Rowan County’s food scene gained new favorites and lost longtime staples in 2021 – Salisbury Post

SALISBURY – The past two years have been tough for the restaurant industry.

The onset of the pandemic in 2020 has forced many restaurants to close or change their business practices.

“All the catering businesses in particular had to scramble quickly,” said Elaine Spalding, chair of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. “Many have had to close their doors with very little notice from our friends in the government. They’ve had to adjust to totally take-out orders and provide their employees with as many resources as possible to hopefully retain them.

Rowan County has bid farewell to several staple restaurants in 2020, including Wink’s Barbecue on Faith Road and Copacabana Brazilian Cuisine on Jake Alexander Boulevard. Stag & Doe, a beloved restaurant in China Grove, closed in March 2020 and remained closed throughout 2021. The restaurant announced on Facebook in August that it planned to reopen, but no further details on the reopening was not mentioned.

Another loss in 2020 was the closure of the K&W Cafeteria at West End Plaza. The buffet chain has closed several locations after declaring bankruptcy. The building, which is owned by Rowan County, was leased to Perkins Management Services, and the company intended to open the Perkins Cafeteria, a concept similar to K&W. But the restaurant still has not opened after a burglary in the boiler room in August caused damage and required repairs.

Conditions have not become easy for restaurants that endured the pandemic in 2021. Along with supply chain delays and food and labor shortages, restaurants have been scrutinizing rules and regulations. changes filtered by state and federal governments.

“Honestly, the biggest challenge was trying to understand all the different government regulations,” Spalding said. “There was so much communication from federal and state governments. As a chamber, we would spend hours participating in webinars learning what all of these things mean and trying to condense that and target it on companies that need to be on top of the changes.

Throughout the pandemic, many restaurants were also supported by local support.

“In speaking with chamber officials across the state, I was pleasantly surprised that we haven’t had more businesses closed and in particular restaurants,” Spalding said. “This community really supported local restaurants during COVID and that made all the difference. “

In a year in which the pandemic continued to wreak havoc, here are a few restaurants in Rowan County that closed or moved in 2021:

Pays de Troyer market

News of the closure of Troyer’s Country Market has sparked a wave of grief online. Commentators wished the owners good luck in their future endeavors, but complained about the looming void the store’s closure would leave.

A deli / market hybrid, Troyer’s offered sandwiches for breakfast and lunch and offered a wide selection of pantry and fridge staples such as cheese, milk, butter, mixes. tablespoons, old-fashioned candy, flour and more. Troyer’s sold hand-made ice cream and served hot donuts on Friday mornings.

On the last day donuts and sandwiches were served in August, a queue stretched outside the property’s doors as customers clamored for one last bite.

The owners of the store, JR and Rebekah Troyer, have both left the food industry. JR now works in construction, specializing in stables, pole barns, garages, carports and metal roofs. Rebekah started her own cleaning business called A Gal & A Pail.

Hoff’s Grill

The restaurant known for its pork chop sandwich closed the doors of its restaurant on West Innes Street permanently at the end of September, but fans of its cuisine will soon be able to find their favorites again.

Owners David Houchins and his wife Jolene plan to open a Hoff trailer in 2022 to bring their food to festivals and events around Rowan County. The pork chop sandwich will remain a staple on the menu. Houchins said Hoff’s will also continue to run its stand at the Rowan County Fairgrounds and will return to provide food for Faith Fourth and the Fall Jubilee next year.

The Smoke Pit – Downtown to Faith Road

After four years on East Innes Street, near the heart of the city, the owners of The Smoke Pit announced in March that the beloved barbecue restaurant would be relocating.

The Smoke Pit has moved into the former home of Wink’s Barbecue, 509 Faith Road, giving the building new life and a complete renovation. The Faith Road location opened in August, inviting diners to enjoy the same barbecue as before, but in a renovated space.

Restaurant co-owners Devin Barbee, Joey Graham and Jeremy Beaver believe the larger kitchen at the new location and additional smokers will allow the Smoke Pit to meet the demand for its catering services.

These restaurants are among the new openings in 2021:

Texas roadhouse

Rowan Countians no longer have to venture to Concord for Texas Roadhouse steaks or popular butter buns. The state-themed Lone Star chain opened a store at Rowan Summit Shopping Center off Julian Road in early December. David Simon is the managing partner of the new restaurant, which measures just under 8,000 square feet and can seat around 300 people.

Umami city center

Boasting an eclectic menu with Asian fusion fare, Umami Downtown opened at 127 N. Main St. in October. Umami has revitalized the building that once housed the Main Street Legal Cafe, but it was closed for several years.

The restaurant is a family effort run by friends Jasmine Mohamed and Shawna Broughton, who have put together a menu that includes sushi, poke, and pho. Umami also brews Boba tea and serves specialty coffee.


With the help of her mother Tonya Rankin and Chef Terry Wood, former Salisbury High basketball star Shi-heria Shipp opened Vibez in Salisbury town center. The property serves food during the day but becomes a nightlife spot on weekend evenings. Vibez opened in a renovated building at 127 S. Main St., where Palermo’s Italian cuisine once housed.

Shug’s in Brooklyn South Square

Food, drink, music and art are always on the menu at Shug’s Brooklyn South Square. Restaurant, bar and lounge opened in August in a refurbished Victorian cottage at 209 S. Lee St. Co-owner Tiffany Day offers live music whenever she can and Shug’s offers an extensive menu of starters, appetizers and side dishes to accompany a bar. stocked with craft beer and spirits for cocktails.

This is not an exhaustive list. E-mail [email protected] if we missed any notable restaurants.

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