What’s New in Hillsborough

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A cheese plate at Mystery Brewing Public House. Photo by DTownPerspective


Radius has a new oven and they aren’t afraid to use it. “We can now get a pizza out faster. Our new oven takes 180 seconds to cook,” says owner Kate Carroll. Though they serve salads and paninis too, the restaurant couldn’t keep up with the demand for their wood-fired pizzas. The new gas aspect of the oven allows them to precisely control the temperature and, with cooking time down, they plan to roll out delivery by the end of the year. Want to get in on the action? Chef and co-owner Mick Carroll offers free cooking classes for kids at the Eno River Farmers Market every third Saturday.

Hog Day in Hillsborough


Don’t miss live music, a Hog Day 5K and plenty of food and fun during Orange County’s longest running festival – Hillsborough Hog Day – on September 15-16. • The inaugural History Pub Crawl, where knowledgeable history enthusiasts from the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough will lead a tour around downtown, is October 21. • The River Park Concert, a free outdoor event combining music and art, is set for October 28.


Start training now and you may be ready to run in the second annual Historic Hillsborough Half Marathon and 5K on October 1. The scenic route will take runners past sites like the Old Orange County Courthouse, the Burwell School and the half-marathon runners will run one lap of the Occoneechee Speedway track. But if you need some motivation to pick up your pace, join the Hillsborough Running Club. Founded in 2013, the club meets up on Wednesday evenings at Mystery Brewing Public House and Sunday mornings at Weaver Street Market to run as a group.


Speaking of Mystery Brewing, have you tried their brewpub menu yet? “You won’t find traditional deep-fried pub food here,” says chef Michael Malek. “My goal is to showcase the natural and fresh flavors of local ingredients.” So instead of tater tots, you’ll pair your pint with a cheese plate or a colorful salad. They’ve even got a beer sandwich cookie that goes well with The Golden Hind, an American pale ale.


Ethel Stansbury in the 2000s.

For decades, Ethel Stansbury ran The Village Diner with her husband and family members. The mom-and-pop spot was the early-morning meeting place of friends and neighbors over breakfast and banana pudding. But a year after a different owner took over, it shuttered unexpectedly. Hillsborough BBQ Company general manager Joel Bohlin heard that the doors were locked shut and went to see Ethel to see if he could help. The two of them ended up chatting for hours. “She’s a pistol,” Joel says. “She’s the matriarch of Hillsborough.” It was such a good conversation that she made him an offer. “I was shocked. I thought I was going over there to cook on the line that night and it turned into an option to purchase the property,” Joel says. He recalls the 88-year-old saying, “I want you to have it. I want you to fill up the parking lot again.”

So Joel jumped at the chance to rehabilitate the two dining rooms and revamp the menu. He hopes to be open for lunch in the next few months, serving up a small menu that includes meatloaf and fried chicken and then family-style dinners soon after. “We’re going to knock people away with the comfort food style that’s been missing in town,” he says. And on the eve of the eatery’s 50th anniversary this year, Joel’s going to pay tribute to the lady who always made customers feel welcome by hanging a big photo of her on the wall. Ultimately the two have a lot in common. Like Ethel, he says “making people happy with food is what gets us out of bed.”


Yep Roc Records celebrates two decades of music-making with shows from artists like Nick Lowe, Dave Alvin, Chuck Prophet and more in Hillsborough and Carrboro October 19-21.




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Jessica Stringer

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