Welp, Mr. K’s is for sale

Welp, Mr. K’s is for sale
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Mr. K’s is for sale and everything’s included: Fryers, booths and the feeling of preserving a Charlotte dining icon.

Total price: $260,000.

Owner George Dizes has been carrying on the 54-year legacy of the family business since his wife, Pamela, died. But he’s tired now, and can feel his health declining. It takes a toll on a person, Dizes says, working 14-hour days for years on end.

National Restaurant Properties listed the 1,400 square-foot business this week. This is a turnkey deal, meaning the restaurant comes fully outfitted, from fryers to booths. As part of the deal, Dizes isn’t requiring the new owner to maintain Mr. K’s exactly as it is.

  • That means that the new owner could close the business, update the property or change the name/concept, a spokesperson for NRP says.
  • “What I would hope for is somebody who wants to keep it exactly as it is. I would love to have Mr. K’s around for another 50 years,” Dizes says.
  • The current lease on the building runs until 2027, with a five-year option.

Why it matters: Mr. K’s is a Charlotte institution, a testament to the steadfastness of a family-run business. For decades, customers flocked to Mr. K’s for unpretentious diner staples like vanilla soft serve and cheeseburgers. A change of ownership marks an end of an era.

CBJ first reported the news of the sale.

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Since Tuesday, NRP’s phones have been ringing nonstop with interested buyers, a spokesperson says. The agency says it’ll be accepting offers until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Any offer is contingent upon landlord approval.

  • “During this time, we ask you to respect the seller and his staff by not interfering with the business,” NRP said in an email to interested buyers.

The pandemic has hurt business for Mr. K’s, just like it has for countless other Charlotte restaurants. In the last year, the city has lost favorites like Carpe Diem, Bill Spoons BBQ, and Nova’s Bakery.

Mr. K's in South End

Mr. K’s in South End (pre-pandemic photo)

The big picture: Located at 2107 South Blvd., Mr. K’s is in the heart of South End, which is becoming one of the most desirable office submarkets in the country with the emergence of corporations like Lowe’s, LendingTree, Arrival, and Dimensional Fund Advisors.

  • Across from Mr. K’s is the newly overhauled Atherton, filled with luxury apartments and popular retailers like Lululemon and Warby Parker.
  • Also nearby, The Pavilion at South End recently underwent a multimillion-dollar redevelopment and is now home to Snooze AM Eatery and Silverlake Ramen.

Flashback: Theodore and Demetra Karres opened Mr. K’s in South End in 1967, about 12 years after they immigrated to the U.S. from Greece. They retired in the mid-1990s and left the restaurant to children George Karres and Pamela Dizes. Pamela’s husband, George Dizes, joined the family business when Pamela’s brother left it to pursue a career in real estate in 2005.

In the summer of 2019, Pamela died after a years-long battle with breast cancer. She greeted customers at the door of Mr. K’s up until a few months before she passed. [Go deeper]

George Dizes told me soon after Pamela died that he didn’t plan to go anywhere anytime soon. But surviving as a mom-and-pop shop in a fast-growing neighborhood is challenging, Dizes said at the time.

Dizes worried about burning out. For more than two decades, he’s been starting his work day at 7 a.m. and wrapping up around 9 at night. His kids are off at college. “I’ve been doing this for 23 years. It’s catching up to me,” Dizes says.

So he’s thinking about moving to the beach. He hasn’t decided yet; just knows he wants a slower pace. “The only thing I want to focus on is getting some rest and relaxation,” Dizes says.

George Dizes

George Dizes at Mr. K’s in South End (photo taken pre-pandemic)

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include the latest interest from prospective buyers.

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