GREENSBORO, N.C. — A long time favorite Piedmont restaurant will not reopen.
Jack’s Corner Mediterranean Deli is a Greensboro restaurant on the corner of Spring Garden and Josephine Boyd Streets, directly across from UNC Greensboro.
For over 28 years, they served Mediterranean cuisine to folks that studied or worked nearby. They closed when the pandemic forced us to shelter in place this spring.
During this time, the family owned restaurant met and decided that now is a good time to leave the restaurant business.
“What really made this decision was the pandemic. It knocked the socks off of everybody. Maybe this is the time to let it go,” said Jack Bishara, one of the owners of Jack’s Corner. “It happened a little sooner than what we wanted, but we did.”
Jack’s Corner could have remained in business but running a restaurant during a pandemic is a whole new experience.
First Carolina Delicatessen is down the street from Jack’s Corner. Manager Dean Vial explained what he had to focus on to keep his established business running.
“We do food to go easily, naturally. So we didn’t have to switch gears,” Vial said.
Bishara said the restaurant business model is changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After nearly 30 years in business, the family didn’t want to adapt their model to fit the pandemic.
“You got to go in learning. Change everything. We didn’t have the energy to do that,” Bishara said.
Giving up the restaurant is a tough decision. It’s something Vial understands.
“This restaurant here is not my job. It’s who I am. I’ve been here a long time,” Vial said.
Vial didn’t see Jack’s Corner as a rival. Instead, they were members of the Greensboro restaurant family.
“Us restaurant folks kind of feel for each other, and seeing someone drop out doesn’t bring me any pleasure. Makes me feel bad,” Vial said.
No more early mornings. No more checking vendor orders. What will Bishara do now that he doesn’t have to run Jack’s Corner?
“Believe it or not, walking around the block. Talking to neighbors. It’s unbelievable,” he said.
Jack’s Corner posted the following statement on the restaurant’s website:
“To Our Valued Friends and Guests:
It is with deeply mixed feelings that we announce the closing of Jack’s Corner Mediterranean Deli. We are grateful to all our guests and our hardworking, long-term employees for their support. We closed for a variety of reasons, the COVID-19 pandemic among them, and we did not make this decision lightly.
We celebrate more than 28 years of welcoming our guests, introducing them (and Greensboro) to Mediterranean cuisine, and serving them like family. We watched young children grow into adults who then brought their own children to try authentic falafel and tabbouleh for the first time. Jack’s became a community, where people gathered to share stories, listen to music, and engage in lively discussions. While the food nourished our customers, our guests nourished our relationships. We made countless dear friends along the way, and for all this we thank each of you.
The community embraced Jack’s Corner and made it a veritable Greensboro institution: what started out as a 25-seat mom-and-pop spot in the heart of the lovely UNC-G community soon had to expand seating and parking capacity to accommodate our customers’ demand. We could not have done it without their support, and we are humbled that we succeeded for nearly three decades as an independent, family-owned restaurant in a very tough business sector.
We are excited to see what’s in store for our great corner. We are confident that a new business will flourish on our property, which is now available for lease. We look forward to it forging deep, long-lasting relationships with the university and broader communities, as Jack’s did, and becoming a new cornerstone in the neighborhood. And to satisfy your cravings for authentic Mediterranean specialties, we encourage you to visit Jack’s sister, Ginah, at Wallstreet Deli and Catering on W. Friendly Ave.”