Barbecue restaurant planned for Diamond View III downtown

May. 16, 2013 @ 07:39 PM

Pitmaster Ed Mitchell is planning to open a barbecue restaurant this fall in Diamond View III, the building that’s under construction downtown between the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the Durham Performing Arts Center.

The restaurant, called “’Que,” will be on the first floor of the new building, which is to be the third part of a series of office space-oriented buildings overlooking the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

The buildings were developed by Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting, which owns the nearby American Tobacco mixed-use development, the Durham Bulls baseball team and WRAL-TV.

Diamond View III is under construction off Blackwell Street, and is slated to be completed in the fall. The firm FHI 360 is expected to occupy about 95,000 of 130,000 square feet of the building.

Mitchell is a native of the eastern North Carolina city of Wilson. He specializes in pit-cooked, whole-hog barbecue. He said he’s been barbecuing since he was a child.

The family had a store in Wilson that served barbecue that he said converted into a restaurant as demand grew. But he said the market wasn’t there for the concept he started there.

He later became a partner in The Pit, a barbecue restaurant in Raleigh that is part of the Empire Eats restaurant group.

He said the concept for The Pit was to take barbecue to a “different level for a different clientele of people (in) a different market.”

“We wanted to do more of a trendy, upscale type of barbecue operation,” he said. “It was more … fine dining, where we could offer a very distinguished wine cellar, different types of dinner wines and a really strong bourbon and liquor bar that was suitable for barbecue.”

In the spring of 2011, Mitchell parted ways with Empire Eats to pursue his own venture.

And now Greg Hatem, the Raleigh-based developer behind the Empire Eats restaurant group, is planning to open a second location of The Pit in Durham in an area near Fullsteam brewery, the Motorco music venue and other businesses.

Mitchell is not part of those plans, however.

He said he’s working on ’Que with his son. The restaurant at Diamond View III is expected to have 150 seats inside, as well as patio seating, according to a news release.

Casual lunches are expected to be priced starting at around $10, and more formal dinners are expected to start at around $15, according to the release. There will also be a bar and wine cellar. Mitchell said the atmosphere is planned to be cozy and “a little rustic.”
“We’ll have a wide range of offerings, from poultry to beef, steaks and brisket of course barbecue chicken, barbecue turkey, and we’ll probably even do beef barbecue, which is why we named it ’Que -- just a variety of different styles of barbecue,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he plans to serve whole-hot, pit-cooked pork barbecue. They plan to source meat and vegetables from local farms, he said.

He said he wanted to open the restaurant in Durham because of its foodie reputation.

“When I re-start(ed), I wanted to go to an environment where people really enjoy food, and Durham has recently been credited for being a foodie town, so they really can appreciate what I’m doing because I’m a foodie,” he said.