Mouthful

Vivace to open in former Pop’s spot in Durham

Vivace, one of the Raleigh-based Urban Food Group restaurant group’s restaurants, is coming to Durham
Vivace, one of the Raleigh-based Urban Food Group restaurant group’s restaurants, is coming to Durham

In recent years, an unprecedented wave of restaurant openings has made an emphatic statement about the Triangle’s burgeoning food scene. Now another wave — restaurants whose success has led to multiple locations — is putting an exclamation point on that statement.

Leading the wave, in terms of culinary ambition as well as sheer numbers, is Vivace (vivaceraleigh.com). The North Hills Italian restaurant, whose fresh take on the cuisine and upscale-casual atmosphere have already yielded a second location in Charlotte, is about to expand again — twice. Urban Food Group, the owners of Vivace (as well as Coquette and Chow), has signed a lease for the former Pop’s location in Durham’s West Village. The new restaurant will be “an updated version of our Vivace concept,” according to owner Kevin Jennings, “keeping Durham and its uniqueness in mind.” This tweaked-for-the-local-scene philosophy will next be applied to Denver, where they’ve signed a lease for a fourth Vivace.

Vivace joins a growing list of home-grown restaurants looking to multiply a winning formula — a list that goes all the way back to 1959, when the first Char-Grill (chargrillusa.com) opened on Hillsborough Street. The trend has accelerated in the past couple of years, with a varied assortment of establishments ranging from Rise Biscuits & Donuts (risebiscuitsdonuts.com) to Cocoa Cinnamon (cocoacinnamon.com) announcing plans to open a second location. Firewürst (firewurst.com) already has two locations (not counting the original on Kildaire Farm Road — which, having served its purpose as a test of the concept, is now closed).

So does Hummus Cafe (hummuscafenc.com), the newest entry in the multiple-location field. Just a year and a half after opening on Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street, the Middle Eastern eatery opened a second location in Morrisville (962-A Airport Blvd.; 919-650-1601) on Monday.

Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Tune in to hear his radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF. Reach him at ggcox@bellsouth.net.

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