J. W. "Slug" Claiborne
Photo of the Barclay at Amity Gardens (photo courtesy of David at Groceteria)
Current photo of the old Amity Gardens location--soon to be demolished
1988 photo of the Barclay Cafeteria at the downtown Belk
1988 ad congratulating Belk's on their 100th Anniversary
(photo courtesy of Steve at Live Malls)
1975 Wachovia cartoon map showing Southpark Mall with Slug's Choice
1975 Wachovia cartoon map showing Independence Blvd and Slug's Rib
1976 photo of Slug's Tower Suite (note the floor-to-ceiling windows)
Original matchbox (courtesy of Robert McEwen)
1987 photo of the water-side of Slug's University Place
J. W. "Slug" Claiborne was Charlotte's premier restaurateur for three decades from the 1960's through the 1980's. He operated several Slug's restaurants plus the Barclay Cafeterias.
He opened the first Barclay Cafeteria on Independence Boulevard at the Amity Gardens shopping center at the beginning of 1961. This was followed by two Barclay Cafeterias (and a snack bar) at the Belk downtown location (in the basement and on the sixth floor- "the Gold Room") and a Barclay Cafeteria at Belk-Southpark on the third floor. The Amity Gardens location would last through February 1988, the downtown locations would close at the end of 1988, and the Southpark location would close in December 2000 due to Belk remodeling their store (in spite of much protesting from their loyal customers).
In March of 1970, he added upscale dining to his restaurants when he opened Slug's Rib on Independence Boulevard (near Albemarle Road). Modeled after the famous Lawry's Prime Rib in California, Slug's Rib specialized in Prime Rib--it was the only entree offered ("When you do one thing, you do it well" Claiborne often said). The overwhelming success of this location would lead to expansion in the '70's to a location at Southpark Mall (Slug's Choice) and a downtown location at the top of the then Jefferson-First Union building (Slug's Tower Suite--later called Slug's 30th Edition). In the late-'80's he would also add a location to the UNCC area (Slug's University Place) as well as having expanded to other parts of NC. Slug's Rib and Slug's Choice would continue through the 1980's. Slug's 30th Edition and Slug's University Place were sold off in 1993 and the new owners changed the names of both in 1994. Also in the early '90's, Claiborne opened "Slugger's Grill and Bar" in downtown as an attempt to enter the casual lunch/dinner bistro family restaurant market. It offered lower prices and early-bird specials, but was short-lived.REVISIONS-- 8-2-08
1976 photo of the ornate entry doors to the downtown location
1976 photo of the Independence Blvd location
REVISIONS -- 8-9-2008
These contributions below are all courtesy of Margaret DeStefani. Margaret worked for Slug Claiborne at both the downtown location as well as Slug's University Place. Much thanks to Margaret for providing access to her amazing collection!