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El Diamante restaurant to open in former Levels

Former Levels.jpg

The former Levels building, shown here at the corner of Colonial Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, will soon be the home of the new El Diamante restaurant.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A vacant building in downtown Elizabeth City that’s been the home of a number of restaurants and nightspots will soon reopen as a new restaurant, the property’s landlord said.

Robert “Buddy” Brown, who owns the former Levels building at Colonial Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, said the El Diamante restaurant will occupy the location. Brown said the restaurant's future operator is part of a family that’s already in the restaurant business in Raleigh.

The restaurant’s operator signed a lease for the Levels building four months ago and is hoping to get the restaurant open as quickly as possible, Brown said.

“Hopefully, they can liven up the downtown area with their restaurant,” Brown said.

Brown referred other questions about the El Diamante to the future operator who said he was not ready to discuss the specifics of the plans for the restaurant.

Brown estimates the former Levels building had been without a tenant for more than a year and a half.

Brown himself operated what was then known as Levels, a restaurant-sports bar, for about a decade before deciding to rent the building in 2011. The property has had five different tenants since then.

The building’s last tenant, Leonard Walston, opened the Arena sports bar in September 2015. At the time, Walston was also managing a trucking company in Chesapeake, Virginia, but he said he had a partner with restaurant experience.

Brown spoke of the difficulty of operating a restaurant as a second business.

“I think that's what happened with those guys,” he said.

Brown believes the family who will be operating the El Diamante, because they’re already in the restaurant business, should have more success than previous operators have had in the former Levels.

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