C-Street Mexican Grill is now under new ownership, with Damon and LuAnn Bartolo having purchased the restaurant from Keith and Catherine Norris, owners of Vito’s Pizzeria of Wrightsville Beach and Vito’s Midtown Pizza.
Keith Norris launched the business in 2011 and has worked hard to grow the business through relationships with area schools and businesses. He said that with the changing landscape of restaurants prompted by COVID-19, it’s important the he be focused on a singular concept.
Vito’s Midtown, which opened in March, was Norris’ 20th restaurant opening since 1996 and none of the restaurants he’s owned has gone under.
“It’s time for me to transition to a new stage where I’m no longer on the front line every day,” Keith Norris said. “C-Street needs owners who are on the front line day in and day out, and it’s getting harder for me to give it the attention it requires.”
“We want to love this place like he has,” LuAnn Bartolo said. “We plan to carry on the way he has.”
The Bartolos, who both have extensive backgrounds in the food industry, have asked Keith Norris to mentor them through the transition of ownership, which he said he was more than happy to do.
“It’s easier to let go knowing that it’s in good hands,” Keith Norris said.
While Damon Bartolo’s background is in corporate restaurants, and LuAnn Bartolo’s is in catering, the couple have longed to own an independent “mom-and-pop” type restaurant where they can get to know the regulars.
As for taking over during a pandemic, both Keith Norris and the Bartolos agree that every restaurant owner is having to learn the new logistics of the restaurant industry.
“One benefit of taking over now is that things have slowed down, so we have a chance to get a hold of things during a slower time,” Damon Bartolo said.
The Bartolos say they plan to keep things pretty much as is for now, though they do plan to experiment with some new menu items such as Mexican street corn. They will be focusing on getting to know their 20-plus employees, hearing their suggestions and taking suggestions from customers as well.
As a fast-casual model, C-Street is well set up for carry-out, and the Bartolos are looking at ways to modify their service to include curbside pickup and possibly delivery.
C-Street Mexican Grill is located at 4410 Shipyard Blvd. in the Long Leaf Shopping Center and is currently open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
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