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Grilled cheese chain set to open in Carrboro

Tom+Chee, which originated in Cincinnati, is set to make Carrboro its first restaurant location in North Carolina. Trew Quackenbush, co-founder of the restaurant chain, said it will likely open in early 2015.

Executives at Tom+Chee decided early this year to make Carrboro one of the company’s next locations for expansion, said Laurie Paolicelli, director of the Chapel Hill and Orange County Visitors Bureau.

The Carrboro location will be one of 13 new restaurants the chain plans to open nationally in spring 2015, she said.

Quackenbush said that the restaurant is currently under construction at Carrboro’s 370 E. Main St.

Tom+Chee already has other locations near universities, including the University of Louisville and Michigan State University, he said.

Quackenbush said he thinks being close to universities attracts more business to the restaurant.

“Because there is a college, many people from outside of the state or other places in the state are going to come there and see that college and see Tom+Chee,” he said. “There are several college towns lined up.”

Tom+Chee will also open restaurants near Ohio State University and the University of Michigan around the same time it launches its Carrboro location, Quackenbush said.

The business started in 2009, but it grew after appearing on the ABC television show “Shark Tank,” a program in which entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to potential investors.

Due to fame from the show, Quackenbush said he is expecting people’s curiosity to bring Tom+Chee a lot of business in Carrboro.

Based on Twitter and Facebook comments, Quackenbush said it seems like people in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are excited and ready for the restaurant to open.

“We are much different from the typical fast food out there,” he said. “Everything is fresh and homemade.”

Paolicelli said she also thinks the chain is different from typical restaurants.

“There are many restaurants that offer soup and sandwiches,” Paolicelli said. “But this is unique in the country.”

Quackenbush said the restaurant’s food is made from scratch. Employees roast meats and make their own dressings in house.

But junior Erin Bissette said she does not think Tom+Chee fits in with other Carrboro eateries.

“When I think of Carrboro, I am more thinking, like, health food,” Bissette said of the restaurant’s location. “I don’t think Tom+Chee is kind of as much like that.”

Paolicelli said the restaurant is highly anticipated.

“It is an exciting restaurant for us because it is entrepreneurial, and they have a big following,” she said .

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