There's big news for two Chapel Hill eateries this week. The Barbecue Joint (630 Weaver Dairy Road, Suite 101, Chapel Hill, 932-7504, thecuejoint.com) is planning a move into larger digs later this year. Fans of the joint's homemade sausage, salads made from local greens, and Eastern Carolina barbecue can follow the hickory and white oak smoke to the Village Plaza Shopping Center on Elliott Road, in the former Branch's Bookstore spot.
Co-owner Jonathan Childres said the 1,600 square feet he and co-owner Damon Lapas have occupied for more than six years has served them well, but they'd like to serve more than 38 customers at a time, and in a more welcoming space, with table service. "We'd like for our customers to be more comfortable," he says. They plan to hire a wait staff and add beer, wine and mixed drinks to the food menu. They are upfitting the 4,800-square-foot space, which has never been a restaurant. Look for the new joint in the fall.
And it's time to raise your margarita glass in honor of The Flying Burrito (746 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, 960-2922), which reopens Wednesday, May 28, after a seven-month renovation by new owner Jim Duignan. "It really and truly looks beautiful in there," says Duignan, also the owner of Ba-Da Wings next door, who took over the restaurant and the rights to the Burrito's name and recipes from prior owner Phil Campbell.
Warming temperatures mean patio dining is on the upswing. Glasshalfull (106 S. Greensboro St., Carrboro, 967-9784, www.glasshalfullcarrboro.com) restaurant and wine bar has opened a patio and European-style garden landscaped by its neighbors at Fifth Season Gardening Co.
Raleigh's Bloomsbury Bistro (509 W. Whitaker Mill Road, Suite 101, 834-9011, www.bloomsburybistro.com) also has plans for a patio, said Executive Chef John Toler, in an e-mail to customers. He hopes to have it open later this summer. In the meantime, Bloomsbury Bistro has other news: The restaurant is now entirely smoke-free, and it has a new chef. Chef Mike Harris, a Raleigh native returning after a several-year stint in Charleston, most recently was sous chef at 82 Queen in Charleston.
Those crazy-wonderful guys at Pop's (810 W. Peabody St., Durham, 956-7677, www.pops-durham.com), Chris Stinnett and John Vandergrift, who also own Rue Cler, have done one more thing to make me very happy. They've ventured into pizza carry-out and delivery. (Insert happy pizza dance here.) It's called Pop's Back Door (956-PIES, popsbackdoor.com) and it's very simple: Just tell them flat (for pizza) or folded (for a calzone). They offer heavenly choices such as the Pop's "Kitchen" Pie (sopressata, tomatoes, capers, jalapenos, cheese and marinated cabbage) and the Carolina (North Carolina shrimp, roasted red peppers, onions and bacon) in three sizes: 10-, 14- and 18-inch. Or you can build your own. Delivery is only $1.50. I plan to work my way through the menu and have the driver memorize the way to my house.
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