the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.
Partner restaurants include 411 West,
bonne Soiree, Carolina Brewery, West End
Wine Bar and Talullas. Those wanting to
take advantage of the parking service without dining at one of the partner restaurants
can pay $5 to park for the entire evening.
Hours: 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday to Saturday
Valet parking, drop-off in front of 440 W.
■ ■ ■
Wednesday; 11 to 3 a.m. Thursday-Saturday
Joe’s Joint, 1611/2 E. Franklin St. (919)
■ ■ ■
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Kerr Drug closed its downtown store
in January, adding another empty storefront
to the 100 block of East Franklin. Diane
Eliezer, director of marketing in Kerr Drug’s
corporate office, said that the downtown
store had no pharmacy and served mainly
as a convenience store for students.
The business at 109 E. Franklin St. was
a Rite-Aid drugstore until 1997, when
Kerr Drug bought out Rite-Aid. Eliezer
said Kerr officials didn’t renew the lease
when it expired because the building
owner wanted a tenant to occupy both
floors of the 10,000-square-foot building.
Kerr did not want to expand that location.
Mac Hammer, the commercial brokerage associate with GVA Advantis handling
the lease, said he has talked with groups
interested in leasing one or both floors.
■ ■ ■
Marc Lucero and Tom Meier, seasoned
restaurateur transplants from Arizona and
California, respectively, bring a little Southwestern spice to their breakfast/brunch/lunch
dishes at Citrus in Southern Village. The
sunny bistro has its own blend of organic
coffee and uses many ingredients that are
locally grown, organic or purchased from
suppliers who practice fair-trade tenets.
Among the popular menu items are
eggs poached in salsa, served over charro
beans and tortillas; orange-batter French
toast and crab-and-artichoke omelets. Most
dishes range from about $8 to $12; a breakfast of eggs, potatoes and toast is under $6.
The 30 polished wood tables are set
with linen napkins and bright-colored
dishes; a side patio offers dining al fresco.
Citrus stocks beer, wine and a full bar.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week
Citrus, 100 Westgreen Drive, Chapel Hill,
Off the beaten path downtown, Joe’s
Joint still draws steady business. Down
Amber Alley, set behind and beneath Sutton’s Grill and measuring all of 622 square
feet, Joe’s is so small and hard to spot that
“the rent is dirt cheap,” said co-owner Tony
Sustaita, who also owns the Bandido’s outlets in the area. That economic reality lets
Sustaita and his business partner, Don Pin-ney, who manages Sutton’s Grill, pass the
savings on to the customers who fill the
joint’s five tables for $2 burgers, $3.50 burritos and $5 blue-plate specials of a meat
and two veggies on the side.
Joe’s menu has vestiges of its former
tenant, Burrito Bunker, as well as influences from Sutton’s Grill and Bandido’s:
tortas, a mean Cuban sandwich, chicken
tenders and a fried baloney sandwich.
“We call it comfort munchie food, at
very reasonable prices,” Sustaita said. “It has
become very appealing to people who
want a quick lunch and don’t want to
spend a lot of money on it.”
The decor takes its cue from Mel’s
Diner of the 1970s sitcom “Alice.” A floor
of bold-colored linoleum squares; walls
hung with photos of Elvis, old metal
advertisement signs and a deer head wearing a John Deere cap and Mardi Gras
beads. The joint, which opened in mid-October, serves no alcohol. “There are
plenty of places on Franklin Street for
that,” Sustaita said. “It’s a fun, friendly, no-frills place. People say they like it because
it’s an escape. It’s away from traffic and the
hustle and bustle. And even when the place
is full, there’s only four other tables.”
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-
A French country cafe adds another
dimension to fine dining. Charlene Allred,
a former health services professor, partnered with Kathleen Bowerman, a nurse
and antiques aficionado, to create Dream
Catcher Cafe, serving the French version
of down-home cooking.
Forgo the rich sauces and rich prices;
Allred, the main chef, describes the cuisine
as “the people’s food, recipes that have
endured for centuries in France.” She and
Bowerman are members of Slow Food
USA, an international movement interested
in returning to the pleasures of the table.
Allred favors organically grown ingredients
and suppliers who support fair trade and
sustainable farming practices.
Allred plans to change the menu
monthly. Entrees range from about $14 to
$20, and the restaurant features a full bar
and a wine cellar stocked primarily with
selections from French vintners. Allred will
make suggestions for wine pairings.
Bowerman, the maitre d’, created a
comfortable ambience with Parisian
antiques. The dining area seats 35, with room
for another 10 at the bar. The restaurant,
opened in January, serves dinner only, but the
owners plan to add lunch service by March.
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4
to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; lunch from 11
a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Dream Catcher Cafe, 1129 Weaver Dairy
Road, Suite O, (in Timberlyne Shopping Center), Chapel Hill, (919) 933-9410
— Nancy Oates
Pepper’s Pizza shows signs of moving a bit west from its longtime Franklin Street address. It apparently will remain a stone’s throw from the Varsity Theater. Get your tickets, get a slice, see a movie.