A Community Staple Closes Permanently

The Lighthouse Restaurant, a place I had many a breakfast, a meeting, a conversation, even where one of my business partners and I had our first meeting, announced that they are closing for good. I don’t know what could be said that Michael Hastings didn’t already say. Know that this is his article in the Winston-Salem Journal and I’m only reprinting/reposting it. Thank you, Michael.


©Unks/WSJournal

The Lighthouse, one of the oldest operating Greek-owned restaurants in Winston-Salem, is closing for good after lunch service today.

“It’s just the pandemic. The revenue is not there,” said co-owner Steve Doumas, whose family has owned the business for most of its 66 years.

The Lighthouse, which first opened in 1954, also is considered the second-oldest restaurant downtown, behind Murphy’s Lunch (which opened in 1950 and currently is temporarily closed).

George Pappas opened the Lighthouse in the West End in 1954 at the intersection of Burke Street and Brookstown Avenue, across the street from its current location at 905 Burke St.

Within a few years, Alex Fragakis took it over. In 1962, he hired a young Nick Doumas, who turned out to be a natural in the kitchen and dining room. Doumas soon became the face and warm personality of the Lighthouse and would remain so for the next 50 years. Nick Doumas’ brother Louis joined the restaurant in 1966 and the two Doumas brothers became sole partners in the restaurant when Fragakis retired in the 1970s.
The Lighthouse became one of Winston-Salem’s most popular diners, a place to meet a friend for breakfast anytime or for such staples as spaghetti, fried flounder or pork chops.

In 1982, the Doumas brothers moved across the street to the current location. Nick Doumas died in 2016 at age 78 after an accident with an all-terrain vehicle, but the family continued to operate the business.

The current owners are Louis Doumas and Nick Doumas’ children: Steve Doumas, Joe Doumas, Vera Doumas Tucker and Gena Doumas Cook. Louis Doumas has not been actively involved in the restaurant since the pandemic began, but his son Harold Doumas has continued to manage the restaurant.

“It’s been a tough decision,” said Steve Doumas, who separately owns Camel City BBQ downtown.

The Lighthouse closed from mid-March, when the pandemic began, until July 10.

“We never did takeout. For diners, it’s tough now. This is the kind of restaurant where people come to eat in,” he said. Many customers came to the Lighthouse for the people as much as the food. Many of them were older — in the high-risk group for COVID-19 — and much of the menu just didn’t travel well, making it unsuitable for takeout.

City council member John Larson was one of many regulars at the Lighthouse. “I had breakfast and lunch there today. Sometimes I ate there three times a day. I practically raised my daughter there,” Larson said Thursday. “It was a real meeting ground. You’d see the mayor or city council members there. Bankers, lawyers would come in. Everybody came to that restaurant.”

Mary Haglund — the founder of Mary’s Gourmet Diner, which also decided to close during the pandemic — said that her first job in Winston-Salem was at the Lighthouse. “It was just one of those places where everyone really knew each other. The waitresses would always be cutting up and telling jokes,” she said. “And Nick and Louis, as long as you did your job, if you needed anything, you just had to ask and they would help you if they could. It was a fascinating place to work.”

The family owns the property at 905 Burke. Steve Doumas said that family members have not decided what to do about it. He left open the possibility that the Lighthouse could return.

“We don’t know what the future holds. As the five owners, we haven’t sat down and decided where we are headed next,” he said. “We might possibly look at reopening and reinventing the Lighthouse in the future.”

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 167

Chef Myers with TMWATT Crew!

In Episode #167, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray, and Lea talk about:

  • Chef Travis Myers is here for the big reveal of the name of his and Ryan Oberle’s new, long-anticipated restaurant, slated to open late this year, early next year.
  • Tony DiLisio.
  • Carmine’s Italian Restaurant closes for good, becomes food service for BreakTime Billiards.
  • Ichiban Japanese Restaurant.
  • Diamondback Grill.
  • Krankies.
  • Footnote Coffee and Cocktails.
  • Dr. Chop’s Soul Cafe.
  • Food Freaks.
  • K&W.
  • Tim and Stephanie went to Grandma Ruby’s Country Cookin’, 1703 Restaurant, and Boone Doggies on their “staycation”
  • Other local restaurant news.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 166

In Episode #166, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray, and Lea talk about:

  • No podcast next week, Monday 8/31
  • West End Coffee House closes.
  • Cimarron closes until further notice.
  • A discussion about corporate entities posting across brand franchise social media and why that’s confusing for locations that have closed.
  • Ray visits Taste of the Triad.
  • Corks Caps & Taps is sold to Second and Green Tavern owners.
  • Zesto closed until at least 8/31 for maintenance, new staff, and menu revamp.
  • Other local restaurant news.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 165

In Episode #165, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray, and Lea talk about:

