Downtown staple Caffe Phoenix closing doors July 31st
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A staple in downtown Wilmington is closing their doors. After more than two decades Caffe Phoenix will serve its last meal on July 31st.
Opened in 1989, “Phoenix,” as it affectionately became known, was one of the first fine dining restaurants in downtown Wilmington. Employees say its closing means the end of an era.
“It’s such a staple to downtown Wilmington,” says Nichole Mize, an employee at Caffe Phoenix. “Everybody comes from out of town. They’ll come back once a year to vacation.”
“I mean we still get notes about people who met their significant other here,” says Andrew Sutton, a manager at the restaurant.
When owner, Roy Clifton died after a battle with lung cancer, employees say his wife decided it was time to close a little earlier than expected.
“They ran a restaurant for almost 25 years,” Sutton says. “They opened the river boat in i think 1984 and then they bought this place a while back.”
In 2010, the Clifton’s moved the shop from its original 9th S. Front Street location to where it is today.
“There’s not anything like it downtown and there probably never will be,” Mize says.
Though their doors will be closed soon, Caffe Phoenix is still running full speed ahead.
“We’re doing the same thing. We just got a new menu,” Sutton says. “We’re not slowing down any. We’re just going to keep going until the end.”
A special dinner is in the works for the restaurants final day with drink specials and interesting entrees.
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