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Monday, May 27, 2024

Flaming Amy’s permanently closes one of its restaurants

Flaming Amy’s Bowl opened in 2008 on Shipyard Boulevard; it has officially closed as of Monday, according to its owners. (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — The popular Flaming Amy’s brand — well-known for its “hot, fast, cheap and easy” tagline — will go from operating three restaurants to two across Wilmington. Owners Jay and Amy Muxworthy have announced the official closure of Flaming Amy’s Bowl on Shipyard Boulevard.

A build-your-own concept — similar to Mongolian-style grills — the restaurant opened in 2008 and began franchising its business model through A Bigger Bowl Inc. in 2015. It opened its second FA Bowl in the North Chase area of Wilmington the same year but closed by 2018 due to staffing shortages. 

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Those issues have been magnified by Covid-19 in recent years. The National Restaurant Association noted in May 2022, it was down 750,000 jobs — around 6.1% of its workforce — from pre-pandemic levels.

The flagship FA Bowl had been dealing with steady help woes since at least last summer, when it announced it would temporarily close in August. Its operations were in limbo until Monday morning’s announcement on Flaming Amy’s Bowl social media account (PCD reached out to the Muxworthys for response but didn’t hear back by press).

“The past few years have brought unimaginable changes to our lives, both on a world level and on a personal level,” the social media post stated, “and we ultimately reached the point where operating three restaurants was simply no longer possible. We are so sorry to disappoint everyone who has loved and supported our little hidden gem of a restaurant over the years! We miss chatting with our regulars and winning over newcomers, and we’re so grateful to everyone who has loved and supported us on this venture.”

The Muxworthys started their careers in the local restaurant industry by opening Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn on Oleander Drive in 2000; a second location in Carolina Beach followed thereafter. The barn has appeared on the Cooking Channel show “Man v. Food” and was voted Best Burrito numerous times by local publications, as well as by Thrillist as one of the 33 best burritos in the nation.

Like all restaurants, Flaming Amy’s had to make adjustments during Covid-19, which included limiting dine-in seating to maintain social distancing mandates. Operations switched heavily to online and phone-in orders and payments. 

As well, FA Bowl moved to tableside service, rather than its signature counter service, wherein chefs would cook stir-fry in front of customers who placed orders from a list of proteins, veggies and starches. Well-known for its homemade sauces — General Mux, lemon-basil, poblano cream and jalapeño-ginger lime — its all-you-can-eat concept was priced $13.95, with one-protein bowls at $9.95.

In January 2021, the FA Bowl told diners via social media: “We will continue to try and tweak operations … but our sales had plummeted due to restrictions. We need to try and change or there will be no more Bowl.”

Both burrito barns — 1140-N N. Lake Park Blvd. and 4002 Oleander Dr. — remain open, though are closed Mondays. 

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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