Celebrated Charlotte chef closes last remaining restaurant

Celebrated Charlotte chef closes last remaining restaurant

Photo: Emma Way/Axios

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The Stanley is closing Friday, May 13.

What’s happening: The two-time James Beard Award nominated chef Paul Verica, who opened the space in Elizabeth in 2018, pointed to the impact of the pandemic on the culinary industry, but also told Axios this is something he is “choosing to do.”

  • “The last two years have been difficult for everyone in our beloved industry, to say the least, and I feel the effect deep,” Verica said in a statement.

But more than that, he said his passion “consumed” him for the last three decades, causing him to miss a lot of time with his three children. “I’m sorry I missed so much-it was all about providing for you and I love you all,” Verica said.

  • Verica told Axios he has no regrets when it comes to his kids, who are now 18, 21 and 26 years old. He got them up every morning and took them to school.
  • His daughter, Paige, will graduate from Meredith College on Saturday, the day after he says goodbye to The Stanley.
  • His son, Alex, is now executive chef at the new tapas restaurant in South End, Para.

Why it matters: Before it opened, The Stanley was one of the most highly anticipated restaurants in the area following Verica’s success with his first restaurant, Heritage. After opening, The Stanley became a staple in Elizabeth and Charlotte as a whole, ranking on our best restaurants list.

  • There was even a documentary about the space and the chef’s James Beard quest called “Verica 2.0” by Peter Taylor, a Charlotte-based photographer and videographer.

Surf and turf at The Stanley. Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

Zoom out: Then Verica opened Orto, an Italian restaurant in NoDa in February 2021, but it closed less than a year after opening. Orto was a departure from his signature farm-to-table style. The Stanley closing comes less than six months after Orto’s.

  • The biggest difference between closing Orto and closing The Stanley is that closing The Stanley is Verica’s choice.
  • “What happened was Orto was just kind of the perfect storm,” Verica told Axios. “We opened up behind the eight ball. We were paying rent for five months before we opened under seating restrictions.”

[Go deeper: New Italian restaurant with burrata bar to open this summer in NoDa]

What’s next: Verica is selling The Stanley, but said he’s not sure what the new owners will do and is not at liberty to discuss it. He also declined to share to whom he is selling.

Verica will step back from cooking, and take time to “re-energize and “reassess,” he said. He told Axios that will include taking at least a month off, playing golf and going bourbon hunting. His favorite bourbon is anything Michter’s.

Details: The Stanley is located 1961 E. 7th St. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but will open Wednesday-Friday from 5-9pm. Reservations are recommended.

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"It's good. I promise." - Emma   Emma Way