Veteran PBO restaurateurs to open new upscale steakhouse

Posted 6/10/21

PITTSBORO — After a crippling year for the restaurant industry, Greg and Maria Lewis — former owners of the defunct Pittsboro Roadhouse — are back on their feet and set to unveil a new fine …

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Veteran PBO restaurateurs to open new upscale steakhouse

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Posted

PITTSBORO — After a crippling year for the restaurant industry, Greg and Maria Lewis — former owners of the defunct Pittsboro Roadhouse — are back on their feet and set to unveil a new fine dining experience by month’s end.

The Sycamore, a gourmet steakhouse featuring dry-aged beef from one of the nation’s finest suppliers, will open for business on June 24, barring unexpected pandemic setbacks.

“I never thought it would take this long to finally open,” Greg said, “not in a million years. We’re finally back to doing what we love.”

The grand opening will mark almost a year since the couple’s popular 10,000-square-foot restaurant and concert venue caved under pandemic pressures.

“We were heartbroken when we had to close the Roadhouse,” Maria said, “but the support we’ve had from the community has been phenomenal and we’re so excited to get back to serving food.”

Many have clamored for the couple to relaunch the Roadhouse’s model, but The Sycamore will cater to a different market.

“When we had to leave the Roadhouse, we wanted to bring as much into this new space as possible, especially the music,” Maria said. “It’s not working out that way, though, and I think this is a good time to let people know that the Roadhouse isn’t coming back any time soon.”

Instead, The Sycamore targets patrons seeking upscale dining in a more polished setting. The intimate space at the historic Chatham Mills features expert styling from Ashlie Campbell and Shana O’Leary of Chatham’s An Acquired Style, with whom Maria worked closely to refine the restaurant’s chic ambiance. Warm accents bind the room’s theme — from the grand, copper-clad bar to bronzed chandeliers and the taupe-backed mural of resplendent peacocks.

And the food promises to be among the Triangle’s best.

“Our food is what’s really special,” said Greg, a longtime chef and the menu’s mastermind. “Our steaks especially will be some of the best around.”

All of the restaurant’s beef will come from Creekstone Farms in Arkansas City, Kansas, one of the nation’s most acclaimed meat suppliers.

“It’s in the top 3% of all beef in the U.S.,” Greg said. “We’re going to be the only restaurant in the Triangle that will menu Creekstone. Some have it on the menu as specials, but not regularly.”

The Sycamore has been complete and poised to open for months, but the couple’s second business, 39 West Catering (named after the former Roadhouse’s downtown address), prevented it. A separate building at Chatham Mills has been under renovation to support the catering business, but its kitchen was not granted a certificate of occupancy until last month. Until then, the Lewises had been preparing meals from The Sycamore’s kitchen.

“We were doing all our catering out of the restaurant kitchen,” Maria said, “so we weren’t allowed to use it for the restaurant at the same time.”

Now that 39 West can operate from a dedicated facility, The Sycamore is free to open for business. On opening night, the Lewises expect to entertain about 70 guests, although the restaurant can host 150 or more per evening at full bore. Some tables will remain unseated to maintain comfortable spacing, despite lifted restrictions permitting regular capacity.

“We really just want people to be able to sit and enjoy themselves,” Maria said, “and really relax.”

To help with that, The Sycamore will feature live jazz every Thursday and pianists Friday and Saturday — the only three days a week at which the restaurant will operate. Eventually, the Lewises hope to add Tuesday and Wednesday evening services as normalcy resumes.

As of Tuesday, the restaurant was not yet accepting reservations.

“All this building and all has been really out of our comfort zone,” Greg said. “But now we’re finally coming into our comfort zone. Running a restaurant — that’s something we really know how to do.”

Reporter D. Lars Dolder can be reached at dldolder@chathamnr.com and on Twitter @dldolder.

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