By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on July 3, 2020
Citing year-round staffing difficulties and the COVID-19 pandemic, Nu Quality Ice Cream has permanently closed its doors after opening just a year ago in front of the Marketplace shopping center at Southern Shores.
Town officials confirmed that a Taco Bell will be taking over the building, which Nu Quality owner Spiros Giannakopoulos had originally designed to be reminiscent of the town’s historic flat-top cottages.
“It is with heavy hearts that we make this announcement,” the July 2 post on Nu Quality’s Facebook page read. “It was a very difficult decision for us, and it was not made lightly. We would like to thank everyone for their business and support.”
On July 3, the transition to a Taco Bell had already begun with painting of the exterior of the building to Taco Bell’s distinctive purple. The 910-square-foot ice cream shop featured a drive-in and walk-up service along with outdoor seating for 12. It was popular among pet owners for its free “pup cup” offerings.
The town issued Taco Bell a building and zoning permit on June 29 to remodel the existing drive-through facility, which will include new kitchen equipment and the replacement of existing signage. Deputy Town Manager Wes Haskett said the remodel does not include any structural or framing modifications.
Giannakopoulos, who resides in Southern Shores, could not be reached for comment by the Voice. In 2018, he began the process of gaining approval for the shop, which included amending the zoning ordinance to allow for small drive-ins in the town’s commercial zone along U.S. 158. He was subsequently issued a Conditional Use Permit to move forward with construction.
One Facebook commenter, in response to Nu Quality’s announcement of closure, wrote, “We will miss you. I’m so sorry for you guys that it didn’t work out, but you were dealt a tough hand w/Covid. Luckily, we can continue to visit you in EC.”
On June 28, Peace of the Pie in Kill Devil Hills also announced it was permanently closing – citing a staffing crisis and the pandemic as reasons for the closure as well.