Oval Park Grille, Tonic to open on Broad St.

Sep. 12, 2013 @ 05:41 PM

New restaurant and bar on Broad Street: The former bar manager and chef de cuisine at the Durham French bistro Vin Rouge are teaming up to open a neighborhood restaurant called Oval Park Grille in the old Broad Street Café space. Next door to that, they’re planning to open a bar and wine shop called Tonic.

Two of the three partners behind the plans for the new restaurant and bar are Todd Whitney, who has held roles as chef de cuisine at Vin Rouge and as chef at J. Betski’s in Raleigh, and Greg Demarchi, the former Vin Rouge bar manager.

Vin Rouge is co-owned by Matt Kelly, who also opened the Mateo tapas restaurant and bar downtown on West Chapel Hill Street.

The Oval Park Grille is planned to open in space at 1116 Broad St. in the old home of the Broad Street Café, a restaurant, bar and music venue that closed earlier this year after five years in operation.

Demarchi said they want the restaurant to be family-friendly and food and drink-focused, without the fanfare of fancy plates, china or glassware. The menu will change daily, Demarchi said, incorporating seasonal ingredients when available. He said it will be quirky, with food from all over the world, but not sticking to one particular theme. They’re shooting for meals to be under $20.

"We’re not going to be pigeon-holed into one type of restaurant, and we’ll have a ton of wine by the glass and by the bottle and a lot draft beer, some of that will be local too,” Demarchi said. “We want all the focus to be on the product, the food and beverage,” he added. “We want it to be as simple as possible so we can offer the lowest price as possible.”

Tonic is going into the space next door to the restaurant, in the same building. The space previously housed the violin and guitar shop High Strung, which is now on West Markham. 

Demarchi said the bar will have a speakeasy-type feel and will cater to adult patrons over 30. He said they’ll have craft beer and wine as well as some classic and new cocktails.

“We kind of wanted to take the snobbery out of wine,” he said. “We want to encourage people to ask questions and to not be afraid of not knowing anything about wine. That’s where we can help and direct people and figure out what they do like.”

Demarchi said they’re having extensive renovations done to both spaces. They’re targeting to be open in December.

“It was an opportunity for us to open our own business, and who wouldn’t want to do that?” he said.


Mateo recognized by Southern Living: Durham’s Mateo Tapas was named one of the top five best new restaurants in the South in Southern Living’s September issue. The restaurant took the No. 5 spot behind restaurants in Charleston, S.C.; Houston, Texas; Atlanta; and Memphis, Tenn.

“From seafood palaces that champion the bounty of our waters … to simple neighborhood joints and kitchens run by first-generation Southerners who are introducing kimchi to our collards and curry leaves to our fried chicken, these picks reveal the patchwork quilt of modern Southern food,” Southern Living’s travel and features Editor Jennifer V. Cole said in a prepared statement. 

Cole traveled about 31,000 miles from Charleston to Miami to Houston to find the best restaurants, compiling a list of what she considers to be the South’s 100 best restaurants.

To see the story online, go to the website http://www.southernliving.com/travel/souths-best-new-restaurants-00417000070785/.


New luggage store at Southpoint: The Atlanta-based luggage and gifts company Mori Luggage & Gifts is opening a store at The Streets at Southpoint in October in a space that previously housed Wolf Camera.

The store is the company’s 29th location in the Southeast, and its fourth in North Carolina behind stores in Asheville, Charlotte, and Greensboro.

The new Southpoint store will have luggage, business cases and backpacks from brands including Tumi, Hartmann, Victorinox, Briggs & Riley, and Rimowa, according to a news release.

It will also sell travel accessories such as packing folders, luggage tags, and passport cases, and gift items such as wallets, jewelry boxes, barware, chess sets, globes, and pens.

It will offer services such as monogramming and engraving, free gift wrapping and corporate gift program.

The grand opening of the new store in October will include sales, gifts with purchase and a customer raffle.


Free movies at Northgate for school students, faculty, staff: Stadium 10 Theaters at Northgate is offering free admission for any movie for students, faculty and staff of five area schools on certain dates this month.

The movies are free with a current, valid student, faculty or staff identification.

N.C. Central University’s date is Sept. 17, Durham Technical Community College’s is Sept. 18, Duke University’s is Sept. 19, N.C. School of Science and Math’s is Sept. 25, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s is Sept. 26.

For information and show times, visit www.ecemovies.com or call 919-286-1001.

Stadium 10 at Northgate is on the Plaza at 1058 West Club Blvd. in Durham. The theater, in its sixth year at Northgate, has renovated flooring and furnishings.


Restaurant closure: Bergama Restaurant, the Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine restaurant on Hillsborough Road, has closed.

According to the business’ website, the restaurant’s lease was up at the location, so the business owners are looking for a new home.


Ole NC Bar-B-Que move: Ole NC Bar-B-Que is operating in space in the North Duke Crossing shopping center after moving out of its former home on North Roxboro Street earlier this year.

The restaurant was located in the distinctive building at 4201 N. Roxboro St. for almost eight years, said Jessica McDade, a cashier at the restaurant.

The business moved into a space between Curves and Beauty Supply in the neighboring shopping center, which is anchored by Staples and Roses.

McDade said the restaurant no longer has a buffet, but does still do catering in addition to take-out and eat-in orders. The business started in the shopping center and later moved into the building on North Roxboro Street, she said.


Have an item for The Buzz? Contact Laura Oleniacz at loleniacz@heraldsun.com or at 919-419-6636.