It feels appropriate somehow that the popular Midnight Diner, a 1950s-influenced railroad car-style restaurant got moved a mile down the road a little after midnight on the morning of Wednesday, November 2. The shiny stainless steel boxcar diner now rests at its new spot near Spectrum Center in uptown Charlotte, after being transported from its longtime location at the intersection of Carson Boulevard and Tryon Street.

The move was needed because a massive planned $750 million redevelopment with two high-rise buildings mixing commercial and residential spaces is aimed at the diner’s former longtime spot at the prominent corner located between uptown and South End. Midnight Diner closed Sept. 5 at 115 E. Carson St. in preparation for its 1-mile move to 420 E. Trade St., The Charlotte Observer previously reported. The 24/7 eatery has been serving homemade comfort foods for 12 years.

The “heavy and long” diner, as mover Lynn McCrary called it, traveled in the dark of night from Carson Street to South Boulevard, which turns into South Caldwell Street before reaching East Trade Street. McCrary, owner of McCrary House Movers of Lexington, told The Charlotte Observer that it took about 90 minutes to move the 89-foot-long modular diner, starting at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The largest obstacle on the route was a train, which ate up 30 minutes of time, McCrary said. But one piece of the building hasn’t made it to the uptown spot yet. The entrance will be moved after the diner is put on its foundation, later in November. Then the entrance will be moved by crane, McCrary said.

“There’s no room there now,” he said.

The Move by the Numbers

Here’s what it took to move the Midnight Diner, according to McCrary:

  • Five full-time employees to prep and move
  • Two 95-foot beams
  • 10 20-foot beams
  • 32 tires under the diner for support
  • One truck in front to haul the Midnight Diner

About Midnight Diner’s New Location

Midnight Diner’s nearly one-acre site includes 25 free parking spaces during the day and 75 spaces after 5 p.m. The new site also has a concrete patio and black aluminum fencing, according to plans approved by the city. Some of Midnight Diner’s 100 full- and part-time employees have been working at Red Eye Diner, a sister restaurant less than a quarter mile away from the new site. Red Eye Diner resumed its third shift, which was cut during the pandemic, at Queen City Quarter, formerly Epicentre.

Why Midnight Diner Moved

Brian Dominick owns both diners. He also owns the strip club Uptown Cabaret near Midnight Diner’s former spot in South End. Midnight Diner’s move makes way for Chicago developer Riverside Investment and Development’s $750 million plan at the prominent intersection between uptown and South End.

Queensbridge Collective will include a 42-story office building and a 45-story apartment building, the Observer previously reported. It’s unclear what the plans are for Uptown Cabaret. Construction is expected to start at the end of the year.

Midnight Diner also has plans to open a second location next year at 6538 N. Tryon St., the site of the former Old Hickory Bar-B-Q at the Tom Hunter Station light rail stop, the Observer previously reported. TanDom Investments, registered to Dominick, purchased the 1-acre property in October 2020 for $1 million, Mecklenburg County property records show.

This article has been edited for space limitations. It appears courtesy of our media partnerThe Charlotte Observer.

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