Poole's Diner chef to open new restaurant, event space in downtown Raleigh

aweigl@newsobserver.comJune 24, 2013 

Chef Ashley Christensen is planning to open Death & Taxes, a new wood-fired oven restaurant, and Bridge Club, an event space, in downtown Raleigh later this year.

Christensen is known for her other restaurants, Poole's Diner, Beasley's Chicken + Honey, and Chuck's, as well as a cocktail bar called Fox Liquor Bar.

Her latest project will occupy the newly restored historic building at 105 Hargett St. The building dates to 1907 and has been home to a funeral home, a bank and an attorney's office over the years. That's what prompted the name: Death & Taxes.

Death & Taxes, which will occupy the basement and ground floor, will offer a menu that celebrates "the technique of wood-fire cooking, as expressed through the ingredients of the South," according to a statement released Monday. The menu is still being finalized but Christensen, who was inspired by a trip to Uruguay, " envisions an array of larger, shareable platters of vegetables, seafood and meats, their flavors harnessed in a custom wood-burning oven." Sunny Gerhart, who used to work with Christensen at Poole's and recently worked as chef de cuisine at Watts Grocery in Durham, will be the chef de cuisine of Death & Taxes.

Death & Taxes' basement bar will offer a low-lit cellar-like atmosphere and the bar itself will be constructed around one of the preserved bank vaults.

Bridge Club, a private event space, will be on the second and third floors and include a rooftop patio. Christensen plans to use the space for private events, pop-up series with visiting chefs, special dinners and classes. And the name? Christensen said in the statement: "Our grandmothers came together to socialize over bridge games, and that spirit infuses this space. We're bridging people together with a shared experience."

Death & Taxes and Bridge Club are expected to open in late fall 2013.

To read a story about the extensive exterior renovation of the building, go HERE.

To read a profile of Christensen, go HERE.

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