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Friday, May 24, 2024

Mayfaire sports bar shutters after 18 years

Fox and Hound closed suddenly Monday. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

WILMINGTON — Another sports bar on the east side of Wilmington has closed its doors.

READ MORE: Wild Wing Cafe quietly closes its doors

Fox and Hound Pub and Grille in Mayfaire Town Center shuttered suddenly Monday, seven months after nearby Wild Wings also quietly closed in the Landfall Shopping Center.

A note was posted to Fox and Hound Tuesday morning:

A note was posted to the restaurant Tuesday about Fox and Hound closing. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

“Dear Customers, We are so sorry to announce that Fox and Hound in Wilmington has closed the doors for business permanently. We appreciate all your support over the years.”

According to WECT, Port City Daily’s media partner, the company could not agree to lease terms with Mayfaire. The outlet also reports it failed an environmental inspection in February.

A spokesperson for Mayfaire Town Center, where Fox and Hound was located at 920 Town Center Dr. next to the cinema, didn’t answer when the shopping plaza was made aware of its tenant’s closure.

“Our top priority is to provide a vibrant shopping and dining environment and [we] are committed to bringing in fresh and innovative options,” Paige Coniglio wrote in an email to Port City Daily.

She did express disappointment over Fox and Hound’s shutdown but added customers can expect the space to be filled with a new tenant as Mayfaire makes upgrades to its mix of retailers, dining and entertainment options. For instance, Anthropologie is slated to open in November and an Element Hotel by Westin is under construction.

Fox and Hound was one of 17 restaurants to operate in Mayfaire. The last restaurant to close in the plaza was Breadsmith at the beginning of 2023.

Founded in Texas in the ’90s, Fox and Hound was modeled after an English pub. It eventually grew into an Americanized sports bar, with multiple TVs showing games, each location also outfitted with pool tables and billiards for customers to enjoy over beverages and pub grub.

The Wilmington location, which opened in 2005, was a gathering spot for fans of the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football team and hosted specialty nights, like World Tavern Poker on Thursday.

In 2018, amid the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the restaurant served more than 800 complimentary meals to local residents and first responders. It also delivered meals to Cajun Army, American Red Cross and Coast Guard.

Port City Daily reached out to Fox and Hound, both locally and corporately, to inquire about its closing in Mayfaire, but no one responded by press.

It’s not the first time the restaurant chain has faced troubles. A decade ago it filed for bankruptcy and again three years later in 2016. At the time, bankruptcy papers revealed it was due to “high turnover after it shifted workers to part-time in response to health care requirements,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

In 2016, there were 48 Fox and Hound locations nationwide, which dwindled by half later that year. As of Tuesday, the website lists five still operational — in Huntersville, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Goodlettsville, Tennessee; Overland Parks, Kansas; and Schaumburg, Illinois.

The Wilmington restaurant’s equipment was posted to social media for liquidation as of Monday and by Tuesday much of it was listed out of stock — tables, chairs, booths, coolers, bar items and more. The sale is slated to take place through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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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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