Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Woods on South closes (UPDATED)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 3:48 PM

When Chef Marvin Woods opened his upscale restaurant, Woods On South, he said he was in it for the long haul. His plan was to change the way Charlotte ate, creating a menu of health-conscious dishes.

His plan, however, obviously fell short because Woods on South served its last plate of oven-fried chicken this week.

Tuesday, a sign taped on the front door during lunch stated that the restaurant was closed. Another sign informed workers that payroll checks would be mailed out.

By Wednesday, the restaurant’s voice mail told callers that Woods on South had gone bye-bye.

“It’s been our pleasure to serve you,” said the outgoing telephone message.

Creative Loafing reached Woods by phone Wednesday to find out what went wrong.

“I don’t really have an answer for you right now,” he said. “I need about a week. I’m working on something, and it’s in the nondisclose right now, so I can’t answer any questions about it. But once the ‘I’s’ are dotted and the ‘T’s’ are crossed, I can give you the 411.”

John Stritch, president of Carolina Beer and a partner in the restaurant, wasn’t available for comment regarding the eatery’s closing at press time.

The restaurant opened with a flourish in October 2007. Before becoming Woods On South, the restaurant was known as South End Brewery. According to Charlotte Business Journal, Woods actually worked at the brewery from 1998 to 2000.

Woods made his name nationally on the now-defunct TV cable network Turner South with the cooking show Home Plate, which he hosted while wearing his signature bandanna. He is also the author of two cookbooks.

When Woods opened Woods on South, he said he’d hope to grow with Charlotte, calling it a “diamond city” at the time.

Woods had said at the time that he wanted to offer a lighter version of Southern cuisine. He even had ‘soul sushi’ on the menu.

This isn’t the first restaurant associated with Woods to close. His Miami restaurant, which he opened in 2004, also went out of business.

Currently, according to Woods’s Web site, he’s spending time trying to fight childhood obesity by developing a national kids' wellness program called Droppin' Knowledge with Chef Marvin Woods.

His Web site also says that Woods is set to launch a line of sauces and spice blends that will be available online and in grocery stores this year.

Whatever happened at Woods On South, it’s closing leaves another hole in South End. Aside from fast food and Price’s Chicken Coop, there aren’t many upscale choices for dining out in the city’s historic neighborhood.

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