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Urban Food Group closes Porter's on Hillsborough Street

Urban Food Group, the Raleigh restaurant group started by Kevin and Stacey Jennings, closed Porter's Sunday night, which marks the end of an era for the restaurateurs on Hillsborough Street.

The couple's first restaurant was Frazier's, which they owned for more than 14 years on Hillsborough Street, and then they opened Porter's next door, which was open for about a decade. The Jennings sold Frazier's last year and it became Klara's. The former Porter's space will become an Irish pub and restaurant. (Greg Cox is tracking down more details.)

Based on their success at Frazier's, the couple was able to grow their restaurant group to include Vivace, Coquette and Chow. Kevin Jennings said today that they are focused on duplicating those restaurant concepts in other cities, especially Vivace, which could expand to such cities as Tampa, Atlanta and Denver. Jennings said they are also looking for opportunities to develop new restaurant concepts in the Triangle.

If you have a gift certificate to Porter's, no worries. Jennings said those gift cards are redeemable at any of their other restaurants.

Greg Cox gives 3 stars to Chow in North Raleigh

Go HERE to read Greg's review of this restaurant by Urban Food Group, which also owns Coquette, Vivace and Porter's City Tavern.

Frazier's, a Hillsborough Street dining destination in Raleigh, has closed

I got word Saturday night via Greg Cox, our restaurant critic, that Frazier's has closed.

Kevin and Stacey Jennings, owners of Urban Food Group, a local restaurant company, sent a note to Cox late Saturday night. The note from Kevin Jennings' phone read: "I'm going down to Frazier's to close it for good.We will miss that place terribly."

Frazier's was the Jennings' first restaurant in Raleigh. As a young couple, they created a dining destination on Raleigh's Hillsborough Street when there wasn't much else there for grown-ups. It was a favorite among the people who lived in the neighborhoods close to N.C. State University. The couple's flagship restaurant had faltered in recent years as the city's dining scene exploded on Glenwood South and in downtown Raleigh. Most recently, the couple had transformed Frazier's into a wine bar.

The Jennings also own Porter's Tavern, Coquette, Chow and two locations of Vivace, one in Charlotte and the other in Raleigh. 

UPDATE: I got Kevin Jennings on the phone this afternoon. After 14 years, he said, business was down and they decided to put the restaurant up for sale six months ago. Jennings says the owners of Klara's, a Czech restaurant in Cary, have bought the business. (No word yet on their plans.)

Jennings explained that they plan to focus on opening locations of Vivace in Denver, Washington, D.C. and Durham. For the Durham location, they have had "initial talks" with the folks behind Diamond View III, at the Durham Bulls ballpark and American Tobacco.

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