Al’s Upstairs announces closing after 44-year run

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Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 3:12 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A popular Italian restaurant in West Columbia, has announced it will close its doors.

Al’s Upstairs has been in business for 44 years, offering a unique view of the Congaree River and downtown Columbia.

The restaurant’s owner, Al Loftis announced the closing of the restaurant on Monday.

Loftis, who is the brother of South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis, said in a post on Facebook he was retiring from the restaurant business.

The restaurant will officially close on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

You can find Loftis’ full announcement below:

“An important message from Al Loftis:

Dear Valued Patrons, Staff, Family, and Friends of Al's Upstairs Italian Restaurant,

With mixed emotions and a heart full of gratitude, I announce my retirement from the restaurant business and the closure of Al's Upstairs Italian Restaurant after a remarkable 44-year run. Our final day of operations will be December 19, 2023.

My journey in the restaurant industry began at the age of 18, and I am humbled to have had the opportunity to serve you over the years. As I reflect on this incredible chapter of my life, there are many individuals to whom I wish to express my deepest gratitude.

To our cherished patrons, whether you joined us for a special occasion, a casual dinner out, a date night, or private dining events downstairs, your trust in us has been the cornerstone of our success. Your loyalty has been the driving force behind Al's longevity.

The success of Al's is a testament to the dedication and combined 55 years of experience of Clair Bouknight and Chef Mike Wright. Their commitment to excellence has been instrumental in shaping the restaurant into what it is today.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to our current, talented, and dedicated staff, who consistently put our customers first, enabling Al's to enjoy continued growth year after year. The year 2023 has been a record year of growth, and this achievement is a testament to each team member's hard work and commitment.

I would like to extend a special appreciation to Al's Management Team: Chef Mike, Sous Chef Josh, and Assistant Managers Madison, Allison, and Tony. Your leadership and dedication have played a pivotal role in maintaining the high standards that Al's is known for.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to all the kitchen staff and waitstaff. Your tireless efforts and commitment to excellence deserve immense credit for Al's continued success.

I must also express my sincere thanks and love to my family. To my late parents, Mary and Curtis M. Loftis Sr, for their unwavering support, wisdom, and Mary's decorating skills that have left a lasting imprint on every room in the restaurant. To my wife, Lisa, thank you for your encouragement and patience during the sometimes demanding and unpredictable restaurant business hours.

As we approach our final days of service, I want to assure you that we will uphold our high standards until the last meal is served. It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of the vibrant community that Al's has become, and I am grateful for the memories and relationships forged over the years.

Thank you for being an integral part of the Al's Upstairs Italian Restaurant family. We look forward to serving you in these final weeks and bidding a fond farewell.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Al Loftis


Al’s Upstairs Italian Restaurant”

Al Loftis, Al’s Upstairs Italian Restaurant owner

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