Friday Gossip: Solas Now Owns The Rockford, Jackpot’s Last Weekend

April, 09, 2010, by Jedidiah

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photo by John Morris of Goodnight, Raleigh

It would seem, as stated to me earlier today, that sometimes life can imitate art in the most curious of ways. New Raleigh has heard from a few sources that our April Fools articles about Solas buying Jackpot and the fact that a crew of local musicians had organized to save it are very close to coming true only a week after posting them.

The word on the street is that Niall Hanley (owner of Solas, Hibernian and The Diner) now owns the building where The Rockford was located until it closed earlier this week. The Rockford and Jackpot were both owned by Michael D’amelio.

That said, the Jackpot building that will be having its last official days open this Friday and Saturday. So if you want to go by and say goodbye to Jackpot!, this weekend will be your last chance. The booze may run out before you get there.

No word on the future of The Rockford space or the building. Considering there is currently only one tenant in the building (since Catch 22 fled recently too), a lot could change in the near future. Niall now owns a building/restaurant on all four corners of the North St and Glenwood Ave intersection. We suspect another restaurant will occupy the space as it is already outfitted for such and Niall already owns a few. But will it serve the Mission Style Burrito and ABC?

Notes left on The Rockford’s door and the mourning continues.

See the The Jackpot {categories show="257|236|256|96" show_group="9" limit="1"}{category_name}{/categories} page.
See the Solas {categories show="257|236|256|96" show_group="9" limit="1"}{category_name}{/categories} page.
See the The Rockford {categories show="257|236|256|96" show_group="9" limit="1"}{category_name}{/categories} page.

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Politics, Other posts by Jedidiah.


Glenwood SouthJackpotNiall HanleySolasThe DinerHibernianRockford


  • Drew3D
    04/09 03:27 PM

    Wow this is too weird.

  • Bill
    04/09 04:11 PM

    For the love of God and all things sacred!  Niall Hanley - Please don’t kill the Rockford!

  • Will
    04/09 04:48 PM

    Niall Hanley’s vision for what Glenwood should be scares me a bit after he opened the soulless, gaudy recreation of South Beach that is Solas. The fact that he’s buying up more and more of Glenwood combined with his suspicious tastes worries me a bit. I hope in 10 years downtown Raleigh resembles more of a downtown Chicago bar scence than a downtown Miami club scene and I’m not sure that’s the direction Hanley is planning on taking it. I don’t know what his plans are for The Rockford and Jackpot but buying up beloved local spots with character and turning them into havens for fist pumpers in Ed Hardy shirts is not the right direction.

  • T-Plain
    04/09 05:19 PM

    Not a fan of Solas at all. But Hibernian has been a staple of Glenwood for some years now. And even though the Diner is just a Johnny Rockets by another name, it IS open 24 hours, which will fill the “it’s 4 am and I want some food of any quality” niche soon to be left vacant by IHOP. So I don’t really think Niall Hanley is just building watering holes for the cast of Jersey Shore. We’ll have to wait and see what happens, I guess.

  • jbee
    04/09 05:21 PM

    I don’t think it said he bought the jackpot building, just the rockford one. That said, we don’t know what the plans are yet, so everything else is just speculation.

  • Micah
    04/09 05:23 PM

    Will, I agree with you that “fist pumpers in Ed Hardy shirts” are not MY scene, but Niall Hanley is a businessman.  He will do what makes money, and you can’t really fault him for that.  Sure, I will curse / lament every time I drive past the former Rockford if I look up and see the place turned into a mini-Solas, but I am sure Mr. Hanley will be driving past me in the opposite lane smiling while delivering his bags of money to the bank.

  • Jenna
    04/09 05:57 PM

    I think the Jackpot building (and the IHOP) are two of several lots that have been bought by a developer who intends to do a larger mixed-use project in the area.

