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dubone

What restaurants do you think are at risk of failing?

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In light of the closure of the SouthPark Mortons and GW Fins, a few of us have been talking a bit about what will be next to fail.

It seems inevitable in this economy, especially uptown with the banks struggling and their employees worried about their jobs. On the flipside, there are more residents uptown so some restaurants seem more popular than ever. Nix and most places in Epicentre are new and seem priced better for the average uptown residents. Other places, though, never seem to make my list of places to go because they are pricey or don't have menus that my guests or friends like.

I am particularly worried about Feast. It is a unique place compared to most restaurants around town, both in their menu and their decor. While their prices aren't high in absolute terms, I think the prices are considered very high for what you get, especially those baked fries which never seem to be done right. I walk down 5th Street a lot, and they are often completely empty. Then consider that they have chosen to close for 3 or 4 days a week during the winter (I think Sunday to Wednesday?). I almost brought my relatives there when they were in town but it was closed, so we went to Zink.

I would have said City Tavern was on the bubble too, because it is often empty when I've gone, and is in a poorly visible location. Maybe it was a fluke but I also took my relatives there and it was absolutely packed out. So maybe it is fine after all.

Are there any other restaurants that you think are at risk, and maybe it will help convince some of us to go there and help give them some business.

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You know, I'm frankly surprised 1100 Southend Tavern has held on this long, but I still get a strong impression that they're struggling for every additional day their doors are open. If they can survive until Circle and Millennium are occupied, they might just make it. (the food's still good)

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Hard to guess on this one since we don't really go out to eat that much any more...which is why many restaurants are likely at risk -- lot's of former diners are staying in these days.

I was reading one of the local entertainment mags...or maybe the ET section of the Observer, I can't remember, but they had a couple blurbs about some local places. One that caught my eye was about Carpe Diem -- my favorite restaurant in town. They were announcing a new part of their menu -- they said it was from feedback from diners about wanting some lower priced options so they added 5 or 6 new options that were $15.00 or so. In addition to what places might be having a hard time and considering closing, I wonder how many are adjusting their menus to reflect the economy and peoples (not) free cash.

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Feast is on life support, and I'd gladly pull the plug on it. I walk by at least twice a day and every weekend night and haven't seen more than 5 customers in there for the past 6-8 months. The whole concept is awful...tiny portions, overdone atmosphere shoved down your throat, no hospitality whatsoever. Management totally missed the target and have been unwilling to adapt or improve.

Last time I ate there (last summer for after-work drink/apps), it was horrendous. I tried to order an Amstel - the waitress left for a few minutes, came back, and said they're out of Amstel. OK no problem, I'll have a Yuengling. She leaves, comes back 5 minutes later, out of Yuengling. OK, maybe I'm reaching here...Bud Light? She leaves again, comes back a few minutes later, out of Bud Light too. All the while laughing like, "I know I can't believe it either!" So I ask, what DO you have?? She runs off again to check, and 10 minutes later the manager comes out and says they sold more beer than they had anticipated this past weekend, and were completely out of beer. It took 20 minutes for this to be revealed. I was there on a Thursday. You're telling me that for five days no one thought to restock the beer?!

Dumbfounded, I tried to move on and order something foolproof...chicken satays. Can't possibly screw that up, right? 20 minutes later, what tasted like 3 vulcanized rubber chicken pieces on sticks arrived. I complained as politely as possible that I wouldn't feed these to my dog if she was pregnant and I was out of dog food, and the manager confessed that they were out of their "homemade" peanut sauce, and had sent a guy to Harris Teeter to pick some up, which subsequently ruined everything. My first thought was that he should have picked up some beer while he was there too.

There are so many things wrong with this place and the attached clubs, it's almost depressing.

Someone with some vision, for the love of god, please take over this s---hole, divide up the space if necessary, and open a high quality breakfast joint. Someone could really do wonders with the back patio too....like one of my favorite restaurants in the world:

http://www.jardinnelson.com/

/rant

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^Wow. That's quite pathetic. That space seems to be cursed.

The restaurants along Liz are having a very hard time. Less people going out in general and the mess of Liz Ave scares people away too. I know Customshop was struggling for awhile and dropped lunch completely. I hope they make it, good place.

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Feast is on life support, and I'd gladly pull the plug on it. I walk by at least twice a day and every weekend night and haven't seen more than 5 customers in there for the past 6-8 months. The whole concept is awful...tiny portions, overdone atmosphere shoved down your throat, no hospitality whatsoever. Management totally missed the target and have been unwilling to adapt or improve.

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..... it now seems more concerned about their image than what they provide us, those that would be patrons.

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You're partially correct. Cable TV gets lumped in with Phone and internet, though new subscriber numbers will drop as people aren't buying homes or relocating and establishing service. Most people will cut other thing to keep the cable because it's easy and relatively cheap entertainment.

Chain vs local restaurants is not the issue. It's a function of value. Outback, Olive Garden, etc will only do as well as the value proposition they provide. Typically, these chains can afford to discount and stick through it due to their stronger financial position. Mom-and-pops don't have that kind of flexibility to adapt their pricing and get through the lean times.

During recessions, people still need entertainment and an outlet, but they are inclined to seek better values for their time. That's why movie theaters, over the course of history, have thrived during recessionary periods. Expensive concert tours have gotten hit hard because it's roughly the same amount of time as a movie, but much costlier.

