Pork belly taco fans rejoice. Nine months after shutting down in Plaza Midwood, Soul Gastrolounge’s owners have found a new venue near NoDa.
Soul Gastrolounge will open fall 2023 inside The Pass, a mixed-use development near the Independent Picture House, Charlotte Art League and Blackbox Theater.
Why it matters: Soul’s closing dealt a devastating blow to the Charlotte culinary scene. If a devoted customer base, popular food and beverage menus, and consistently long lines couldn’t keep one of the city’s best restaurants afloat amid rising rents, many wondered, “What could?”
Context: Soul Gastrolounge owners Andy and Lesa Kastanas closed Soul Gastrolounge in August 2022 because they could no longer afford the space on the fast-changing corner of Pecan and Central avenues — a trend plaguing many local businesses and a byproduct of a growing city.
- A month before that, they closed Sister, the sister restaurant to Soul, which housed their popular cocktail bar Tattoo Liquor Lounge.
- “Making sales doesn’t mean you’re making profits,” Andy Kastanas told Axios’ Katie Peralta Soloff when they made the announcement.
Yes, but: Their plan was always to reopen. They’ve taken the restaurant on the road over the past year, popping up across the city in the Soul Gastrolounge food truck.
What to expect: The new Soul, located at 4100 Raleigh St., will be more than three times the size of the original.
- The 6,400-square-foot restaurant will have an outdoor patio and a new Tattoo Liquor Lounge, which will have its own entrance. CLUCK Design is the architect and Gais Construction is the general contractor.
- The kitchen will also be larger, which will open up the opportunity for catering and allow the Kastanases to continue using their food truck.
- The restaurant’s popular menu items, including the lamb lolly skewers and Korean BBQ wings, will remain the same.
- Many of Soul’s charming decorative pieces will be featured in the new space — from the taxidermy peacock to the rumored-to-be-haunted mirror from Tattoo.
“I always thought of Soul, in terms of its feeling, as an apartment. Now, it’s like we are moving into a house, where you take your most beloved objects and rework them into the new space,” says Plaza Midwood interior designer, artist and musician, Scott Weaver, who was behind the design of the original Soul.
Zoom out: Soul Gastrolounge is the first tenant to sign at The Pass, a multi-phase repurposed structure by Atlanta-based developer The Third & Urban. The project will include office, retail and upscale multifamily residential units.
- “We are excited to be on the ground floor of this developing new area of town in North NoDa,” said Andy.