    Here’s the N&O story about it:

  • King D-Bag
    04/09 08:04 PM

    I wouldn’t mind what Hanley’s done if he at least put a little bit of thought into it. So far every venture that he’s gone into has been a mindless cliche. Let’s face it, an irish pub is right below a bar with a mechanical bull on the totem pole of creativity. I wish he’d actually try to add something to the town instead of just cranking out trite versions of old ideas.

  • DLGuerra
    04/09 08:18 PM

    I like the way Hanley has fitted out the Hibernian with all that old wood.  Same with the “library” room in Cary. After travelling in England, it’s the closest we can come to that pub experience. But we drive into Raleigh so my hubby can enjoy the Irish Bangers brought in from abroad, and the way the mashed potatoes are done.  I love the curry dish and can easily overdose on the soda bread.  The St. Baldrick’s events hosted in that venue have provided good money for charity.  I’m looking forward to the Fried Green Tomatoes at The Diner, but haven’t had a chance to try it yet. 

    In light of the closing of Get Dressed over on West, it seems that retail probably will not thrive so much on Glenwood.  At least for the moment.  I’d give anything to be able to shop in a few interesting spots.  My trips over by day involve Ornamentea, The Cupcake Shoppe, and Helios.  Wish Catch 22 were still on that corner.  I enjoyed shopping there in the evening.

    Is it possible retail might be headed down toward the City Plaza area?

  • vic
    04/09 10:47 PM

    both hibernians are decorated with crap material they got at michaels and other cheap sources. so says one of their longtime bartenders who helped open both places. niahll knows how to open a disneyfied bar.  the great thing about him overextending himself is some of these crap establishments will eventually close and let some quality places open.  solas is a joke in raleigh. he can be stubborn but there is no way that place is making money and all of these wanna be somewhere else joints will close.  the shitty part is losing decent places like rockford in the shuffle. the maybe shittier part is suffering through the diner being the only late night place for a while.

  • Brian
    04/10 05:39 AM

    Saturday is the OFFICIAL last day at JP.


    Someone who has no idea what’s happening.

    Come on, Jed.

  • roi
    04/10 11:46 AM

    Damn the Rockford was one of the few hidden treasures in Raleigh….no advertisement, no neon sign, etc. and was such a joy to get some great food there.  I have doubts that this is progress for Glenwood south. I will miss going there.  Great, friendly workers.  I hope someone hires them.

  • who cares
    04/10 11:46 AM

    All gossip.  Is there any facts in here, beside both places are closing?  geez.

  • gd
    04/10 01:47 PM

    Yes, lets hate a guy for opening different kind of places.  Hes awful for Raleigh.

    This website is full of haters.  You all make Raleigh look bad, not Solas.

  • Ed Hardyless
    04/10 01:55 PM

    Glenwood South has quite a few different types of bars that cater a very diverse group of people. I dislike the crowd at Solas just as much as the urban atmosphere that 510 Glenwood caters to. But the variety of nightlife is what makes the few blocks of Glenwood so popular.  If you don’t like what you see, come up with a business plan, get a loan from the bank and put your money where your mouth is.

  • anom
    04/10 04:21 PM

    this is not true by the way.

  • Lisa Jeffries
    04/10 08:05 PM

    “If you don’t like what you see, come up with a business plan, get a loan from the bank”

    A loan? From a bank? For a restaurant or bar?

    You’re going to need one heck of a business plan!

  • lucius
    04/11 01:15 AM

    Is IHOP for sure going as well? I’m a little confused.
    I think any residential space over there would be a little out of place, if in fact that’s what will be going in. That’s the college side of town, and things like IHOPs and dive bars belong over there, not streamlined condos. Sad day.

  • Brian
    04/11 09:33 PM

    OMG!  Jackpot is open tonight!  How could NR be wrong?  THEY SAID SATURDAY WAS OFFICIAL!


