Ashley Christensen opening 3 new Restaurants on Wilmington Street

Ashley Christensen opening 3 new Restaurants on Wilmington Street

February, 20, 2011, by David

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Older picture of the corner of Martin and Wilmington prior to Construction

Poole's was only the beginning.  Ashley Christensen has quietly been working on three new establishments.  Today in a touching profile by the News and Observer's Andrea Weigl, Christensen's story is laid out from its humble origins all the way through her current day aspirations and projects.  Most exciting, the reveal of her new restaurants opening on Wilmington Street this spring all focused on a specialty: hamburgers, fried chicken and honey and a basement cocktail bar.  

The 4,000 square foot space will complete the circle developing; Fayetteville St, Martin St, Wilmington St, Hargett St- a tour of locally owned establishments including the recent opening of the bar at Mecca, and the forth coming Deep Java which will serve coffee next to Busy Bee. It represents just a new milestone in a career that has been churning for years from working under Andrea Reusing and Scott Howell both who share the Best Chef in South East James Beard nominations this year with Christensen to the complete ownership of Poole's and her philanthropic work.

Weigl gets intimate and talks to Christensen's admirers tracing her love of entertaining, her attention to detail, and her penchant for "getting things done."  Read the full article for the details: A force of nature

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Restaurants, Other posts by David.


Ashley ChristensenOpeningsPooles DinerWilmington Street


  • Raleighworld
    02/20 01:31 PM

    Raleigh is so lucky to have Ashley - she’s the real deal. I wonder how often Hatem kicks himself for burning that particularly phenomenal bridge. Can’t wait for the new digs to open - sounds yummy! And so glad to see something finally happening with this building.

  • Brian
    02/21 12:18 AM

    The problem is here is that once the chicken joint opens, it’s all I’m going to want to eat.  That chicken is out of this damn world.

  • JeffS
    02/21 12:41 AM

    Three openings at/around the same time? That is a serious undertaking. I wish her well.

  • Carl
    02/21 08:32 AM

    Raleigh is so lucky…..

    If that is where our fortune lies….
    Oh my.

  • crankasaurus
    02/21 09:01 AM

    any word on what’s going in at the old brass grille spot? is this one of her’s?

  • mindcrime
    02/21 10:42 AM

    raleighworld, I don’t think Hatem is kicking himself, he does have William D’Auvray on his team, who is arguably a better chef than Ashley.

  • breadpuddinhead willsome
    02/21 03:19 PM

    Good luck Ashley. I hope it works out. However, as a fan of Poole’s I’m a little apprehensive. I’ve seen quality suffer at other restaurants that I’ve enjoyed while the executive chef starts up another venture, let alone three. I truly hope that she’s carefully worked out the business side of this as it could very easily and quickly become a financial vortex of suck. It’s got culinary afterschool special written all over it.

  • Arthur!
    02/21 05:04 PM

    Raleigh is blessed to have so many chefs with a wide range of tastes! The James Beard Awards demonstate this so well.

  • scoop
    02/22 10:18 AM

    Cocktail bar does not equal restaurant, so that would be 2.  @mindcrime, I’m with you.  Team William all the way.

  • smitty
    02/22 07:23 PM

    Where is William now?

  • Raleighworld
    02/22 08:31 PM

    IMHO, there’s more to a great restaurant/establishment than just the chef, though D’Auvray is admittedly an impressive partnership - always enjoyed Fins and bu.ku. Ashley has a passionate connection to “community” and community-building that I find very refreshing in someone so young. It reminds me a lot of what’s been going on in Durham, Carrboro, etc., for years now – creating connections to “home” that aren’t contrived/investor-driven like most of the new stuff downtown. And I love the positive attention she consistently garners for Raleigh. Always nice to see.

    My point wasn’t one chef’s aptitude over another, but rather let’s just see how long the romance lasts.

  • reesian
    02/23 03:32 PM

    Who’s the design architect for these new establishments?

  • sycamore
    03/01 02:53 PM

    My excitement at hearing her plans to open two new restaurants were immediately dashed when I found out what the concepts were.

    Fried Chicken? Burgers? Not exactly swinging for the fences.  I’m sure she’ll make out like a bandit.

  • shayshay
    03/01 06:19 PM

    sweeeeeeet. ashley is tha bomb. she’s a fantastic concept architect and treats patrons like family. can’t wait to come back to raleigh to sample the goods!

  • ChickenIsGood
    06/21 05:22 PM

    @sycamore - Do you really think Ashley hasn’t thought long and hard about these concepts? This is not going to be KFC or Burger King.  Simple food done extremely well is what Raleigh needs.  Be assured that Ashley will not let you down.

  • sycamore
    07/23 12:13 AM

    CHX-  Of course she’s thought long and hard about it. And I implied in my comment that I’m sure the restaurants will be fiscally successful.  And I also have no doubt that the fried chicken will be the best around.  However, I was hoping that she would either go with a higher end concept (she’s certainly capable of it) or, if she went with a more pedestrian concept (as she has) it would be less fat and salt peddling, and more something tenable as a daily eatery.  If you ate the Royale and Mac and Cheese gratin at Poole’s every day, you’d be clutched over in G.I. distress on your way to an early grave.  You go to Portland or Seattle or Austin or or even Asheville and you will find a preponderance of reasonably priced eateries whose mandate seems to be less about blowing out your taste buds and more about food that actually improves your quality of life in a truly holistic manner.  Now, I do not consider myself a hippie—far from it.  However, the lack of healthy lunch fare in this city can certainly be evidenced by the traffic jam that is the Whole Foods parking lot between 12 and 1 every day.  And that’s pretty sad.  I shouldn’t be venting in this forum, but I’m tired of the fact that most places around here don’t seem to concern themselves with how their food makes you feel an hour later, or a day later, or, god forbid, if what they sell has a generally positive impact on the community around them.  I’m not saying that every restaurant should be selling quinoa-tzatziki-edamame-nori-goji-wheatgrass-whatever smoothies.  Just that I wish _someone_ would.

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