While you may still be nostalgic about the old Tama Cafe, a new Mediterranean place is coming to town.
Restaurant chain Peño Mediterranean Grill plans to expand to Chapel Hill to replace Tama Cafe on Franklin Street that closed before the start of the spring semester. The new Chapel Hill location will be the seventh for the franchise. Their menu includes gyrö sandwiches, wraps and bowls.
Shad Kirley, owner and operator of Peño, said he knew the owner of Tama Cafe and is excited to renovate the building and make it an exciting place for customers to watch games.
“I’ve always thought it was a great location and I drop by there all the time,” Kirley said. “We are changing the front of the store, so we are gonna have some outdoor seating area. We are gonna change the look of the building a little bit, make it look more exciting.”
Wells Struble, partner and chief operating officer of Peño, said the menu is very unique.
“We have a pretty cool blend of Mediterranean, traditional Mediterranean, but then also it mixes a little Latin influence into the menu,” Struble said. “We have a really cool brand and it’s about three things — it’s the food, the people and the music. That’s it.”
Struble is also a co-founder of Tama Cafe.
However, some UNC students said they still miss Tama Cafe, where they did homework and had fun times with their friends.
Lauren Mobley, a sophomore at UNC, said she missed Tama because she had a lot of memories with her friends hanging out and doing work.
“It was a good atmosphere for studying and relaxing, but also had a lot of memories where I built a lot of friendships,” Mobley said.
Emily Dolegowski, a junior at UNC, said she also missed Tama Cafe. Last semester, Dolegowski spent a lot of mornings in Tama Cafe because she found it to be a work-friendly environment. She also said she appreciated the color theme and the laid-back atmosphere.
“I was really shocked when it closed, but I mean, it’s really difficult for coffee and tea places to stay on Franklin and I am kind of upset that a Mediterranean place is replacing it because we already have Med Deli on campus,” Dolegowski said.
Struble said he expects the Chapel Hill location to open as soon as possible, once they have the permit from local municipalities.
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