In keeping with Eater tradition, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. To kick it off in the Carolinas, Eater asked the group eight questions, ranging from the restaurants they frequented for takeout to the saddest surprises of the year. Responses are in no particular order, and readers are encouraged to leave answers in the comments.
Q. What was 2022’s saddest restaurant closure?
Eric Ginsburg, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
This was a hard year. Raleigh lost two stalwarts in SoCa and Garland, but swallowing the fact that newbie Puerto Rican star Bendito opened and closed this year despite showing so much budding promise may have been tougher. The same thing happened with Radici, a marvelous vegan restaurant in downtown Greensboro. We also sadly lost Saint James Seafood in Durham and Little Light in Greensboro. It’s a grim reminder how tough this business is.
Stephanie Burt, writer and host of The Southern Fork
The Whig. Sure it was a dive bar first, but the food was always solid. Elliot Moss cooked there in the early days, and that set the tone. I wouldn’t normally get a salad at a bar, but I would there. And the burgers were my favorite in the city. Columbia is still in mourning, and I’m feeling that we will look back and realize that that closing was a general shift in the tone of the cityscape, and not necessarily for the better. Just slicker.
Mike Ledford, photographer and Eater Carolinas contributor
• Caroline’s Aloha Bar/Voodoo Lounge. The end of an era for one of my original Charleston haunts, and the first place I knew to have happy hour tacos and truffled tots.
• Hello Deli. Harvey and Stacey are some of the nicest people on the planet. I wish them a happy retirement, but I’ll miss the challah French toast.
Kay West, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering Asheville
Reza Setayesh has been a trailblazer and healthy-eating prophet in Asheville for over two decades. The small and unassuming BimBeriBon in West Ashville was gluten and refined sugar-free but packed with deliciousness. During the pandemic closure, he and wife Eva started Plant Loving Humans fully-cooked meal pickups at the restaurant. Early in 2022, his family announced Setayesh’s diagnosis of ALS, devastating news for his huge community of colleagues and friends.
Matthew Lardie, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering NC
The loss of Saint James here in Durham was hard, particularly because it came at the hands of an out-of-town developer — especially after Matt Kelly and his team had weathered both the pandemic and a tragic gas explosion.
Stephanie Burnette, Eater Carolinas contributor
The Whig in Columbia; if you love a dive bar— Zorba’s in Greenville, Surf Bar in Folly Beach, Nu-Way in Spartanburg— then let’s hope they own their space, because I think, sadly, we’ll see more iconic places close because of lease agreements and redevelopment.