I sometimes wonder if the anticipation of a new restaurant opening is more enjoyable than the food the place serves. It’s great when it’s the latter that is more memorable, but I rarely can conceal my eagerness when the days are counting down for another opening. There are four restaurants which have piqued my interest, two of which are owned by friends.
Ashley Christensen will be opening Poole’s Diner in the old location of — what else? — Poole’s Diner. When she bought the place earlier this year, she knew that the restaurant needed some work. I think she now recognizes how much work was really needed. I’ve tried to get a work-up of the menu, but no deal. However, expect the focus to be on well-executed comfort food. I wouldn’t call it diner food, but I wouldn’t say it’s Vin-style, either. Regardless, I’m betting it’ll be great.
Charlie Deal, owner of Chapel Hill’s Jujube, is opening Dos Perros in downtown Durham. This Mexican establishment, named after his two dogs, will focus on high-end versions of classic fare. That is, think better meats and ingredients than your average taqueria. Plus, Deal will have a full bar, so expect interesting twists on your margarita. Deal has long had a love affair with Mexican food, and I’ve had the pleasure of hitting some of Durham’s finer authentic taquerias with Charlie. Moreover, Deal plans to make Dos Perros a “green” establishment. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Charleston’s David Leboutillier will be opening a French brasserie that will be similar to his 39 Rue de Jean (with which he no longer is involved). Located in the updated High Park Village shopping center in Raleigh’s Five Point’s East, the new restaurant will be what I believe to be the first brasserie in the region. If they serve good mussels, then this will be one of my regular haunts.
Finally, I’m waiting for the restaurants to open in the new development that is going up next to my office on Lake Boone Trail. It’s my understanding that there is space for 4 restaurants to go in there, but I’m particularly interested in who will take over the 5,000 square foot restaurant.