Panzanella To Close In December

CHAPEL HILL – Your local trattoria, Panzanella, will close at the end of this year, after 14 years in service.

Trattoria is Italian for an informal restaurant or tavern.

When Panzanella first opened, it was one of the few restaurants to offer locally produced food.  Since then, several other restaurants have opened offering local food.  General Manager for Weaver Street Market, Ruffin Slater, says declining sales and rising costs are the main reason for closing Panzanella.

“As a result, sales have declined and costs have continued to increase,” Slater says. “We have about 25 fewer customers than we did in 2008, so it’s just no longer feasible to operate.”

Part of the Weaver Street Market Cooperative, Panzanella will not renew its lease in Carr Mill Mall. The cost of the space at Carr Mill was originally split between a bakery and office space, but since opening the Food House in Hillsborough, Panzanella now pays for the empty space.

Slater says management will spend the next few months working with the staff to help place them either in another position at Weaver Street Market, or will help them find work elsewhere and provide severance pay.  Slater says one of the key resources the company wants to help people maintain is their health coverage.

“Severance pay if people prefer to move on, as well as assistance in maintaining continuous health insurance coverage, Slater says. “We want to make sure the staff can continue that coverage.”

Panzanella is one of the few restaurants to offer health coverage to employees.

Slater says the trattoria will remain open until December 22 and continue to provide great service to customers.

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Eighth Rabies Case; New Restaurant; UNC Students Win; Chatham County Approves Plan

CHAPEL HILL – A dog in Chapel Hill tested positive for rabies, making it the eighth rabies case in Orange County this year.

The dog in question already had a rabies vaccine and received a booster shot shortly after the attack, pursuant to North Carolina’s rabies law that animals suspected of exposure must receive a booster within five days of potential exposure.

Orange County Animal Control reiterates the importance of giving all pets rabies vaccinations. Last year, Orange County had 12 confirmed cases of rabies.


A new sushi bar and Asian fusion restaurant will soon be added to the new 140 West Franklin development in downtown Chapel Hill.

Spicy Nine is scheduled to open next year. The owner, Tony Zikitsreth, who also owns Sushi Thai Raleigh, Sushi Nine and Sushi Love, will manage the new store with his son.

Spicy Nine will join the already-open Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, Gigi’s Cupcakes which will open at the end of August, and Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom which is scheduled for early 2014.


Two UNC doctoral students won second place in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation in Graduate Education Challenge.

The competition invited graduate students across the nation to submit ideas with the potential to improve graduate education and professional development. UNC’s Clare Fieseler and Justin Ridge submitted their proposal, called Stories Project, to the Duke/UNC Scientists.

The project creates videos, photography, and storytelling affiliated with the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences and the Duke University Marine Laboratory, and it intends to bridge the gap between scientists and the public.


On July 17, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners approved a strategic direction for a conceptual land use plan.

The goal for the strategic growth plan is to position Chatham County for sustainable, balanced job growth.

New growth will be aimed away from environmentally-sensitive lands and toward existing towns and economic development areas.