Queen City Q closes permanently after COVID-19, protests, RNC move from Charlotte

Queen City Q closes permanently after COVID-19, protests, RNC move from Charlotte
Queen City Q closes permanently after COVID-19, protests, RNC move from Charlotte (Source: Courtesy of Bryan Meredith)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Charlotte Observer) - Queen City Q is closing its doors after eight years in uptown Charlotte.

After first closing on March 15 due to COVID-19, the restaurant reopened two weeks later for to-go orders. Later, the dining room reopened with limited seating to provide social distancing.

Then he closed his business temporarily amid uptown’s protests over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

But the announcement that the RNC was leaving Charlotte was the final straw in the restaurant’s decision to permanently close, managing partner Bryan Meredith told The Charlotte Observer.

“You cannot take a restaurant that operates on the thinnest of margins anyway and then take 90 plus percent of its business away from them,” Meredith said. “I don’t care how deep your pockets are. At some point you have to evaluate where you’re going to be.”

“We were clearly going to have action at our place,” during the Republican National Convention, Meredith said. Queen City Q is located just 100 yards from the Spectrum Center, where President Donald Trump would have taken the stage at the RNC. It is just one of many businesses struggling in uptown Charlotte with this combination of challenges brought by COVID-19, the RNC move and protests.

But Meredith isn’t assigning blame to the latest decision. “I’m not going to blame it on [Gov. Roy] Cooper or Trump or their petty fight. The RNC leaving is just one small piece of the big picture,” Meredith said.

Queen City Q opened in February 2012. Meredith said he loved the business and now feels a “big picture sadness” for his employees, his customers and this city.

“Last night (Tuesday), I sat there streaming one of the channels and watching uptown Charlotte, and I was in tears watching what was going on there,” Meredith said.

Meredith said he probably will not open another restaurant or start a new business — “not at my age.”

But what comes next, he admits he doesn’t know. “The one thing I’ve learned through the years about crises is crises always create opportunities,” Meredith said. “You just have to look around and grab it when it comes. So we’ll see what happens.”