Chapel Hill Resturant Group
Mickey Ewell, Greg Overbeck, Pete Dorrance and Kenny Carlson: a partnership that has always been ahead of the curve.
Ewell started the company when he opened Spanky's on Franklin Street. Although he had no experience in the restaurant industry, Ewell recognized the need for a great hamburger in Chapel Hill, and filled it when he opened Spanky's in 1977. Overbeck, Dorrance, and Carlson all worked at the restaurant and made their way up through the ranks to form a management team that ran the restaurant for several years.
In 1986, the four formed a partnership to fill the need for a seafood restaurant in the Triangle. Squid's was conceived as a combination of Southern fish camp, oyster bar, and Northeastern lobster shack. Its menu offered seafood classics from Calabash to Kennebunkport. Locals were hooked from day one, and it continues to fill up nightly on Fordham Boulevard.
Their next project, 411 West Italian Café, featured the first wood burning pizza oven in the area. 411 West opened on West Franklin in 1991 featuring pizzas and fresh, made-in-house pasta. The menu is Italian with a California twist, and the restaurant has been recognized as "Best Italian Restaurant in the Triangle" many times by local publications.
CHRG blazed a new trail in the Research Triangle Park with their newest restaurants: Mez Contemporary Mexican and Page Road Grill, a restaurant dedicated to modern southern cuisine. Both provide sophisticated, locally sourced menus for Research Triangle businesses and a convenient meeting place between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
With five award-winning restaurants, the next logical step for the group was the creation of a catering department to serve the needs of the Triangle community. CHRG Catering operates out of a separate state-of-the-art kitchen at Page Road Grill, and provides full service catering for weddings, businesses in the RTP, local universities, sports teams, and private events throughout the Triangle.
The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group has always been committed to sustainable business practices, and we have received national recognition for our efforts. We participate in food recycling efforts at our restaurants and have reduced our solid waste by 85% in the last decade. Oyster shells from Squid's are collected and eventually returned to the North Carolina coast, where they are used to rebuild our state's oyster beds. To-go containers and silverware are made of corn product or sugar cane and are completely compostable, or they are made of recyclable materials. MEZ was North Carolina's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designed restaurant, and it and Page Road Grill are both LEED certified. In 2007 we were recognized as "Sustainable Business of the Year" by the Institute for a Sustainable Community.