90-year-old iconic restaurant in Raleigh opening for one day only

15December 2021

— One of Raleigh’s oldest restaurants has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. On Wednesday, the doors will open for seven hours for the customers who missed it.

The owners of The Mecca will serve breakfast and lunch between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., although reservations will not be allowed. All tips received from customers throughout the day will be donated to the Salvation Army USA.

The menu for Wednesday was not posted, but The Mecca posted on Facebook that its staples will return, among them the lemon herb chicken.

Like other restaurants, The Mecca closed for safety reasons when the pandemic began. It has remained closed for so long largely due to a lack of workers, opening for just one other one-day-only event last summer.

Owners hope to finally reopen next year but said it’s been a challenge finding staff.

The Mecca Restaurant: It's that time.

The Dombalis family opened Mecca Lucheonette on May 1, 1930, at the corner of Fayetteville and Hargett Streets. Seven years later, the restaurant relocated to its current home at 13 E. Martin St. It is known for late-night eats and simple staples including homemade soups, burgers and sandwiches.

In 2018, after almost 90 years of family ownership, The Mecca was bought out by Empire Eats, the local restaurant group behind The Pit, Sitti, Gravy, Raleigh Times and Morning Times. Until the pandemic forced the restaurant to temporary close, the owners didn’t change what people loved about the landmark eatery.

Mecca in downtown Raleigh

WRAL lifestyle editor Kathy Hanrahan contributed to this report.


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