“People Must Eat”: New Restaurants Open in Chapel Hill
At the end of 2021, several restaurants have opened in downtown Chapel Hill – with more to come.
Here’s what you need to know:
Fate of seafood
Seafood Destiny began operations on December 28 at the corner of Franklin and Columbia streets with a smooth opening. The restaurant plans to offer a 10% discount to UNC students who present their One Cards.
Owner Anthony Knotts said the idea for the restaurant, which started as a food truck in Greensboro, came to him when he had to find a way to pay his daughter’s school fees.
âSeafood Destiny started because I promised my daughter that if she went to college she could get by debt-free, but the problem was I didn’t have any money,â Knotts said. . âI was just going to do a food truck. There were a lot of food trucks in the area, and I noticed that there was no seafood truck. â
Knotts acknowledged the community assistance he has received since acquiring the Chapel Hill property, including assistance from the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership and Mayor Pam Hemminger.
âWe met the mayor, who was absolutely phenomenal,â Knotts said. “She gave us a great insight, she even challenged me on some things that I had to watchâ¦ Some segments of Chapel Hill have already kissed us.”
The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership provides downtown businesses with free startup resources, social media promotion, and grants. During the pandemic, the Downtown Partnership promoted fundraising and produced information related to the pandemic on its website for local businesses.
Master of Momo
Momo’s Master, a Nepalese restaurant that opened on Franklin Street at the end of November, is owned by Nepal-born Ramesh Dahal.
Dahal said he noticed that there were no Himalayan restaurants in Chapel Hill and decided to found one. He wanted to open the restaurant in the city because of his community.
âThey value the track record of the person who started or established any type of catering business,â Dahal said. âThat’s why I chose Chapel Hill. “
Dahal said that while the pandemic is not ideal for business, it is the right time for him to open his restaurant.
âAt the end of the day, no matter what happens during the pandemic, people have to eat,â Dahal said. âBut, we can eat healthier, more reasonable and better food. “
Like Seafood Destiny, Dahal said he has received support from the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership since the launch of Momo’s Master.
Additionally, Bouquet Garni Foods, owned by chef Eric Ndiaye, opened on December 4 at the Blue Dogwood Public Market on Franklin Street. The new restaurant serves Senegalese, French and American cuisine and offers catering services.
Roots Natural Kitchen, which aims to provide natural and affordable food, also opened a store in Chapel Hill on West Franklin Street early last month. This is the restaurant’s 10th address since it was founded in 2015.
Raising Cane’s, a Louisiana-based fast food chain, purchased the former land of Spanky’s restaurant on East Franklin Street in December. This will be Raising Cane’s third site in North Carolina.
Neal McTighe, regional director of the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center, said businesses must adapt to the changing circumstances of the pandemic to stay afloat.
âComplacency is the worst thing a business owner can do,â McTighe said. âThere’s no great luck if you just try to hold on. You can’t be complacent, you have to rethink your business.
McTighe said a long-term effect of the pandemic is that people are more inclined to start businesses and market opportunities are created by a high number of business closings.
âI believe Chapel Hill, as a microcosm of the economy as a whole, has a strong and diverse economic base that supports many types of businesses,â McTighe said.
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