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New restaurant brings vibrant flavor and lively community to Southern Village

market and moss
Market and Moss is set to open in Southern Village in April 2020. Photo courtesy of Annie Johnston.

Market and Moss Executive Chef RL Boyd was living in Washington, D.C. in September last year. While walking home from work, he was hit by a car and was told he wouldn’t be doing much for a year due to the injuries and physical therapy needed to get back to full mobility.

“I made the decision to move back to North Carolina after leaving the hospital and came across the posting for the executive chef position at Market and Moss,” Boyd said.

Now the restaurant is set to open in Southern Village in April, and he said he is excited to share his food with his original hometown. 

“My cooking style reflects seasonal products, various international spices, seasonings and cooking techniques,” Boyd said. “The menu is straightforward and approachable however, there are these little flavor bombs that you may not quite be able to put your finger on.” 

Annie Johnston, owner of Market and Moss and café La Vita Dolce, also located in Southern Village, said she has been envisioning the cuisine, values, culture and ambiance of Market and Moss for over a year.

“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.

@DTHCityState | 

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