Home Food What’s New On Chapel Hill’s Food Scene

What’s New On Chapel Hill’s Food Scene

Your foodie guide to the numerous new eateries popping up around town.

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A Rose By Any Other Name

When chef Adam Rose relocated to the Triangle years ago, he got his start at Jujube and Elaine’s and manned the pans at Il Palio for six years. Now – after stints in Durham and Raleigh – he’s back in Chapel Hill serving up midday meals at Luncheonette in the Europa Center. In case you’re tempted to ditch the brown bag lunch in favor of Adam’s butternut squash ravioli or lobster roll, we asked him all about his new spot.

What’s it like being back in town?

“Even though I am not originally from Chapel Hill, it’s like coming home. Between work and living, I have spent over a decade here and I am happy to be serving my local community again.”

What can diners who know your food expect?

“Diners can expect quick, casual service from our front-of-house team led by sous chef and “director of everything else” DeAnna Christian and from the kitchen, you can count on the same dedication to ingredients and their sourcing as ever. We have a minimum standard of antibiotic-, steroid- and hormone-free proteins and we are applying the same techniques and cooking methods that I executed at Straw Valley and Il Palio to approachable lunch food in a casual environment for a reasonable price, creative daily specials and something for the adventurous.”

Why do lunch?

“What isn’t there to like about just doing lunch only? I see my wife and family a lot more now. They have sacrificed enough for my career – this gives more time for those who mean the most to me. Not to say I won’t cook at night it is just fewer and further between.”


Eastgate Eating

Recent renovations in Eastgate Crossing will bring more options for dining out. Here’s what to expect soon:

A colorful salad at Chopt.
BABALU TACOS & TAPAS

• The seventh location for the Mississippi-based chain

Known for: Southern small plates and fresh takes on tacos

Don’t miss: Queso blanco dip; pineapple margarita

CHOPT

• 40+locations in New York, DC area and North Carolina

Known for: Creative customizable salads

Don’t miss: Chicken tinga kale & quinoa bowl; Palm Beach salad

Gulglhupf peach crostata. Photo by Briana Brough
GUGLHUPF

• Bull City-based eatery opens a second bakery

Known for: German pastries

Don’t miss: Anyone of the croissants or danishes; a peach crostata (see right)

ZOËS KITCHEN

• This location joins dozens across 20 states

Known for: Mediterranean staples

Don’t miss: Greek chicken pita; Yaya’s handmade chocolate cake


In the Market

Like avocado toast, food halls are having a moment. Cities are turning shipping containers or former warehouses into food stalls hawking artisan goods – the shop local spot of our dreams. So we couldn’t be more thrilled about Blue Dogwood Public Market.

But this market, located at the opposite end of the building with Vespa, was built out of practicality rather than an attempt to be a fad. “We did our homework,” Kelly Taylor says of her and partners Sarah Boak and Jeff Boak’s trips to 30-plus markets around the country. “[Along with partner, architect Josh Gurlitz] we picked what we thought would work here because we are much smaller.” Kelly herself will sell gluten-free desserts at Pizzelle Bakery.

Sharing the large space that use to be Fowler’s Food Store is less risky for vendors than opening their own retail spot. “We’re really focused on trying to make an affordable way to get a brick- and-mortar business,” Kelly says. Whatever the reason, we’re glad Left Bank Butchery, Chocolatay Confections and others are all in one place. “[We’re] like a snapshot of what’s going on in our culinary world,” Kelly says. “It’s pretty cool to go to one spot and do it all.” And soon visitors can stroll around with a beer or smoothie in hand and enjoy it all.


Fabric Moreton Neal chose for La Residence’s refresh.

La Reopening

After months of construction following a fire, La Residence opened its doors again in February. While its classic French cuisine has always been a town favorite, tweaks have been made to make it even better. Owner Frances Gualtieri says for the first time ever, La Res has a Parisian executive chef – Oscar Gnapi – who is emphasizing small plates with big flavors.

Moreton Neal, an co-founder of the restaurant and an interior designer, updated the look. “The painting over the mantel is one I bought from the first Women’s Center Art Show (now Compass Center) held at La Res over thirty years ago,” she says. “Margaret at Framemakers restored it to its former glory. I got the blue colors for doors, fabric and the blue chandelier from that painting.” She also added a pop of color outside “inspired by a cottage I saw in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina – [it was] almost black with a bright yellow door that made me want to go in it.”


