Charlotte started off 2020 with the loss of Vivace, which closed the doors at the Metropolitan at the end of the night on New Year’s Eve. The hits to the Queen City restaurant scene have kept coming ever since.
When the coronavirus pandemic first hit Charlotte in March, the business owners who typically keep us fed tried all sorts of things. Some temporarily closed and never reopened. Others modified their menus and operations to set up takeout and curbside pickup, and add patio space. As the weather grew colder, some even added dining igloos and began selling cold weather gear.
Not every restaurant has made it through, however. Many have closed permanently — and many others are still endangered. There are still so many unknowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, but here are some of the restaurant losses Charlotte faced in 2020:
B.GOOD closed all four Charlotte-area locations, the Charlotte Ledger reported. B.GOOD’s chief marketing manager, Hadrien Delande, told the Ledger that the company “made the difficult decision to permanently close all four B.GOOD locations in the Charlotte market due to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Bill Spoons BBQ
5524 South Blvd.
The iconic Charlotte restaurant known for its vinegar-based Eastern North Carolina barbecue closed effective Sept. 16. Over the years, lines that once wrapped around the building had diminished, Steve Spoon Jr., the grandson of founders Bill and Marie Spoon, said in a Facebook post. The restaurant had been open for curbside pickup only under COVID-19 regulations.
610 Anderson St.
The woman-owned brewery in NoDa closed at the end of February, about three years after it opened. “We’ve loved being a part of the #CLTbeer community and are excited to see it continue to grow,” the brewery stated in a Facebook post.
California Pizza Kitchen
4400 Sharon Road
The chain known for its hand-tossed pizzas with seasonal ingredients is permanently closed at SouthPark. The company said online: “Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related lease challenges with our landlords, we regret to inform you that we have closed this restaurant.” The Playa Vista, Calif.-based chain, with about 200 locations nationwide, declared bankruptcy July 30.
1535 Elizabeth Ave.
The restaurant’s owners said they would have renewed their lease if not for COVID-19. Instead, they’ve shifted some customer favorites to their other business, Earl’s Grocery, for takeout only. At Earl’s, space that was once dedicated to indoor dining tables is now used for more product shelves.
The Cellar at Corkbuzz
4905 Ashley Park Lane
The Cellar at Corkbuzz, based in New York City, closed its SouthPark location because of the pandemic. “It is impossible to open a restaurant built on the community, bringing people together, events and our core business model when it is not safe to have wine events or classes or even dine in the way we previously were able to. The financial devastation of this crisis makes re-opening impossible for many small businesses including ours,” the company said on the website. The wine bar opened five years ago in a 3,500-square-foot space in Sharon Square. The two other locations in New York remain open.
3619 E. Independence Blvd.
Chris’ Deli closed in April after decades at its location on East Independence Boulevard. A May Facebook post cited an ongoing dispute with the deli’s landlord and promised the restaurant would reopen in a new location, but there has been no update yet.
210 E. Trade St.
With uptown business slowing to a halt, several restaurants in the Epicentre lineup have closed. Unprentious Palate and Charlotte Ledger have reported that Jason’s Deli, Firehouse Subs and Moe’s Southwest Grill are permanently closed, and the website and phone for Vida Cantina aren’t operating.
FuD at Salud
3306-B N. Davidson St.
Jeff McElwee of FūD on the MūV and food director at Queen City Grounds and Red Clay Ciderworks accepted a position in February to lead a new food program at Town Brewing. However, Salud still offers a menu of starters, pizza and sandwiches.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
Calls, emails and social messages left with Fuzzy’s Taco Shop’s headquarters were not returned. Charlotte Business Journal reported that the closings came amid the franchisee filing a petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Hollar & Dash
2725 South Blvd., Suite A
Biscuit chain Holler & Dash, known for its fast casual biscuits and southern food, closed all its locations and reopened as Maple Street Biscuit Company.
8426 Park Road
Ilios Noche, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant, closed its Quail Corners location, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant group said it would focus on keeping its other restaurants open: Ilios Noche Rea Village, Ilios Crafted Greek, Big View Diner and Emerald Lake Golf & Social Club.
