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New faces on Ninth Street

The new faces on Ninth Street in the upcoming year will include several eateries and a 229-unit apartment complex.
The new faces on Ninth Street in the upcoming year will include several eateries and a 229-unit apartment complex.

Durham’s Ninth Street district will be abuzz with new activity in the coming year.

Several new restaurants and businesses have already opened or will open in the coming months, including a new burger restaurant, a coffee shop and two new Venezuelan eateries. The area will also host a new mixed-use residential and retail development on the north end of the street.

New restaurant Burger Bach—a gastropub serving burgers made from grass-fed beef and lamb imported from New Zealand—opened on Ninth Street in March, making Durham its first North Carolina location.

“Burgers and beer aren’t the best for you, but if you’re going to indulge you might as well have the type we have,” said James Foley, managing director for Burger Bach.

Foley explained that the concept behind the restaurant was to be a getaway—a "bach" is a term for a shack on a beach in New Zealand. This bach, however, is in the Shops at Erwin Mill, next to Panera Bread.

Another new opening is Ninth Street Coffee House and Juice Bar. Located in the space formerly occupied by Bean Traders Coffee and more recently by Market Street Coffee, the new coffeehouse is the brainchild of New York-based chef Lindsey Williams. It features a renovated interior space with a warm décor and a wide offering of locally-sourced beverages and pastries.

Williams said the store is still in the process of growing its selection of juices. It also sells products from Duke junior Pooja Mehta’s Cupcake Remake business.

Epa Chamo, one of two Venezuelan restaurants new to the area, opened May 30 in the space that previously housed Mitch's Bar and Grille. The restaurant serves a mix of arepas—a corn-based flatbread filled with meat and vegetables—along with burgers and beverages.

Slated to open this September, the other Venezuelan restaurant is Guasaca. It will be the second location of the popular Raleigh eatery. With a space in the Erwin Square Plaza shopping center, the restaurant will serve customers using a walk-up line that operates similar to that of Chipotle and Moe’s Southwest Grill. Owner Heliangel Mendez explained that the name Guasaca comes from the word for a Venezuelan avocado-based sauce that is a popular item on the menu.

The affordability of the menu has made the restaurant a particularly sought-after option among students at North Carolina State University, Mendez said. He added that most people are unfamiliar with Venezuelan cuisine, and that it tastes very different from other Latin American styles.

"The best way to describe it is like Thai food and Japanese food," Mendez said. "Some of the flavors are familiar."

Student reactions to the new openings have been positive.

“It’s fascinating to see how Ninth Street develops with restaurants coming and going,” sophomore Jun Jun Feng said. “We’re lucky that we get to walk along a street and choose from a diverse spectrum of culinary styles.”

She said she especially enjoyed Burger Bach, which has already become one of her favorite restaurants in the area.

Also coming to Ninth Street is a new apartment complex occupying the property next to Elmo’s Diner. The Solis Ninth Street apartments are expected to be completed by January 2016, said Elizabeth Alley, regional property manager for Greystar—the real estate management firm also responsible for the Crescent Main Street Apartments and the 300 Swift Apartments in the vicinity.

The 229-unit apartment community will include studios and one and two-bedroom arrangements with access to a pool, game room, conference center, coffee bar and on-site parking deck. Alley noted that the space’s retail tenants would be announced in the coming months.

Adam Beyer | Digital Content Director

Adam Beyer is a senior public policy major and is The Chronicle's Digital Strategy Team director.


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