CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As more restaurants start to reopen under Phase 2 of North Carolina’s plan, Crepe Cellar in NoDa is taking a pause and closing its doors for a little while after reopening on June 9.
Jeff Tonidandel, owner of Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub, Growlers Pourhouse, Reigning Doughnuts, and Haberdish, said it wasn’t sustainable to keep the restaurant open for now with the number of tables and seating that had to be removed for social distancing.
"We have a small, quaint, romantic gastropub here in NoDa and no outdoor seating and that kind of stuff,” Tonidandel said. “It just made the metrics really, really hard, so we decided to take a little break for a few more weeks."
The atmosphere inside the restaurant also just wasn’t the same, he added.
"It's just tough in a little quaint spot to kind of do the kind of meals that we want to do,” Tonidandel said. “And when you take everything off the tables, and we don't have candlelight and all that stuff on the table, it's just not quite the same experience."
Crepe Cellar plans to reopen again at the end of July, and Growlers Pourhouse, which hadn’t reopened for dine-in service yet, will open then as well, Tonidandel said.
Haberdish will continue to stay open.
“Haberdish, two doors down, has barn doors, they open up,” Tonidandel added. “We have an outdoor patio, so it's just a little airier, brighter and a little more conducive to this time right now."
Even as the state moved into Phase 2, Tonidandel took a more cautious approach with his restaurants to keep his staff safe. He waited longer to reopen and took additional time to train employees on the new safety and cleaning protocol.
He said he is so proud of his employees for the way they have handled the changes, and it was a tough decision to press the pause button on service at Crepe Cellar.
Tonidandel is working on another new restaurant in Plaza Midwood and is focused on being part of the Charlotte restaurant scene for many years beyond the pandemic.
"It’s not necessarily about sales last week or next week,” he said. “It's really about Charlotte for the next, you know, 20, 30 years."