Yellowbird Southern Table and Bar will not reopen in its space on Morganton Road in Southern Pines, the restaurant’s owner said Thursday.
The news was first confirmed by Blake Webb, owner of Southern-Pines based real estate firm Capital Commercial. “I can confirm they won’t be reopening,” Blake said on Wednesday. “We hate to see them go and we wish them all the best.”
Yellowbird is owned by Orlando Jinzo, who also owns The Leadmine in downtown Southern Pines. Both restaurants closed abruptly late last year. At around the same time, posts saying that employees had not been paid began circulating widely on social media.
In December, Orlando told The Sway that payroll had been delayed, and that both restaurants would be taking a hiatus to allow him to “strengthen our systems so we come back stronger than ever.” At the end of January, he said that the lease for The Leadmine’s space in the Belvedere Plaza would not be renewed because it no longer fit the restaurant’s needs. At that time, he said plans to reopen Yellowbird were in the works.
Reports of employees not being paid have continued to circulate on social media. No employees have agreed to speak to The Sway on the record.
Erin Wilson, a spokesperson for the NC Department of Labor, told The Sway on Thursday morning that the department opened an investigation into claims of nonpayment for one Yellowbird employee on Feb. 9. No information will be released until that investigation is closed, she said.
On Thursday, Orlando said that he was continuing to work with the labor department, as well as vendors, the ABC Commission, and other entities “involved in the process of closing everything down.”
He did not comment on a reason for the closures, but said “we are very grateful and thankful for the opportunities we have had.”
“We wouldn’t have been able to bring our thoughts and ideas to life without the tremendous support of the community and from our employees over the years,” he said.
On April 12, The Sway again reached out to the NC Department of Labor for an update.
“The active case for Yellowbird Hospitality is still awaiting assignment to an investigator,” Erin wrote in an email. “Our Wage and Hour Bureau works on cases in the order in which they are received. This case was entered on February 9, 2023. Our Wage and Hour Bureau is currently assigning cases that were entered on the second half of January 2023.”