Beloved Breakfast Restaurant Breadman’s Enters a New Day

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The longtime Chapel Hill breakfast spot has a new location and name, but still serves up familiar favorites

Luz Castro-Lopez, Cristina Castro- Juarez, Omar Castro-Juarez, Yesenia Castro- Juarez and Francisco Juarez-Vazquez.

By Matthew Lardie | Photography by John Michael Simpson

For decades, Omar Castro- Juarez and his family have been as important to Breadmen’s as the restaurant has been to Chapel Hill. In 2020, Omar stepped out from behind the scenes to take over as owner. The restaurant has a new location (261 S. Elliott Rd., near Whole Foods) and a slightly new name (Breadman’s, instead of Breadmen’s), but other than that, longtime customers will find little has changed.

“We have really tried to keep things the same as much as we can,” Omar says. There were some changes to accommodate the new space, but the Breadman’s experience will be familiar to regulars, from the all-day breakfast menu to the UNC sports photos adorning the walls.

“People come to Breadman’s because it’s a place where they feel comfortable,” Omar explains. “I can say that most of my customers know the menu very well and know what they are having by the time they pull up to the parking lot.”

Dane Hupman has been working at Breadman’s for 35 years.

Omar moved to Chapel Hill with his family in 2000, when he was 10 years old, and got his start at the original Rosemary Street location working weekends after he graduated from Southern Alamance High School. “I really didn’t have a lot of background in the restaurant industry [when] I started working at Breadmen’s,” he says. But he stayed, eventually leaving other jobs at Fearrington Village and Subway. “I can say that I did every job at Breadmen’s from washing dishes to working the line and worked my way up to manager,” he says.

Today the new Breadman’s is a family affair. “My family plays a big part of this journey,” Omar insists. “I get a lot of credit for keeping the restaurant going, but I could not have done this without them.”

Omar’s father, Luz Castro-Lopez, has worked at the restaurant for more than 20 years, and Omar credits him with keeping the kitchen running smoothly and serving as the go-to problem solver. “He can fix just about anything,” Omar says.

Omar’s two sisters, Cris Castro-Juarez and Yesi Castro-Juarez, work as servers, and his grandfather Francisco Castro-Vazquez helps out in the kitchen with food prep.

Peggy Hollingsworth and Tom Hollingsworth have lived in Chapel Hill since 1966 and been going to Breadman’s since 1995. They visit the restaurant three to four times a week.

“We are truly a family-run business and are very thankful for all the support we have received from our customers during the pandemic and [for] sticking by us after we relocated,” Omar says. He notes that while the new space is smaller than the original location, the large outdoor patio space was a lifesaver during the pandemic.

When it comes to the future, Omar plans to continue to build on the legacy that former owner Roy Piscitello started back in 1974. “We’re so happy that we have this new space. We’re really happy with the location as there are a lot of new buildings going up around us,” Omar says. “We hope that all the new people moving to Chapel Hill will call Breadman’s their new favorite restaurant.”

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Omar adds, “but I know that Breadman’s will be part of Chapel Hill for many years to come.”

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