The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday January 19th

New burger joint stresses local ingredients

Buns looks to ?t into community

Freezers and prepackaged meat take a back seat to hand-cut french fries and fresh Angus beef at Buns, North Columbia Street's latest restaurant addition. The new hamburger restaurant, run by co-owners Michael Namour and George Ash, stresses fresh, locally produced ingredients. "We don't even have a freezer here," Namour said. "When the meat comes in, we patty it ourselves." He said even the restaurant's buns are fresh-baked locally. "We're trying to bring in more of a quality type product, but at the same time, we're very reasonable," he said. "Most of our menu items are between $5 and $6.50 and made-to-order." Buns had its grand opening Monday, and Namour said the restaurant received positive feedback. Namour said that he has been in the fine dining business for 35 years and that he was drawn to Chapel Hill because he always wanted to "get into the casual type of crowd." He said the combination of students, faculty and local residents is beneficial and makes for an exciting atmosphere. But Ash, who has lived in Chapel Hill for about four years, said local ties inspire him to serve the community at Buns. "We didn't change the building," he said. "We didn't want to do anything that fit into that sterile, corporate look you see in a franchise." Namour agreed and said he thinks Buns will fit in well with the historic area. "We're proud to be independent," Namour said. "I think people are getting sick of these franchises, to be honest with you." Namour and Ash said that their own personal tastes showcase the menu's variety. They exchanged glances and laughed to themselves with regard to the nutritional value of the Buns menu. "He'll be eating a hamburger while I'm eating a tuna salad," Ash said. He said it's that kind of variation that helps characterize Buns. "It's about being able to come out and bring your vegetarian friend with you while you eat beef." Namour expressed a similar sentiment and stressed the nutritional benefits of the menu. "If you're health conscious, we're here to accommodate," he said. But both owners said there is something else that separates Buns from other burger joints. "There is only one word to describe our business: consistency," Namour said. "You won't remember all the good (meals) you have, but if I give you a bad one, that's the one that's going to make the difference," he said. Contact the City Editor at


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