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Beloved owner of McNinch House, Ellen Davis, dies just weeks after loss of her daughter

CHARLOTTE — McNinch House owner Ellen Davis died on Friday, leaving the fine-dining restaurant to chart a new course after 30-plus years. Davis was 84. Her death comes just seven weeks after the loss of her daughter Beth, 66, says Mitch Clark, Davis’ nephew.

“I think Ellen was just heartbroken over losing Beth and she just couldn’t do it anymore,” Clark says.

The mother-daughter duo had spent 25 years working together to guide the McNinch House to success. The McNinch House is tucked into an historic Fourth Ward property at 511 N. Church St. It has become a staple of Charlotte’s dining scene. It was the only restaurant here to be awarded Four Diamond status by AAA in 2022 — its 24th consecutive year. It has also been recognized by Wine Spectator, Zagat and OpenTable, among others.

Clark says he will inherit McNinch House. He’s grappling with the loss of his beloved aunt and cousin in such a short span — and how to continue the restaurant’s legacy.

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