Frazier’s, the crown jewel of Hillsborough Street dining and the original restaurant of the Urban Food Group, will be closing after Valentine’s Day. After suffering through some recent chef changes, compounded by the double whammy of the bad economy and the Hillsborough Street construction project, Kevin and Stacey Jennings have decided to close Frazier’s and re-open as a wine bar with a substantial food focus.
The wine bar, which does not yet have a name (let’s have a contest!), will serve many small plates with a menu that changes frequently. The wines on the list will drive what’s on the menu, rather than vice-versa. Urban Food Group will have an enomatic or cruvinet, with the hope to pour 20 wines by the glass. The atmosphere of the place will be very casual. With wines and craft beers selected by Scott Luetgenau, I’m confident that there will be many offerings here that are not available anywhere else.
Although many foodies claim that the small plate concept is passe, it is actually thriving, especially for the younger diners that enjoy going out in crowds. The inspiration for this new wine bar is New York’s The Ten Bells, which has been quite successful since opening in May of 2008.
Personally, I’m sad to see Frazier’s go, and I wish I could get over there one final time before it closes. I always felt as if it were the poor stepchild in Raleigh’s fine dining scene, which is completely undeserved, as it’s been a great restaurant. The space is awkward, however, and I sense it sort of got lost in the Hillsborough Street scene. I suspect the wine bar will be a bit of a place to be seen, which Hillsborough Street is lacking. Many a wine bar has come to the area, and many have failed. Fortunately, for us, I suspect this new Urban Food Group venture will do just fine.