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Chapel Hill staple, Al’s Burger Shack, files for bankruptcy

Al's Burger Shack held a benefit night Sunday afternoon for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

Al's Burger Shack held a benefit night Sunday afternoon for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

On Friday, Al’s Burger Shack, a favorite burger joint for UNC students located on West Franklin Street, filed for bankruptcy protection. 

The restaurant, which came to Chapel Hill in 2013, was named one of the South’s best burgers by Garden & Gun and one of the Top Five Burgers of all time by Burger Truth. TripAdvisor also named Al’s Burger Shack the best burger in America in 2018.  

In addition to the Franklin Street location, Al’s has two other branches also located in Chapel Hill. 

“While sales are strong at our three locations, we overextended during expansion and need protection and relief while we reorganize,” Al’s Burger Shack said in a statement over email. 

JP Cournoyer, legal counsel for Al’s Burger Shack, said in a statement that Al’s filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to obtaining high-interest loans as part of expanding the business and opening two new locations.

“This is precisely the type of problem that Chapter 11 bankruptcy is designed to fix,” he said. 

Former UNC student Meredith Branch, who graduated in 2018, expressed her disappointment in the business claiming bankruptcy. 

“When you hear the word 'burger' in Chapel Hill, there’s only one place that comes to mind,” she said. “If they were to close down, it would be devastating. Chapel Hill would be missing one of its staples.”

Cournoyer said the chances of Al’s closing for good are slim. 

“I feel confident in our ability to successfully reorganize and that Al’s Burger Shack will be around for years to come,” he said. 

Al’s seconded Cournoyer’s statement, saying that they do not have plans to close in the near future. 

“As grateful as we were to have received accolades in recent years, we are even more so to have been afforded this opportunity to regroup,” the business said. “Rest assured we have absolutely no plans to stop slinging burgers and hope to see you at Al's soon.”


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