201 E. 5th St.
The “American tavern with an Irish twist,” Fitzgerald’s announced in July on social media that after eight years in the city, it is permanently closing.
JJ’s Red Hots — Uptown and Ballantyne locations
400 S. Tryon St., 15105 John J Delaney Drive
The popular uptown location of the Charlotte hot dog spot, JJ’s Red Hots, closed first because of the coronavirus. Co-founder Jonathan Luther confirmed in late July that the 3-year-old business would not reopen. The Ballantyne location permanently closed in early November. The flagship restaurant on East Boulevard in Dilworth remains open.
La Belle Helene and Parliament Coffee
300 S. Tryon St.
The French restaurant and its adjoining coffee shop, Parliament Coffee, closed after shutting down its social media. La Belle Helene was widely known for its Instagrammable bathroom.
1910 South Blvd.
In mid-June, Luciano’s announced via Instagram that after 7 years open, it would be closing its South Boulevard location permanently. However, Norsan Restaurant Group has a new restaurant announcement coming soon, the restaurant added.
1511 Central Ave.
The Plaza Midwood staple for European-style bread shut its doors near the end of the year. “We are closing on December 13th our business after 26 years, it has been very difficult to maintain what we do since many of our customers have been out of business temporarily or permanently,” co-owner Sladjana Novakovic emailed CharlotteFive.
1212 Pecan Ave.
The Peculiar Rabbit, the Plaza Midwood restaurant known for its rooftop skyline views and Van Gogh-inspired mural with a rabbit drinking a beer, closed for business as a restaurant in early January. It had planned to stay open for private events before COVID-19, but the property is now slated for condominiums.
Queen City Q
225 E. 6th St.
The COVID-19 shutdown pushed customers away from uptown. The owners cited a drop in business during the pandemic, extended by protests in support of the Black community and the loss of Charlotte hosting the Republican National Convention.
1308-A The Plaza
The Plaza Midwood location of the Italian ice shop closed at the end of its season after owners were unable to come to a new agreement with the landlord. Its Arbors location will reopen in the spring.
1113 Pecan Ave.
Sammy’s Deli, a Charlotte favorite serving no-frills breakfast and lunch in Plaza Midwood since 1997, closed Dec. 1 after its location was sold for redevelopment. Its breakfast crew is now working at Dish, serving largely the same menu.
The Summit Room
1531 East Blvd.
The small, intimate space wouldn’t work with COVID-19 social distancing protocols, the restaurant said in announcing its closure.
4402 Stuart Andrew Blvd. A
The brewer didn’t blame COVID-19 for its closure, instead noting that its location wasn’t ideal and its management team had lacked experience.
6902 Phillips Place Court
The upscale seafood restaurant had closed when the coronavirus shut down dining rooms and announced months later that it wouldn’t reopen.
201 S. Tryon St.
The popular Italian restaurant closed during the COVID-19 shutdown in March and never reopened. In its place, the owners have opened The Bella Ciao, a similar concept with many of the same staff members.
1100 Metropolitan Ave.
The year started off with the loss of Vivace, which closed its Metropolitan location after dinner service on Dec. 31, 2019. The Italian restaurant cited a failure in lease negotiations with its landlord.
900 North Carolina Music Factory Blvd., # C1
Wet Willie’s, a spot famous for its frozen cocktails, best enjoyed before or after a concert at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union, won’t reopen after its COVID-19 closing.
231 N. Tryon St.
The uptown wine bar has permanently closed, citing the loss of uptown business over the past few months as COVID-19 has kept offices and other attractions closed. “We treated service every evening as if we were throwing a dinner party with friends. We want to thank everyone for the constant support throughout the years. We loved having you as our guests,” the management said via Instagram.
1324 Central Ave.
The casual Japanese restaurant’s Central Avenue location is closing when its lease comes to an end on Dec. 15, but relocation plans are in the works, a post on its Facebook page said. “We would like to thank you for your friendship, support and patronage for the last 6 years. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this neighborhood.”