1985 exterior shot
Original Mac Mac's matchbook (courtesy of Robert McEwen)
Located in Charlotte's Fourth Ward neighborhood sits Alexander Michael's--a popular tavern that, for over 25 years, had developed a loyal and dedicated following.
Alexander Michael's was opened in April 1983 by A. Michael Troiano and Alexander ("Zan") Copeland. They picked the weekend of Charlotte's annual downtown "Springfest" festival to open betting that with few downtown dining options, the crowds would show up at their front door (they were correct). Copeland had previously helped establish the very successful Proposition XLV on Providence Rd several years earlier. With a building and an interior steeped in Charlotte history (the bar and back bar came from solid oak doors that were once in the Independence Building and the beer cooler is from the 1920's and was originally from a Charlotte grocery store), the two owners created a restaurant that was not only popular for its creative menu but also in part to the building's history and location.
The building itself was home to various grocery stores that served the neighborhood from 1897 until 1960. The building has become known as the Crowell-Berryhill building for its original first two owners--Wilson Crowell (who ran the Star Mill grocery here beginning in 1897) and Ernest Berryhill (who ran the Berryhill Grocery beginning in October 1907). Members of the Berryhill family would operate the grocery store until 1960 when they converted it into a laundromat. The laundromat would close in 1973. Between the closing of the laundromat and the opening of Alexander Michael's, the building was home to Mac Mac's Deli--a successful combination pub and deli.
When Alexander Michael's opened in 1983, the entire Fourth Ward neighborhood was at the tail-end of a massive revitalization. An influx of new urban-oriented young professionals had transformed the run-down area to its former glory. Alexander Michael's served as one of the final chapters in this makeover process. Just like the grocery stores that were there previously, Alexander Michael's serves as the neighborhood's centerpiece.