Taking its name from Desi Arnaz’s famous exclamation on “I Love Lucy,” Babalu Tapas & Tacos will offer a “melodic mix of Latin-inspired cuisine” in a new Chapel Hill location.
The location at 1800 E. Franklin St. in Eastgate Crossing is scheduled to open Monday, July 24. It will be the first Triangle location for the Mississippi-based chain – which already has seven other locations in the Southeast.
“Our new Triangle restaurant will reflect the local community, culture and personality of Chapel Hill,” said Stan Stout, chief operating officer of Eat Here Brands, Babalu’s parent company. “While no two Babalu are alike, our brand is founded on providing guests something better and different through our design, our atmosphere, our people and the guest experience we provide.”
The restaurant’s menu features small plates based in locally-sourced ingredients, with sharing encouraged among guests. Margaritas, seasonal varieties of sangria, signature cocktails and a curated tequila and wine selection are meant to complement both the food and atmosphere.
Babalu’s 4,529-square-foot space will feature chef’s table seating as well as an outdoor dining patio. Menu items will include the “De Pato Taco,” a dish highlighting duck confit and avocado mousse, and pan-roasted redfish with Rösti potatoes
“Chapel Hill is our home,” said James Huff, executive chef of Babalu. “I draw inspiration from the hallmarks of our area and feature locally sourced ingredients in our made-from-scratch dishes. My goal is to bring the fun back into food.”