Charlotte has apparently lost another of the small diners that used to dot the city. The Liberty East, 5112 E. Independence Blvd., a popular breakfast stop on Independence Boulevard near Idlewild Road, is closed for the moment.
However, the son of the original owners, whose family still owns the building, says he plans to go ahead with renovations and reopen in a few months.
“I grew up in that place,” says Steve Mavroidis. Mavroidis says his father and his uncle opened the restaurant around 1976. For the last 19 or 20 years, they had leased it to Bill Exarhos and Elton Braho. Mavroidis and other family members also own the Agora Greek Market nearby.
Sotiri Exarhos, the son of Bill Exarhos, says his father and Braho originally closed Liberty East for renovations. But they decided it was best to close and focus instead on another restaurant they just opened on Cherry Road in Rock Hill, the Rock Hill Diner.
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“It was a tough decision,” he said. Exarhos and Braho also own the Park Place Restaurant, 10517 Park Road, in Pineville.
Mavroidis says he plans to go on with the renovations and reopen in a few months. He says the restaurant will keep the same all-day breakfast and lunch format and he has no plans to add dinner. But he may add a few new things to the menu, such as fried chicken and waffles and eggs Benedict. (Yes, he’ll keep fried livermush on the breakfast menu.)
For many fans, it was the kind of all-day breakfast spot that was a regular weekend stop. Corey Inscoe, the editor of The Observer publication Charlotte 5, wrote a column about the restaurant last year:
“There’s probably a spot like Liberty East in most neighborhoods, the old diner with its black coffee, two-eggs-and-a-meat menu, the friendly staff and the guy in his favorite booth reading every page of the newspaper. (I love that guy.) The place that makes Charlotte feel like the small town it used to be, and still is in some ways.”