Linda’s Bar and Grill, one of Chapel Hill’s most frequented restaurants, reopened last week and now plans to begin serving breakfast in addition to its classic specials like loaded tots.
The restaurant, which closed in August due to COVID-19 complications, will update its menu with everything from a Linda’s Breakfast —two eggs any style — to french toast, bagels and pancakes with sides.
Linda’s owner Chris Carini said this is the second time he has basically started the restaurant from nothing after the University’s brief reopening and closing in August.
"I wish the University would have done a better job because they cost a lot of people, a lot of money," Carini said.
Carini said the University closing in August after a week of classes cost his business about $50,000. So after selling most of his belongings to make up for the lost money, Carini said he is now happy to say the bar and grill has officially reopened.
Linda's is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with window service and outdoor seating options. Starting next week, it will be open at 10 a.m. to serve breakfast.
“I was like, 'Holy crap that's the idea, that's the one, that's how we do it,'” Carini said. “That's how we get people to come back and then we don't have to be open till four in the morning.”
George Hanna, a Linda’s regular, has been coming to the bar and grill since 2011, around the same time Carini bought the place. Hanna lives in Raleigh, but said a Linda’s breakfast might be worth a special trip to Chapel Hill.
“Every time they come out with something new, as far as the food goes, it's been fantastic,” Hanna said.
The Linda's menu will also include diverse coffee options. Carini hopes when the cold weather comes, Linda’s downbar will be able to open for those who are looking for a quiet space to study and get their daily dose of caffeine.
Alongside the breakfast and coffee, Carini said he’s including plant-based supplements kratom and kava, to mix with tea or other non-alcoholic drinks the eatery offers.
Carini’s friend, Jacob Torbert, pitched the kratom and kava idea. As a military veteran, Torbert said he’s found more and more people who aren’t interested in the big partying and drinking culture that normally surrounds military involvement.
“One of the big reasons I got into kava and kratom was because I found it just helped me a lot with some of the things I was experiencing,” Torbert said. “It tends to help me with pain, it gives me a little bit more energy, it helps me focus. I feel like it helps make me more productive.”
Kratom alerts or focuses the consumer, while kava acts as more of a relaxer. The two hit the same receptors as drugs or alcohol without the intoxicating effects, creating an alternative for those who may want to avoid certain substances.
Carini said the kratom and kava options offer an opportunity for those who don’t want to drink to still be social in a bar environment. It may take a little bit for the new options to catch on, but Carini said he thinks they should draw in a large crowd once they do.
“I get to help my buddy, and some of his brothers in arms, I get to help some college students to ‘get their learn on’ and hopefully give them another place to hang out,” Carini said. “And it keeps us open, which at the end of the day, that's really all we got to do.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.