Chapelboro is beginning a new series summarizing some of the latest stories, announcements, and updates from businesses in the community every three months. From local openings to closings to everything in-between, we’re sharing a snapshot of what’s happened in the most recent quarter of the calendar year.

The report will go in roughly chronological order of the developments, and will conclude with a section of general updates on ongoing projects that are undated.

Do you see something that is missing or want an update about your own business? Get in touch with us by emailing with your announcements!


• 2024 began with news of a closure in the Chapel Hill bar scene. Ownership for Linda’s Bar and Grill announced it would be closing over its financial woes climbing back from changes during the pandemic, holding a final week of business before closing on January 5. But the story may not be finished just yet — as owners of the building, including the bar’s namesake, said it would try seeking a path forward for the restaurant by identifying new ownership candidates. The Daily Tar Heel had those updates first, as reported on January 9.

Visitors to Linda’s spill outside of the bar and grill on Wednesday, January 3.

Coco Bistro & Bar continued to expand its fully plant-based menu  as the Chapel Hill coffee shop, restaurant and bar launched a variety of new brunch options. The business — which opened in early 2022 in the Gwendolyn building run by Glen Lennox off Fordham Boulevard — is offering the brunch meals on the weekends. The additions feature both traditional dishes, like pancakes, eggs benedict, and breakfast burritos, while also offering new spins like a pesto florentine, a quinoa breakfast power bowl, and a grilled cheese breakfast sandwich — all vegan.

• A new crafting store opened on West Rosemary Street in late January: Koala Craft Studio. The business offers a space for community members to try their hand at making unique art styles and items — like tufting, using decoden cream, glass painting, and “fluid bear art.” Koala Craft is tucked into the Greenbridge Condominiums building, operating out of Unit 107 on West Rosemary Street.

An example of tufting art offered at Koala Craft Studio, which offers workshops and reservation times to guests. (Photo via Koala Craft Studio.)

• A branch of Fifth Third Bank officially opened at University Place mall in January after finishing construction on the corner of South Estes Drive and Willow Drive. The bank was built from the ground up after the demolition of a long-defunct Wells Fargo location.

• A former restaurant space in Carrboro is set to be filled by a Chapel Hill home bakery expanding its operations. Even Dough Bakery, run by Meital Cohen, and BOLD Commercial Real Estate announced the purchase of 203 West Weaver Street on January 31. The space is known for previously being home to Mosaic Tapas Bistro & Wine Bar and the restaurant Provence. Even Dough is keeping up its operations and orders, even as it transitions to its new brick and mortar spot, with plans to open in-person business later this year.


• A new Domino’s Pizza location opened in Chapel Hill on February 2, joining several other businesses in the Elliot Square shopping mall. The franchise made its presence known by using spotlights to light up the sky during its opening weekend.

Craftboro Brewing Depot officially closed in Carrboro on February 17. A month prior, the brewery in the South Green shopping center said it would shut its doors after a string of difficult months and struggles trying to pick up business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Craftboro’s ownership shared an emotional post on social media with the news, crediting “an onslaught of challenges beyond our control that eventually overcame our ability to get back up.” They also shared a final farewell after the brewery’s formal closure.

After operating out of a repurposed UNC dorm room for the last couple of years, the student-led escape room organization called Chapel Thrill Escapes made its debut on Franklin Street on Friday, February 16. The group is operating a new escape room out of 128 East Franklin Street, Suite 110 — right next to Johnny T-Shirt and Cosmic Cantina.

• A long-rumored project started to show visual progress in February, as Frank Heath — the owner and operator of Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro — is embarking on a new project. 107 Brewer Lane, which has the “Ice House” building on it, is beginning renovation to bring a new club and performance space to town. According to a News & Observer report in February, it also gives Heath and Cat’s Cradle options in case redevelopment progresses for the strip mall of 300 East Main Street where the legendary club currently resides. Community member Caroline Spencer got some photos of the beginning of renovation back in February.


• After choosing to not reopen after the 2023-24 winter break finished for UNC students, the Dame’s Chicken & Waffles location on East Franklin Street formally shut down. The Chapel Hill spot has already been scrubbed from the Dame’s website and social media, where its other locations are continuing operations as normal. The expansion spot opened in early 2021 after several years of rumors and took over the 147 East Franklin Street storefront left empty after [B]SKI’s shut down.

The closing of Dame’s Chicken & Waffles in Chapel Hill was unceremonious, as the business simply chose not to reopen its doors following the UNC winter break.

• While many in the Chapel Hill community are hoping for an update before long about Mediterranean Deli fully reopening on Franklin Street , the business had a separate update on March. The popular restaurant held a grand opening for its new location in Elon on March 2, as it moved to 116 N. Williamson Avenue. In the social media posts regarding the new opening, Med Deli said the work to open its anchor location at 410 West Franklin Street after a devastating fire last July is ongoing.

• After being open for about a year in the 127 East Franklin Street space, the Chapel Hill location of the sandwich chain Capriotti’s closed on Monday, March 4. The business suffered delays in the storefront formerly home to Waffle House, as it rolled out branding with the hopes of opening in 2022.

