Underground, the tapas restaurant beneath Goodnight's Comedy Club in downtown Raleigh, has closed. Brad and Shannon Reeder, owners of Goodnight's and the building's landlords, have taken over the space. On Jan. 12, they plan to reopen the Old Bar (861 W. Morgan St.; 828-5233), which occupied the space before Underground.
The casual restaurant will serve an assortment of pub fare, including burgers, ribs, sandwiches and salads. The new Old Bar will not revive the Mexican theme of the original, however. Instead, it will be, as Brad Reeder puts it, "a restaurant, bar and garage sale in one." Translation: Everything, including the chair you're sitting on, will be for sale.
The Reeders are also sprucing up The Grille at Goodnight's (www.goodnightscomedy.com; same address and phone number as the Old Bar), their more upscale restaurant upstairs. They're giving the dining room a makeover, and are working with chef Richard Meckley to introduce an expanded, more ambitious menu. Offerings will include roast duck, free range chicken, osso buco, handmade pastas (lobster ravioli, gnocchi Bolognese and wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil, to name three) and a fresh fish of the day, as well as the wood-grilled steaks for which The Grille is known. The current menu will continue to be offered through Jan. 12, and the Reeders will unveil the new-and-improved version on Jan. 18. Thereafter, the restaurant will serve dinner Thursday-Saturday nights. As always, preferred seating goes to customers with tickets to Goodnight's Comedy Club downstairs.
Meanwhile, Underground owner/chef Daniel Taylor is exploring the possibility of opening an artisanal butcher shop and charcuterie in the area. I'll keep you posted.
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Elsewhere in the Triangle, the variety of ethnic options continues to grow. In West Raleigh, Syed Youssef has opened The Olive Green (6715 Hillsborough St.; 859-7978), the area's first restaurant offering Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern fare under one roof. Youssef is giving the place a colorful makeover whose highlights include an exotic landscape mural, columns and a fountain. He hadn't finished redecorating the place when I visited, though, possibly because he has been too busy developing the enormous menu. The offering is as extensive as it is eclectic, with scores of listings both vegetarian and halal nonvegetarian, ranging from baba ghanoush and lamb kebabs to sweet corn soup and whole tandoori fish. For those who have a hard time deciding, a buffet is available day and night. The Olive Green is open Monday through Friday from noon until 10 p.m. and from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.