"I haven't been able to find a new location and we are going to have to vacate," says Regassa. He is continuing to search for a new space for the restaurant so he can "continue the tradition" -- over two decades since first opening his East African food cart. Without the kitchen at the restaurant, though, he has no way to continue to cook for the cart, and would rather devote the time he would otherwise spend finding a commercial kitchen for cart prep to locating a new site for the restaurant.
Buraka is being displaced by a new residential development named "The Hub at Madison" that will occupy much of the 500 block of State Street, including the University Inn property, a parking lot, and a building at 529 State.
As an end date for their occupancy draws near, two of the restaurants in the affected area are still searching for new space. In the meantime, what that actual end date might be has been shifting. One owner said it's been moved forward several times by the landlord; others have had no specific date given. All are on month-to-month leases.
Hamed Zafari, owner of Kabul, has found a new space, fortuitously in the 500 block that he loves: He will be taking over the second floor of Gino's after that restaurant closes its doors on Oct. 31 -- as Gino and Stella Gargano retire after a half-century in business at 540 State. Zafari was initially interested in the first floor, due to its greater visibility, but he reports that there was already someone signing a lease on that space.
"But the upstairs is a bigger and nicer space, and we will be able to have the sidewalk cafe space," reports Zafari. (The first-floor tenant is rumored to be a high-end candy store, he says.)
The upstairs already has its own kitchen and has in the past operated as a separate restaurant; there needs to be a small buildout, and Zafari figures he will be up and running there by January. The main construction that needs to take place is a new entrance at street level, as access is currently through the first floor interior.
However, Zafari is not entirely certain when he will need to vacate his current location and remains hopeful he will be able to continue to serve there at least through the end of November in order to minimize down time.
Roast Public House, located at 529 State, is preparing to move across the street to 558 State, formerly the site of s2pizzabar. Though co-owner Henry Aschauer had originally hoped to be in the new location by September, Roast remains at 529 for the time being while "we get the new space set up the way we would like it," says Aschauer. The plan is for the current location to close briefly for a couple of days, possibly Sept. 29-30, and reopen by Oct. 3 or 4 in the new location.
Resmine Atis, daughter of Hüsnü's owner Hüsnü Atis, reports that her father is looking at a number of sites, but hasn't found anything for certain yet.
According to a report in the Daily Cardinal, a Jimmy John's sub shop at 555 State will move to 527 State (its former location). Campus Candy, a shop at 533 State that opened in late 2010, has now closed.
Representatives from the Mullins Group, current landlord for the restaurants, did not return calls asking for comment.