CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When The Penguin restaurant first announced it would close its doors in October, there was a kind of frenzy among its most ardent fans.

That last week was crazy, Adam Frazier said. Frazier is part of a team of filmmakers who've chronicled the restaurant's recent saga.

They were tearing off stickers and basically taking anything that wasn't bolted down, he described. I just remember Rolling Stones Wild Horses was on the jukebox, and everybody was screaming and singing along and this guy was like, 'This is like the best funeral I ve ever been too.'

The documentary, still in the works, will be called The Bird. Frazier, and his partners Tim Grant and Adam Hobbs, released a teaser trailer this week.

The Plaza Midwood drive-in, first opened in 1954 by Jim Ballentine, became a local favorite again recently under the management of Brian Rowe and Jimmy King. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network during that time, and became a popular tourist stop in Charlotte while they were at the helm.

Late in 2010, their relationship with Ballentine's family soured. The family owns the name and the land, and Rowe and King decided to leave.

It really turned into this whole controversy, Frazier said, but we didn t really want to get into that. We re more concerned about what happens to the neighborhoods, and to the people who went to the place.

That's not to say the movie won't address the offshoots of the controversy.

There s also two new restaurants to kind of be borne out of the Penguins demise, Frazier said.

He and his partners have already spoken with former Penguin chef Greg Auten and former bartender Andy Cauble who've recently opened the burger joint Pinky's Westside Grill. The movie will also feature The Diamond, which Rowe and King plan to open later this year.

The Penguin will re-open under its new management January 15. Frazier is not certain his camera will be allowed in, but he said he'd like to include the re-opening in the documentary.

We would love to get that side of the story, he said.

It is not clear when the documentary might be finished, or when it might be released.

Read or Share this story: