Oakleaf chef-owner Brendan Cox opens new casual Italian eatery

Alberello Cafe & Market will eventually offer delivery using a 1978 Piaggio Ape truck to Briar Chapel residents only.
Alberello Cafe & Market will eventually offer delivery using a 1978 Piaggio Ape truck to Briar Chapel residents only. Courtesy of Alberello Cafe & Market

Chef Brendan Cox and his wife, Leslie, who own Oakleaf, a well-regarded fine dining restaurant in Pittsboro, have opened a new casual Italian eatery.

Alberello Cafe & Market has opened in a commercial area at the entrance to the Briar Chapel community, along US 15-501 south of Chapel Hill.

“Both Leslie and I love Oakleaf and everything about Oakleaf but we wanted a place where people could take their families, where people could eat everyday,” Brendan Cox said. “There also aren’t a lot of options on days when Oakleaf is closed.”

Greg Cox, the News & Observer’s longtime restaurant critic, gave a rare 4-1/2 star review of Oakleaf in 2012. Go HERE to read it.

Not only does Briar Chapel have more than 1,000 homes but there’s tremendous growth coming to nearby Chatham County with the Chatham Park development, which has more than 8,000 acres and is zoned for 22,000 homes.

Alberello Cafe & Market is a counter-service restaurant serving Floretine-style sandwiches (Italian meats and cheeses served on a coarse-grain salted focaccia, served hot or cold) and plates of half a roasted chicken, rosemary pork or housemade pasta with a side and bread. Desserts will be made in house and sides will be seasonal. Prices range from $9-$13.

While you place your order at the counter, the food will be brought to your table and Cox expects the service to be a higher level than what most people expect at a casual dining restaurant. “We’re trying to bring a level of service to casual dining that’s not always there,” Cox said.

The market will offer Italian cured meats and cheeses, produce, dairy, housemade pastas and 72 Italian label wines. Cox is hoping the cafe and market will serve those who want to dine, grab takeout or buy ingredients to make dinner at home.

The best part for Briar Chapel residents: the restaurant will eventually offer delivery. Cox explained they are restoring a 1978 Piaggio Ape, a three-wheeled Italian truck, to do deliveries in Briar Chapel only.

It is at 72 Chapleton Court, Chapel Hill, 984-234-301,, Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. every day.

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Twitter: @andreaweigl