For restaurants all around Charlotte, it’s the worst-case scenario: They were heavily booked for Friday night, the opening night of the popular restaurant promotion Queen’s Feast: Restaurant Week. Then the weather put everything in jeopardy.
Many, like Lumiere on Providence Road, were waiting until late afternoon to make the final decision. Even the ones that opened said they were getting heavy cancellations. Others, like Carpe Diem on Elizabeth Avenue, Liberty Gastropub, the Flipside restaurants in Fort Mill and Rock Hill, and 300 East on East Boulevard, decided by mid-morning to close Friday night, and some say Saturday night is questionable too.
Cathy Coulter, the owner of 300 East, said she just couldn’t take the risk on icy roads for both her customers and her staff.
“It’s too scary for me,” she said. “East Boulevard is scary.” She said it was too early to say whether she could open Saturday night.
At Bonterra in Dilworth, owner J.D. Duncan said he was staying open, “no matter what, unless we lose power.”
However, a lot of his customers with reservations have already called to move to next weekend.
Bruce Hensley of Queen’s Feast said that with eight counties and 135 restaurants involved, they can’t make an announcement that covers every one. It will be up to each restaurant to decide whether to extend the special, which usually costs $30 or $35 for a set menu.
He urges everyone who has a reservation to check directly with the restaurant on their status. He also suggested watching the Queen’s Feast Facebook page for developments.
A spot check of restaurants with Queen’s Feast specials Friday showed Corkbuzz and Fahrenheit open. Passion8 planned to remain open most of the day, but announced it would close right after 4 p.m., when heavy sleet started again. At Heirloom in northwest Charlotte, chef/owner Clark Barlowe closed also.
On the open list, a few tentatively: Dogwood Southern Table, Blue, Bistro La Bon, Rocksalt, Sante in Matthews, Vivace and Fran’s Filling Station. Kindred in Davidson isn’t a part of restaurant week, but Katy Kindred said they would be open, too.
Restaurants that weren’t taking part in the Queen’s Feast are having their own problems. At Heritage in Waxhaw, owner Paul Verica said he would be closed Friday night and was worried about getting enough food to open Saturday night. Most of the farmer’s markets where he shops for his all-local menu are closed as well, and farmers are having a hard time making deliveries.
His kitchen is small and he’s been heavily booked after Charlotte magazine recently named Heritage the city’s best restaurant, so he usually shops three times a week.
“I don’t have food left,” he said Friday morning. “That’s my bigger concern. If I can open, am I going to have food?”