  • CP
    04/12 09:49 AM

    I was sad to see Rockford close,loved the place. I always get enjoyment from these blogs though. I agree with gd, the haters make me laugh. Everyone is comparing Raleigh to other LARGER cities, ofcourse, they have cooler places,more original, and more options. I have lived in Raleigh for a while, and if you think nightlife and restaurants are bad now, you should have seen downtown 10, 15 years ago. Yes, a lot of places on glenwood are generic, but downtown as a whole has a lot more options that there used to be, and that I appreciate. I’m not gonna knock a business for trying.

  • 150
    04/12 10:26 AM

    Completely agree with jd above.

    Complaining about a businessman putting his money into Downtown, and in the form of mulitple themes?  That’s the complaint?  It’s not like Niall built Hibernian, Hibernian II, and Hibernian Jr. all on Glenwood.

  • Discerning Reader
    04/12 11:05 AM

    Wow, another misleading article by New Raleigh that gets the facts wrong, again.

    Niall Hanley had nothing to do with Jackpot closing.  Nor did the Easter Rabbit, Jack Frost, or global warming.

    As another (more informed than New Raleigh) reader stated abovce, the Jackpot property and IHOP is part of a larger development on Hillsborough Street that will eventually force IHOP to close as well.

    When IHOP closes, please don’t write another piece of crap, fly by the seat of your pants story filled with incorrect facts, saying that Niall forced the IHOP to close because he owns the Diner down the street.


  • c
    04/12 11:32 AM

    Where does it say that Niall had anything to do w/ the Jackpot closing?  It says that he bought the recently closed Rockford AND that Jackpot closed down as well.
    Newraleigh already posted a story about the development at Hillsborough and Morgan, and its eventual impact on the Jackpot building.

  • ambrose
    04/12 12:52 PM

    Discerning Reader, You should probably READ the article before you comment.  OR, you could just keep skimming articles and making a fool of yourself.  Just sayin’.

  • mgd
    04/12 03:21 PM

    From what I gather Jackpot and Rockford essential are simply loosing their leases. 

    If you get kicked out of a house you dont go out to a pasture to die.  You get off your butt and rebuild.

    Unless Im getting this wrong, it sounds like they are not rebuilding.

  • mgd
    04/12 03:24 PM

    ambrose I think he read this

    But isnt familiar to how NR utilizes April Fools day.

  • Micah
    04/12 04:52 PM

    Jackpot’s lease was up years ago.  The Rockford building is owned privately by Michael D’Amelio, who operated the Rockford and Jackpot.  So, Rockford didn’t lose its lease!  D’Amelio bought that building in ‘93 or ‘94.

  • kg
    04/13 10:06 AM

    very true cp.  i’m not a solas or a basement dweller but i remember moving to raleigh in ‘92 and having few options other than pizza hut, mcdonald’s and sunflowers.

    all of this will work itself out eventually.

  • nate
    04/15 12:16 PM

    Looks like they aren’t closing so soon after all:

  • bob
    04/19 10:46 AM

    ...and Jackpot remains open.

    What kind of crap article is this?

  • Stenchmeister
    04/28 02:31 AM

    Normally when a business goes under it is because they didn’t have enough money to stay open.  I wonder if that could be the case here?  And someone with funds bought a building that would be vacant otherwise.

    I bet you wish the City would come in and use tax money to open another MINT. 

    I don’t know Niall and I have NEVER been in Solas (and never plan to) but you can’t hate the guy for wanting to expand his business.  I just wish there wasn’t so much hatin’ on this site from people that sound like they don’t know much about the situation.

  • rt
    04/28 12:27 PM

    Financing has come through and The Rockford will soon be reopened as The Rockford.  New owner, new management, but the joint remains the same.  At least for now.  New owner cites the existing following as the reason for keeping it as it is. Much will depend on the staff of course.  I’ll take this as good news and hope for the best.

  • Micah
    04/28 02:27 PM

    I too got the same information as rt a few days ago, though not much was said about how the restaurant will change, if at all.

  • zman
    09/17 03:42 PM

    according to Wake County tax records Michael still owns the building as of today. Now wether they just haven’t closed on it, well that’s another story. But really some quick investigating could have made this a little more clear.

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