Sunrise Restaurant on Albemarle Road is one of those Charlotte institutions where the owners know customers’ names, and where families have been dining on eggs and pancakes for decades.
Now, the diner’s owners are fighting to keep it open.
Sunrise, self-described as a “down-home diner with all-day breakfast,” has a sign on its door saying its lease is up at the end of September. One of the owners, Nick Evgenitakis, said he’s in talks with his landlord to negotiate some kind of deal to keep the 28-year-old restaurant open.
“They told us they want us to be out by Saturday,” Evgenitakis said of his landlord, whom he declined to name.
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It’s possible Sunrise, which seats about 140 people, could relocate to another spot, although Evgenitakis said he doesn’t know where that would be.
Since the sign went up, Evgenitakis said he’s been inundated with comments from loyal customers, some of who have been coming to the restaurant for years. “Everybody who walks in, we know their names,” he said. “The place is busy all the time.”
Evgenitakis said he’s concerned about keeping long-time customers happy, but also about taking care of his approximately 40 employees.
“I don’t want anybody to be without work. I’m going to do the best I can to achieve the goal for the place to stay open so these people won’t lose their jobs,” said Evgenitakis.
Longtime customer Emma Crudup has been eating at Sunrise since she was a kid, and told the Observer in an email that to her and many others, Sunrise is “not just a restaurant.”
“There is something about walking into a place and the employees ask about your mom, or your kids. You just can't replace history. There are hundreds of people that are devastated by this,” Crudup said.