Fort Mill Times

Lake Wylie’s Cafe 49 not re-opening

It’s true. Cafe 49, which reopened following a fire earlier this year, is closed for good.

Owner Jimmy Roupas, while moving items out of the building Oct. 1, said, “It was a difficult decision, but we just didn’t have the traffic except for on weekends.”

On Sept. 26, he said the restaurant was closed due to electrical problems from a March fire and hoped to open by the next day.

But last week, he said the restaurant at 4516 Charlotte Hwy. would not reopen.

“It’s done, and it hurts,” he said of his and wife Mary’s decision to close the 6-year-old restaurant.

Cafe 49 was officially closed Sept. 25, Roupas said, citing rising food costs, rent and state taxes as reasons.

Roupas said most of the employees have taken positions at the family’s other two restaurants, Charlotte Cafe on Park Road and at The Arboretum.

“The saddest thing is getting away from these people,” he said.

Following a March 27 fire, lunchtime diners filled the restaurant more than a month later when it reopened. Roupas said he was overwhelmed by the community support from people stopping by and called the re-opening “a new beginning.”

About 70 customers and employees were evacuated safely the night of the fire. The fire started in an outside column and burned upward to the attic. It was listed as “accidental, due to carelessly discarded smoking material.”

Fire damage to the building cost about $80,000 for repair and replacements.

Earlier this year, The Charlotte Observer reported Charlotte Cafe, one of the oldest businesses in the Park Road Shopping Center, filed for bankruptcy protection.

Roupas said sales dropped about $70,000 in 2008 among the three Charlotte Cafe locations at The Arboretum, on Park Road and in Lake Wylie.

Roupas said then the cafe would stay open during the reorganization. He said then he planned to dedicate more time to the original Charlotte Cafe, which is the restaurant’s most successful location.