CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Soul Gastrolounge, a beloved tapas bar in Plaza Midwood, closed its doors on Central Avenue for good Sunday.
Lines to get into the restaurant circled the block throughout the weekend as loyal customers waited to get one final taste of the business’ small plates and cocktails. On Sunday, they hosted a “Not goodbye, see ya later” party featuring a couple of DJs.
“They’re definitely really busy. We’re waiting. It’s going to be like two and a half hours. So, we’re going to wait,” said customer Cindy Le.
The restaurant opened on the corner of Central Avenue and Pecan Avenue in 2009. Its customers say they come for the delicious food and eclectic atmosphere.
In July, Soul’s owners announced the business was being forced out of the neighborhood due to rising rent prices. A previous Queen City News report revealed their building had been sold and in order to stay, they would need to pay 114 percent more in rent.
“They are changing the whole vibe of the city — restaurants like this, that have been here for so long, and they’re so well established. People come here because it’s cool, because it’s nice, they know the owners and stuff like that. To lose that, it’s sad,” said customer Adriana Latner.
They’re not the only ones. Rising rent has forced out more than a dozen other businesses in Plaza Midwood over the past several years. Those in and around the neighborhood say they’re worried about what the loss of small businesses will mean for the area’s charm and culture.
“I’ve been hopping to restaurants before they’re closing, trying to get my favorite stuff. I’m sadly getting used to it,” said customer Lindsey Morgan.
In a statement made on Soul Gastrolounge’s social media accounts, they said they were looking to reopen in a different location in the spring of 2023.