NEW HANOVER COUNTY — After two and a half years, Chop’s Diner in Wrightsboro closed its doors for good on Friday.
Employees were apparently notified early Friday morning, and the restaurant posted a notice on Facebook in the afternoon, reading in part:
We regret to inform our customers that Chops has closed its doors for the last time today. We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of our loyal customers. Words cannot begin to express how grateful we are to have served each and every one of you and for the life long friends that we have made along the way.
Thank You From The Chops Family
Owners Chris Graham and Brad Corpening opened the first Chop’s Deli in downtown Wilmington in 2010; an expansion in Monkey Junction and a ‘deli and grill’ variation on a parcel of mainland Wrightsville Beach land followed. In December of 2016, Chop’s Diner opened, providing a classic diner twist on Chop’s usual complement of sandwiches.
In June of 2018, the franchise experienced a very public financial crisis, issuing a GoFundMe request for $100,000 to stay afloat. The campaign raised only $10,000 — as well as a strongly negative wave of public comment — but ultimately helped Graham and Corpening negotiate a “good faith offer” with the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
Two months later, Chop’s Deli and Grill closed. Then, Hurricane Florence hit southeastern North Carolina. Chop’s downtown location never recovered and, while the Monkey Junction location initially reopened, it didn’t last long, leaving Chop’s Diner as the last remaining franchise location.