Tammy Calaway-Harper is targeting early August for the opening of Belle, an ambitious new farm-to-table restaurant, coffee shop/bakery and cafe in the Jones House, a historic structure at the corner of Academy Street and Dry Avenue. Working with the Town of Cary, Calaway-Harper is directing extensive renovation to the building with the aim of transforming it into a prime dining destination.
A new roof will substantially complete the renovation of the exterior of the house, which was built in 1896. The final weeks will primarily be devoted to completing extensive interior work, including shelving, tables and a bar that will be made with wood salvaged from the original Angus Barn.
Belle will also offer the option of dining on the porch, where diners will be able to take in the gardens that Calaway-Harper is planting on the property - 80 percent of which she estimates will be edible plants. Weather permitting, quarterly wine and chef's table dinners may be served al fresco.
An experienced baker and caterer but first-time restaurateur, Calaway-Harper credits Vivian Howard, owner/chef of the acclaimed Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, for inspiring her strong commitment to local farmers. She's currently assembling a kitchen team to work with her in putting that inspiration onto the plate, and has already hired April Schlanger, formerly owner of the organic wine store, Sip, as bar manager.
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In the mornings, Belle will feature pastries (Calaway-Harper is the owner of Sweet T Cakery, whose organic baked goods she has been selling at area farmers' markets) and coffees made with beans from Carrboro Coffee Roasters.