown are no strangers to Charlotte’s restaurant scene. Together, they operate Haberdish, Crepe Cellar Kitchen & Pub, Growlers Powerhouse, and Reigning Donuts in NoDa.
But, the two are coy when asked if Supperland is the start of a Plaza Midwood expansion, or just a passion project meant to stand out on its own.
Supperland is accepting reservations and walk-ups for those hoping to get a seat at the revamped church. Reservations can be made by phone or online.
They hope to expand the availability to meet demand as COVID-19 protocols allow moving forward.