Independence Blvd location
Independence Blvd interior
Freedom Village location
The "Chateaubriand crest"
Interior shots of the Chateaubriand (above three)
1961 letter announcing the third Stork location at Freedom Village
Promo flier for the Stork Freedom Village location (above four pictures)
Throughout the 1950's and '60's, one of the most popular places to eat in Charlotte was The Stork. Owned by Joseph Antoon and Raymond Kaleel, they opened the first Stork on Kings Dr in 1946. They quickly became known for quality food at reasonable prices.
In 1955, they would open what would become their flagship location on Independence Blvd next to the newly opened Charlotte Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium. If you were going to a show at either venue, you most likely were going to The Stork before the event. Frequent Stork guest Arthur Pendleton remembers the Stork on Independence as being more modern compared to other eateries of the day. With the high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows and curtains, it had a more open, dramatic feel to it. As you walked in to the dining room, Jerry Shriver was to the left on an elevated platform playing the organ for the diners' enjoyment. Arthur recalls the "Chef's suggestion" section of the menu being the most popular and he routinely ordered the chopped steak with mushroom dressing for the low price of $1.47 (low even by late-1950's standards).
Mirroring the growth and expansion of Charlotte, a third Stork was opened in 1961 at the newly opened Freedom Village. To mirror suburban-tastes, this location would also feature a coffee shop, a dining room just for men eating lunch (the "Esquire Room") and a newly revamped menu featured a wider offering of choices (referred to as "Continental dishes"). This location would also be the only one open on Sundays. In the mid-60's, a fourth eatery was opened called the Chateaubriand Continental Steakhouse. Charcoal steakhouses were hot at the time and the fourth location followed this trend.
The era of the Stork came to a close at the end of the '60's. The Kings Dr location had closed in the mid-60's, and the entire group closed by the end of the decade. Valentino's would open successfully in the old Independence location, and Slugs Rib would open in the Chateaubriand location.
Thanks to Arthur Pendleton for his invaluable memories for this post!