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The Thrill is gone, The Heel is here

The Heel is located in the former space of Chapel Hill nightclub The Thrill, which closed July 11 after two years in business.

The new bar is student-focused, said owner Glen Turner, who also owned The Thrill.

Turner said he partnered up with Buzz Rides CEO Joey Skavroneck and some other UNC students to create a concept for a restaurant and bar that would capture students’ attention. The group spent time getting feedback from students and applying it to their business plan.

Turner said there didn’t seem to be any bars in Chapel Hill that catered directly to students, including his.

“Chapel Hill isn’t a club town,” he said. “It’s more of a friendly bar town. We want to cater to the right group of people, and we felt that The Thrill wasn’t drawing that group that we wanted.”

Peter Wu, a junior economics major, said he’s sad to see The Thrill go.

“Between that and East End closing, it’s a shame,” he said.

But Elizabeth Commitz, a Durham resident who visits Chapel Hill and Carrboro often, said she welcomes a bar with a more laid-back atmosphere.

“A club doesn’t really fit into this area,” she said.

The Heel had its soft opening last weekend and will celebrate its grand opening Friday.

The bar will have a specialty drink menu featuring signature cocktails with names like Moonshine Mojito and Bullet Bourbon Lemonade.

Turner said many of the drinks have locally-sourced ingredients.

“It’s kind of like a North Carolina recipe with a modern day kick,” he said.

Its full food menu includes classic offerings such as cheeseburgers in addition to quirkier options such as chicken and waffles and deep fried grilled cheese sandwiches.

“It’s kind of a spin on American cuisine and some southern food as well,” Turner said.

For more adventurous diners, The Heel offers a challenge — the Dom’s Dump Burger Challenge.

The Dom’s Dump Burger is a one-pound burger topped with mac and cheese, onion rings, barbecue sauce and bacon. It is served with a pound of fries.

Anyone who completely finishes the meal will get their picture hung on the wall and receive a T-shirt.

The Heel will have live music a couple times a month, Turner said.

Ryan Godwin, a Winston-Salem resident who visits Chapel Hill frequently, said that’s something he’d love to see.

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“I would like to see more live music,” he said.

“As far as late night on Franklin, I don’t know a lot of places.”

Friday’s grand opening will include a performance by Chapel Hill’s The Trap House Band.

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