All Up In Your Business, Jan. 9

Tomato Jake’s leaves Franklin

After only 10 months on Franklin Street, Tomato Jake’s owner Glen Gordon closed the restaurant down in December.

Gordon said the restaurant didn’t make enough money to continue operations.

“From the day we opened, we didn’t make any money,” he said. “We lost money.”

Gordon said the biggest problem his restaurant faced was the amount of food students bought.

“Students would come in and buy one slice of pizza and a cup of water,” he said. “It’s impossible to make $8,000 rent when students are only spending $2.50.”

Gordon also said competition from improved on-campus dining options was tough.

Gordon still owns and operates the Durham location of Tomato Jake’s and plans to look into new locations for expansion.

Tobacco Road causes a stir

Tobacco Road Sports Cafe has only been open since December, but the restaurant is already causing a stir among some Chapel Hill residents.

After the restaurant, located in the East 54 development, hung larger-than-life photos of former basketball coach Dean Smith, residents in the nearby Glen Lennox community complained to the town.

The photos, which hang on the exterior windows of Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, were installed several weeks ago as art for the cafe.

But residents have raised questions about whether the photographs qualify as art or as a business sign, said town spokeswoman Catherine Lazorko.

The question was forwarded to the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission, which will decide whether the photos qualify as public art today at a 5:30 p.m. meeting.

Foster’s changes hands

Though Sara Foster no longer owns the popular restaurant Foster’s Market, the shop will keep her name.

Foster sold the shop to longtime employee Sera Cuni, who said the shop will keep more than just its well-known name.

“There will not be any changes,” she said. “I might want to add more nightly specials.”

Cuni said she is excited to own a Chapel Hill landmark.

“This has been my home for so long,” she said. “I’m glad it got stay in our family.”

Cuni said Foster approached her last year when it was time to renew the 10-year lease on the shop.

“She was at a crossroad,” Cuni said. “Sign on for another 10 years or lose Foster’s.”

Cuni said Foster chose to sell to her because they share the same food ethics, and Cuni promised to keep the shop the same.

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