The Mecca is a Raleigh institution. Greek immigrant Nick Dombalis and his wife Helen opened The Mecca Luncheonette on Fayetteville Street in 1930. They bought this building in 1937 and moved the restaurant. Like the Sir Walter Raleigh Hotel, The Mecca quickly became destination where lawmakers and downtown professionals gathered for lunch and networking. Politicians especially found The Mecca a great place to meet Raleigh voters and business people and find out their take on issues. Also of note is the neon marquee sign, a remnant from a time when such signs were commonplace in downtown Raleigh’s central business district. The restaurant is still in the Dombalis family; four generations have run The Mecca since it first served lunch on Fayetteville Street.
Date: ca. 1880, 1937