My husband Jim and I have only gotten to know Raleigh in the past five years, since we moved here. We didn’t know the Raleigh Sandwich Shop when it was a bustling hub of downtown life, dating back for decades to the 1930’s. But this week, when I visited the site with artist Patrick Shanahan and DRA Economic Development Manager Paul Reimel, we all shared a sense of anticipation as owner of the property, James Calvert unlocked the front door.
- Black restaurateur George Latham operated an “eating house” at 215 from 1911-1916, and an African-American physician, Dr. LE Capehart, occupied the second floor from 1909 until 1912.
- In 1919 Pete Lavlakos opened the Raleigh Fruit Store at 215 S. Wilmington St. He sold it to Michael Thevis in the early twenties, and by 1925 it was owned by John Capetanos. In 1937 he renamed it the Raleigh Sandwich Shop.
- John’s younger brother Christ Capetanos arrived in the U.S. in 1950 and soon went to work for his brother. When John died in 1960, Christ assumed ownership of the restaurant. He and his wife Mitsa ran the venerable Wilmington St. landmark until his retirement in 1989.
The Raleigh Sandwich Shop as it appeared in the mid-1950s.
Stay tuned for the next chapter! Look for Patrick’s panels to be installed by the beginning of April.