After 38 years, the original The Charlotte Cafe at Park Road Shopping Center will open its doors for the last time on Oct. 31.
Owner Jim Roupas said closing the restaurant was a difficult choice, but he wasn’t given the opportunity to renew his lease at 4127 Park Road. Instead of scouting the Park Road area for a new space, Roupas will be focusing his efforts on Charlotte Cafe’s second location, 8200 Providence Road.
“It’s been a great ride, it really has,” Roupas said. “We’re coming to our end – nothing is forever. … Anytime something that’s been a part of your family for that long comes to an end, saying good-bye is tough.”
Charlotte Cafe at Park Road opened in 1980, and as regular customers have slowly been finding out about the closing, Roupas said the emotions are high.
“There’s been a lot of tears, to be honest,” he said. “The calls have been coming for about a week – ‘Is it true, is it true?’ ‘Why?’ ‘Is there anything we can do?’ Bless them. They’re just the best.”
But he doesn’t want his regulars – or those who haven’t tried it yet – to worry, because “there’s no difference” in menu options between the two locations.
Charlotte Cafe has 150 menu items – all made from scratch, most derived from Roupas family recipes. If you go, Roupas recommends ordering one of the more popular dishes like mac ‘n’ cheese, candied yams, flounder, quiche or shrimp.
“From a business standpoint, yes,” Roupas said of hoping Park Road customers will trek to The Arboretum. “But it’s more about seeing them all again – that’s the important part.”