Crabby Mike’s closes, NC DOT to use property for new Surf City bridge


SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — A long time restaurant in Surf City is closed for good.

Owner of Crabby Mike’s Douglas Dahlberg said he has closed his restaurant, because of construction on the new bridge.

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“This is my life from 12 years right here,” Dahlberg said.

Dahlberg has spent those last 12 years running Crabby Mike’s in Surf City until now.

“We’re closed for good,” Dahlberg said.

Dahlberg said it all started about a month ago when he contacted the NC DOT about parking concerns because of construction.

“I called Chad Kimes,” Dahlberg said. “About halfway through the conversation, he dropped a bomb on me that they were going to acquire the building through condemnation and take the property, because they made a mistake.”

Dahlberg has been renting his space from Michael Hendy who actually owns that property.

“I knew all along that they were going to take a very tiny amount of property from that location,” Hendy said.

Hendy said he also just found out recently about a mistake.

“They made an error in oversight for the amount of right of way they needed,” Hendy said.

Dahlberg said the state should have told him about it.

“The eminent domain law is a very archaic law,” Dahlberg said. “Can someone really come in and take something from you just because they want it? I mean does that sound fair?”

That is why he decided to go ahead and move out.

“I didn’t want to get stuck between a rock and a hard place and lose everything, because that’s kind of what’s happening,” Dahlberg said. “I’m losing my livelihood.”

Hendy said there is a reason he had not told Dahlberg yet.

“My lawyer said, ‘Well, you know, it looks like they might, but don’t do anything until you get a document in your hand, because they could always change their mind,’ and then where am I going to be?” Hendy said.

For Dahlberg, it is a livelihood on the line.

“Most leases have a condemnation clause that say leasers get nothing from that,” Dahlberg said. “I understand that. We don’t own the property, but can the state really just chuck us out on the road and just say that’s it?”

For Hendy, it is his property on the line.

“You know, it’s not a pretty picture for me either,” Hendy said.

Spokeswoman Laura Brewer with the NC Attorney General’s Office said the state does have the right to take private property for public use through eminent domain.

“The DOT determined it is necessary due to concerns about traffic safety,” Brewer said.

Brewer also said the law requires that owners get just compensation for their property. Click here to read more about eminent domain in the Condemnation statute.

“While the original plans did not show a total taking of the property, DOT determined that because of safety issues the entire property had to be acquired,” Brewer said.

Dahlberg’s employees started a GoFundMe page to help support him. Click here to find out how you help.

DOT spokesman Brian Rick said the bridge construction is on schedule. Click here to read more about the whole project.