Photo by Mike Hammer

Meatless All Days

A funny thing happens when you ditch meat on your menu – you get even more creative with the ingredients, letting vegetables take the spotlight. “We always want to bring something unique and unexpected to the table and we love showing people how creativity and thoughtful preparation can take plant-based cuisine to levels they never imagined possible,” says Living Kitchen owner Stephen Edwards. Perfected at the original location in Charlotte, the menu at the Elliott Road restaurant features items like sweet potato sushi rolls. But instead of salmon or tuna, bell peppers, cucumbers and avocado are wrapped sweet potato cashew rice.

Diners at the modern, sun-drenched spot have been receptive so far. “We always knew that Chapel Hill would be a great market for what we do,” says Stephen. “It’s a community of thoughtful people who care about the world around them and about the food they eat.” Rounding out the menu are produce- packed juices and smoothies and desserts like coconut-cacao pudding that are sweetened with maple syrup. “The resounding message we receive from customers is that they don’t miss the meat at all!” says Stephen. “We create our menu with everyone in mind, not just vegans or vegetarians.”

Here’s how Living Kitchen puts a fresh spin on some familiar dishes

THEIR TAKE ON A BURGER

Fire & Brimstone Burger

Their version is gluten-free, has a quinoa-millet patty and is topped with chipotle sunflower hummus, onion, cucumber, guacamole and hot sauce.

THEIR TAKE ON BARBECUE

BBQ Sliders

Oyster mushrooms are roasted in a smoky sauce and enhanced by a green cabbage, pear and jalapeno coleslaw.

THEIR TAKE ON PAD THAI

Veggie Pad Thai

Gone are the regular noodles in favor of crisp zucchini and sweet potato versions. It comes topped with bean sprouts, peppers, cashews and cilantro.

Juices at Living Kitchen. Photo by Lydia Bittner-Baird

Red Fish Blue Fish

For the past few years, those with their finger on the pulse of the food world have declared that the Hawaiian darling – poke – was primed to take over the mainland. With cities like New York and Los Angeles seeing their share of poke spots open up, it was about time the dish rode the wave of popularity into Carrboro. “Poke is traditionally a raw fish salad served over a bed of rice or greens,” says Goose Hospitality’s Scott Kleczkowski. One Fish Two Fish – just down the block from sister eateries The Shoppe Bar and Meatball Kitchen and Esperanza Empanada and Tequila Bar – will serve it up in different ways.

Order one of the poke bowls, and you can expect a meal that’s just as flavorful as it is colorful. Scott’s favorite, the Spicy Tuna, consists of yellow fin tuna, togarashi-spiced pineapple, candied ginger, macadamia nuts and a Sriracha aioli. Other highlights include Pokerittos (poke burritos), spicy tuna tacos and tuna nachos as well as tempura vegetables served with a wasabi cream dipping sauce. Diners trying the island favorite for the first time need not worry about finding something they’ll like. As Scott says, “We think some of the glory of poke as a dish is that it can fit anyone’s taste profile and can be made to order with any combination of flavors.” And for a sweet ending, try the shaved Hawaiian ice with all homemade flavored syrups.

poke

(pronounced POKE-AY)

noun

  • -raw fish salad
  • Derived from the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut”

Other Can’t-Miss Spots

Cuban Revolution

Lured in by the neon ‘CHURROS’ sign? No matter what you order – a pressed Cuban sandwich or maduros – you’re going to be glad that the Durham restaurant opened an outpost in town.

Stoney River Steakhouse

Head to University Place for steak in a swank setting. The menu ticks all the boxes of a classic steakhouse – impressive cuts of beef, potatoes served six different ways – and then some.

Alberello

Briar Chapel residents have hit the jackpot with new dinner options at Veranda. If it’s Italian you want, order Florentine sandwiches and salted caramel budino from Brendan and Leslie Cox of Oakleaf.

Mel’s Commissary & Luncheonette

The duo behind Al’s Burger Shack opens a Carrboro comfort spot and now anyone can order the deviled eggs off the catering menu. We call that a win-win. Read more in our April Issue.