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Yancy's restaurant closes its doors

Posted July 16, 2008

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— The sluggish economy is taking its toll in Raleigh. After just two years on Fayetteville Street, Yancy's restaurant is closed.

"I had no problem working here. I loved working here,” former employee Lorenzo Jones said.

When Jones showed up for work Tuesday, he found a sign on the door that told him Yancy's was no more.

Jones said he was worried it might happen. The Cajun restaurant filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

Jones said that in recent months, it had been tough keeping supplies and food on kitchen shelves.

"Out of trash bags, out of eggs, out of bacon, out of steaks. (There were) people we had to turn away because there was no food,” he said.

Harvey Yancy was a stockholder in the restaurant.

"It's been a nightmare," he said.

Yancy's, which opened in late 2006, is among a string of downtown businesses that have closed recently. Three nightclubs in the restored warehouse district west of downtown Raleigh shut down without warning in November.

The three West Davie Street clubs were part of The Raleigh Depot, owned by Rochester, N.Y., businessman Ronnie Davis.

With the new downtown convention center scheduled to open in two months and a new city plaza expected next year, city leaders have high hopes on revitalizing the downtown Raleigh area.

"I am sad to hear that they are going,” Raleigh Councilman Philip Isley said of Yancy's closing.

Isley said downtown growth is here to stay, however, and pointed to other successful businesses in the area.

He said Yancy's problems were its own.

"It's failure is due to its own financial situation versus the reality of the developing downtown. There are so many other restaurants that are still here and seem to be doing fine,” Isley said.

Recently, Vango Foods Inc. took primary ownership of Yancy's to try to turn the restaurant around.

Vango describes itself on its Web site as "a food service management company who specialize in liquidating trouble businesses and and restaurants." Yancy's is the only establishment the company said it runs, and it was still featured on the site Wednesday night.

The owner told WRAL that Yancy's finances were already in too much trouble to save the business.

Harvey Yancy said he has not ruled out trying to reopen the restaurant sometime in the future.


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  • dwntwnboy Jul 17, 2008

    Never went to Yancey's because of bad word of mouth. That is where you get your business, word of mouth and repeat customers. I'm hooked on the Batisstella's New Orleans Kitchen in the Crabtree Inn on Arrow Drive above Crabtree. The chef is from New Orleans, very small space- like 12 tables right now, quiet, clean, only been opened a little while and the food has been fantastic every time I'm there. They take reservations and the chef makes everything fresh as it's ordered. We had a Blackened Pork Tenderloin Quesadilla and it was FANTASTIC, the chef doesn't even cut the ingredients for the salsa that was on the side until it's ordered, now THAT is fresh. Not that expensive either, but only open 5-9 Mon-Sat.

  • Jeremiah Jul 17, 2008

    yancy's was great. the food was delicous, and the atmospher was fun.

  • clover1019 Jul 17, 2008

    there are many great restaurants i am willing to make the 25 minute trip downtown for. we usually try to go on fri or sat nights though so we can hit up a night spot afterwards an use our gas to the max! The Mint has fantastic food and another secret is the Riviera restaurant it is simply amazing! if there are places you are interested in trying you can always check out zspotlight.com and buy one of their half off gift certificates. Parking is a little annoying to me too. But you just have to suck it up and walk a little ways-if the weather is nice what more do you have to complain about?? Its always sad to see an entrepreneur fail-but apparently this place was doomed from the start.

  • ncwebguy Jul 17, 2008

    Mr. Yancy's problems stem from the fact that he knows food (I loved everything I ate at Black Dog cafe, now Rum Runners in City Market), but doesn't know a thing about running a restaurant --- happy customers = repeat business + word of mouth advertising!

    His well-crafted persona (he did jail time!) makes it easy for fools with more money than sense to "give him one more chance." The city of Raleigh was *not* that fool, but the owner of the Hudson was (for a while). Ed Mitchell at The Pit fits into the same category, with a less shady background. One nightclub with three doors/themes is not a "trend" of downtown tanking.

    I've never eaten at Zydego, but it seems to be doing something right so far. I had high hopes for The Big Easy, but it seems little more than Zataran's spice packages. Martin Street Pizza is the real deal -- crust, sauce, cheese, and in-house sausage and other toppings.

    The Mint won't get bailed out -- $ went to *upfit* the space. And it may succeed!

  • disco2drivin Jul 17, 2008

    And what is this fascination with DOWNTOWN? - Paul Revere

    Better question...why are you and others so against DOWNTOWN?

  • PlanetX Jul 17, 2008

    I've only been to Yancy's once - seeemed to be an OK place, but we went for Sunday brunch. Not a lot of folks there though, so I'm not surprised it went under. Oh, and to the poster who said NC has the worst drivers - it's because of all the northern idiots who have flooded our state with their horrendously rude driving habits. We were fine until they came along...

  • SuperNupe Jul 17, 2008

    Yancy's closes down and re-opens all the time... They started over by Moore Square, that closed... Opened in Durham... that closed... Opened up at the Warehouse downtown... that closed... and now this one closed... I'm sure he'll be back... maybe

  • rogerkneebend Jul 17, 2008

    Which was a better place to eat? Yancy's or Big Easy?

  • hooch Jul 17, 2008

    The first 12 to 24 months is when alot of restaurants fail, so I would hardly put this as a sign of the troubled economy, especially since he had filed for bankruptcy in January 2008 which means he had issues prior to then.

  • PaulRevere Jul 17, 2008

    Maybe people don't want to "walk a couple of blocks" because they don't want to get harassed by homeless bums. And what is this fascination with DOWNTOWN?