Empire Eats buying Olde Raleigh Chinese Buffet/Hideaway BBQ

Empire Eats buying Olde Raleigh Chinese Buffet/Hideaway BBQ

February, 09, 2012, by David

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Empire Eats is buying the Olde Raleigh Chinese Buffet building just off of Capital Boulevard, the N&O reports.  The short lived Chinese Buffet was no success, taking over a year to open and and lacking any relevant external branding for their specialty, the restaurant still looked more like Hideaway BBQ than a Chinese restarant. The area is largely a retail sink hole with a successful but low-end flea market and other low income focused businesses.  Hideaway and Olde Raleigh were doomed.  Other retail losses include the the recent closing of the bowling alley a block away.  The distinctly un-urban setting just hasn't lent itself to cross pollination or business synsergy.  For Empire the N&O says Empire's CEO Greg Hatem said the "building is ideal to use a catering kitchen since it is close to the highway and close to downtown." That non-public facing use is perfect for now, we imagine some of the equipment is even in line with the Pit's kitchen needs, but make no mistake: catering is a temporary use for the building.  Ultimately one of the few redeveloped commercial properties between the city and 440 the location represents a near-term potential gold mine as city planning moves to implement changes to the area.    

Empire has long been the primary successor for undervalued properties on the verge of neighborhood revitalization.  With big success downtown and in the warehouse district, Empire's strategic development and smart real estate deals tend to feed of of one another. The real estate company has been able to construct ladders of redevelopment that coincide with the city's investment.  The city has spent the last few years working on revisions to a new plan for Capital Boulevard- while some of the details are in flux, the future may bring light rail, new greenways and the rethought traffic patterns.  If those changes pan out, this is the next area of opportunity for commercial developers like Empire. 

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, Other posts by David.


Empire EatsCapital Boulevard Corridor PlanHideaway BBQ


  • Dan Schram
    02/09 06:03 PM

    I hope they keep some of the remnants from Hideaway that are still in the building like the Johnny Cash paintings on the glass, etc.

  • no
    02/09 07:12 PM

    rip olde raleigh, but i look forward to what they do with it

  • Marky Mark
    02/09 07:15 PM

    Sooooo…....weren’t they using the Duck/Fai Thai space for catering and food prep? If they move that work into the Hideaway space, it will be interesting to see if they re-visit the Duck space for restaurant use.

  • I'maSweetsin
    02/10 08:23 AM

    This area is a total dump except for the bangin flea market. It’s crappy but awesome crappy with a pretty good record shop in the way back. Maybe this will start to turn things around!

  • Amy G H
    02/10 08:28 AM

    I hope Empire Eats can do something interesting with the space. I went to the Hideaway BBQ a few times and it really is a great space, it’s just an unfortunate location.

  • C
    02/10 08:52 AM

    N&O said there was already a tenant for the D&D / Fai Thai space.  Anyone know anything about that?

  • kg
    02/10 09:05 AM

    that’s a lot of catering

  • Eleanor
    02/10 11:10 AM

    That whole stretch of Capital Blvd could use a major facelift.  Esp as the gateway to Raleigh.

  • tc
    02/10 12:16 PM

    So….does this mean Empire Eats will open another restaurant that will be great for a month, then the talent leaves and the quality plummets?

  • WM
    02/10 03:21 PM

    No, it means the city already plans to redevelop Capital Blvd and Empire is playing the Monopoly board.

  • Sue_in_Raleigh
    02/10 03:42 PM

    Here’s a link to information about the city’s Capital Boulevard Corridor Study, which considered what redevelopment in that area might look like:


  • arthurb3
    02/11 01:58 PM

    They also own all the old wharehouses along capital along Pigeon Branch Creek where Reds Beach music club was. Pretty soon they can put a sign up “Welcome to Empire City”

  • Vince E
    02/13 09:31 AM

    that place was an absolute dump and gave off the feeling of being a front for the yakuza or something… glad to see it helping another Raleigh business that actually creates jobs and provides a good service to the city.

  • NCSU
    02/15 01:42 PM

    That building/location has been a curse to every restaurant that has ever been there, even back in the day when that area was thriving otherwise. I might be wrong, but I think it was originally constructed to be an Andy Griffith’s Restaurant. Anybody else remember that?

  • Djhay
    04/21 02:20 AM

    - awesome blog! nilovg all the asian locations. we may be moving to cambodia soon and want to take our business with us. this makes us happy to see that it can be done. you two are awesome photographers. = )

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