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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Coronavirus Pandemic Claims Spoon's BBQ In Charlotte After 57 Years

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Bill Spoon's BBQ on South Boulevard is closing after 57 years.

A longtime Charlotte barbecue restaurant is closing shop for good amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The owners of Bill Spoon's BBQ made the announcement Monday on social media, saying the South Boulevard restaurant's last day will be Wednesday.

"If you’ve been a customer over the years, you remember the lines that wrapped around the building," Steve Spoon Jr, grandson of founder Bill Spoon, wrote on Facebook. "Those lines have diminished as time has passed, and each year has become substantially harder to keep our doors open. 2020 has proven hard for everyone but has truly been detrimental to small businesses like us that were already barely making ends meet.

"Despite every attempt to hang on as long as we could, we simply aren’t able to any longer."

The restaurant is known for serving eastern North Carolina-style barbecue with a vinegar-based sauce. Because of the pandemic, the last meals from Spoon's BBQ will be served curbside only.

Several restaurants and bars in the Charlotte area have closed permanently during the coronavirus pandemic, including Queen City Q in uptown, Carpe Diem in Elizabeth, Abari Game Bar in NoDa and Char-Grill in Davidson, according to a list maintained by the Charlotte Business Journal.

The state's economy has taken a hit during the pandemic, with the service industry bearing much of the initial brunt. More than 1.2 million North Carolinians have applied for unemployment benefits since March 15. 

In mid-March, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all bars and restaurants to halt dine-in service. In May, restaurants were allowed to again welcome in-person customers, though at reduced capacity, and they were required to implement social distancing and other safety measures to limit the spread of the virus.

As of Monday, bars remain closed, although restaurants that serve alcohol can be open but must stop serving booze after 11 p.m. There have been at least 185,700 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections and 3,060 deaths from COVID-19 complications in North Carolina since the pandemic began. 

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Dash joined WFAE as a digital editor for news and engagement in 2019. Before that, he was a reporter for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia, where he covered public safety and the military, among other topics. He also covered county government in Gaston County, North Carolina, for its local newspaper, the Gazette.