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Chef Paul Verica Says It’s Time for a Break, Closes the Stanley in Charlotte

Chef Paul Verica explains his decision to shut down the Stanley after four years of service

White man in a baseball cap and hoodie.
Paul Verica
Peter Taylor Photography
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

Late Sunday evening, May 8, an email came through to food journalists covering Charlotte, North Carolina, that chef Paul Verica was closing his field-to-table restaurant the Stanley, on Friday, May 13.

The email included a statement from Verica explaining that he’s had enough of the stress that comes along with owning and operating a restaurant. He also posted the statement on Facebook and Instagram.

Verica opened the Stanley four years ago, but also ran Italian restaurant Orto until its closure last December. The chef is also the subject of a recently released documentary Verica 2.0, which follows him as he opens the Stanley.

Below is the full statement from Verica.

The last two years have been difficult for everyone in our beloved industry, to say the least, and I feel the effect deeply.

For me, it has been a good ride-great and even magical at times-but for me it’s time for this ride to come to an end.

I have decided to sell The Stanley and to take a step back from cooking and the #cheflife that has consumed me for the last 3 decades. This Friday, May 13, will be the restaurant’s last day of service.

I have always told myself that when cooking and creating stopped being fun and became work, I would take a step back and reassess. That time is upon me.

With the sale of The Stanley, I plan on taking some time off to re-energize and re-assess. The world is wide open for me, and I plan on exploring it and weighing all my options to see what my next endeavor will be. There are so many concepts and ideas that I have wanted to explore and have not had the opportunity to do so until now.

I am excited- for the next step, for my continued evolution as a chef and entrepreneur, for Paul 3.0.

To my family: Thanks Mom and Dad, for always believing in me and all your support. I love you both. To my three children - @alexverica @paigeetalyor_ @andrew_verica -Thanks for understanding. I’m sorry I missed so much-it was all about providing for you and I love you all.

To all of my amazing ‘kids’/team members that have been on this journey with me, past and present. Thank you. I could have never accomplished all that I have over the last 9 years without all of your hard work, dedication, tolerance, and drive to be the best. I owe you all so much. I am so proud of what so many of you have gone on to accomplish after your time with me. And remember - there are no rules, keep pushing.

To my partners, thank you for believing in me and sticking by me through all the ups and downs. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express myself and share my art with this fine city for the last 9 years. A very special thank you to my farmer friends, artisans, makers, and purveyors. Thank you for supplying me with the best toys to play with. I have worked with some of you for over 15 years and during that time you have become family. Know you will always hold a place in my heart that is near and dear to me.

To all our loyal customers over the last 4 years at The Stanley and those that followed us along on the journey from Heritage in the years prior to that- I say a heartfelt thank you to all of you. I hope that you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have. Thanks for joining me.

I am so thankful for all the awards and recognition that I have received. From the two James Beard Nominations to Charlotte Magazine’s Best Chef to numerous media nods in between. I have been fortunate throughout my career. It is not lost on me that those accolades, while given in my name, represent not only my efforts, but those of my team as well.

Lastly, to my partner in all things in life @janemariatramontana thanks for your love, support, encouragement, and always making sure that I am looking at things from every perspective.

To quote one of my favorite bands @theavettbrothers, who supplied me with my theme song some 9 years ago…

“There was a dream
and one day I could see it.
Like a bird in a cage I broke in
And demanded that somebody free it…
Decide what to be and go be it.”

See you on the other side…Paul