La Place to bring a taste of Louisiana to Hillsborough

Gulf Rim Cafe owner Joe Tullos is teaming up with Matt Fox, owner of the popular Wooden Nickel pub (and founding partner of Hillsborough BBQ Company), to open a new restaurant in the space currently occupied by Gulf Rim Cafe. Torres will close that restaurant at the end of the year, and the partners will immediately begin giving the space a makeover to go with its new incarnation as La Place.

Named for Tullos’ hometown near New Orleans, the restaurant will feature what the owners are billing as “authentic Louisiana and regional cuisine.” Cajun fare will, naturally, be the focus, with house-made sausages and charcuterie (available on the menu and at a special retail counter) a highlight.

The partners have hired Craig Claycomb, formerly of Kipos in Chapel Hill, to run the front of the house. Derrick Smith is moving over from the Wooden Nickel to work with Tullos in the kitchen. With an ambitious timetable for the dining room conversion (which includes a new bar with comfortable seating and a selection of draft beers), they’re targeting an early 2014 opening.

Greg Cox, the N&O’s longtime restaurant critic, also reports restaurant news. Tune in at 11 a.m. Saturdays to hear “Dining Out with Greg Cox” on WPTF 680 or 850 AM. Reach him at