Current Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 17:25:36 -0500
Pita double cheeseburgers are making a comeback in Chapel Hill.
Hector’s, tentatively slated to open Labor Day weekend, will be a revival of the original Hector’s, which opened in 1969 in Chapel Hill and has closed and reopened three times since.
The restaurant, a late-night food staple known for its sandwiches and tater tots, is reopening in a new East Rosemary Street location, said owner Kyle Heath.
The new Hector’s will offer more than just late-night food.
It’s paired with a club, the Thrill at Hector’s, which opened Friday and offers alcoholic slushies, a pool table, and what Heath described as a Greek-friendly atmosphere.
“Hector’s has a built-in clientele,” Heath said. “And the bar will get people in the door.”
The original Hector’s was located at the corner of Henderson Street and Franklin Street in the space now occupied by East End Oyster & Martini Bar.
Hector’s closed and reopened after a fire in the Franklin Street location before closing again because of staff retirements, said former owner John Paliouras.
It opened once again in 2006 on Henderson Street in the space now occupied by the Recovery Room, but it closed shortly after.
“Something changed. It didn’t last too long down there,” Heath said.
Heath said although the club is open, the restaurant will take longer because it still needs work and has to pass state inspections.
Heath also owns Franklin Street hangouts The Library and Jack Sprat Cafe.
He said he and his business partner Scott Campbell had been looking for a place to open a Greek-oriented bar but were originally wary of the 157 E. Rosemary St. location — immediately below Bub O’Malley’s — because tenants have been unsuccessful there in the past.
But he said the property’s owners, John and James Paliouras, sold them on the location when they suggested the pair reopen Hector’s, which the Paliouras brothers previously owned and which both partners said they had loved.
Campbell, who attended UNC and played soccer for the school, said the opening process took less than a month after they signed the lease July 25.
“It was actually really smooth,” Campbell said.
Heath said the location was already equipped for a club by the previous tenant, so the partners were able to keep renovation costs low.
Paliouras said Hector’s will thrive because it holds appeal as a Chapel Hill tradition.
“We had a good name,” he said. “I know it will be successful.”
Heath said that with the exception of newly-added chicken wings, the original Hector’s menu will remain unchanged in its new location.
Campbell said the restaurant will even bring its original cook back, and he thinks the food — including his favorite hamburger pita — will be one of the biggest draws.
“It is the best late-night food you can ever eat in your life.”
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