An evening stroll and a crossing of roads led John Sprunt Hill—distinguished alumnus, successful businessman, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill trustee—to sit and envision an establishment that would cater to the immediate needs of Chapel Hill and its residents. That establishment became an institution and, close to 100 years later, The Carolina Inn is still carrying on that vision of hospitality, dining, and libations.
The new Crossroads Chapel Hill restaurant opened on September 18 as a crafted dining experience unique to Chapel Hill. Share a meal or cocktail with friends and family in the historic setting of The Carolina Inn, A Destination Hotel. With its distinctly southern soul and, specifically, its North Carolina Spirit, Crossroads infuses dining experiences with energy, great food, and a comforting sense of place.
Even with a new name, new menu, new venue, and more seating, Crossroads Chapel Hill strives to build upon its reputation—Four-Stars by Forbes Travel Guide for 15 straight years and AAA’s Four Diamond rating for 13 straight years as Carolina Crossroads—and become more welcoming to newer generations and young professionals and serve as a central gathering place for UNC students, faculty, staff, and Chapel Hill residents and visitors.
Chef James Clark’s menus will focus on grown, caught, and raised ingredients that are sourced regionally to produce his interpretation of Carolina cuisine.
“We will have a new look and a new menu, but I think everyone will be thrilled with the changes,” Clark says. “Our goal is to make it a great experience for even more people.”
And there are more sharing selections, more mixing and matching among small and large plate offerings.
The long-time patrons will also appreciate the lunch “Inn Tray.” As a reflection of The Carolina Inn’s Cafeteria, a selection of entrées are paired with the day’s soup and green salad, a slice of seasonal pie, and Ice Tea or Lemonade.
Autumn’s dinner sharing plate features are Crispy Pork Belly Mac n Cheese and Soy Pickled Shitake Mushrooms, while small plate highlights are Duck Bolognaise, Fennel Bisque with Thyme Pepper Honey or Roasted Beet Salad with Local Pea Shoots. New large plates of note are Wild Boar Meatloaf with Charred Carrots, Short Rib Pot Roast or “Two Hands” Fried Chicken.
In addition, the Inn offers new indoor and outdoor dining spaces, includinga new bar that opens directly to outside pavilion featuring both lounge and dining areas with the main focal point being a fire pit; new indoor space that is very open and flexible [separated by glass panel doors] with an upscale look blending traditional and contemporary design elements; stone top tables and no tablecloths that provide more comfortable setting; larger and more flexible bar seating area ideal for sports game watching; front porch area that also offers additional seating; seven private dining options and special event possibilities; new Pittsboro Street Provisions, a Grab-and-Go market open in the morning through the afternoon, to quickly pick up fresh coffee, juices, house-made breakfast breads and pastries, yogurt parfaits, and during the day, ready-made salads, and sandwiches; and complimentary parking when dining at Crossroads Chapel Hill for breakfast, Sunday brunch, lunch or dinner.
The new bar is now where the restaurant was previously located, increasing the size of the bar and featuring many comfortable gathering areas with booths, banquettes, and tables with direct access to the newly created outside venues. The new restaurant takes over the old bar location and also expands into the North Parlor area. This transformed space provides a warm and open ambiance.
Two years ago, The Carolina Inn debuted another significant renovation that updated most of the property’s infrastructure, completely remodeled the guestrooms and enhanced the function rooms and public areas.