Pesto Cafe future in question after recent closure

(Flyer photo)

The posters are still on the walls, a calculator sits on the bar, and the salt and pepper shakers remain ready to use on the tables.

But with chairs stacked and magazine deliveries left outside in the weather to ruin, the future of Pesto Cafe is uncertain.

No formal announcements have been made, but for weeks a sign has hung on the front door that reads, “Closed for private b-day party.”

We’ve reached out to the owners, but haven’t received any responses to our calls, texts or emails.

Pesto Cafe opened in the late 1990s in the building currently home to Cafe Rue Orleans by then-owners Ghazi Issa and Steve Glenn. Not too long after that, they opened a second location at 3075 Market Ave., and after abandoning that space, they opened in the current location at 1830 N. College Ave. next to the old Chief Motel.

The restaurant was originally known as Ghazi’s Pesto Cafe, but eventually became known as just Pesto Cafe after Issa’s departure from the business.

After a bit of a shaky start in a handful of locations, Pesto Cafe become a Fayetteville treasure, serving a menu of pasta dishes, pizzas, and more for lunch and dinner in the small space that was packed with diners more often than not over the past couple decades.

The restaurant had experienced some challenges in recent years. Sometime during the pandemic, the cafe lost its beer and wine license and began encouraging patrons to bring their own alcohol. Recent online reviews reference inconsistent hours and other problems likely caused by staffing issues stemming from the pandemic.

An employee of the adjacent motel this week told us that the restaurant has indeed permanently closed, but again, we haven’t been able to reach Glenn to confirm that news.

All we know is the restaurant has been closed recently during hours when it would normally be open. The furniture is still inside. Hopefully someone is watering the plants.

We hope that the restaurant re-emerges, but at the moment, we’re concerned about the future of the landmark establishment, to say the least.