“South” to Close — French Brasserie to Open

I’m a big fan of Kevin and Stacey Jennings and their restaurants. Frazier’s is one of the top places in the Triangle. Vivace is a hip Italian establishment with a great vibe. And Porter’s is one of my favorite every day type of restaurant. South, in Raleigh’s North Hills, however, is a different story. I never really loved the place, primarily because I never understood what they were trying to do. The food could be good, but it was inconsistent and disjointed.

Well, South shall not rise again as it will be closing on June 7. The good news is that the Jennings will be opening a French brasserie in the same location this fall. I’m looking forward to this venture, where I can get three different types of moules frites or a cassoulet when the cold weather hits. Breads will be made in house. The wine list will be all French, and I know Scott Lutgenau, their Director of Operations and Sommelier, is already salivating over that prospect.

Interestingly, just like the classic brasseries, this place will be open all day, serving breakfast, too!

The space will be completely renovated, which is essential, as South’s decor never worked for me. I’m looking forward to seeing the black and white tiled floors, accordion folding doors, and bistro mirrors.

I’ll see if I can get into the place while they’re renovating and provide you with some updates (including photos).

Frankly, I’m extremely excited about this change, and this should be a great addition to North Hills.


14 Responses to “South” to Close — French Brasserie to Open

  1. Jen says:

    Wow, I just went there 2 weeks ago, I thought it was pretty good, maybe I got them on a good night- though I was surprised about how empty it was.

  2. catena says:

    Mmmmm…..nothing says brasserie like North Hills Mall.

  3. Varmint says:

    Hah, that’s actually pretty funny.

    Strangely enough, North Hills might be the perfect spot for a modern-day-living-in-the-suburbs type of brasserie, only because they’ll actually have some foot traffic there. Yeah, folks will have driven there first, followed by parking in the deck, but at least it has an outdoor entrance and will have some outdoor seating. Certainly not Paris, of course, or any other classic city, but the concept will probably work better in North Hills than it would downtown.

  4. Rafe says:

    I’ll miss South’s short rib sandwich at lunch, but the idea of a brasserie with open air dining seems really appealing to me.

  5. Scot says:

    Sorry to see them go – they made a really good mint julep, and my wife loves their fried oysters, but I wasn’t in love with the place either. N&O had a quote that along the lines of they didn’t do well because tourism was down. At first I wasn’t sure about that, but the more I reflect, the more I tend to agree. I think we liked the idea of the place, and I like the other restaurants the proprietors have established, but I didn’t see it as Southern enough to give a local a real fix for southern food.

  6. Scot says:

    Oh, yeah and really looking forward to trying their brasserie 🙂

  7. Ray Roadie says:

    I’m also in the camp that didn’t get South. It was a “theme” restuarant and why go to a theme restaurant in an area where you can get the real thing? I would bring out of town business guests there to give them a taste of local food but all the while I felt I was overpaying for an inconsistent rendition of what genuine Southern cooking could be. I’d take guests to The Pit now. Prices are still a bit high, but at the ‘cue is the real deal.

  8. BurgeoningFoodie says:

    I’m not sure how I like the idea of a brasserie at North Hills. With the city of Raleigh trying to revitalize downtown living. I know they have Frazier’s and Porter’s on Hillsborough and already have a romantic eatery with out door dining in Vivace. What would keep them away from downtown (if it’s not price of renting a space)? I wonder if they entertained the idea of downtown Durham (give Rue Cler and Vin Rouge some competition) though I know that might be a bit of a shlep for a group whose restaurants are all in about the same area. I mean I know they already had the space so I guess thats less of a headache.

  9. Angela says:

    This is great stuff. Would you consider blogging on GOLO.com, WRAL’s online community. I’m the Managing Editor there and I know our users would enjoy your writing immensely!

  10. Scot says:

    I would never have even considered taking a client to SOuth to highlight southern food; I mean, literally, I never even thought about it. Magnolia Grill, Nana’s, 18 Seaboard, almost all the conversation in a business dinner is about grits or collards or porkbelly (hungry now) – South was (is) just too obvious and themeparky to make it any fun to discuss. Tasted good, though. The Pit’s another beast all together – really good barbecue, and I have taken and will take clients there because Raleigh ain’t got no other good ‘cue (lol), it’s a nice place, serves real drinks, and the meat is the real deal, yum yum. Skylight Inn is just too far a drive, dang it!

  11. Varmint says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Scot. South just seemed like a shallow version of a Southern restaurant. I think The Pit will become an iconic Raleigh restaurant over time.

  12. Wes says:

    South was the only good place to eat at North Hills.

  13. paperclip says:

    I had a couple of good meals at South but I agree it didn’t feel southern really at all. I think they were afraid to go deep with it and have a more mass appeal.

    If they do this Brasserie all the way it will be a real hit. I can’t wait. I don’t think many North Hills folk will get it as I find that area very shallow and strange. Just look at how women dress. If i see hot pink and a bad tan all buzzed out on cheap Chardonnay I think I might just…

    The Pit seems to get stronger every time I go in. I love all the small drafts you can get and the Q is as good as it gets. I agree this place has chance to become a Raleigh icon indeed.

  14. Varmint says:

    I see that the name of the new restaurant will be “Coquette.”

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