Sunday, June 1, 2008

Arthur's - Pt 1- The Beginning 1972-73 ***HALL OF FAME EATERY***

Postcard of the Clayton Hotel

Above four items from the Arthur Pressman-era of Arthur's

1970 ad for the Cheese Shop at Southpark

1972 photo of George Soule and Robert Balsley

1972 newspaper mention of Arthur's

1972 magazine write-up of Arthur's

1972 first Arthur's menu (handed out to promote the new venture)

1972 business card

1972 picture of the growing wine selection

1972 photo of Steve Balsley behind the counter

1973 interior shot with George, Robert, and Steve

1973 interior shots (above four)

Arthur's has been a Charlotte institution since 1972. They are famous for their grinders (unheard of in Charlotte when they first appeared), burgers (the "Arthur Burger" wins awards every year for Charlotte's best burger), salads, and an amazing wine selection. Most people know Arthur's due to their 34 year presence at Southpark Mall (first at Ivey's beginning in 1974, and since 1991 at Belk). The Arthur's story, however, began in 1972 in an old hotel lobby in downtown Charlotte.

In 1972, Robert Balsley and George Soule bought Arthur's Gourmet Shoppe. It had been opened in 1967 by Arthur Pressman in the lobby of the Clayton Hotel on 5th St. In 1972 Robert and George were co-managers of the Cheese Shop at Southpark when Arthur's became available. Along with Robert's brothers (Steve and John) they would turn an almost dead gourmet shop into Arthur's (the Gourmet Shoppe tag would be dropped). By adding sandwiches and increasing the wine assortment, Arthur's slowly developed a loyal following. 

They opened on May 26, 1972 and would stay at this location until September 28, 1973. The aging Clayton Hotel was due to be demolished, so the Balsleys would move the move across 5th St into Ivey's and begin the next stage of Arthur's.

Pt 2 coming soon--the Ivey's years...

***Many thanks to Steve Balsley for allowing the use of these items from his personal family collection to be used for this post (as well as providing important background information). Arthur's is one of my all time favorite Charlotte restaurants and Steve's assistance is greatly appreciated!

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