Charlotte does love its old restaurants – even the ones that aren’t as old as it thinks.
When we came up with a list of the 10 oldest restaurants, we were flooded with calls and emails from people sharing their memories, naming the restaurants they miss the most, and debating which ones are actually the oldest.
Look for a story on your favorite vanished restaurants in a few weeks. We loved hearing about the memories people cherish, both at the vanished places and at the old places that are still around.
We also encountered a few debates, of course: Once again, as we explained in the original story, we love the Beef & Bottle, but it didn’t make the list because the version on South Boulevard isn’t the original location or the original name. The late George Fine opened the House of Steaks in uptown in 1958. When it was torn down to make room for Discovery Place, Fine relocated to South Boulevard in 1978 and changed the name to Beef & Bottle. So it has a long history, but it’s taken some detours.
Other debates took more detective work: Providence Road Sundries’ original building was a drugstore when it opened in around 1933. A soda fountain was added at some point, but no one is exactly clear on when it started serving food. Some say the late 1940s, others say the mid-1950s, and it was even later when it became a full-service restaurant. (We did learn that it apparently once had a secret room for a high-stakes poker game.)
We also got suggestions for restaurants that didn’t turn out to be as old as their fans thought, including several that were started in the 1970s. The newest restaurants on our list, Gus’ Sir Beef and the Philadelphia Deli, both started in 1969, so that was the date to beat.
We did find two more restaurants we’re adding to the list:
Circle G, 4818 Rozzelles Ferry Road: It’s been in the same location since 1954. The current owner, Sally Kakavitsas, is the fourth owner. Fun fact: Kakavitsas married a nephew of the Kakavitsas family that owns House of Pizza, currently undergoing renovations on Central Avenue. Fun fact II: She says “Homeland” filmed there.
Tatsis Restaurant, 2328 N. Graham St.: It has a convoluted history, according to current owner Danny Yiotis. Peter Tatsis bought a street-car diner on the same location in 1954. Originally called the Hutchison Avenue Grill, it had a bad reputation, so Tatsis changed the name to Tatsis. In 1961, Yiotis’ father, Nick, became Tatsis’ partner when they moved out of the street car and into a building behind it. In 1974, Tatsis moved to another location on Kings Drive. Nick Yiotis kept the original location until 1981, when he moved into a new building next door. So Yiotis uses the date of 1961.