Shuttered restaurant set to re-open

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Owner Sharif Elsayed cleans the windows on Tuesday at The Spicy Pickle Restaurant and Bar on Zebulon Road. Elsayed plans to re-open the restaurant today.


Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A local restaurant is set to resume operations after being closed down last month by the N.C. Department of Revenue.

The Spicy Pickle Restaurant and Bar at 2921 Zebulon Road will re-open at 11 a.m. today, said owner Sharif Elsayed, who also owns the Chopped Panini in the Westridge Village Shopping Center on Sunset Avenue.

Schorr Johnson, director of public affairs for the N.C. Department of Revenue, said he can confirm that the Department of Revenue reliquished control of the Spicy Pickle back to Elsayed, but because of taxpayer privacy laws he couldn’t provide any more details.

Johnson had said previously that the state agency seized the Spicy Pickle because of nonpayment of taxes. Elsayed said he didn’t pay the Department of Revenue any money to have the restaurant re-open after the agency originally wanted him to pay as much as $9,000 in back taxes. 

“The Department of Revenue and I have worked out a deal to make things fair, and they’re going to pursue the back taxes that’s owed to them by someone else,” Elsayed said. “I think this is past due, and we should have never been shut down the first time. I’m excited, and a lot of people have been patiently waiting for us to re-open.”

Elsayed said he has made the Spicy Pickle into a new limited liability company. Elsayed has added more tables and seating, going from 50 to 68 chairs. He said the restaurant is looking to hire around 12 additional employees and that people interested in employment can come by the restaurant to pick up an application.

Elsayed said the Spicy Pickle also has added several new items to the menu, including stuffed jalapeno poppers, honey sriracha cheese bites, cheesesteaks, one-pound BLT sandwiches, homemade chicken salad, barbecue and ribs.

Today’s re-opening coincides with the live entertainment theme that Spicy Pickle will continue to have on Wednesdays along with 50-cent wings available to dine-in customers, Elsayed said. There will be daily specials on food and drinks, including children and senior citizens eating half-off on Tuesdays and all food during happy hour between 3 to 6 p.m. during the week will be tax free, he said.

Elsayed said he understands some people may be skeptical of what has occurred with the restaurant since it opened in January 2017, which includes the fact that Elsayed had closed it before to make some changes before it was shut down by the Department of Revenue. However, Elsayed said he wants to assure the community there should be no more setbacks from this point forward.

“That situation with the Department of Revenue is water under the bridge, and I just hope people will give me a fair chance,” Elsayed said. “If they do, I guarantee they will leave here happy.”