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Cornelius News

Like the original in Greece, Acropolis was a pillar of community

May 1. On Sunday hundreds of diners came by to socialize, reminisce and enjoy a final meal at the now-closed Acropolis Cafe and Grille. The gathering place closed for good at 8 pm to make way for a QT Convenience Store; a public hearing on the new project is tonight at Town Hall. There, the discussion will be all about the number of parcels (five), how many acres (3.16) and elevations (the new building will back up to a new roundabout).

But Sunday was all about long-timers gathering at a beloved institution for a last meal.

Cornelius attorney Cathy Bentz and husband Al (main picture) have eaten lunch there almost every Thursday for more than a dozen years. With birds nesting just outside the window as the couple ate, she talked about all the community groups that have met in a private dining room over the years.

“Kiwanis, Rotary, even mahjong,” she said. Jack Wilson, a resident of Antiquity, says his book club is moving to Lake Town Tavern where there’s a new kitchen manager (who is moving from the Cook House).

The Ferrons are from Buffalo


It was also a spot for travelers on various journeys up and down I-77 from Ohio and New York to points south: Lisa and Scott Ferron pulled into Acropolis on their way to Buffalo.

The Kapakos and Teis families, the owners of Acropolis, greeted diners with warm thank yous. “We would like to extend our sincerest appreciation and gratitude to those who have supported Acropolis and made the past 17 years a reality,” said a message at the front door. “We are also grateful to have had some wonderful staff through the years.”

Only in Cornelius would a restaurant that dates back to 2003 be so fondly missed. But it became a gathering place where people got to know each other, a rare thing in a town that took a different approach to growth than Davidson. Davidson Town Commissioner Brian Jenest, a well-known planning expert, says no drive-throughs of any kind are permitted for aesthetic purposes and to encourage interaction with people inside the business.

The one in Greece

Acropolis was one of those places where people from all walks of life interacted. It was our version of Cheers, a pillar of community—with a yummy Greek touch.

It opened in 2003 in a former steak house/chain restaurant. “I remember welcoming them when they opened in our town,” said Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam, along with fellow Commissioner Jim Duke.

Washam and Duke have held frequent community meetings in Acropolis. They have not said where they will meet in the future and the May meeting has been cancelled.

The Acropolis property is assessed at $1.78 million, according to Mecklenburg County tax records, with Acropolis Enterprises LLC, as the owner. Current annual property taxes on the restaurant are $19,038.

If the rezoning plan for the property is approved by the Town Board, half of the 3.16 acre site, which includes Acropolis, will be developed for the QT building and infrastructure while the other half of the property will remain pervious. Current plans call for 16 gas pumps, with the convenience store on a 45 degree angle towards the Catawba/Highway 21 intersection.

QT officials will not return phone calls, but they are expected to be at the Town Board meeting tonight.