When ‘Carolina’ hit the road, there was a need for a restaurant

CAROLINA — The “Carolina” tavern on Interstate 95 will be closing soon, the owner announced Monday, with plans to open a restaurant in downtown Charlotte.

The tavern at 707 Westmoreland Ave.

will close by Oct. 1, the owners said in a news release.

The last of the 14 locations will be at the former Paddy’s Pub and Grille in the Towne Centre area.

Owner Scott K. Williams, who runs the Carolina Pub, said he was not able to announce when the new location will open.

Williams said he had hoped to open the new restaurant in late 2018, but was forced to pull out of that timeline due to the economic downturn.

Williams has been the president of Carolina Pub since the tavern’s opening in May 2015.

“I am looking forward to opening a new Carolina Pub and serving our loyal patrons with a fresh, exciting menu that we can’t wait to serve,” he said in the news release announcing the closure.

“We are so proud of what Carolina Pub has achieved in the past 10 years, but it is time to take our focus elsewhere.

I have always been a fan of Carolina and always want to do my part to keep our community in the spotlight.

I will be working hard to reopen Carolina Pub in a way that will make it a top notch restaurant, with the kind of food that our community deserves,” Williams said.

“With my husband, I plan on hiring a new chef and will have the Charleston, SC native cook the menu for us.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Williams said he would also open a new location in Charlotte in early 2019.

“As a longtime business owner, I know that it takes time to create a great menu and a great restaurant,” he wrote.

“We are fortunate to have so many talented chefs, and as a business owner myself, I feel that I can take Carolina Pub to another level.”

Williams closed Carolina Pub just before the start of the 2017-18 fiscal year, but said he could reopen it in a new space by late 2019.

The restaurant had been owned by Robert A. Harkness since the 1980s.

Carolina Pub is one of three Carolina taverns, along with the St. Petersburg Tavern and the Raleigh Bar & Grill, to open since 2009.

Charlotte restaurateur and bar owner Jason Brown also announced that he would be taking over the Charlotte Tavern in 2019.