Harth said the Charlotte store won’t follow the new design, because the large and diverse population of Charlotte supports the current financial goals of the store. He said one of the mistakes Living Kitchen made was trying to mimic the business plan at the Raleigh and Chapel Hill locations after the one in Charlotte.
Living Kitchen closed in Raleigh mostly because of poor location, Harth said. Stuck at the end of Fayetteville Street, the restaurant did not get enough foot traffic to sustain its financial goals, and the street was commonly closed down by the city for events, he said.
In Chapel Hill, Harth said the size of the Elliot Road space was too large, and they were paying for space they didn’t need.
“For now, we are focusing on the original store and trying to get sales to rebound in Charlotte,” Harth said. “Eventually we hope to reopen in Chapel Hill and Raleigh, and we regret any hardships to our customers who were disappointed by the closings.”
Although Laura Holcombe isn’t a vegan herself, she was disappointed that the Living Kitchen in Chapel Hill was closed.
“We drove all the way from Cary just to find out that the restaurant was closed,” Holcombe said. “I wish they would have at least put an announcement on their Facebook about it because I checked before we left, and there was no announcement about them closing anywhere.”
One loyal Living Kitchen customer, Jeffrey Anderson, said he appreciated the wide array of plant-based options on Living Kitchen’s menu. As a vegan, Anderson has been to the original Living Kitchen location in Charlotte, as well as the former locations in Raleigh and Chapel Hill many times.
“I was really excited when I heard Living Kitchen was opening in Chapel Hill in 2017,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to find really good vegetarian and vegan places, and it felt good to support a business who uses such healthy ingredients.”