RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new veteran-owned restaurant is coming to downtown Raleigh after seeing success with its first location in Jacksonville.
The owners of Flavor Hills saw success during their soft opening on New Year's Eve at their location on Fayetteville Street in the heart of downtown Raleigh. They're looking forward to their grand opening on Thursday, January 4.
When diners arrive at the restaurant, co-owner Tellers Pollard hopes people immediately see what sets their restaurant apart.
"You'll notice when we come to Flavor Hills, the vibe is correct. The music is correct. All of it is conducive to encouraging people to really go back to that basic human connection," Pollard said, adding that he hopes the environment encourages diners to connect with each other and with their staff, rather than spending time on their phones.
"Our motto is 'eat, laugh, drink.' You can bond, build relationships, connect over good food because as we know, food is the number one ingredient that binds us all together," Pollard said.
The owners have also spent significant time investing in their staff. They held a 10-day training for all of their staff ahead of opening. They said it helped make sure they didn't experience any speed bumps when customers started arriving. They've also vowed to create an environment where they continue to invest in their staff and encourage them to be creative and grow in their culinary careers.
The owners chose to expand to Raleigh after they noticed how many people were driving down from Raleigh to their Jacksonville location.
"We used to do polls and see like, 'where did you guys come from? Where'd you come from?' We were hearing a lot of people saying, you know, 'I came from Raleigh 2 hours away,'" Pollard said.
Restaurants have historically struggled in their location on Fayetteville Street, but he believes their military background gives them the tools they need to succeed in this location. Pollard, a former marine, believes their experience with logistics and ability to overcome obstacles will help them through any challenges they may experience.
"We want to build constant sustainment because we're trying to build a business that lasts hundreds of years, something that becomes a household name or a staple," Pollard said.
The name of the restaurant is a nod to the talent they saw in Culinary Director Morgan Teianne, with her unique and impactful flavors.
Chef Teianne's menu was designed as a modern take on southern comfort food, drawing inspiration from her late grandmother's recipes.
On her menu, you can find, a churro waffle with fried chicken and fresh berries, a buttermilk fried catfish filet on cheese-infused grits with cajun cream sauce, or caviar of the south: six rounds of pimento cheese hand-breaded and flash fried, served with sweet chili buffalo sauce, chopped bacon and grated parmesan.
Adding to the overall vibe of the restaurant, the walls are lined with art from Raleigh-based artist Christopher Evans.
"As soon as I met this group of people that are doing this thing together, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I've never seen an establishment like this. I've never felt this vibe before," Evans told ABC11.
A week after Evans met the owners of Flavor Hills, dozens of his pieces were hung around the restaurant, depicting local artists and other notable figures who inspired Evans.
Once the restaurant opens, it'll operate Thursday through Sunday for brunch, lunch, and dinner.