Finnigan’s Wake to close for good Oct. 30

This is a reprint of the Winston-Salem Journal article, it is not mine, I don’t own it. Michael is my cohost and he wrote it for the Journal. Here is the original article. I just wanted the copyright issue out of the way.

Finnigan’s Wake, a mainstay bar and restaurant downtown for 15 years, has announced it will close permanently on Oct. 30.

Owner Philip “Opie” Kirby” posted an announcement on the business’ Facebook page on Monday.

“It’s been an amazing 15 years. One-third of my life has been in this space that you helped create. People make the place and we’ve been blessed with the best staff and customers. Y’all have always stepped up and made our events, fundraisers, and community outreach your own. Your generosity has multiplied over the years to make Winston Salem a better place to live.”

Finnigan’s Wake, 620 Trade St., was one of the first restaurants in the Downtown Arts District, opening in 2006. It celebrated its 15th anniversary on Oct. 6.

Like many restaurants this year, Finnigan’s Wake had reduced its hours — in particular eliminating Sunday brunch — as a result of the labor shortage that has affected many industries during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kirby said in an email that the decision to close was not related to the coronavirus pandemic. “We’ve stayed steady thanks to our amazing community,” he said.

Instead, Kirby, 47, said he personally was ready for a change. “It’s time for me to do something different after this many years in the business. Looking for a new adventure,” he said.

Finnigan’s Wake was known for its big St. Patrick’s Day parties, as well its annual fundraisers for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, in which hundreds of people would get their heads shaved outside the restaurant to help raise money for pediatric cancer research. This fall’s fundraiser raised $50,000.

But, perhaps most of all, Finnigan’s was known for its unassuming owner, who always had a smile for everyone and was known for posting positive, supportive sayings on social media.

Some of his Facebook messages include:

“Don’t fill the space with the first person who fits. Fill the space with the right person who fits.”

“You have more bounce to the ounce. Don’t ever forget it!”

“Gratitude is good.”

His most recent one, on Saturday: “Walk your path.”

Kirby said he didn’t quite know what his future path will be. But he definitely wants to do some volunteering.

 

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