  • Sabrina Wingo is in to talk about Taste of the Triad, her life, career, and more. Tim talks about the food.
  • Miss Ora’s Kitchen reopens Thurs-Sat and Sweet Potatoes goes full-menu.
  • The Liberty Street Farmers Market reopens.
  • BLL Rotisserie Factory is highlighted in the Winston-Salem Journal.
  • Camel City BBQ Factory installs hands-free thermometers.
  • Carmine’s Italian Restaurant closes their dining room, returns to takeout, and curbside.
  • La Carretta throws some clickbait.
  • Zesto closed until at least 8/31 for maintenance, new staff, and menu revamp.
  • Other local restaurant news.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 164

In Episode #164, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray, and Lea talk about:

  • Miss Faith McKnight is in to talk about The Sweet Truth Bakery, her cakes, pies, life, career and more.
  • West End Coffee House announces that they will close at the end of the month.
  • Campus Gas reopens this week with coffee, beer and food, staggered throughout the week before hitting their regular service.
  • Hops Burger Bar reopens both locations for dine-in.
  • Other local restaurant news.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 163

In Episode #163, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim and Ray (Lea is on vacation) talk about:

  • NC Governor Roy Cooper enacts an 11pm curfew on alcohol sales.
  • 1703 Restaurant reopening after C-19 precautions.
  • Tim and Stephanie went to Boone and Tim talks about the cuisine they had.
  • BLL Rotisserie Factory reopens its dining room and Tim talks about it.
  • Pulliam’s Hot Dogs reopens after vacation.
  • Carolina’s Vineyards & Hops posts on Facebook that they will remain closed but will offer online sales, pickup and limited delivery services.
  • Local WSNC historian Fam Brownlee says Murphy’s Lunch will be reopening on August 10.
  • Other local restaurant news.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 162

In Episode #162, proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray and Lea talk about:

  • 1703 Restaurant closed temporarily due to C-19 precautions.
  • Alma Mexican closes until further notice to merge staff with The Porch and provide a safer environment for employees and guests.
  • Camino Bakery celebrates 9 years.
  • Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse has a new offer when you mention the ad we talk about on this podcast episode.
  • Finnigan’s Wake expands weekend hours.
  • Other local restaurant news.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 161

In Episode #161 proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray and Lea talk about:

  • Happy birthday to Street Team Steven!
  • Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant finally made an update to their Facebook page (sort of) which sparks a conversation about restaurants and their social media practices.
  • A little confusion about the Trade Street Diner/CiBo Trattoria Facebook page.
  • Cugino Forno is nearing completion of their new Clemmons location.
  • Other local restaurant news.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 160

In Episode #160 proudly recorded in The Less Desirables Studios (South). Zoom sponsored by Bull’s Tavern:

Tim, Ray and Lea talk about:

  • Paul’s Fine Italian Dining announces they are not reopening.
  • Trade Street Diner announces they are not reopening but the owners are opening a new Italian place in that spot with members of Paul’s staff/chefs. Tim questions why this seems odd and why is another prominent Italian restaurant is left off a list in the local paper in regards to the new restaurant.
  • DiLisio’s reopens today to dine-in.
  • Francesco’s goes “take-out only.”
  • Camino Bakery at the hospital, Lighthouse Restaurant, and Cowboy Brazilian Restaurant all reopen.
  • The new Courtyard by Marriott downtown opens a rooftop bar. Tim questions how they can open when other bars downtown cannot.
  • Alma Mexicana will close indefinitely later this month until things smooth out and the restaurant can be more at capacity.
  • Tim and Lea talk about “List” updates.
  • Winston-Salem Strong. This website includes the food and beverage list that we have been forging and resources for businesses and individuals that are needed at this time, including unemployment, SBA loans, tips for servers, and many other services. All this in one place. Winston-Salem Strong!
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

Carrabba’s Italian Grill Healthy, grilled meats, wood-fired pizzas, fresh ingredients, and phenomenal wine dinners. That’s just some of the offerings of Carrabba’s. And, Daniel Butner, the local proprietario, is salt of the earth and a pillar of good in the community. Go taste the goodness that is Carrabba’s and see why Tim and Ray are always talking it up!

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict, and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

Firebirds Woodfired Grill Confirms Reopening

I had heard rumors of a reopening of Firebirds Woodfired Grill, but it wasn’t evident by their Facebook, nor website that our local store had actually allowed for dine-in. So, I reached out and Scott Bowman, general manager of the Winston-Salem store wrote an email to me. Here’s what he said:

Good morning! I would love to catch you up on everything we are doing here at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. We appreciate you thinking about us.

We are open in our dining rooms. Currently half capacity.

We are open for take-out and delivery. Our delivery providers are door dash, uber eats and post mates. Door dash being the more popular choice. We offer curbside service as well. Parking is on the side of the building.

We have family meals for take-out only that have a choice of baby back ribs, wood grilled chicken, or our meatloaf. Ribs come with fries and the meatloaf and chicken come with mashed potatoes. Family meals also include a salad choice and sweet treat.

We do still have the “butcher cut” meats available. These come with steak seasoning to be cooked at home.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks again for thinking about Firebirds!

Regards, Scott Bowman, General Manager, Winston-Salem