Black restaurateurs talk challenges amid nationwide protests

Black restaurateurs talk challenges amid nationwide protests
Greg and Subrina Collier will open Leah & Louise at Camp North End this month. (MELISSA KEY/ CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL)

CHARLOTTE — Subrina Collier fears her husband going to their restaurant at 4 a.m. to make grits. Chef Greg Collier clocks in at 6’4”, 330 pounds and is black — and she worries people might not know he’s the owner.

Collier is one of Charlotte’s rising stars in the culinary scene. He’s earned back-to-back James Beard nominations.

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The couple owns Uptown Yolk at 7th Street Public Market, with a second concept about to open in Camp North End. The official debut of Leah & Louise — a Memphis-inspired juke joint — was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic and will happen in mid-June.

“Owning a business is tough. Being a black-owned business has another level of armor on top of that, that you’ve got to get through to be successful,” Greg Collier says. “For us, we have to consider how our race is going to affect us negatively and positively.”

The couple spoke to the Charlotte Business Journal about their experiences building those businesses and issues they’ve faced as protests continue locally and nationwide following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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