No target opening date yet, but it has a name: PooleSide Pie, apropos to its location next to Christensen’s flagship restaurant, Poole’s Diner.
“I’m super excited about it,” Christensen wrote in an email. “Much like coffee, I think there’s lots of room for great pizza of varying styles in downtown. I predict that you’ll see a number of unique spots to pop up in the next couple of years. The idea of that makes me very happy.”
I can’t wait.
The Triangle food scene has exploded in recent years and people are taking notice near and far. Andrea Weigl is certainly on top of things. Her recent write-up for the News & Observer formed a narrative around the recent spate of female entrepreneur chefs and blazed a trail for a subsequent piece coming from the New York Times by Kim Severson.
First, a bit of level-setting primer from Weigl:
But the capital has a growing crew of women running successful downtown drinking and eating establishments. Some owned their own places long before Christensen was named best chef in the Southeast last spring by the James Beard Foundation; others, inspired by her success, took the leap.
To, perhaps, a little more depth from Severson:
The North Carolina food sisterhood stretches out beyond restaurants, too, into pig farming, flour milling and pickling. Women run the state’s pre-eminent pasture-raised meat and organic produce distribution businesses and preside over its farmers’ markets. They influence food policy and lead the state’s academic food studies. And each fall, the state hosts the nation’s only retreat for women in the meat business.
I especially love the pork chop analogy that Severson uses to open up her piece to highlight the more-the-merrier atmosphere the permeates all of this growth.
Both articles are short and well worth a read. Weigl does a great job of highlighting some of the new hotspots while giving a little bit of background for the ladies behind them. Severson digs deeper into the complete farm-to-table phenomenon while also highlighting the strong female influence at each stop along the chain. The positive socio-economic impact is significant, but most importantly to me, the food is great and I’m just happy to be around to enjoy the spoils.
It’s been a banner year for Raleigh chef and entrepreneur Ashley Christensen. Along with her James Beard Foundation award, she can now add Triangle Business Journal Businessperson of the Year to her mantle:
While her businesses are small in revenue when compared to previous Businessperson of the Year honorees, like Red Hat leader Jim Whitehurst, ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo, or Adam Abram’s Franklin Holdings, Christensen’s impact as an economic engine for the region has been growing.
Poole’s Diner is my favorite Raleigh restaurant and I’ve enjoyed every visit to Joule, Chuck’s and Beasley’s1. Christensen’s efforts have been a boon for economic activity in downtown Raleigh and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us with her future ventures.