Before there was Whole Foods and Earthfare, Charlotte shoppers with an interest in health-focused food could shop at Talley's Green Grocery on East Boulevard. Now the owners, Jyoti and Marc Friedland, are coming back to the food world, this time with a vegetarian restaurant.
Woodlands Restaurant, 7128 Albemarle Road, for years one of Charlotte's only vegetarian restaurants, will close Saturday. The Friedlands plan to spend a month on renovations and reopen in May at Jyoti's World Cuisine, with an internationally focused vegan and vegetarian menu.
After Talley's closed in 2008, both of them got involved in politics. He was a chair of the Democratic Party in 2014 and ran for county commission last year, and she's been active in Philippine and immigrant policies, including serving on the board of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"We've wanted to have a restaurant ever since we closed Talley's," Marc Friedland said. When the opportunity came to take over the Woodlands Restaurant, they jumped at the chance.
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"As soon as I heard it, I said 'call them right away'."
When Talley's opened in 1991 at East Boulevard and Kenilworth Avenue, it had a small cafe and bakery on the side. It had a lot of vegan and vegetarian dishes, but also had dishes that contained meat.
"We didn't feel Charlotte wasn't ready for an exclusively vegetarian restaurant," Friedland said.
After Woodlands closes Saturday, the Friedlands will close for a month for renovations and reopen in May.
"This will be something you've never seen. We're going to have food from Thailand, food from Mexico, food from Italy, food from India. We're going to keep some of the favorites from Woodlands. We like that food and we're going to keep some of the South Indian food and add more to it."
It will still have a moderate price range and be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They're also planning to bring back some of the muffins and cookies from the old Talley's bakery.
"Jyoti gets the chance to do anything she likes."
Kathleen Purvis; 704-358-5236.