The 6 stages of Charlotte restaurant closing grief

The 6 stages of Charlotte restaurant closing grief
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Charlotte is feeling the restaurant churn lately.

Hi Tide, Owen’s Bagels (plans new location), Siggy’s, The Liberty, Loft and Cellar, Duckworth’s Park Road, Suki Akor, The Rogue, Babalu, Va Da Vie Gelato, Rock Bottom Brewery, Pike’s Soda Shop (plans new location), Aix en Provence and Enzo Asian Bistro have closed in the last year or so.

No doubt this leaves holes in the hearts and stomachs of the people who loved those restaurants.

This isn’t new. I’m still mourning the loss of free popcorn at Nan and Byron’s in South End, Asian fusion flavors of Nom Nom Burger on Woodlawn, salsa bar at Phat Burrito, zucchini chips on the patio at Nolen Kitchen or grabbing a slice at Revolution Pizza in NoDa after a show at the Neighborhood Theatre.

Which Charlotte restaurant do you miss the most?

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Here are the six stages of grief Charlotte goes through when our favorite spots close up shop.

Stage 1: Pure Shock

My jaw drops as I see the typical photo of the taped sign on the door that reads, “Closed. Thank you to all of our customers over the years. We hope to open again in a new location.”

What? How could this have happened? I just went there last week. Or maybe it was last year. Either way, my waitress didn’t mention anything about financial struggles or issues with rent increases. If there was trouble she would’ve told me.

Stage 2: Culture Blame

Charlotte has no culture! It doesn’t even support musicians! DJ Git Mon€y deserves more shine. 

I’m going to post a photo of The Thirsty Beaver surrounded by apartments on my Instagram account and yell into the clouds about $14 cocktails.

I wonder what gimmicky millennial nonsense will open next. $100 glow in the dark ramen? Oh wait, I bought a ticket just before that sold out. Sushi on a conveyer? Oh wait, that’s actually opening this week and I have to at least try it.

This is the worst kind of gentrification. The kind that affects me.

glow in dark ramen

Stage 3: Acute Chain Anger

These transplants just have to have their chains.

Snooze, a Denver-based breakfast chain, is taking the space of Owen’s Bagels! Madness. No one even eats at the Snooze in Plaza Midwood because the waits are like two hours on the weekends. Who even orders pancake flights?

Jeni’s, a Columbus-based chain, is taking the spot of Va Da Vie Gelato! There’s like three other local ice cream shops within walking distance. Don’t people realize local automatically means better? All those J. Crew Mercantile shoppers in lines at Jeni’s certainly didn’t learn that in their fancy business schools.

Flower Child, an Arizona-based chain, is taking the spot of Phat Burrito? You’re kidding. Just because some overpaid UA grad wants to drop $18 on a salmon bowl he misses from back home, I have to miss out on the thiccest burritos in Charlotte?

Does anybody even know that Barcelona Wine Bar is a chain owned by Del Frisco’s! It’s a freaking publicly traded company (ticker: DFRG).

And don’t even get me started on Shake Shack taking over the Pike’s Soda Shop space. It tastes just like Wendy’s!


Line that wrapped around the store when Shake Shack opened at Park Road Shopping Center

Stage 4: Bargaining

Maybe if I slip into the owner’s DMs on Twitter I can convince him to give it a second try. I think he still runs another restaurant in town. I’ll eat there every day, twice a day if I need to.

I just have to show him that I can be better, that I’ve changed. I’ll never Instagram my Jeni’s Gooey Butter Cake again.

Perhaps if I comment how much I miss them on every Instagram post about the neighborhood, the owner will open another location. It would be perfect for a food stall inside Optimist Hall.

Stage 5: Guilt

This is my fault. If only I’d told my friends how great it was.

I was afraid a bigger crowd would ruin it. Secret spots are cool, and coolness means profits, right?

I’m a part of the problem! I’m going to retweet a bunch of stuff about affordable housing to make up for it. Real issues!

Stage 6: Acceptance

You know, what’s opening up in that spot doesn’t actually look too bad.

Oh, self-pour taps? I’ve been meaning to try one of those places.

Oh, keto-friendly options and salads? I’ve been meaning to eat healthy.

I’ll meet you at Barcelona Wine Bar. Let’s order their signature Albondigas (meatballs for those not in the know) and post them to Instagram — after all, I just bought some DFRG stock from my brokerage account.

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