Friends turned business partners Tom Allen and Joe Dunn are targeting April 29 for the opening of Kamado Grille in the former Lucky 32 building on Spring Forest Road. Inspired by their own backyard cookouts, the restaurant will feature foods cooked on highly efficient lump charcoal-burning ceramic grills. They’ve installed 12 of these grills, which are equally capable of high-temperature searing and low-and-slow roasting, in the kitchen.
Three more grills (whose design is based on the 4000-year-old Japanese kamado) will be fired up in the dining room, where the decor — wicker chairs and patio tables, a live black olive tree in the middle of the room — is aimed at “bringing the outdoors in.”
Chef Eric Gephart will showcase the versatile grills with an offering that covers a global spectrum of flavors from St. Louis ribs to Portuguese style marinated piri piri chicken to grilled Maine lobster to grill-baked flatbreads. A full bar will offer 40 beers on tap and wines chosen to pair with the food, as well as specialty cocktails such as the Grilled Bloody Mary, made with Tito’s vodka and liquefied kamado-grilled vegetables.
A full iPad ordering system will allow customers to order and pay for food and drinks.
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Kamado Grille is a concept that’s as ambitious as it is unusual (the owners are billing it as “the first restaurant in the world to exclusively cook on kamado style grills”). Then again, it would appear to be a challenge that Allen (a former Outback Steakhouse venture partner who ran 23 locations) and Dunn (who owned a restaurant servicing company specializing in fire safety) are especially well qualified for.
Kamado Grille (832 Spring Forest Road; 919-803-3662; kamadogrille.com) will serve lunch and dinner every day but Sunday. The restaurant will also sell Kamado Joe brand grills and grilling accessories.