Raleigh, N.C. — Ashley Christensen, the chef and owner of several successful businesses in downtown Raleigh, is planning two new ventures this fall in a historic building at the corner of Hargett and Salisbury streets, according to a press release.
Death and Taxes will be a full-service restaurant and bar focusing on wood-fire cuisine. It will be located on the ground floor and basement of the building at 105 Hargett St. The restaurant name is a tribute to two of the previous tenants of the building - a funeral home and a bank.
In the press release, Christensen said the idea for the restaurant really took shape during a trip she took to Uruguay with the Fatback Collective, a group of Southern chefs and pitmasters Christensen belongs to.
“Cooking with wood and coals has such a beautiful simplicity, and results in such singular flavor,” Christensen said. “I was reminded of that in Uruguay, and am continually reminded whenever I eat the amazing barbecue joints in our state. I wanted to acknowledge that flavor, and the feeling of familiarity and sense of place that it elicits in me.”
While the menu is still being developed, Christensen envisions a variety of shareable platters of vegetables, seafood and meat.
The restaurant will feature an open kitchen, a first for Christensen since her days as a chef of the now-closed Enoteca Vin. Chef Sunny Gerhart, who worked with Christensen at Vin and was the opening sous chef at Poole's, will serve as chef de cuisine at Death and Taxes. Gerhart has been running the kitchen at Watt's Grocery in Durham.
The bar will occupy the basement and be constructed around one of the building's preserved bank vaults. It will have a low-lit cellar atmosphere and serve a classic menu of wine and cocktails.
The Bridge Club, a private event space, will occupy the second and third floors of the building. Styled to feel like a downtown apartment, the space will host private events, pop-up dining events with visiting chefs, special dinners hosted by the restaurant group and educational opportunities.
The space will have 14-food ceiling and large, nearly floor to wall windows. There will be a separate kitchen and bar and a small rooftop patio.
“Our grandmothers came together to socialize over bridge games, and that spirit infuses this space. We’re bridging people together with a shared experience,” Christensen said in a press release.
Both projects are set to open in late fall.