GREENBORO, N.C. - A restaurant staple in downtown Greensboro could be ousted by the highest bidder.
Cafe Europa on Davie Street has been around since the early 2000s, and many locals feel this spot paved the way for others to open downtown. The city owns the building its in and Europa's lease is up in April. Now, the city wants to lease it to the highest bidder.
Wednesday is one of the busiest nights of the week for Cafe Europa. This week, you can imagine many conversations inside tonight revolve around the possibility that this restaurant could be closing - a sad thought for many people who come here.
For 18 years, Cafe Europa has been a spot and experience some say money can't buy.
“Everyone has a story of a beautiful sunny surprisingly warm winter day where they can actually be out on the patio,” said patron Jeffrey Barbour.
But in the coming months, this space will go to the highest bidder. The restaurant is inside a city owned building, and now, city leaders are looking for people who might be interested in paying more for the space.
Assistant City Manager Chris Wilson says Europa pays just over $1,900 a month, but the current rental rate is around $3,500 a month. The cost is going up thanks to development nearby, places already there like LeBauer Park, and future spots like the Tanger Center for Performing Arts, among others.
“Development is always good. As a business owner downtown, my wife owns a business down here, I own a home six blocks away from here, I welcome all of it,” said Jakub Pucilowski. He’s owned Europa for five years, but has worked here for as long as it's been around.
“We will enter into the bid in good faith and wish all the best of luck to all the other bidders and we hope to see you on the other side,” he said.
But patrons like Barbour fear it could be the end of the place they call their second home.
“It’s a place that paved the way to prove to folks that downtown was a good place to be,” he said.
City leaders say this process doesn't mean they don't want Cafe Europa here, in fact, they're encouraging them to put in a bid. The city's holding an information meeting for those interested in bidding Thursday afternoon.