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New Life Coming to The Penguin’s Site in Plaza Midwood

New Life Coming to The Penguin’s Site in Plaza Midwood
April 23, 2015 Cassee Cunningham

Alesha Vanata owner of Comida in Penguin site in Plaza MidwoodIn the heart of Plaza Midwood, at the corner of Thomas and Commonwealth, lies the centerpoint of one of Charlotte’s years-long real-life soap operas. This is the site of The Penguin. And it looks like the drama is over!

Once a nationally acclaimed diner, The Penguin originally opened in 1954. By the 1990s, it was still an operating restaurant, but not exactly a top-notch establishment. After an overhaul in 2001, the diner lost its “seedy” side, but drama surrounding ownership changes, talk of franchising, mismanagement, an array of rumors and community boycotts led to bankruptcy suits and the eventual closing of the business altogether. But when Alesha Venata recently purchased the spot, she aimed to change its trajectory.

Venata’s plan for The Penguin’s site is right now called Comida. The restaurant will be an “upscale casual” eatery, dedicated to a variety of Latin flavors with a Mexican focus — think Colombian food, Argentinian flavors, Chilean and Peruvian influences, all under in a Mexican umbrella. A big, relaxing patio and plenty of tequila round out the picture. Comida will be open for lunch and dinner.

In case you think you’ve heard her name before, Venata is already owner of LittleSpoon, a Myers Park breakfast and lunch spot. Located on Selwyn Avenue, LittleSpoon favors local fare and a menu that changes seasonally.

Sound like Comida should be your neighborhood hot spot? Let’s find you a home in Plaza Midwood! Give me a call and let’s explore the neighborhood and its awesome homes for sale together!

Image: Jeff Hahne/