Bolt Bistro & Bar to open on Fayetteville St. later this summer

dbracken@newsobserver.comJuly 26, 2012 

A longtime restaurateur and a former NFL linebacker will open a new restaurant later this summer in the downtown Raleigh space formerly occupied by the white tablecloth restaurant The Mint.

Bolt Bistro & Bar will offer what co-owner David Sadeghi calls a “very affordable and approachable menu” with appetizers priced between $6 and $11, a bar menu priced at $11 and under and entrees starting at $14. Sadeghi’s partner in the restaurant is Adalius Thomas, a retired linebacker who played for the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. The group has also brought in celebrity chef Penny Davidi to help with developing the concept and the menu.

“It’s going to be informal. There’s no tablecloth,” Sadeghi said. “ ... It is going to be really different from what it used to be. We have no choice. I think The Mint was fantastic. But The Mint was fantastic to very few people.”

Raleigh invested $1 million to lure The Mint into the city-owned One Exchange Plaza building on Fayetteville Street. Some downtown Raleigh restaurateurs criticized the deal, saying the city was subsidizing their competition by paying to install the necessary infrastructure to operate a restaurant in the building’s 6,792-square-foot ground-floor space.

They also questioned why the city seemed eager to have a particular type of restaurant in the space.

City officials said The Mint’s owner chose the restaurant’s concept and that they were doing what any other private landlord would do to attract a tenant. They also said they would recoup the investment made in the space over the course of The Mint’s 10-year lease.

The Mint was current on its lease payments when it closed in April nearly half-way through its lease. Sadeghi’s group and the city agreed to a new 10-year lease in June.

Raleigh will take in about $88,000 less over the next five years than it would have under The Mint’s lease, meaning it will take slightly longer to recoup the investment it made in the space.

City Manager Russell Allen said the new lease ensures the city has a tenant in the space for an additional five years. He also said the city’s return on investment amounted to more than just the rent payments it received from The Mint and now Bolt.

“Of that $1 million there’s ongoing value that’s now in the space that would be there if we sold the building to someone else,” Allen said. “Those are real property improvements.”

The city didn’t make any additional investments in the space to accommodate Bolt. Sadeghi said his group is spending $400,000 to renovate the space. The previous owner, the Raleigh Restaurant Group, spent $2 million to create The Mint’s dining atmosphere, which included a gleaming, six-ton steel bank vault door, strings of faceted crystals suspended from the ceiling and silken upholstery.

“It’s going to look nothing like it used to,” Sadeghi said, noting that Bolt plans to open the restaurant’s windows to create a better connection with its outdoor seating area.

Sadeghi now splits his time between Chapel Hill and Baltimore. He was general manager of the Governor’s Club golf club in Chapel Hill for five years before moving to Baltimore in 2000 to go to work for Big Steaks Management. While with Big Steaks Sadeghi opened three Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses in the Triangle. He met Thomas while the linebacker was playing for the Ravens.

Sadeghi still owns a restaurant in Clarksville, Md. and earlier this year he bought the Town Hall Grill in Chapel Hill. Bolt is slated to open sometime between late August and shortly after Labor Day.

As for the name, Sadeghi said it has multiple meanings, one of them being very literal.

“Bolt ties things up together,” he said. “We wanted it be a place that feels like we’re putting things together.”

Bracken: 919-829-4548

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