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Obituaries 2022: RIP to the Charlotte Businesses We Lost

They tried, but didn't make it

A composite image of a skateboarder at Eastland DIY skatepark blended into an image of the demolition at the same park

We’ve seen plenty of businesses close this year, be it through rising rents, retirement, new plans, or in the case of Josephine “Jyoti” Bayog Friedland of Jyoti’s World Cuisine, the death of a beloved restaurateur. Whatever the case, we hope the memories remain fond ones.

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Eastland DIY

On Feb. 15, city officials announced that skaters at the hugely popular Eastland DIY skatepark only had two weeks to enjoy the fruits of their labor — built up over seven years on the former Eastland Mall site — before the skatepark would be shut down on March 3. 

Though skaters quietly got seven more months of time at the park after that announced deadline, on Sept. 14 the backhoes got to work and began digging up the site where so many Charlotte skaters had become part of a community in recent years. 

Skateboarders at Eastland DIY
The last days of Eastland DIY. (Photo by Ryan Allen)

“We brought the funds and the materials and concrete and everything we needed together and did it as a team, which is the cool thing about skateboarding in general; it is a community,” longtime skater Chris Guller told Queen City Nerve before the demolition. “Everybody here doesn’t know each other when they come here but as you kind of get together and build this park together you build a bond with these people and that’s what we’ve had for the past seven years and now it’s going to get torn down for whatever the city has planned … It’s a staple in the skateboarding community, so to have it torn down is a big blow for everybody.”

Many skaters said they felt the city’s announcement — and the refusal of developers to include a skate park in the Eastland redevelopment plans — were signs of how elected leaders and other officials had ignored a large and growing subculture and community in Charlotte

“This has been an ongoing problem for 20 years … we’re never heard,” said Eastland DIY veteran Brian Mitchell. “They struggle so hard to create culture and that’s not how culture is created, it’s organic. This is culture.”

Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte

Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte was a staple in the Charlotte community and was known for its unconventional way of storytelling. Like many organizations, the business shuttered at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed operations in 2021. Unfortunately, they were plagued with problems from the time they reopened and were never quite able to overcome their issues.

A woman wearing a dress sings while a man plays the chello
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte performs ‘Lady Day.’ (Photo by Fenix Fotography)

Poor ticket sales and subscriptions, the aftermath of the pandemic, and the inability to find another venue once the company’s contract at Queens University’s Hadley Theatre ended were cited as reasons for the closure. After over thirty years of productions, the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte closed its curtains for good in the fall, after its final production, Evil Dead: the Musical, ended.

“For decades, we’ve been able to showcase Charlotte’s wide range of local talent, while providing a home for working artists to tell contemporary stories and entertain residents,” wrote Executive Director Laura Rice in a statement announcing the closure. “I hope ATC’s journey has made the path easier for another theatre company to fill the void we are leaving behind.”

Coaltrane’s Char Grill

Coaltrane’s announced its closing in an Instagram post that said, “Thank you for supporting our restaurant through the highs and lows over the past 5 years. Thank you for the constant reminders of how cool our staff is and how damn good our food is! Tonight is our last night to serve you. Short notice we know, but that’s how the universe works sometimes.”

Coaltrane’s joined a slew of Plaza Midwood businesses that have had to move or close their doors recently — including Reggae Central and Soul Gastrolounge, Kiki Bistro and Sister in the same building as Coaltrane’s — which was open for about five years after filling the space formerly occupied by John’s Country Kitchen. According to owner Mike Libretto, the business was doing okay, he just wanted to focus on his other restaurant, Libretto’s Pizzeria in Ballantyne. Let’s hope they bring those stuffed avocados over to the Libretto’s menu, then. 

Several news outlets have since reported that Que Onda, a Charlotte-based Mexican restaurant focused on tacos and tequila, will open its fifth location where Coaltrane’s used to be.

Eastside Local

Launched by Gina Stewart and Brenda Gambill — friends, life-mates and bandmates from groundbreaking local Americana rock band Doubting Thomas — Eastside Local was a hidden oasis for vegan diners. A short walk down a sunlit patio nestled among cool businesses in a growing strip mall in east Charlotte, the hip yet unpretentious café offered delectable vegan/vegetarian fare, including a homemade Impossible Breakfast Biscuit, the café’s own coffee blends, and The Shamrock, a green smoothie containing pineapple, mango, spinach and banana.

A look inside EastSide Local
A look inside EastSide Local. (Photo by Pat Moran.)

On top of that, the café partnered with nearby business VisArt Video, also managed by Stewart, to present food, drink, and movie screening combos. Due to building code violations, ESL was forced to close, and mounting costs prompted Stewart and Gambill to sell the site to new owners. Something may reopen at the end of the patio, but it likely won’t be nearly as cool as Eastside Local.

Other Memorable Losses in 2022

Soul Gastrolounge
Tattoo Liquor Lounge
The Good Life at Enderly Park
Jyoti’s World Cuisine
Twenty Degrees Chocolates
Krazy Fish
The Randazzo’s Grid Iron
Rocket Pizza
Carolina Prime Steakhouse
The Stanley
The Corner
Crepe Cellar
Westside Meats

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