Lulu’s Maryland-style Chicken and Seafood on Central Avenue closed its doors this week after less than one year in business. The decision came after a string of popular businesses in the area have closed or announced plans to move — like tapas bar Soul Gastrolounge or rotisserie restaurant Coaltrane’s Char Grill — in 2022.
Plaza Midwood was the second location of a popular Black-owned restaurant known for its jumbo-lump crab cakes, crab fries and other seafood and soul-centered dishes.
The first Lulu’s location opened in 2019 on Tuckaseegee Road, and grew in popularity during the pandemic. At one time, the restaurant attracted hundreds of patrons each day.
Many days, the famed crab cakes, among other favorite dishes, would even sell out.
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Success leads to expansion
The restaurant’s success prompted the owners to later open two other spaces, a second Lulu’s as well as a new concept called Hideaway Bar and Lounge, in west Charlotte.
Unlike Lulu’s, Hideaway’s appeal was in entertainment and nightlife. The bar opened in June 2021 and served common bar fare like wings, fries, quesadillas and hot sandwiches, but the emphasis was on its party atmosphere.
Hideaway hosted several day parties and nighttime functions, often advertising drinks specials and game day events. The bar closed around the same time the second Lulu’s location — in Plaza Midwood — opened in March 2022.
‘Hurdles’ to get over
In September 2022, Axios reported that the original Lulu’s location would be closing temporarily.
“We’ve had some hiccups and hurdles that we’ve had to get over. Some issues that were unforeseen,” Jay Davis, who owns the restaurant with his wife Miketa, told Axios.
At that time, the owners cited staffing issues related to the pandemic. Davis shared that the original Lulu’s would reopen as Lulu’s Express Fry House, a fast-casual version of the restaurant with a limited menu.
The reason for the change?
Davis wanted to put more in energy into Lulu’s on Central. The restaurant had become known for increased wait times and being “out” of popular dishes at various times of the day, according to several less-than-perfect reviews early on. Davis shared that changes were being made for the restaurant to better serve its patrons and continue to grow.
Now, it looks like the plan has changed.
Closing one door and opening another
Since announcing the closure of the Plaza Midwood location, the owners have announced the reopening of Lulu’s Express Fry House — formerly the original location of Lulu’s Maryland-style Chicken and Seafood.
According to the announcement on social media, the Tuckaseegee restaurant will have the “same menu plus additions.” Though the post doesn’t specify what the additions will be, the express restaurant is indeed open and loyal customers seem to be pretty excited about it.
Lulu’s Express Fry House, at 2400 Tuckaseegee Road, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday through Saturday. On Sunday, the restaurant is open from noon until 8 p.m. Lulu’s is closed on Tuesday.
QCity Metro attempted to contact Jay and Mekita Davis for comment, but were unable to.