Penny’s Grand Re-Opening

New owner Jay Woods with his daughter Jada.
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Penny’s Place, a longtime fixture in Mint Hill, celebrated it’s grand re-opening on Saturday, February 18.

Harold “Penny” Mullis, Sr. opened Penny’s Place over 80 years ago as a local grill and pool hall. When Mullis retired in the 70s, his sons took over the business, recasting Penny’s Place as a family restaurant. About 25 years ago, Bill and Shirley Mullis Kiser bought Penny’s Place from Harold, Jr, and they continued to run a thriving restaurant, serving breakfasts and lunches to Mint Hill locals, until Billy’s retirement last December. Since Billy’s retirement, Penny’s Place has been under the management of new owners, Jay and Christy Woods.

I’ve lived in Mint Hill for five years, but I’d never set foot in Penny’s Place until the grand-reopening on the 18th. Something about the small building sitting in the gas station parking lot, its virtually windowless exterior and the seasoned locals sitting on benches outside always struck me as vaguely intimidating.

I went to Penny’s Place shortly after noon on the 18th with my husband and daughter for their grand re-opening celebration. The restaurant was fairly full with only a few open tables, and the crowds continued to circulate in and out while we dined. Customers seemed to be a mix of Penny’s regulars and first-time customers.

The grand re-opening lunch menu featured simple fare: hamburgers, hot dogs, and the new shrimp burger accompanied by simple sides like cole slaw, potato salad, chips, french fries, onions and tater tots. They also offered an extensive breakfast menu of classics like eggs and breakfast meats, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, biscuits and sides. The lunch service was quick and the food was fresh.

The grand re-opening menu featured classics like hot dogs and French fries.

Fellow first-time Penny’s diner Joshua Foster described Penny’s as a “friendly and old-fashioned southern lunch spot serving up the basics.”

Saturday’s lunch menu was specially designed for the grand re-opening. New owner Jay Woods wanted to keep it simple, so he’d be able to send out fresh food fast for a large volume of guests. The daily lunch menu varies, and Woods always tries to come up with a “special,” usually advertised on a chalkboard sitting outside the restaurant on the corner of Matthews-Mint Hill and Fairview Roads. One of the new menu items Woods is particularly proud of is the shrimp burger.

“I like to see all the customers and how happy they are and enjoying their food,” says Woods’ daughter Jada, who was eager to share her take on the restaurant. When her parents bought Penny’s Place, Jada was afraid it would mean her dad wouldn’t be around as much, but Jada has become an integral part of Penny’s Place herself, cleaning tables, refilling drinks and delivering food.

Penny’s Place is located at 7920 Matthews-Mint Hill Road and is open Monday through Saturday from 6:00 am – 2:00 pm.

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: