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Transfer Co. Food Hall is adding a homegrown barbecue restaurant

Transfer Co. Food Hall located at 500 E. Davie St., Aug. 29, 2018.
Transfer Co. Food Hall located at 500 E. Davie St., Aug. 29, 2018. jleonard@newsobserver.com

And then there was barbecue.

This week, the latest vendor at Transfer Co. Food Hall was revealed. Barbecue food truck Longleaf Swine will open a counter devoted to the art of smoked meat, serving pork, brisket, sausage and sides at a 10-person bar.

Longleaf Swine, an ode to North Carolina’s signature pine and culinary delicacy, is a partnership of Adam Cunningham and Marc Russell.

“This is North Carolina, it feels like there should be a barbecue restaurant on every corner,” Cunningham said Tuesday in a phone interview. “We’re trying to make that happen.”

The pair started operating a food trailer in 2016 with a pig cooker on the back, specializing in whole hog barbecue. In the past year, they have set up a Sunday night residency outside downtown Raleigh bar Foundation, serving a limited menu and evangelizing their brand of smoked dishes and a semi-famous burger.

Longleaf Swine will occupy a small piece of Transfer Co., just 840 square feet — a sliver of what had been a single 5,000-square-foot piece.

Cunningham said they have been working towards a brick and mortar for a while and plan to use the small space as a stepping stone, if not a launch pad.

“We’re trying to get a bigger brick-and-mortar and thought this was the best next step for us,” Cunningham said. “We love everyone in (Transfer Co.).”

The food hall opened just before the new year with a few vendors having soft openings, but has since added three more, with most of the project still to come.

Che Empanadas, Locals Oyster Bar and seafood market, Benchwarmer Bagels, Captain Cookie and the Milkman and a Burial taproom are currently open.

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Longleaf Swine will be accessible from the outside and operate largely as a to-go restaurant, with a 10-seat bar. Plans for the menu include pork cooked in quarters (Cunningham said there wasn’t room for a whole hog smoker), spare ribs, brisket, housemade sausage and seasonal sides. Expect pimento mac and cheese and cole slaw year-round, as well as a limited drink menu built around tallboys of cheap beer and shots of whiskey.

The origins of Longleaf Swine began in Eastern North Carolina. Cunningham grew up in Jacksonville and said he’s been smoking whole hogs his entire life and became the king of tailgates while attending NC State. Russell grew up in High Point and has cooked in some of Raleigh’s best restaurants, including Poole’s Diner and Death and Taxes (owned by James Beard winner Ashley Christensen) and the now-closed Standard Foods.

“Marc has a lot of experience with live fire-smoked meats,” Cunningham said.

Longleaf Swine anticipates opening this summer. For more, go to longleafswine.com. Transfer Co. is at 500 E. Davie St.

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.
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