Charlotte restaurateur buys former Penguin Drive-In

By Katie McKiever, WBTV

The property where a landmark Charlotte restaurant once operated has been sold and the owner is already familiar with the area's food scene.

The landlord of the former Penguin Drive-In, 1921 Commonwealth Ave. Holdings LLC, sold the property to Scratch Properties, according to a deed dated February 24, 2015.

The restaurant was located on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Thomas Avenue in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood. The building is still there, but the eatery has been closed since August of 2014.

The Penguin had a long and, at times, troubled history dating back to the 1950s when it originally opened. Its final demise occurred when Lisa Ballentine, the manager at the time, filed for bankruptcy and was evicted by the landlord in November 2014.

During the height of the restaurant's popularity, it had become one of Charlotte's best known restaurants and was even featured on cable television's The Food Network.

Alesha Sin Vanata is listed as the agent of Scratch Properties LLC. She currently owns and operates littleSpoon Eatery on Selwyn Avenue in the Myers Park neighborhood.

Vanata confirmed to WBTV that she did purchase the property, but was not willing to discuss future plans at this time.