Retail

Amra’s temporarily closed in Raleigh; Durham gets more soul

vbridges@newsobserver.comNovember 21, 2013 

A shift in ownership has led to Amra’s in downtown Raleigh to temporarily close.

On Monday, Amra’s tweeted that the jazz lounge and cigar bar at 106 Glenwood Ave. had closed.

In an email, owner Dave Mellin, who with partners bought Amra’s in 2010, blamed the economy and the resurgence of nightlife on Fayetteville Street for the closure.

But brothers Brian and Alex Amra, who opened the club in 2006, are getting the keys back and planning to reopen after making some changes, Alex Amra said. The two also own Tobacco Road Sports Café in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

“I don’t know how long it will take,” Alex Amra said. “The sooner the better.”

Nicole Ellis says she is known for her barbecue turkey ribs, which she serves as a special at the recently opened 118 Got Soul in downtown Durham.

Ellis describes her menu as soul food, hence the name. Expect fried, smothered or roasted chicken, smothered pork chops and the like. Got Soul, at 118 W. Parrish St., is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The food is presented on a buffet, but served cafeteria style. One meat, two veggies and bread typically costs $9.95.

The format is good for downtown workers who have limited time for lunch, Ellis said.

Ellis, who has a background in home health, had planned to open the business with her sister, who prepares food for a local university fraternity. But her sister got cold feet, Ellis said.

That’s OK, Ellis said. Her mom taught all of her children to cook.

For 37 years, Triangle travelers have been shopping at The Globetrotter, a luggage and travel accessories store now in Cameron Village. Earlier this month, the company’s owners, Jim and Cheryl Fairchild, announced they were closing after a retirement sale.

“We don’t have a closing date,” Cheryl Fairchild said. “Our plan is to go through the holidays through the end of the year.”

The Globetrotter, which employs seven along with some seasonal workers, first opened in the former North Hills Mall in 1976. A second store opened three years later in the original Cary Village Mall and then moved to the Cary Towne Center.

The Globetrotter’s location in Cameron Village opened in 1997, and a fourth store in Stonehenge Market on Creedmoor Road was open from 2001 to 2003.

Cheryl Fairchild said the couple plan to continue to live in Raleigh, take better care of their friends and family, and travel more. The couple purposely planned to close the business rather than sell it, she said.

“We created the store, and we wanted to always have it be our baby,” Cheryl Fairchild said.


The Durham version of the Raleigh whole-hog, cloth-napkin barbecue restaurant The Pit is set to open for lunch Tuesday, said owner Greg Hatem, who owns five restaurants in Raleigh. The Durham location, which is significantly larger than its Raleigh counterpart, is on the corner of West Geer Street and Rigsbee Avenue next to Fullsteam Brewery.

The Pit’s first floor will be open for business next week, but the upstairs, which includes a rooftop patio and a kitchen with its own offerings, won’t be accessible for another month, Hatem said.


Across the street from The Pit, Motorco Music Hall has started serving food from its kitchen space, Parts & Labor.

Parts & Labor sits behind a glass wall, nestled between Motorco’s Showroom and its repainted and upgraded Garage Bar.

Chris Holloway, a local chef and entrepreneur involved in two other restaurant ventures in Durham County, has set an initial menu with global street food offerings, from cheeseburger sliders with a bacon and onion jam to a fried oyster salad and potato latkes. Holloway, who is overseeing the kitchen and working with Motorco’s three owners, said the menu will change over time.

“It’s going to be fun to play and do different things,” said Holloway, who is also the owner-operator of Pitchfork Provisions, a 24-hour restaurant on Duke University’s West Campus, and co-owner of Brookland Eats, a casual dining space in Roxboro.


Tri-Arc Food Systems opened its newest Bojangles’ franchise at 9919 Fayetteville Road in Raleigh. It’s the 49th Bojangles’ restaurant that Tri-Arc has opened in 33 years in the Triangle area and Southern Virginia.

Bridges: 919-829-8917 or vbridges@newsobserver.com; Twitter: @shoptalk_nando

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