“I was driven to open Market and Moss to achieve these things on a new level — I see it as another opportunity to create exceptional experiences and build connections,” Johnston said.
She said she believes Chapel Hill will benefit from a restaurant and bar offering vibrant, flavorful and fresh food and drinks. They will offer seasonal new American cuisine made with mostly local ingredients.
“Chef RL Boyd is a genius at creating food that is approachable, but that also brings a pleasant surprise,” Johnston said.
Erin Pacheco, the restaurant's director of operations, said they want to provide Southern Village with a bar that is inspired and alive.
“We will have a carefully-curated wine list, intended to bring out the fresh, bright flavors in our food,” Pacheco said. “Our cocktail list will provide unique flavors using wonderful combinations of ingredients from around the world, as well as our own backyard."
Market and Moss will be only open for dinner initially but plans to open for brunch and possibly lunch.
Johnston said the restaurant has definitely faced challenges, such as significant renovations to their space, but he said they have a great team to help create the welcoming, organic European ambiance they have in mind.
Johnston said she largely grew up in Southern Village and lived just down the street as a kid when they began developing the community over 20 years ago. Her first jobs in the hospitality industry were in Southern Village.
“This neighborhood has really evolved into a true community,” Johnston said. “You can feel it when you walk around Market Street or shop at the Southern Village Weaver Street. This atmosphere is a perfect fit for the community-focused, lively restaurant and bar we have in mind.”
Johnston said her main goal is to create exceptional experiences and make people feel good. She said she hopes to enhance the liveliness of the dining experience in not just Southern Village, but in Orange and Chatham counties, through both bright food and warm hospitality.
“This is a purpose that I can get behind in my soul, and that will give meaning to our staff and stakeholders,” Johnston said.
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