Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ole Smokehouse **CLOSED**

The famous Chinese oven

The Queen City Room - reserved for large parties.

The two above signs were mounted above the window to the kitchen.

Opened in 1957, The Ole Smokehouse was a tradition for barbecue in South Charlotte. Located on Montford Dr, The Ole Smokehouse was at the top of the hill that was for years one of Charlotte's original "restaurant rows". Their meats were cooked in a unique Chinese oven and the style of barbecue was minced (more finely cut than the standard "chopped"). It was owned since 1985 by the Koutsoupias family---Bill Koutsoupias started working at the restaurant in 1970 and eventually bought out the original owners. A second location on Yorkmount Drive closed in 2002.

The Ole Smokehouse closed on June 5 of this year. It's closing signals the final switch from the original restaurant row of the 1950's to a new flock of chef-driven eateries that are now lining the street. It will be missed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Manzetti's ***CLOSED***

Origins of the Manzetti name

Bar scene

The popular Southpark restaurant, Frank Manzetti's closed on April 17th. A landmark since the Summer of 1986, Manzetti's was famous for their "Pittsburgh-style" steaks and chops. 24 years of consistent service and food will be missed.

The site was originally MacArthur's throughout the 1970's and early-'80's and then Moxie's for a short stretch in the mid-80's. Plans call for the location to be turned into a Mexican restaurant.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Exterior shot taken shortly before closing

The original Valentino's sign was a spectacular on-off cycling neon sign

1984 ad

1992 ad

Valentino's operated on Independence Blvd for almost 33 years from 1969 until 2002. Striking a balance between Italian and Greek food, Valentino's proved to be one of the more successful of a long line of Charlotte-based Greek-run Italian eateries.

Greek native Bill Georges came to Charlotte from New York in 1969, and, with
his restaurateur friend Peter Parrous of Fayetteville, bought the old Stork
Restaurant attached to the Coliseum Inn on East Independence (next door to the old Charlotte Coliseum). Georges and Parrous originally called the restaurant Deno`s, but the owner of Dino's Restaurant on Monroe Rd took them to court and they were forced to choose a different name. ``If you have an Italian name for your restaurant and one-third of your dishes are Italian, you`ll do all right in Charlotte,`` Parrous had told Georges. So the partners scrolled through their list of Italian names and selected Valentino`s, which they thought had exactly the right ring. Georges would buy out Parrous' stake in 1972 and would run the restaurant until its last days in 2002. For a very short while, they opened a second location of Valentino's off of Woodlawn Rd in the late-90's, but this location proved short-lived.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The New York Cafe

The New York Cafe was located in the heart of downtown Charlotte for over 50 years. It opened in 1906 and ran through the mid-1960's. Originally located at 127 West Trade St, it moved to 319 East Trade St at some point during the '50's. They appear to have offered everything one could want (Kraut juice anyone?). The above menu is from the 1940's.