Clyde Cooper's Barbeque owner plans to move restaurant out of downtown Raleigh

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Clyde Cooper's Barbeque owner plans to move restaurant
The owner of Clyde Cooper's Barbeque in downtown Raleigh said she plans to move the landmark eatery, citing crime and safety concerns.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A downtown Raleigh barbeque restaurant's days appear to be numbered. The owner of Clyde Cooper's Barbeque said she plans to move the landmark eatery, citing crime and safety concerns.

"I feel like it's necessary, and it does break my heart to move it because it was born and bred down here. But Downtown Raleigh has been hugely neglected," owner Debbie Holt said.

Clyde Cooper's has been a Downtown Raleigh landmark since 1938.

"I would defend downtown. I can't defend it anymore. It is what it is," Holt said.

ABC11 tried to speak with Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin about the state of Downtown Raleigh businesses at an event. She initially refused to answer any questions, but ABC11 kept looking for answers.

"I've already spoken on it so many times," said Baldwin. "We're talking about the economic impact study that we're doing, we're looking at Fayetteville Street."

Baldwin referred questions to the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA), an organization that has been trying to do a number of things to support the small business sector.

The DRA, along with the City of Raleigh, is offering grants to new and expanding businesses.

"We've had a net gain of 30 new storefront businesses in Raleigh and Downtown Raleigh this year. So we're seeing some positive momentum there. Foot traffic overall has increased," said DRA President and CEO Bill King.

DRA said on the security front it has added more ambassadors to walk around town, hired a private security team and is in the process of improving the camera network system.

"There's more and more eyes on the street, which is good. So it's something we felt like we needed to do and should do," said King.

Lending Tree released a new study this week and named Raleigh the number one place in the state to start a small business.

The study also ranked North Carolina 11th in the nation for its business survival rate, saying that 82.7 percent of the state's startups make it past the one year mark.

Although Clyde Cooper's Barbeque is far from its beginning days, Holt said she plans for it to be around for years to come.

She continued that she does not currently have a destination where she will reopen the restaurant.

Holt vowed it would still be in the City of Oaks, just not in the heart of downtown. She said she looks forward to serving her local customers.

"We've been here 85 years and there's a reason I'm here 85 years, and I want to make it easy for everybody," said Holt.