73 & Main: At a Crossroads
Dec 01, 2017 08:30AM
● By Jason Huddle
It’s safe to say that Mt. Pleasant is known more for its charm and beautiful, historic homes than its nightlife.
Those who want to shop at malls or join friends for an evening out on the town have to drive to a nearby city. While that may be fine by some, there are those motivated to make Mt. Pleasant more of a destination.
Dr. Allen Dobson is also known more for his medical experience as a family practitioner than as a commercial property developer. But that hasn’t stopped him and his partners – Dr. Charles Rhodes and Tom Earnhardt – at Mt. Pleasant Properties, LLC, from investing in this community.
A listing of Cabarrus County manufacturers in 1879 included gristmills, blacksmiths, druggists and textile mills owned by names like Barringer, Eudy and Moose in, then, Township #8.
At the corner of Franklin and Main streets stood Shimpock-Melchor Store. Built in the 1840s and owned by John Shimpock and Christopher Melchor, it became The Mercantile when John B. McAllister and Edward Crowell took it over in 1912.
According to usgwarchives.net, “This building also housed the office of Dr. Patterson – a local dentist – and a portion of the store also housed the Post Office for a time. A 1921 insurance map shows a furniture store located on the site.
“In 1932, Lee and Paul Foil built the Mt. Pleasant Hosiery Mill on the site. The mill was later owned by the Leatherman family and was eventually sold to Arrowood Mills who, in turn, sold it to Holt Hosiery Mill.”
Mt. Pleasant Hosiery closed its doors in 2008. Having been owned by Robin Hayes since 1991 and housing his office for a time, he donated the building to the Town of Mt. Pleasant. The Town then sold it to Mt. Pleasant Properties.
“This began over a year ago. My partners and I – the founders of Cabarrus Family Medicine –
wanted to invest in helping the town grow. It seemed that restoring one of the town’s historic buildings was a great opportunity to help,” Dobson shares. “We investigated its history and got excited about restoring such a great building in the town center. When we looked at possible uses and the needs of Mt. Pleasant, we decided that a nice steak restaurant or brewery might be an ideal use. I live two blocks away, and our friends and neighbors have often wished for a steak restaurant or nice special occasion restaurant.”
Named 73 & Main, and with a budget of more than $2 million, Dr. Dobson serves as major investor and project manager on this endeavor. We say this because there has been another. Mt. Pleasant Properties purchased the old Cabarrus County Correctional Facility on Dutch Road, which closed in 2011. Last year, Southern Grace Distilleries leased about 20,000 of the prison’s 30,000 square feet. It’s been a hit, bringing in tourism dollars that Dobson and his partners enthusiastically hope to see repeated at 73 & Main.
Scheduled to open for business this month, 73 & Main is a multi-faceted dining/entertainment experience. The 15,000-plus-square-foot building houses the Mercantile Dining Room, which serves as the main eatery. A reclaimed barn wood wall separates it from the more casual Hosiery Mill Pub. The pub has 32 beer taps behind the bar, flanking a large TV. Tall wooden cabinets were uncovered that are also being utilized.
“Old cabinets from the mercantile are being used throughout the building,” Dobson says. “We put two behind the bar. They were two-sided, so we cut the back off to fit them inside the bar area.”
The adjacent kitchen has a chef’s table that can be reserved by patrons wanting to view the cooking. Behind the dining room, the Bourbon Tasting Bar will offer some 50 different bourbons. “It’s another bar area adjacent to the patio; kind of an adults-only bar,” Dobson adds. “We even have space for a nano-brewery.”
Patrons can then walk out the nearby door to the Old Well Patio. Named after the hand-built stone well uncovered by workers during construction, the covered patio was designed around it. The area can be utilized year-round with its wood-burning fireplace.
The new elevator takes groups to the Finishing Room upstairs. Able to accommodate 99 people, it will serve as a rentable event space, complete with tall, expansive windows and catering kitchen.
Because the former hosiery mill is part of the downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Dobson had to follow guidelines when restoring the space. Construction was like peeling an onion, uncovering treasures hidden for decades.
“We very carefully took the (exterior) paint off. That took almost a month. In the early 1900s, they did the buildings out of red brick. A faux type of finish went into the brick underneath,” he says.
“These are the original wood floors and the original windowpanes were in there. There were only two or three panes that had to be replaced. The tin ceiling is original where possible, then patched to match. We lost about half due to rust and deterioration.”
What makes this restaurant unique is the configuration of the individual spaces and entrances. “People can walk into various doorways depending on where they want to go,” Dobson says. “One entrance takes you directly to the elevator, one opens directly into the restaurant, one from the patio to the bourbon bar, one into the pub, etc.
“The concept and vision for the interior was to be true to history – provide a number of dining experiences within a single restaurant. We plan to partner with the Eastern Cabarrus Historic Society and the museum to showcase our history.”
Dobson is equally excited about his staff. General Manager Anthony Misuraca and Executive Chef Tim Chung came from Epic Chophouse in Mooresville.
While Misuraca wasn’t looking to change employers, he had trouble saying no to Dr. Dobson. “This is more than a restaurant. We are developing an area of Cabarrus County. We are going to put a restaurant in the middle of a beautiful little town,” Misuraca says.
He’s also had the luxury of providing input during the construction process. “Having an opportunity to make something flow better or work more efficiently will save us a ton of money and stress in the long run. The crew from LCJ Construction has been more than a construction company. They have cared about what would give us the best outcome every step of the way.
“Running a restaurant of this size means you wear many hats in many different departments. I will be a coach, a teammate and a leader.”
While there have been some concerns about parking, Dobson says a municipal parking lot adjacent to the restaurant – across the street on S. Main – was in the works before his project was planned. There are also a couple of retail spaces next to the restaurant that will likely be rented out later.
In the meantime, Dobson will have his hand in getting 73 & Main off the ground. He’s not sure about future projects. “This one has been pretty complex and stressful. I might want to take a little break. But I’m going to show up every once in a while and wash dishes,” he laughs. “This has great walking potential for those in town; and we’re hoping people from Concord and surrounding areas will just come and enjoy it too. You won’t have to fight traffic!”
Article By: Kim Cassell
Photos Courtesy: CFM Real Estate and Michael A. Anderson Photography