As 2021 came to an end, five restaurants, several operated by business owners of color, opened their doors in downtown Chapel Hill — and there are more to come.
Here's what you need to know:
Seafood Destiny started business on Dec. 28 at the corner of Franklin and Columbia streets with a soft opening. The Black-owned restaurant plans to provide a 10 percent discount for UNC students who show their One Cards.
Owner Anthony Knotts said the idea for the restaurant, which first started as a food truck in Greensboro, came when he needed to find a way to pay for his daughter’s college tuition.
“Seafood Destiny started because I made a promise to my daughter that if she goes to college, she could go debt-free, but the problem was I didn’t have any money,” Knotts said. “I was just going to do a food truck. There were a lot of food trucks around, and I noticed that there was no seafood truck.”
Knotts acknowledged the community assistance he has received since acquiring the Chapel Hill property, including assistance from the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership and Mayor Pam Hemminger.
“We met with the mayor, who has been absolutely phenomenal,” Knotts said. “She gave us some great insight, she even challenged me on some things that I needed to look at ... Certain segments of Chapel Hill have already embraced us.”
The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership provides downtown businesses with free startup resources, social media promotion and grants. During the pandemic, the Downtown Partnership has promoted fundraisers and produced pandemic-related information on its website for local businesses.