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The news made mention of what they called an "iconic" restaurant closing at the Arboretum. I have never heard of it but then I don't get down to that part of Charlotte. They said it was due to the economy and their customers disappeared when the finance news hit in September.

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i was really excited about this place when it opened and was very dissappointed going forward. Don't be confused about why they run out of beer or buy sauces at Harris Teeter. They've had money problems, were underfunded at the beginning, since they opened. I had friends that went to work there that left after just a few weeks because their paychecks bounced. They changed management for the better, but not after the damage was done...then Epicentre opened and took what would have been much of their client base. I will say, though, the few times we ate at Feast I did have good food -- their crepes were great actually.

I have had a great time a couple of times upstairs -- they get good DJ's, my local fav Wiiz Kid, and they have good drinks. The biggest issue I've had was spending a decent amount of money eating at Feast, one particular time with a group of 12, only to be told we had to go outside, get in line, and pay to go upstairs. After asking for a manager (this was around 10 -- they weren't crowded up there at all) if he could make an exception, he left for about 15 minutes then came over and with a snotty attitude told us 'NO'. We left and spent quite a bit over 2 hours across the street at The Attic.

I definitely agree with you, they just don't seem to adapt well. I LOVE this space but the business in it now seems more concerned about their image than what they provide us, those that would be patrons.

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Customshop really seems to be hurting, which is a shame, because I went a couple of weeks ago to support them since I had heard business was way off. I had the best filet of my life there and the service was exceptional. On the downside, we walked in around 6pm with no reservations and were the first customers there. When we left around 7:30, there were maybe 4 other tables.

I've heard Aquavina isn't making it. No harm there for me as I had horrible service and food the only time I went.

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The news made mention of what they called an "iconic" restaurant closing at the Arboretum. I have never heard of it but then I don't get down to that part of Charlotte. They said it was due to the economy and their customers disappeared when the finance news hit in September.

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I'd say that a lot of the uptown and Southpark "expense account" restaurants are in trouble (uber expensive steak and/or seafood restaurants). Businesses are all cutting down on costs and not many people would spend their own hard earned $$ at one of these joints.

Also as mentioned above...any place that is selling "image" rather than great service and great food is in big trouble as well.

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It was "Good Ol' Days" a 50's style place. They once had a second location in One First Union (Wachovia / Wells). The restaurant and it's owners have been well known for supporting various charity events. Haven't been there in years, but sorry to see it go.

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Well... it looks like as of yesterday, HOM's owner, Latorre, said that the doors of all 3 sectors (Feast, Liv, and Play) have closed. It's unclear whether this is a permanent close or he is retrofitting it/revamping management.

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What a surprise it was (or not actually) to walk by this morning and see all the windows covered ground to ceiling in black plastic. Good bye Hom....

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HOM was so overdone. Tried way too hard to be a New York club (including attitude) instead of going for a more mellow vibe. Fail. Try again. I guess we will see how long the next "concept" lasts. I think we need more laidback bistro style places in Uptown. Hip but not snotty with good and not overly pricey food. Without the need to attach a dance club to it. Like one of my favorite restaurants, Nolen Kitchen in Myers Park.

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The issue with HOM's space, or maybe opportunity, is the 3 floors that make up the space. The bottom floor is an interesting space since it's essentially a basement and doesn't have much natural light (except a little from the back patio).

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I jinxed it. I swear, I went to menage the weekend before it closed, and I went to HOM this weekend. It was a pretty cool place but $4 bottles of beer? I guess that's why I usually go cheap places. $2.50 (or less) draft, and more choices than just Bud, BL, Heineken (most overrated beer ever), and Corona (2nd most overrated). God, I love the Flying Saucer.

Anyway, here's a fitting tribute to HOM from this weekend. Alas, we hardly knew thee.

In memorandum:

3230299074_6b4c7325ea.jpg

3229448481_ff4b6ea9dd.jpg

3230299162_121b41344e.jpg

3229448539_bc979a313c.jpg

3230299244_eb06b14d92.jpg

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Wow those are great pictures. So crystal clear I thought they were fake. Good Job :)

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although i agree about the attitude, that is too bad. i had a blast at a beat techno show in the basement a few months ago, and from looking at the place that night you would NEVER know that they were in trouble.

what is the likelihood of another club/bar opening up that uses all 3 floors? if we just get a restaurant or bar occupying the street-level it will seem like a slight waste of some cool space.

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what is the likelihood of another club/bar opening up that uses all 3 floors? if we just get a restaurant or bar occupying the street-level it will seem like a slight waste of some cool space.

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^ Initial, couldn't agree anymore about the Flying Saucer. We find ourselves there every other week. It would be nice if they opened up one in uptown. That place is always packed, usually have to wait for a table.

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Does anyone know anything about Aquavina or Ratcliffe on the Green, as far as their financial health? They both have been closed for lunch for around 3 months. I have gone to lunch at Aquavina a lot in the past few years, as their lunch food is great and reasonably priced, and they were generally full for the lunch hour. But since before Thanksgiving, they have been closed for lunch 'for the holiday season'. I have checked in a few weeks, but as recently as the end of January, they were still closed for the lunch. The same goes for Ratcliffe, although I have only eaten there for lunch a few times, but reservations were required and the restaurant was full.

It could be that alcohol sales are such a major part of the profit margin for restaurants that lunches (where very few alcoholic drinks are sold) are not as profitable. So maybe in the world where credit is tight, they can close for lunch and focus on the more profitable dinner time. But it still baffles me that they would turn away so much business for months unless they were teetering on failure.

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