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Al-Amir, 1734 Main Street: April 2019 (Moving)   3 comments

Posted at 11:19 pm in closing

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Al-Amir is on the move again. They have had locations on Devine Street (twice), South Main, Saint Andrews Road, Sparkleberry Crossing and Sandhill.

Now they have left the old Elite Epicurean location at 1734 Main Street, and are relocating north to the old Taste Of China Hut at 2431 Main Street.

The State has two relevant articles. The first mentions the challenges of running a restaurant at that location:

"At night, the lighting here is bad and there are homeless people, and people doing drugs (along Laurel St.)," he said.

It feels unsafe, but he hears that Columbia Police are putting a substation in the former United Way location at 1800 Main St.

"After 18 years (in the business overall, Al-Amir has been on Main St. since 2014) and pouring every penny we have into the place, we've had to maneuver to keep the restaurant," he said. "We have loyal customers ... there just isn't enough to sustain the business."

To draw a bigger lunch crowd, they added some Southern specialties, but I have to think given they can't season with pork, that would be a pretty limited endevour.

The second article continues the story, with its outcome: the move down the street.

I like Al-Amir, but for me the biggest issue with this location was parking. The old Taste Of China Hut does have its own parking lot, so hopefully that will be better. I also wish that it was easier to get what I want sometimes. The way the menu is set up makes it difficult to put together my favorites.

I'm not sure when the new location will be ready. It looked very much still in progress when I drove by a few weeks ago.

(Hat tip to commenter Mr_hat)

Written by ted on May 17th, 2019

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Local Yocal, 1712 Main Street: March 2019   2 comments

Posted at 11:53 pm in closing

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The Free Times calls Local Yocal a "bodega" syle store. I've never been really sure what that word means, but here it seems to have applied to an upscale bar with takeout food and groceries if I am getting the gist of it.

I'm a bit confused about one thing. While this is the first time I have done a closing for 1712 Main Street, I have done several for next door 1710 Main Street. Looking at those old posts (which you can do by clicking the 1710 link), it appears that the Local Yocal storefront at 1712 has somehow just appeared between 1710 and the next storefont down. Or maybe it's just late.

(Hat tip to commenter Justin)

Written by ted on March 18th, 2019

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Chocolate Nirvana Bakery, 2501 Main Street: 11 January 2019   no comments

Posted at 11:15 pm in closing

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Chocolate bakery Chocolate Nirvana had the misfortune to move to a building on Gills Creek just before the Great Flood of October 2015. With their building effectively destroyed, they had no choice but to move operations to commercial kitchen for rent DER Kitchen, where they stayed until January of this year.

Their Facebook Page doesn't rule out future ventures, but for now, all the equipment has been sold.

(Hat tip to commenter michael)

Written by ted on February 26th, 2019

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God's Blessing Cafe, 1801 Main Street Suite A: 21 December 2018   2 comments

Posted at 12:36 am in closing

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According to The State, God's Blessing Cafe opened in early July 2018, serving classic Southern fare. This location is next to the former Jefferson Square Theater and is in the spot previously occupied by The Lunch Box, Palmetto Grille and Cavanaugh's Deli.

For me, this seems a tough spot to run a restaurant because parking issues will keep all but the local office crowd away. On the other hand, you could say the same about a number of Main Street lunch venues. Maybe it's just a bit too far North.

(Hat tip to commenter James R)

Written by ted on January 8th, 2019

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House of Fabrics, 1312 Main Street: June 2017 (moved)   3 comments

Posted at 11:21 pm in closing

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I noticed this vacant storefront as I was walking Main Street the other day. Judging by the signs, this is an old building that is way overdue for a big overhaul, and got past the point of everyday maintenance. I would be interested in what is upstairs, and what shape it is in. As you can see from the sign, the tenant, House of Fabrics has relocated to 652 Bush River Road.

UPDATE 5 June 2019: According to The State this building is to be razed. Adding map icon too.

UPDATE 18 June 2019 -- Demolition started Monday (17 June 2019) and the building is now gone:

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Written by ted on August 21st, 2018

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Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint, 610 Main Street: July 2018   4 comments

Posted at 11:18 pm in closing

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Uncle Maddio's was the follow-on in this location for Jasmine Deli & Cafe and opened sometime in 2013. I never ate there, and had not realized until looking at this post that in fact Uncle Maddio's is a chain of franchaises based in Atlanta, and is another fast casual pizza concept like Persona, Blaze, and Firenza.

Looking at the company web site, it appears this was the only South Carolina location, and the next closest is in Charlotte.

Written by ted on August 16th, 2018

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Zoe's Kitchen, 1320 Main Street Suite 150: 6 August 2018   2 comments

Posted at 10:40 pm in closing

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Well, I'm not sure what is going on here. The sign is extremely uninformative, and there is no sign of work being done inside or out. I hit the Forest Acres' Zoe's from time to time for the Greek salad, but have never visited this location.

UPDATE 31 August 2018 -- Removed the "temporary" from the post title based on the comments.

UPDATE 31 August 2018 -- The State reports it as a restroom issue (in that the store had none) though parts of the reporting contradict that..

Written by ted on August 14th, 2018

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Persona Wood Fired Pizzeria, 1202 Main Street: July 2018   4 comments

Posted at 11:06 pm in closing

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The signage still posits this closing as temporary, but the Free Times has verified that it is, in fact, permanent.

This spot has been the home of a number of restaurants over the years, including Capitol Cafe, Cat & Cleaver, Dunkin' Donuts (almost), Fever, and Roll Call Deli.

I never ate at Persona due to the fact that I rarely go downtown at lucnch time, and would go some place with parking if I did. I will say that I would not use that name for a restaurant as the first thing I think of is Persona Non Grata..

(Hat tip to commenter Tom)

Written by ted on August 13th, 2018

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Mark's Mens Wear, 1321 Main Street / 1625 Main Street / 1219 Bull Street: March 2018   no comments

Posted at 11:11 pm in closing

Here are some pictures from commenter Allen J. Rivkin recalling a bit of downtown history, his father's store Marks

The first picture is from the grand opening at 1321 Main Street in October 1963:

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As nearly as I can tell, 1321 Main Street would have been just after the vacant storefront next to Cantina 76, which is 1307 Main, and before the SC Education Lottery storefront, which is 1333. However there's really no way to do a true comparison due to the demolition.

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The store moved from 1321 Main to 1625 Main in 1980:

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There is apparently an ongoing project to repurpose 1619-1625 Main, which you can read about here.

In 2017, the store moved to 1219 Bull Street, the former location of Ritter's Furs:

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(Big hat tip to ALlen J. Rivkin)

Written by ted on August 8th, 2018

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Bi-Lo / Harveys Supermarket, 3900 North Main Street Suite B: April 2018   4 comments

Posted at 11:16 pm in closing

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As mentioned in Have Your Say, all Columbia area Harveys supermarkets are closing. You can tell how dire the trouble the parent chain is in by the fact that they spent a lot of money rebranding these stores from Bi-Lo to Harveys less than two years ago. I did not do a closing on this location as a Bi-Lo at that time, so I'm including it in the post title and Alphabetical Closings now.

At this time, none of Columbia's remaining Bi-Lo locations are closing, but that is probably another shoe waiting to drop. The full list of closing stores across both nameplates and over all affected states is here.

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