How did you tailor it for hotel guests? One of our main goals was to help lay the groundwork for a real North Carolina experience for our hotel guests. That means sourcing locally as much as possible—we use Durham-based Counter Culture Coffee in the coffee shop and deliver freshly ground coffee to rooms on demand. Our continental breakfast is made daily with wholesome ingredients like milk from Homeland Creamery in Julian, North Carolina, in our homemade butter and yogurt. We bake Anson Mills cornmeal and preserved local strawberries from Lil’ Farm in Durham into corn muffins, toast Raleigh’s Boulted Bread country loaf for cheese toast, and bake candied ginger scones with freshly milled wheat from Carolina Ground in Asheville. Snacks in the rooms are all made in North Carolina from companies like Durham’s Big Spoon Roasters, Asheville’s Poppy’s Handcrafted Popcorn, Winston-Salem’s Drink the Sunshine, and Blister-Fried Peanuts from Mount Olive First United Methodist Church.
In the restaurant and on the roof, that also means sourcing from as many nearby farmers, ranchers, brewers, fisheries, and distilleries as possible.
In downtown Durham, we are in the middle of a tight-knit community of food businesses, shops, music venues, breweries, and bookstores, and when we have guests who are new to the city, our focus is introducing them to our friends and neighborhood.
What does your presence do for the hotel brand, and vice versa: how does the hotel anchor you/your restaurant concept? Prior to opening, we made a deliberate decision that we would develop the project as one unified brand and that the dining and drinking would play a guiding role in how guests experience the entire building. The hotel and restaurants really function as one ecosystem.