Chapel Hill, N.C. — A new tapas and tacos restaurant will open its first Triangle location in Chapel Hill next month.
Babalu Tapas and Tacos is named after the signature song of Desi Arnaz’s character Ricky Ricardo on the classic TV show "I Love Lucy." It is set to open in a 4,529 square-foot space at 1800 E. Franklin St. on July 24.
Babalu's menu focuses on chef-driven made-from-scratch, Latin-inspired dishes with a southern twist. Menu items include guacamole made tableside, pan roasted redfish and dulce de leche cheesecake bites.
The bar selection will boast margaritas, sangria, signature cocktails and a curated tequila selection, in addition to wines and local craft beer.
No two Babalu locations are the same. Each of the seven locations focus on hyper-local ingredients unique to the host city.
The kitchen will be lead by executive chef James Huff, formerly of The Pit and Motto in Durham. He will be personalizing the menu to reflect North Carolina ingredients and will develop a few dishes that will only be served at the Chapel Hill location.
"Chapel Hill is our home,” Huff said. “I draw inspiration from the hallmarks of our area and feature locally sourced ingredients in our made-from-scratch dishes. My goal is to bring the fun back into food."
Babalu will feature a chef’s table seating as well as a large outdoor dining patio with an indoor/outdoor bar.
Founded in 2010 in Jackson, Miss., Babalu has locations throughout the Southeast, including one in Charlotte.