Portrait photo of Garret Fleming and Eleanor Lacy.
Forrest Mason

The siblings’ newest restaurant represents their shared vision of a rustic European style bistro featuring dishes they love, executed with precision, in an intimate setting.

European-Style Bistro, Bombolo, to Open in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

On February 23rd, Garret Fleming and Eleanor Lacy – the brother and sister duo behind the former fan favorite Big Belly Que – announce the opening of Bombolo, their most ambitious restaurant yet. 

“At Bombolo, we’re giving ourselves the freedom explore our favorite dishes and cooking styles," says Fleming. As co-owners, Fleming serves as executive chef and Lacy oversees the dessert and wine program.

Bombolo – located at 764 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (in the former Kitchen restaurant space) – will open Thursday February 23rd. Guests may reserve Thursdays through Sundays on Open Table. Follow @BomboloChapelHill and visit the menu:  www.BomboloChapelHill.com

The siblings’ newest restaurant represents their shared vision of a rustic European style bistro featuring dishes they love, executed with precision, in an intimate setting. “Eating and cooking together has always been central to our family’s life, and now we’re excited to bring that experience with us at the table to our community,” explains Lacy.

While rooted in Italy – which Fleming credits for his formative food experience at the young age of eight – Bombolo is intentionally experimental, with a menu that has no boundaries. It traverses the globe with classic dishes and bold international flavors from France and Italy to Turkey and Southeast Asia – a culmination of Chef Flemings’ travels and culinary experience.

A Culinary Institute of America grad and “Top Chef” alum, Fleming began his career in his hometown of Charleston, SC with Chef Bob Carter at Peninsula Grill, renowned for Lowcountry cooking. With his style informed by Southern cooking, Fleming then served as Executive Chef in Maine at Stella’s and Eatonville, before working for a decade in Washington, DC kitchens, including as Executive Chef of The Pig and at Barrel, both of which ignited his passion for whole animal butchery. In 2017, Fleming re-energized Motto in Durham, earning a rave four-star review, before teaming up with his sister for their first collaborative project, Big Belly Que, where they served everything from North Carolina barbecue and house made sausages to fresh breads and coconut cakes.

Bombolo’s adventurous opening menu begins with Snacks – like Crispy Pig Ears, BBQ Shrimp, Pork & Veal Polpette and Anchovy Stuffed Anchovies – a memorable finger food Fleming discovered on a trip to Sicily.                                                                                              

Fleming’s scratch-made pastas ground the meal. Classic Italian dishes like Rigatoni all’Amatriciana, Tonnarelli a la Pomorola and Mafalde & Turkey Neck Ragu – a historic Tuscan dish and favorite of Catherine de Medici – share space with Lamb Manti – a Turkish lamb-filled pasta with smoked paprika butter, yogurt, mint and fried sage.

Proper Plates offers larger format dishes from around the globe – including a comforting Roast Chicken with gravy, the celebrated Indonesian Beef Cheek Rendang, and Lobster Pot, an upscale version of the Maine summertime classic, which Fleming serves with house made brioche.

Lacy, an avid home baker who earned Chapel Hill Magazine’s “Best Dessert” at Big Belly Que, offers a more elevated menu inspired by classic European desserts. Her signature Chocolate Bombolo is a true reflection of the restaurant. “This is my interpretation of a very elaborate French pastry called Chocolat Royal, stripped down to the elements I love – praline feuilletine and luscious chocolate mousse,” explains Lacy. Tiramisu Dacquise and seasonal tarts like the Almond Frangipane Tart with Dried Cherries will complete the experience.

In the months to come, Fleming will continue to experiment with fermentation and preservation, as he has done throughout his career, with the ultimate goal of offering the most extensive house charcuterie program in the area.

Lacy, a WSET Level 2 Certified Sommelier, is offering a concise wine selection of predominantly Old World wines in a range of prices, sourced from across the globe, to reflect Fleming’s dishes. Guests will choose from 12 by the glass and 25 by the bottle. “We especially love to pair dishes with pink bubbles from New Mexico, the Loire Valley, Friuli or Champagne.” The wine list will be complemented by classic cocktails.

The rustic, cozy dining room seats 36, and 10 at the bar – for dining and riffs on craft cocktails. Distressed wooden tables are complemented by art work reflecting Fleming and Lacy’s travels and personal experiences, including photographs over the bar their parents found in Rome of Italians enjoying a meal.

Stay tuned for the addition of 25 seats on the patio, weekend brunch and the addition of dinner on Monday nights.

Reserve for Bombolo on Open Table Thursday & Sunday from 5-9pm, and Friday-Saturday from 5-10pm. 

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News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.