Raleigh is fortunate to be getting a classic French brasserie, Coquette, the latest venture from the Urban Food Group restaurant company. Coquette, which basically means “flirty girl”, will be taking over the space previously inhabited by South in the North Hills Mall.
I’m very fortunate in that I’ve been granted complete access to the Coquette project. From the business plan, financial model, menu and recipe development, to extensive interviews with the owners, chefs, and front of the house managers, I’ll be telling a story over the next few months about the opening of a new, high-end restaurant. You’ll learn about construction, finances, landlord relationships — things that you just don’t hear about very often. If you have questions, ask them here, as I’ll try to get answers. In the end, this should make a compelling story of what goes into a restaurant.
Coquette is scheduled to open in late October or early November, and right now, the construction site is a typical mess. Nothing from South remains except for the kitchen, an overly large, inefficient space. But when you’re talking about a restaurant that hopes to have 400 covers a night, you might need a huge kitchen. Time will tell.
The menu will be classic brasserie, with a huge menu of standard dishes, but many with a contemporary twist. The wine list will be French, French and more French, and damn it, that’s a good thing.
So let me know what you want to know about this new edition to the Raleigh restaurant scene. Making this an interactive experience should be fun for all, and if you learn something new, well, that’s just a bonus.