Basecamp, a new bar and restaurant replacing Jed’s Kitchen at 105 E. Franklin Street, officially opened on Saturday after holding its soft launch and ribbon cutting on Friday.
The restaurant and bar will offer food from different countries around the world with several rotating menus. It will be open for dinner and drinks – as well as brunch on Sundays.
Basecamp is owned by Ramesh Dahal. This is the second time he has opened a business in downtown Chapel Hill in just six months. Dahal also owns MOMO’s Master, a dumpling restaurant on Columbia Street that opened in November.
Dahal said he was able to open a second business so soon due to support from the town, including from the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership.
“We will be a success, Basecamp will be a success,” he said. “When I say ‘we,’ it’s with all the town’s support as they have supported us for Momo’s Master since the beginning.”
Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership Executive Director Matt Gladdek said Basecamp will fill both a Sunday brunch and late-night food niche the town missed when some businesses closed during the pandemic.
Gladdek also noted that the labor shortages other businesses on Franklin Street have struggled with since the start of the pandemic have not hurt either of Dahal’s businesses during their first months.
“(Dahal) seems to have found a way forward,” he said. “He’s had a lot of people working at Momo’s and he’s increased his hours, so I think he’s probably in pretty good shape to take this on.”
Leo Umanzor, a manager at Basecamp, said the diverse food and drink selection the restaurant plans to offer — from Hawaiian to Italian cuisine — is aimed at bringing together different perspectives on food culture.
“For the Chapel Hill people, we want them to experience something that we all experience in our everyday life, where we get different influences from different places,” Umanzor said.
During the soft opening on Friday, Dahal, who is from Nepal, said that the inspiration for the name of the restaurant is the base of Mount Everest, where people prepare and gather to climb the mountain.
He said he hopes the Chapel Hill community will find Basecamp to be a welcoming and exciting space for parties and celebrations.
“I decided to open Basecamp here because this town’s people deserve a lot,” Dahal said. “They deserve everything here.”
While similar to other bars and restaurants in downtown Chapel Hill in terms of food and drink, Dahal said Basecamp will try to differentiate itself from other businesses through its focus on the Chapel Hill community.
Gladdek said having several similar businesses in downtown Chapel Hill does not necessarily create conflict between them — the businesses push one another to achieve greater success.
“It’ll be something new,” he said. “The more places we have that bring people downtown to celebrate, the better we all do.”
Pravin Poojari, Basecamp’s bartender, said Dahal discovered him when serving drinks at another bar, and Dahal hired him to be a part of Basecamp's bar.
Poojari said he is excited about the novelty and potential that Basecamp may have in the coming months. He said his goal is for Basecamp to be the hub for people looking to go out.
“If people are planning where to go, it’s always got to be at Basecamp,” he said. “I want people to be very familiar with this place – and it should be their regular place.”
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