Chef Kevin Callaghan, the owner of Carrboro’s Acme Food and Beverage Co., plans to open a new taco restaurant in Carrboro’s South Green development.
Atlas Taco Bar is Callaghan’s first venture beyond his landmark restaurant, which has been open in Carrboro since 1998. South Green is a 45,000-square-foot shopping center coming to six acres north off Highway 54 at 501 S. Greensboro St. Construction is expected to begin in June 2017 and take up to 22 months.
Callaghan, who is known for his farm-to-table fare at Acme, has wanted to open a second restaurant but struggled with this challenge: “How do you create really great local-inspired food at a reasonable price point?”
To make that work financially, Callaghan said he needed a location with plenty of parking, which is a challenge in Carrboro, and foot traffic. South Green will offer both so Callaghan can source the meat from local farmers, pinto beans from Nevada and buy fresh corn tortillas from local purveyors. He said the menu will be Mexican food with a Southern accent. The entire menu will be gluten free and focused on fresh ingredients.
“No burritos. No chimichangas,” Callaghan said.
In preparation for the restaurant opening, Callaghan said he’s made arrangements to spent some time in the restaurant kitchens of Chicago chef Paul Kahan, who is known for Publican and Blackbird. Among Kahan’s restaurants are these two serving Mexican food, Dove’s Luncheonette and Big Star.
It looks like more restaurants are likely coming to the complex; developer Runyon Woods said at a Carrboro Board of Aldermen meeting last year that about 40 percent of the space is expected to go to restaurants.