As the Triangle moves through various stages of false fall, and closer to comfort season, Jack Tar is getting in on the action. 

On September 11, chef-owner Gray Brooks is launching Otoño, a pop-up series in the downtown Durham diner patio. The series will be helmed by Toro chef Marla Thurman, who will be touching on her Texas roots with a Tex-Mex inspired menu that celebrates the Mexican dishes that she and Toro staff have cooked together for years.

“Comfort is the name of the game, now, since everything else is so weird,” Thurman says. 

Thurman says that the vegetarian and vegan-focused menu will incorporate plenty of late-summer vegetables, and dishes like agua frescas, tostadas with citrus ceviche, and seafood tortas. Jack Tar staples—including Gray Brooks’ substantive signature double cheeseburger—will also be on hand, as will cocktails from The Colonel’s Daughter, next door (on deck: drinks that spotlight tequila, mezcal, and bourbon). Otoño will also be available as a curbside menu, sans cocktails.

Thurman has been chef de cuisine at Toro for the past five years; in March, she also competed on the Food Networks show Chopped, and place first. Her winning dish, a Vegan Chocolate Torte, will be revamped with chili and orange and available on the Otoño menu. 

“What’s important to us is to provide some comfort to our community,” Brooks said in the pop-up press release. “And we think we can do that best by opening for outdoor dining, honoring our team and their backgrounds by sharing their food, and taking care of our own—our teams, guests, farmers and greater community.” 

All proceeds from the pop-up will be donated to Urban Ministries of Durham

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