Rumor Mill: Giorgios Bakatsias Entering the BBQ Business?

Recently I received an anonymous tip from a source I will refer to as “Deep Snout.”  Deep Snout reports that serial upscale dining entrepreneur Giorgios Bakatsias–affiliated with over 30 restaurants and similar enterprises during his long career, including several high profile places in Durham past and present–is about the enter the world of barbecue. 

Giorgios has long been a polarizing figure in the Triangle-area dining scene, hailed by some for helping popularize fine dining in places like Durham and dismissed by others who are less than impressed by his culinary credentials. Regardless of your opinion of his restaurants, Giorgios opening a barbecue place is big news.  It is also fairly hard to imagine given his past forays into French food, pan-Asian cuisine, and many other Internationally-inspired menus. I suppose this is a sign that barbecue is becoming more cosmopolitan, for better or worse, or that Giorgos has run out of other countries whose food he likes. 

Another source (Deeper Snout? Trotter?) told me Giorgios has spent a small fortune on a smoker for the new restaurant and is installing a chef from the former Durham institution George’s Garage at the helm; whether this chef has ever worked in the barbecue world is unclear. 

Stay tuned, I am sure there is more to this story…



The Barbecue Joint in Chapel Hill Kaput?

5/17/10 UPDATE: SEE COMMENTS SECTION!

A few alert readers have written in to let us know that The Barbecue Joint in Chapel Hill appears to have closed several weeks ago.  Since then we have been working hard–or at least hardly working–to confirm this rumor.  Sure enough, the doors to the restaurant are closed and there is a sign from the Sheriff’s department saying that anyone who enters the restaurant is trespassing, or something to that effect. 

Recently we heard from a highly placed source (given the Watergate-esque nature of this story we will refer to this source as “Hush Puppy” to protect his/her identity), who confirmed the joint’s closing.  Hush Puppy told us, “they’re flat out of business and the lock on the door is the landlord’s, for non-payment of rent.  Apparently they got over-extended… The scheme for raising money by offering $2,000 worth of future food for $1,000 now was made necessary by some major backers pulling the plug.” 

Bad news for The Barbecue Joint’s loyal fans, especially any who ponied up $1,000 or more to invest in the place when it announced plans to move to a larger location awhile back.   Allen & Son is now back to being Chapel Hill’s only NC barbecue joint.  As much as I love Allen’s, maybe this opens the door for a new barbecue joint in town?