• An açai bowl chain is planning to join the East Franklin Street scene. Playa Bowls signed a long-term lease for 104 E. Franklin Street — which hasn’t been a true storefront for the last few years. After being part of the Medici pizza restaurant, it’s broken back out into a separate space and will begin housing a franchise of the New Jersey-based business later in 2024.

104 East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, where Playa Bowls will move into.

Gizmo Brew Works in Raleigh filed for bankruptcy on March 8, with its petition reportedly showing around $1.3 million in debt. The business has a taproom on East Franklin Street (in addition to its Raleigh and Durham locations) which is expected to stay open during the reorganization. The brewery said in a statement that it plans to “emerge as a stronger company ready to be successful for years to come” once the reorganization is finished.

Radius Pizzeria in Hillsborough started up its Sunday hours on March 17, celebrating with live music, bar specials and Irish food specials as part of St. Patrick’s Day. The 112 North Churton Street business will be open each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for both dine-in and take-out.

• After a buildout of more than one year, a new business opened its doors off the Circle in Pittsboro at the end of March. After doing a joint St. Patrick’s Day event with Havoc Brewery, a new Doherty’s Irish Pub location formally opened on Saturday, March 23. The restaurant is the latest business to open in the SoCo development along Sanford Road and will be open seven days a week: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.

The Pittsboro location is Doherty’s Irish Pub & Restaurant’s third in the region, following two successful locations in Apex and Cary. (Photo via Doherty’s Irish Pub & Restaurant.)

• It appears the former Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe space along East Franklin Street finally has a new purpose. The Triangle Business Journal reported Chapel Hill chef Brandon Sharp will be opening a new project with his wife Elizabeth called Próximo, a Spanish tapas and wine bar. Ross Martin had the details first:

It would follow the couple’s restaurant ventures in East 54 and Meadowmont: Hawthorne & Wood and Bluebird, respectively. Elizabeth Sharp confirmed the plans when speaking to the UNC Board of Trustees on March 28, calling Franklin Street the “connective tissue” for the town and saying they are excited to be “agents of change” in the downtown scene.

173 E. Franklin Street still has the Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe branding outside after shutting down during the COVID-19 pandemic. The space is set to become a Spanish tapas and wine bar called Próximo.

• The first Zaxby’s chicken franchise in Chatham County opened its doors on March 25. The fast-food restaurant is just the latest business to come online in the Northwood Landing business center, which is off U.S. 15-501 and across the street from MOSAIC in northern Pittsboro.


• The hairstyling salon Moshi Moshi is preparing to reopen its doors on West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill after undergoing extensive repairs and redesigns following the Mediterranean Deli fire last July. The business announced it will welcome back customers beginning April 3, with new hours and a new business sharing its storefront: The Glass Box, a home and lifestyle boutique.

• A new coffee shop from coastal North Carolina is making its way further inland after announcing new Triangle locations. The News & Observer reported in early March that Drift Coffee is opening up new cafes in Raleigh and in Chapel Hill — with the latter being part of the Village Plaza shopping center. A new webpage for the Chapel Hill location lists its address at 111 South Elliott Road and says, once open, it will offer “a wide range of breakfast and lunch options including premium coffee, beer, wine and cocktails.” The current timeline is spring 2024, according to the N&O.

• After a sign went up in the storefront, it was clear 105 East Franklin Street would not stay inactive for long after Basecamp closed at the start of 2024. The Daily Tar Heel reported the owners of Zayka Indian Cuisine in Raleigh have acquired the space and plan to open a second location in Chapel Hill.

• The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership shared at the end of March the Shrunken Head Boutique is expanding its operations. The store at 155 East Franklin Street is taking over 161 East Franklin — which formerly housed the restaurant Roots Bistro, Bakery and Bar — to grow its Carolina-themed apparel and gear footprint even further.

Shrunken Head Boutique has been operating in Chapel Hill since 1969, and now will soon have an additional storefront on East Franklin Street.

• The Aura Chapel Hill development has rebranded to Booth Park, and townhomes at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Estes Drive are expected to begin welcoming tenants in July. But, being a mixed-use development, several businesses are set to be built out as 2024 continues — with Trinsic Residential Group saying they will likely include three restaurants, a co-working space, a veterinarian’s office, and a fitness center.

Starbucks Coffee began its public preparation to move across East Franklin Street at take up the ground floor of 100 E. Franklin, the space underneath Top of The Hill Restaurant & Brewery. The franchise currently at 103 E. Franklin Street will relocate and nearly triple its space available to customers. Tentative plans have the popular chain opening the new storefront by August, in time for UNC’s fall semester.

• As part of the ongoing redevelopment at University Place in Chapel Hill, several new buildings are coming out of the ground — and another is coming down. Demolition to the old K&W Cafeteria began in late March to make way for a future Chick-fil-A location, which will have drive-thru lanes and bring the popular fast-food chain back to the mall. Additionally, University Place ownership reaffirmed its plans to have a Jeni’s Ice Cream location in a newly-constructed building that’s in the footprint of the old Southern Season box store.


Do you see something missing or want an update about your own business? Get in touch with us by emailing with your announcements! does not charge subscription fees, and you can directly support our efforts in local journalism here. Want more of what you see on Chapelboro? Let us bring free local news and community information to you by signing up for our newsletter.