The 44 Mills team is the result of putting the best talents in the restaurant industry together in one place. Experience, quality and tradition.
Inspired by the legacy of the county’s 44 textile mills from 1829 to 2000, 44Mills brings inspired, modern, cuisine to Concord in style.
Chef Mike Watson is a Jacksonville, FL native and one of five kids. His culinary career began at the age of 16 as a prep cook at Bistro AIX in Jacksonville, FL under James Beard award nominee Chef Tom Gray. Those years sparked his passion for culinary arts and defined his career ambitions. Upon high school graduation, Watson moved to Charlotte, NC to pursue his Associates Degree in Applied Science and Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University. While completing his education, Watson completed an internship under Chef Rob Lamb in San Francisco, growing his skill set through exposure to Californian Pan-Asian cuisine. Watson returned to Charlotte and completed two bachelor’s degrees at JWU (Food Service Management and Beverage Appreciation). Watson was then selected to enroll at the Providence, RI campus of JWU to pursue his MBA. While in Providence, Watson oversaw the operations of a 200-seat dining facility and acted as the private chef for the campus president. Post-graduation, Chef Watson was appointed as the restaurant chef of the Libations Restaurant & Lounge, where he began to create a reputation for providing delicious creations focusing on fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. Chef Watson moved back to Charlotte in 2015 to grow the Libations brand by opening the second location, Libations Kitchen & Bar in Uptown Charlotte, located in Hilton’s DoubleTree Hotel, adjacent to the JWU campus. Chef Watson was the first chef in a DoubleTree location, and one of few Hilton chefs in their brand given full creative control of menu creation and ingredients. In 2016, Libations was awarded a top ranking by Restaurant.com diners and has been in recognized multiple times in Charlotte publications. Chef Watson was also a recipient of the JWU Eye on Five award in 2018, recognized for his success and accomplishments in the industry. During 2018’s Taste of Charlotte event, Chef Watson won the “best entrée” award amongst the 100+ vendors serving over 150,000 people during a three day period.
Chef Watson is excited to elevate his culinary career with 44 Mills Kitchen & Tap. The menu has been refined to feature seasonal & regional products used to create American recipes with influences of the new south. The guest experience in 44 Mills will be one of “dining ceremoniously” to celebrate the simple pleasures of sharing good food, good drink, and good friends.
Sydney Cook, a successful local business owner and entrepreneur, is a fixture in the community of Concord in which she was born, raised and currently resides. While earning her B.S. in Marketing from UNC-Charlotte, Sydney utilized her experience in the retail industry at Buckle and later in management at Anthropologie to begin her online clothing boutique, Adair, while in school at the age of 19. After completing her degree, Sydney opened her first brick and mortar boutique in Concord in 2014, later relocating to Afton Ridge in 2016. Sydney opened Adair’s second location in 2018 in Charlotte’s South End in 2018. Sydney’s eye for fashion, marketing expertise, her love for style (which she credits to her mother, Stacey), and entrepreneurial spirit (which she credits to her father, Terry), has fueled the success and growth of her business.
Sydney has a love for travel, shopping (surprise!), and enjoys brewery hopping and visiting the area’s newest restaurants with her friends, her family (Terry, Stacey, and her brother Riley), and her husband Spencer Falls.
Mike Davis is an accomplished hospitality and restaurant industry professional, with over 24 years of experience in multiple facets of the restaurant business. While earning his B.S.B.A. in hospitality management at Appalachian State University, he began his management career in the hotel and tourism industry in Blowing Rock, one of North Carolina’s premier travel destinations. His career then took him to Atlanta, where he became a unit director for the fast-casual restaurant concept Jason’s Deli. After 12 years with Jason’s Deli where he served a major role in the east coast growth and expansion of the company, Mike partnered with Robb Stamey as an operating partner with the Shane’s Rib Shack of Charlotte franchise group, managing the operations of four stores throughout the Charlotte area. Throughout his career, he has specialized in; creating and developing great workplace culture, execution of large-scale catering events, enhancing guest experience, and implementing systems to ensure the highest levels of operational efficiency.
In addition to his expertise in restaurant operations, Mike has been a fixture in the Charlotte area nightlife scene over the past decade, both performing and booking entertainment in some of the region’s most popular venues.
When not in one of his restaurants, Mike can be found supporting the area’s constantly changing culinary and craft beer culture, passionately following his App State Mountaineers, or relaxing at his home in Tega Cay with his son, Hampton.
Robb Stamey’s work ethic can be traced back to his childhood, where he grew up on a dairy farm in Statesville. The lessons learned during his youth continued to guide Robb as he pursued his B.A. in Business Administration at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he was a 3 year starting quarterback on the Bear’s football team. After graduation, Robb continued his football career with the Zaragoza Lions of the Spanish American Football League.
Robb is a business owner in multiple industries including; international shipping, commercial real estate projects, construction, farming, bulk commodities, and over 13 years as a restaurant owner. Through these ventures, Robb has had the opportunity to travel to various countries, and has developed a passion for unique culinary experiences. He currently resides in Cornelius with his wife Kelly and his four children; Holt, Catherine, Megan, and Chase.