CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s been a staple in Charlotte for more than four decades -- community members, visitors and even Carolina Panthers players visit Art’s BBQ and Deli regularly.
But after 43 years of serving up sandwiches and ribs in Dilworth, the restaurant will close its doors for good.
Art’s BBQ and Deli has stood the test of time in the ever-changing Queen City.
“43 years. My dad started this in 1976, whole area was very different back then,” owner Danny Katopodias said.
Katopodias started working at the family business in his 20s, and when his father Art retired, he took over.
He said not much has changed about the restaurant in 43 years -- it is no frills, affordable comfort food.
“You come here, you get eggs, grits and toast for $3.79 so it’s a pretty good deal,” Katopodias said.
But, it did become a neighborhood spot where people from all walks of life have sat with a Styrofoam tray of food and broken bread as Charlotte grew around them.
“I come to Art’s two to three times a week for breakfast so I’m sort of heartbroken,” customer Bill said. “I don’t know of any other restaurant in Charlotte where you can walk up and the person serving you says ‘Do you want the usual?’”
“Nothing will replace this,” customer Jackie said. “It’s an institution."
Katopodias said it was shocking at first to realize how much his family’s restaurant meant to the community.
“I never really realized it until we were gonna close and the people were really sad, a lot of people were upset,” Katopodias said. “I’ve had a couple women shedding tears. I really didn’t expect it to be that way.”
He is opening a new chapter and sold the building to the Duke Endowment. He added even though the walls are coming down, the memories of the restaurant will still remain.
“With the intention of tearing everything down and keeping other people from coming and building what the neighborhood doesn’t want, more apartments, office buildings,” Katopodias said. “A lot of happy memories, everyone in my family has worked here. I’ve seen people coming in here when they’re young, grow up, get married and bring their children in now so that’s a long time of customers coming in.”
Katopodias said he is looking forward to not waking up at 4:45 a.m. every day and spending time with his family. Next Friday, Dec. 20, is the last day to stop by and enjoy Art’s BBQ and Deli.
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