A string of new/revamped restaurants are about to open along W. Main Street in downtown Durham, and It’s A Southern Thing is the newest to officially open doors today (Monday, September 25th).
The owner, Pete Susca, worked as the bar manager at Motto (the restaurant’s former incarnation) and always envisioned what it would be like to remake the space with a focus on casual comfort: from the decor to the vibe to the food itself–a hearty and flavorful mix of Southern comfort dishes.
After being open for a year, the owners of Motto sold the space to Susca so he could bring his idea to life.The name of the restaurant is an homage to when Susca first moved to the South from New Jersey 20 years ago. He had a lot of questions about why people did things a certain way down here and he always got the same answer, “it’s a southern thing.” The longer he lived here, the more he appreciated the area and understood the South’s culinary comforts from sweet tea to chicken fried steak, pork cheeks and collard greens. Take a look at the menu and you’ll see this is what he aims to share with everyone who dines at his new spot.The wood fired oven, which has been in the space since it used to be Pop’s, was going full tilt when we visited for a soft opening. It’s no longer used for pizza and Italian food, but rather, it’s firing up “Carolina Sauced” smoked wings and NC trout stuffed with blue crab and roasted veggies.
The shrimp and grits were a standout entree with homemade andouille sausage, chilies and creamy white cheddar cheese grits.
The “Moo-Snort” meatloaf was a happy accident Susca created one day when he didn’t have enough beef and ended up mixing it with bacon. The bacon fat keeps it from drying out, not to mention adds that irresistible bacon flavor. This half-bacon, half-beef dish could become a new favorite for meatloaf fans.
It’s a Southern Thing plans to source as much food as possible from local North Carolina farms and butchers and will display on the wall out front where the food is coming from.
The restaurant still has its large bar, spacious seating, private room and and outdoor patio and it’s now officially open for lunch and dinner.
Photos: Tommie Watson Photography