Caitlin Byrd

Subway leaves downtown

The $5 Footlong has retreated to the 'burbs, at least for now.

Downtown's Subway, located at 33 Battery Park Ave. near the Grove Arcade, closed last week.

The manager, loading bags of chips into a food service truck, said he had no comment, and asked that his name not be used.

The property is owned by FIRC Group, the same company that owns the Haywood Park Hotel building and Westgate Shopping Center. The president of the company, Tony Fraga, also owns Isa's Bistro and the Haywood Park Café.

The property is noteworthy because of its location and existing kitchen. It's potentially the only vacant downtown restaurant space.

Fraga says the property could become part of a hotel. “We’re doing the feasibility right now,” he says. “We’re just at the point where you study. We’ve identified a brand we’d like to go with, but we haven’t signed the papers yet.”

He hopes to sign a deal on the hotel by the end of 2013 and submit plans to the city in 2014. In the meantime, the space could get a new tenant, “a temporary user,” like an office, Fraga says. He doesn’t expect to lease the space to a restaurant.

Blind Pig eats its veggies

Blind Pig Supper Club has a reputation for meat-heavy dinners. Often times, those meats include odd cuts and rare critters, such as beaver. It’s rumored that opossum will be featured at an upcoming dinner.

In September, Blind Pig will venture into uncharted courses — the group is going vegetarian, if only for a day. “We’ve had a lot of people ask for it,” says Mike Moore, executive director of Blind Pig. “For some reason, these things always involve strange meat or oddities.”

Chefs Caitlin McMillan of Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder and Justin Burdett of Ruka’s Table in Highlands preside over the vegetables.

Meat-free supper clubs and plated dinners are few and far between, so Root Down presents an opportunity to have your vegetarianism and eat it, too. Tickets go on sale this month. Check for details.

Baba Ghannouj looks for a new niche

Last fall, Baba Ghannouj opened in the Asheville Mall with a menu of fresh-made hummus, falafel, gyros and shawarma. The restaurant brought authentic flavor to the food court, and we featured it in an October article.

Baba Ghannouj closed on Sunday, June 29, but Cid Haddad, who runs the business with his brother, says they’re looking for a new location in Asheville. “We know how to make it, but in the mall, we’re limited with what we can do,” he says. “I’m quite sure we’ll find another location.”

Haddad expects to have an update on the new store in about a month. Baba Ghannouj has several other locations in Raleigh and Wilmington.


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