Mouthful

Babylon Moroccan restaurant relocating while current spot to be rebranded

Babylon’s executive chef Jean Paul Fontaine, right, serves food at the quarterly Glenwood Faire block party April 17, 2016. The restaurant will soon relocate to another location while its current Dawson Street spot becomes an Italian restaurant.
Babylon’s executive chef Jean Paul Fontaine, right, serves food at the quarterly Glenwood Faire block party April 17, 2016. The restaurant will soon relocate to another location while its current Dawson Street spot becomes an Italian restaurant. hlynch@newsobserver.com

Babylon, the Moroccan restaurant in downtown Raleigh, is moving to a smaller space while its current home becomes an Italian restaurant.

Samad Hachby, owner and creative director of the restaurant at 309 N. Dawson St., announced the changes Tuesday in a news release. Babylon has been at the location since July 2011.

A news release says Babylon will move to an unspecified “smaller, more intimate dining space.” A representative for the restaurant said he is “searching for the perfect space.”

Babylon will take reservations at its current location until March 30.

Meanwhile, the new restaurant will be named Mulino Italian Kitchen and Bar. The menu, according to a news release, will focus on homemade pastas, pizzas and breads cooked in the woodfired oven, locally sourced meats and seafood and an Italian wine selection.

It is set to open mid-April. The large reflecting pool, one of the space’s signature features, will remain but will be enhanced. Other changes to “reflect an Italian ambiance” will be made.

“Mulino” means “the mill,” a nod to the building’s former home as the Melrose Knitting Mill, which opened in 1901 as the City of Raleigh’s textile factory. The factory made undergarments, and then bathing suits for the city’s first public pool, according to the release.

Hachby, a Moroccan native and N.C. State grad, decided to switch the restaurant’s concept because he wanted to offer an Italian and southern European-influenced menu, according to a news release.

“Changing the restaurant’s name to Mulino is a natural progression of our culinary concept and is a better representation of the food we’ll be serving to our guests,” said Hachby. “If you look at the history of Morocco, many of the cultural and culinary influences came from Italy, and we want to elevate that influence by putting the focus on Italian dishes that highlight both traditional and unexpected Italian flavors.”

Hachby has worked on Italian cruise ships.

Info: babylonraleigh.com or facebook.com/BabylonRaleigh.

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