With last week’s opening of Local 22 (2000 W. Main St.; 919-286-9755; local22kitchenandbar.com), Giorgios Bakatsias continues to live up to his reputation as one of the area’s most prolific restaurateurs. This time around, though, the new restaurant doesn’t actually add to the tally in his collection (which includes Vin Rouge, Bin 54 and Kipos, among several others).
Local 22 takes the place of Vita, which Bakatsias previously operated in the same space in Durham’s Erwin Square Plaza. He closed that restaurant to make way for the new concept, a Southern-accented gastropub with a strong local focus.
“We wanted to set ourselves apart from Parizade,” says general manager Pete Wagner, referring to another Bakatsias restaurant in the same complex. “We wanted to get away from the Mediterranean concept that Parizade does so well.”
The change gives longtime Vita chef Yianni Dontas a whole new palette of flavors to play with. Dontas and sous chef Josh Coburn (formerly of Parizade) are still tweaking the menu, but are already relying heavily on local producers.
“Our goal is one hundred percent local,” says Wagner, and we’re already around 75 percent.” That translates to a menu peppered with items such as Lily Den Farm pan-roasted half chicken and a farm vegetable plate with vegan and gluten-free pasta in a spiced broth.
Wagner, who has worked at a number of area bars (most recently Kipos), is assembling a North Carolina liquor and craft beer selection to match. He’s also working on special dinners to showcase the best of the burgeoning local brewing scene, to be hosted at a newly installed communal Farm Table.
Local 22 is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. The kitchen closes at midnight Thursday-Saturday, an hour or two earlier on weeknights.