What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Restaurant named for 'I Love Lucy' song opens first Triangle location

Posted August 28

— The new tapas and tacos restaurant, Babalu, opens its first Triangle location in Chapel Hill Monday.

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 located in a 4,529 square-foot space at 1800 E. Franklin St. next to Stein Mart.

Babalu's menu focuses on chef-driven made-from-scratch, Latin-inspired dishes with a southern twist. Menu items include pan roasted redfish and dulce de leche cheesecake bites. Babalu's guacamole is made table-side and is fully customizable, so you can add bacon! Out and About learned the ropes of making guacamole from Chef Huff and it really isn't that difficult. (Check out the video accompanying this story for ways to make your guacamole even tastier.)

The bar selection will boast margaritas, sangria, signature cocktails and a curated tequila selection, in addition to wines and local craft beer. One cocktail - the Cherry Cadillac - features North Carolina's own Cheerwine and TOPO Distillery spirits. It tastes just like a cherry limeade with a kick.

No two Babalu locations are the same. Each of the seven locations focus on hyper-local ingredients unique to the host city.

The kitchen is lead by executive chef James Huff, formerly of The Pit and Motto in Durham. He has personalizing the menu to reflect North Carolina ingredients and is developing 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 features 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.


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