Blue Dogwood Public Market
306 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill’s Blue Dogwood Public Market, the first of four food halls slated to open this year—along with Durham Food Hall and Transfer Co. Food Hall and Morgan Street Food Hall in Raleigh—will hold its soft opening this weekend.

Food halls are new to the Triangle, but they’re definitely not a new concept. They’re popular in European and many large American cities, house a wide variety of artisan food vendors spanning multiple cuisines under one roof, and attract locals and tourists looking for a quick bite. With our own burgeoning restaurant scene and mushrooming population hungry to support it, the time is ripe for the Triangle to have its own one-stop dining experience.

Blue Dogwood co-owners Sarah and Jeff Boak are curating a mix of small, local, and community-oriented food businesses to occupy the food hall’s twelve stalls and work out of the community kitchen. The intimate space, with a footprint of 4,002 square feet, boasts an open floor plan with whitewashed walls and eye-catching pops of color, lending it an airy, contemporary, playful feel.

In focusing on small, local businesses, the


hope that Blue Dogwood—named after the state flower and UNC-Chapel Hill’s signature Carolina blue—will be a place where food artisans can build or expand their businesses at an affordable cost.

Silvana Rangel-Duque, who runs Soul Cocina, has previously sold her inventive plant-based Latin American dishes, such as sriracha-braised lentil tamales, at farmers markets and pop-up events. Her stall at Blue Dogwood will be her first brick-and-mortar location. What makes expansion possible for vendors like Rangel-Duque is the market’s small-scale stall rentals and shared commercial kitchen. The kitchen will be available to rent at a competitive rate and will host pop-up demos from market vendors and other food start-ups.

Sarah Boak describes Blue Dogwood as a “come for the food and get a drink” kind of place, putting the focus squarely on the food. Stalls will offer limited menus and serve small portions, allowing guests to sample a variety of dishes, several of them new to Chapel Hill. Durham’s Vegan Flava Cafe will serve signature dishes such as BBQ jackfruit or chickpea tuna salad, while Left Bank Butchery, a whole-animal butcher out of Saxapahaw, will serve sausages. For dessert, you’ll find sweet shops like Pizzelle Bakery, which will serve its namesake cookie, plain or sandwiched with ice cream or cannoli filling, and Chocolatay Confections, which has earned a following for its all-natural, handmade chocolates, fudges, caramels, and bars.

Though the focus is on the food, the drinks in the equation match the


’ tightly curated approach. Blue Dogwood’s own bar will feature mainly hard-to-find local beers and ciders, as well as wine, and the


have plans to add a beer garden, encouraging guests to linger with a bite and a drink.

For hours and a list of vendors participating in the soft opening, visit Blue Dogwood’s Facebook page.

Correction: Pizzelle Bakery and Chocolaty Confections are both opening their first locations in Chapel Hill, not their second. Pizelle Bakery’s pizzelle cookies are available eithersandwiched with ice cream or cannoli filling, not both.