For the first time since March, Local 616 opened its doors on Saturday with added outdoor seating, sanitation stations and temperature checks upon entry. The neighborhood bar’s initial opening hours will be from 4-11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday along with select Sundays for Carolina Panthers football games.
“Me alongside so many others have been working towards this goal for many many months to provide ourselves and every one of you the safest environment we could re-imagine,” owner Dwayne Mitchell wrote on social media. “I’m choosing to push forward with everyone here working at Local 616 and everyone of you that choose to come and be part again of this special place for me, the staff and all of you.”
Mitchell also announced the debut of Local 616’s new resident pop-up Bahm Bahm, a Korean concept from former Butcher & Bee chef Alison Cates-Chong.
Cates-Chong’s interest in Korean street food originates from her time in Washington, D.C., when she lived in a Korean neighborhood, an interest she shares with her husband Sam, who is first generation Korean.
“616 was my husband’s favorite bar when we used to live close to it,” said Cates-Chong, who left her job at Butcher & Bee to pursue Bahm Bahm full time. The chef said she’s been in contact with Mitchell for just under a year about popping up in his vacant kitchen. The name Bahm Bahm — which means “night night” in Korean — hints at the late night-style street snacks Cates plans to serve.
Each weekend (Thursday-Saturday from 6-11 p.m.), Cates-Chong will serve dishes like Korean popcorn chicken, Tteokbokki (rice cakes with mozzarella and gochujang sauce), kimchi fried rice and one riff on a popular fast food sandwich.
“One of our favorite things is the spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s, so we’re doing one of those on a Japanese milk bread bun,” Cates-Chong said.
A house-made milk bun that is. In fact, Cates-Chong is making all her bread in house. She’s also whipping up her own spam, and her husband is fermenting a new batch of homemade kimchi that will be ready for this weekend’s fried rice offering.
Cates-Chong can’t wait to feed Mitchell’s regulars and those in search of delicious Korean-inspired food.
“To be able to step away from the responsibilities of a restaurant and make food for my friends in a space like Dwayne’s feels like a dream.”
For more updates, follow Local 616 on Instagram (@local616).