Public House coming to south Durham

Jun. 28, 2013 @ 03:17 PM

Mattie B’s Public House: Two partners behind the wine-focused, fine dining restaurant Six Plates Wine Bar are planning to open a more casual restaurant in southern Durham called Mattie B’s Public House.

The restaurant will offer beer instead of wine and will also serve pizza, burgers, wings, sandwiches and gourmet potato chips offered in different combinations of spice blends and toppings, said John Eisensmith, a chef who co-owns Six Plates with partner Matthew Beason.
Eisensmith is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who said he runs the back of the house at Six Plates. Beason is the wine expert and front-of-the-house operator, he added.
The new restaurant is planned to open in the space in the Hope Valley Commons shopping center off N.C. 54 that previously housed the Durham location of the pizza shop Alfredo’s Pizza, Eisensmith said. There is still an Alfredo’s location at University Mall in Chapel Hill.
Eisensmith said the partners got a call from investors that had a partnership with the owner of Alfredo’s. The Durham location wasn’t performing how they’d expected, he said. The investors asked the two to run the restaurant.
Mattie B’s will be more casual than Six Plates, which is on Erwin Road near Duke University Hospital. The restaurant’s menu, which changes, includes six different small plate options with wine pairings, among other offerings, Eisensmith said.
The interior of Mattie B’s is planned to have a feel of “something very different than a strip mall,” Eisensmith said, with hardwood floors and art by a local artist.
“We’re in the process of designing exactly what the interior is going to look like,” he said. “Right now we’re thinking of doing canvases stretched by tension wires and having a handful of different canvases of different shapes, graffiti on the bar top, graffiti splatter art, colorful, bring, vibrant.”
Their goal is to have the new restaurant open by mid-August.


Broad Street Café closure: After five years, the four owners of the Broad Street Café are closing the restaurant, bar and music venue. A note on the restaurant’s website said the closure was planned for Sunday. The business is now up for sale.
Paul Brock, a Durham attorney, said he and his law partner Darin Meece and his former college roommate John Hite bought the business at a time when they were looking for investment properties. The fourth current owner, Anna Fishel, had worked at the café, but later bought into the business and became its general manger.
Brock said when they took over the café, it was a coffee shop with live music. They installed a kitchen that allowed the café to become a full-time restaurant, as well as the wood-fired pizza oven and additional bar space.
Brock said business has been slower than usual, but there were still nights when they were “busy as they could be.” He said that overall, the owners “just needed to put our energies elsewhere.”
“The restaurant business is a 24-7 kind of business, and we, I just think we didn’t have 24-7 to put into it anymore,” he said.
During its last weekend, the café is holding food and drink specials. The business, at 1116 Broad St., is open until 1 a.m. today, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, and on Sunday starting at 4 p.m.
“For us, the four owners of the Broad Street Café, the past five years of the Broad Street Café have been about just that, doing some of the things that we love (great food, free local music, civic involvement) with you: our terrific staff, our dear friends and family, and the many loyal customers and fans of the Café,” the note on the website said.
Brock has been selling jerky at the café through the company Two Brothers Jerky, which is run jointly with his brother. They plan to launch online sales of the product.


Reaction “mixed” to new Durham shirt: A Durham-based company that got its start two years ago designing and selling Bull City-related T-shirts has gotten mixed reactions from a new shirt that began pre-selling online Thursday, according to the founder.
The shirt is printed with the words “I’d rather be shot in Durham than die of boredom in Cary.” Gabe Eng-Goetz, the 27-year-old founder of the Durham-based clothing design company Runaway, said the shirt is meant to be a joke that plays into stereotypes.
“This was playing up on stereotypes that have been around for awhile,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m not saying these stereotypes are true; today, obviously, both places are changing a lot.”
Eng-Goetz said he works primarily as a freelance artist and designer. He runs the clothing design business on the side. He started the company in the summer of 2011, and now has designs in seven stores in the Triangle, six of them in Durham. He anticipates that one or two of the retailers that carry his designs now will carry the new shirt.
“Our demographic is younger -- we like to be kind of edgy -- so basically we just thought this would get some good publicity, and it obviously has,” he said. “I’m interested to see, you know, people’s reactions. I’m already seeing mixed reactions. I’m not out there to offend anyone.”
You can see the T-shirt online at


Durham pub to hold grill cook-off: The West 94th St. Pub in the Woodcroft Shopping Center is holding a grilling competition on July 27 to raise money for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
The “Grill Master Cook-Off Competition” will run from noon to 5 p.m. with entertainment by Plan B Durham Bad. Food will be donated by the pub, according to a news release, as well as a limited number of charcoal grills.
Contestants will be required to cook chicken and corn on-site with their own seasonings and spices. There is an optional bonus category in which contestants grill their own specialty items.
“The competition is open to as many contestants as possible, however once the seven charcoal grills are taken, the individual will have to provide their own grill to be able to compete,” said event organizer Kerry Bryant in an email.
Contestants are required to bring 10 non-perishable items and to recruit monetary sponsors to benefit the food bank.
The pub is at 4711 Hope Valley Road in Durham. For information or to get involved, call 919-403-0025 or send an email to The pub is looking to recruit food bloggers and chefs to volunteer to be judges.

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