Iconic Soul Gastrolounge locks in deal for NoDa

Iconic Soul Gastrolounge is moving to NoDa and expects to return later this year.

Iconic Soul Gastrolounge locks in deal for NoDa

Soul Gastrolounge will be making a triumphant comeback. Andy and Lesa Kastannas, the owners of Soul Gastrolounge, have secured a space in NoDa. The restaurant moved nine months ago after closing its home in Plaza Midwood due to rising rent.

Andy Kastanas is the managing partner of the firm. He says, "We are so touched and grateful by how much our community has loved us during this time." The outpouring of love has sustained us, and fuelled our resolve to return.

The Pass at The Pass, 4100 Raleigh Ave. is planning a 6,400 square foot restaurant on the ground floor. This will be triple the size of its original location. It will also feature a reimagined Tattoo Liquor Lounge with a larger scope and separate entrance.

Third & Urban's The Pass, a mixed-use development of 260,000 square feet with offices, retail and upscale apartments is a project that Third & Urban has developed. The first phase, which includes Soul, is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2023.

Hank Farmer says that Third & Urban's managing partner, Hank Farmer, is looking forward to filling in the space around Soul with other operators who share the same values.

The space was secured after nine months and five failed attempts. Lesa Kastanas said the experience served as a stark reminder that small family restaurants have diminishing prospects within the current commercial real-estate landscape.

She says that failure can be disastrous.

The Kastanas are a staple in Charlotte's hospitality industry since the 1990s. Their ventures include Mythos and Cosmos as well as The Diamond, CLTCH and The Diamond.

She says that money is the biggest challenge, from the construction costs to inflation and food prices and the labor shortage.

She says, 'But it's time to move on and find a solution.' The opportunity is to be part of Charlotte, which has been largely forgotten. It's also a chance to create a community that includes spaces we love.

The Pass is near the Independent Picture House and Black Box Theater.

Scott Weaver, an interior designer and musician at Plaza Midwood who was also the architect of the original Soul location, will be in charge of the design.

I always thought of Soul as an apartment, when it comes to its feel. Weaver says that it is like moving into a new house. You take your favorite objects and transform them to fit the new space.

Fans of Soul will be happy to see the return of iconic pieces such as the taxidermy peacock, the Duy Huynh artwork, the booths, the custom bar, the giant, rumored-to-be-haunted mirror from Tattoo and the DJ booth.

Weaver says that a larger space would allow the vision to be realized even better and invite more people into this seductive cocktail destination.

Lesa Kastanas announced that there would be new surprises, which will pay homage to the past while celebrating the future.

She says, "We are confident that Soul's spirit will be there."

The new kitchen will be much larger than its original size. The new space will address issues such as storage, food preparation and office space.

"Triple the size might seem overwhelming on the surface. Lesa says that a large part of the square footage will be used to solve problems that were not apparent to customers, but that our staff faces every day.

The catering demand will also increase, something that was not possible before. The space will be used to prepare Soul's food trucks, which have been serving up favorite dishes such as Asian Glazed Pork Belly Tacos and Lamb Lolly Skewers during its absence. The food truck is still available for special events in the city.

Andy Kastanas: 'The truck keeps us in people's minds, because we won't go anywhere.'

Soul in Plaza Midwood closed its doors in August, after the two-story building was put up for sale. Since 2009, the long-time culinary favourite had been a fixture at Central and Pecan Avenues. Over the years, publications like The New York Times Eater, Lonely Planet, and Thrillist have brought it national attention.

The Kastanas’s Sister, formerly KiKi Bistro and Tattoo Lounge are also closed.

The couple had invested over $1.2 million in these three concepts. The couple had to deal with a lease restructuring that included a 114% hike and the sale the building where their restaurants were located. This.085-acre parcel was sold for $3.025million. There are no plans for the site.

Cluck Design is an architect. Gais Construction is a general contractor.