MATTHEWS – Black Chicken Wine Cellar in downtown Matthews is under new ownership, and while customers can expect to see some new faces and an expanded menu, other parts of the business haven’t changed.
For starters, the wine selection at Black Chicken remains expansive. There are hundreds of labels from small production and boutique wine companies sold by the glass or bottle. Wine tastings happen every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Kevin Nelson, of Mint Hill, recently took over Black Chicken from the original owner, Jason Niec. Nelson said the wine collection and overall vibe is what attracted him to the business. Those are aspects he made sure not to change.
“I’m originally from California and this place kind of reminded me of home,” Nelson said. “It reminded me of Napa.”
After several years in the car industry, Nelson was looking for a new business venture when he learned Black Chicken was available. He and his partner, Stephanie Maus, who is married to local businessman Joe Maus, purchased Black Chicken on June 1, ending Niec’s decade-long run.
Niec started the business as a 500-square-foot wine shop in Matthews Station in 2010. Last year, he expanded into the Subway that closed next door and created a full kitchen, a bar with beer on tap, more seating and extra tables on the outdoor patio.
Nelson said he didn’t have to do much to the menu except broaden it. He started by adding a kids menu with organic PB&J, flatbread cheese pizza, mac-n-cheese and simple sandwiches to make Black Chicken more family-friendly.
Customers can expect to see appetizers like baked brie and Bavarian-style pretzel with beer cheese on the menu, as well as salads and gourmet sandwiches. Some new items include flatbread pizzas, buffalo chicken dip and spinach and artichoke dip.
Nelson said he also expanded the cheese and charcuterie boards. Some are big enough for a feast.
“We can do these for up to 50 people now,” Nelson said. “They’re great for a party or a Realtor hosting an open house.”
Another change customers might notice is the hours are different. Black Chicken is now open from noon to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight Friday and Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday (there are special mimosas on Sundays). Nelson also has plans to eventually bring in live music.
Naturally, Nelson said he was nervous about taking over a business in the middle of a pandemic, but he was mostly excited. He said Black Chicken already had a strong following and customer base in Matthews.
“It’s kind of like if you build it, they will come,” he said. “It’s already built, just a couple tweaks and open it up so more people can come and everything kind of falls into place.”
Plus, Nelson loves the walkability and neighborhood feel of downtown Matthews. He said Black Chicken’s location in Matthews Station and outdoor patio make it a perfect place to unwind with friends and family.
“It’s a very relaxed atmosphere,” Nelson said. “You can tell when you walk in.”
Want to go?
Black Chicken Wine Cellar is located at 131 Matthews Station St., Matthews. Call 704-321-1244 or visit www.blackchickenwinecellar.com to learn more. Follow Black Chicken on Facebook to stay connected.