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COVID-19 Cuts into Greek Diner History, Culture of Charlotte

December 11, 2021

Greek diners and restaurants have long had a presence in Charlotte, North Carolina, an area where Greek immigrants arrived in numbers in the early 20th Century, drawn by jobs in textile and manufacturing – and their influence remains.

“Newcomers to Charlotte are often surprised to learn that this Southern city has a sweet Greek heart. Scratch a lot of local restaurants, and you’ll find feta, oregano, and olive oil layered under the gravy biscuits and fried chicken,” said Charlotte magazine in a feature.

The COVID-19 pandemic and diner families getting older has taken a toll on the eateries though, as well as held down Greek church festivals in a region which was the seat of the regional diocese from 1955 until moving to Atlanta in 1980.

Among the losses was the Oakhurt Grill that opened in 1968 as Mr. C’s where owner John Polonyfis earlier this year shut down as he moved on to retirement.

Greek Charlotte isn’t ancient history, though, the magazine noted, even if since the pandemic began it has taken its toll with the closing of restaurants including Mr. K’s and Zack’s, but many remain, true to their community heritage.

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