Landlord files eviction papers against owner of popular Charlott - | WBTV Charlotte

Landlord files eviction papers against owner of popular Charlotte diner

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Eviction papers have been filed against a popular Charlotte diner, days after a mysterious ten-day closure sparked rumors on social media.

According to court documents, eviction papers were filed in Mecklenburg County court on Monday by 1921 Commonwealth Ave. Holdings, LLC.  The company is the landlord of the property for The Penguin Drive In.

The popular Plaza Midwood diner was mysteriously closed for ten days, sparking talk about the restaurant's future. The restaurant has not been open since last Monday.

WBTV spoke with two employees sitting outside of the restaurant on Monday morning, as they waited for the doors to be unlocked. They believed the restaurant was opening that day.

Penguin owner Lisa Ballentine released a statement on Monday night about the closure.

"After an unfortunate and tragic death in the family of one of our staff members, we as a staff decided it was best for The Penguin Drive-In to close for seven days this past week. We are a small staff, and our staff is like family," Ballentine said.

"When one of our family members is faced with what happened recently, it affects all of us," she continued. "We felt it was in the best interest of the staff to take a pause."

Ballentine said the restaurant would be open on Wednesday, but when WBTV went out the doors were still locked and the building was empty.

The Penguin Drive-In has been under new ownership since 2010.

Since then, there has been financial trouble, including a lawsuit from the landlords claiming the owners defaulted on an $18,000 loan. That lawsuit was later thrown out.

According to the eviction filing, owners of The Penguin owe $4,500 in rent each month, with the lease ending on May 31, 2015.

The papers claim The Penguin "ceased to operate and failed to maintain electric services at the premises."

Court papers say it appears the building has been "abandoned."

There was a notice from Piedmont Natural Gas left on the front door. WBTV asked PNG if the gas had been cut off to the building, but officials cited federal law for not being able to answer questions about customer-specific accounts.

A phone number listed for the restaurant appears to be disconnected.

A trial is set for August 14 in the case.

WBTV has reached out to Lisa Ballentine for comment, but has not received a response.

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