What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Durham restaurant closes, bought by new owner

Posted July 30
Updated July 31

— After a rebranding and brief stint under a new chef, Motto has closed its doors in Durham.

Visitors noted via social media that the restaurant, located at 604 W. Main St., was closed Sunday night. The restaurant's Twitter and Facebook accounts and website were also shut down.

“The closing of Motto came unexpectedly,” said Kevin Jennings, co-­owner of Urban Food Group, which owns Motto. “We were approached by a Durham restaurateur who expressed great interest in the space and the West Village community. He long-­loved the concept and aesthetic of Motto and after vetting the Durham area for a new space, he was eager to move forward with his vision.”

Jennings added that the restaurant’s business was underperforming, so the decision was made to close and transition to the new owners.

"We want to thank all of our friends, family, team members and the Durham community for their support over the last year," Jennings said.

Motto Chef Garret Fleming

Motto was previously known as Lucia. The owners changed the name and concept about a year ago. The focus at first was on Italian cuisine, but that changed when Chef Garret Fleming, a former Bravo TV "Top Chef" contestant, took over as Chef de Cuisine late last year. Fleming shifted the menu to focus on a strong Charcuterie program from sustainable farmers and fresh pasta made and cut by hand in house daily.

Motto was part of Urban Food Group's portfolio of restaurants that also include Chow, Coquette and Vivace. There are also two new concepts expected to open in the Triangle area next year. 

Get more restaurant news by checking out this week's Triangle Foodie News report.


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  • Nick Tripp Jul 31, 4:47 p.m.
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    You'd think a group that owns other restaurants in the area would have thought it best to notify customers with existing reservations that they were closing. Instead people showed up on Sunday to find locked doors. How do you think that's going to play for your other restaurants in the area? Poor form.

  • Anita Harris Jul 31, 1:50 p.m.
    user avatar

    Really misleading headline. Sounds like a new owner yanked it back from execution, but it really should read as, "Durham restaurant closes despite efforts by new owner."

  • Mark Weaver Jul 31, 1:16 p.m.
    user avatar

    Hate to say it but sounds like an advertising problem. I would have loved to have tried it either as Lucia or Motto but I had never heard of either, and I work 3 blocks away, I could have walked there. I walk to Luckys Delicatessen, El Rodeo, Satisfactions and others on a regular basis.