Five Star to Expand Footprint to Durham with Unique Take on Modern Chinese Food

Opening in spring 2022 in the space formerly occupied by Cuban Revolution in the Strickland Building, Five Star’s new restaurant will have one of the most enviable patios in the Bull City as it sits directly adjacent to the iconic Lucky Strike Water Tower.

“Five Star has always been–more than anything else–a gathering space for good friends and family to have a delicious meal, a few drinks, and a lively evening in a unique and inviting setting,” says Michelle Bender, co-owner, Five Star. “As we looked to expand to the culinary capital that is Durham, we knew we wanted to find a home that would build on that spirit of connectivity and cheer that accompanies a great meal. American Tobacco Campus met all of those needs and more.”

Bender and team plan to offer a very similar menu of what they call “modern Chinese food with a twist” that is offered in their recently relocated original restaurant in Downtown Raleigh’s Glenwood South neighborhood. They will also offer an extensive cocktail program and a redesign of the restaurant space to be both inviting and exciting.

While the exact hours of operation are still in flux and will be finalized closer to opening, Bender and team will open for lunch daily as well as a full menu dinner and even offer a condensed menu designed for post-DPAC patrons.

You can take a look at Five Star’s menu on their website and follow them on Facebook or Instagram where they will offer more details about their opening in spring 2022.

Zweli’s Ekhaya Coming to American Tobacco Campus in 2022!

Zweli’s Ekhaya, the new concept from Zimbabwe-born Chef Zweli Williams, will completely transform the space formerly occupied by Saladelia in the Crowe Lobby. What was previously a fast, casual coffee and pre-made lunch kiosk-plus, will become an enclosed and stylized high-end tapas restaurant focused on Bantu-fusion, a mix of flavors and delicacies from the Bantu indigenous ethnicities from across Africa.

“Ekhaya in Bantu is more than a word, it is a feeling, a sense of being ‘at home’ wherever you are,” says Chef Zweli Williams.”These feelings of comfort, support, and familiarity are what we strive to bring to each diner via our menu and dining experience. Whether it is something brand new or a new take on something familiar, we want each and every visitor to leave our restaurant feeling as if they have returned home.”

Chef Zweli, along with husband and partner Leonardo “Leo” Williams, opened the nation’s first Zimbabwe restaurant in 2018 (Zweli’s Piri Piri) and the crowds and accolades quickly followed.

From best new restaurant to best chef to best chicken wings to best restaurant for vegans/vegetarians, diners have found a delicious and novel menu served alongside a demonstrable commitment to community.

For Zweli and Leo, food is only the beginning of their commitment to “Ekhaya.” While Zweli’s journey started thousands of miles from Durham, Leo attended NC Central where he served as the Head Drum Major for their prestigious marching band. After college, Leo became a Durham Public Schools teacher and administrator earning the honor of “Teacher of the Year.” He is a mentor to young men of color in the community and a candidate for Durham City Council.

Zweli’s interest in food grew as a young child in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe where she learned to make unique, creative dishes from the ingredients available. Upon graduating from high school, she emigrated to the US and attended NC Central where she met Leo. After graduating, Zweli entered the restaurant industry managing several restaurants while retaining her commitment to cooking and her roots in African Bantu cuisine. After attempting to find a restaurant that served these dishes, she and Leo decided to create the nation’s first Zimbabwean restaurant.

For the couple who also have a 10th grader at home, the COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity to support their community. Rather than focus on the hardship of operating a restaurant in a pandemic, Zweli and Leo worked with other locally-owned small business owners to raise more than $3 million to create a small business fund to prevent the closure of small locally-owned businesses in Durham. They coordinated nearly 100,000 meals pre-pandemic and post-pandemic to serve the displaced, elderly, and the homeless.

“We’ve had the very fortunate opportunity to work with dozens and dozens of restaurateurs and thousands of entrepreneurs at the American Tobacco Campus and American Underground,” says Adam Klein, director, American Tobacco Campus. “Zweli and Leo represent the best of Durham. They are creative, committed, caring, and, most importantly, community-focused. We’re honored that they chose to share their journey with us and take part in ours.”

Zweli and Leo will return to Zimbabwe this December to further hone and add to the Ekhaya concept. The restaurant will open in the spring/summer of 2022 with a complete redesign of the Crowe Lobby space and patio with lots of exciting offerings to be announced.

You can learn more about Zweli’s and stay updated on the restaurant by visiting their website, following them on Instagram and Facebook.

QueenBurger to open at American Tobacco Campus in 2022!

This is a BIG one!

We’re so excited to announce that QueenBurger, Indy Week’s best new restaurant in Durham for 2021, will open their first brick & Queemortar location for their wildly successful backyard burger bar at American Tobacco Campus in 2022!

“We’ve found a home for our crushable smash burgers, and couldn’t be more excited to enter the fast-casual burger arena with our own distinctive take,” explained co-owner Sean Umstead about their foray into the competitive burger business. QueenBurger will focus on high quality ingredients, simplicity and feature a proper bar for serving fresh cocktails, wine and draft beer from 11am-9pm.

QueenBurger generated a cult following for their progressive pop-up burger bar when they opened in July 2020 as a pandemic “pivot” to the temporarily closed Kingfisher Cocktail Bar in downtown Durham.

Entrepreneurs Umstead & co-owner Michelle Vanderwalker applied the same innovative approach to burgers as to their creative bar business – focusing on high quality local ingredients and a community-driven feel. “QueenBurger’s mission is as much about crave-worthy food and drink as it about creating community and a safe, fun place,” said Vanderwalker.

At ATC, QueenBurger, fans will recognize their signature concise menu of double-patty “smash burgers” – made of local grass-fed Baldwin Beef, griddled onions, NC Hoop Cheddar Cheese, Special Sauce and Old North Meats pickles, as well as sought-after beet-rich Veggie and Vegan burgers – all seared to perfection on a flattop grill visible to guests. Shoestring fries – plain and “hot” – will be new to the line-up. Umstead, a nationally renowned mixologist, has designed a selection of original cocktails to complement the burger menu.

“Queenburger’s arrival represents a continued commitment at American Tobacco to focus on thoughtful, local brands and operators,” says Adam Klein, director, American Tobacco. “Sean, Michelle and fans of their visionary brand will find they are part of a welcoming and thriving ecosystem of dedicated entrepreneurs who call our historic and growing campus home.”

Queenburger will open in early 2022 at Diamond View III and we’ll update you with more information as we get closer!

Major Mixed-Use Development coming to Downtown Durham

Capitol Broadcasting Co. and Hines in Partnership with USAA Real Estate Announce Major Mixed-Use Development in Downtown Durham

Partners will develop prime vacant site alongside the renowned American Tobacco Campus 

(DURHAM, NC) — July 28, 2020 — Capitol Broadcasting Co. (CBC), Hines, the international real estate firm, and USAA Real Estate today announced plans to develop a 600,000-700,000 square foot mixed-use destination bordering the west side of the bustling American Tobacco Campus.   

The expansion of ATC will take shape in a series of phases on the prime 11-acre downtown site previously occupied by University Ford. Plans for the dynamic mixed-use community include retail, restaurants, residences, and Class-A offices — all delivered with the thoughtfulness and high quality associated with the three partners. A website with more information about the expansion can be found here.

CBC redeveloped the American Tobacco Campus (ATC), taking it from an abandoned, century-old factory to a thriving mixed-use destination. ATC’s rebirth is credited with helping to kickstart downtown Durham’s renaissance. Additionally, CBC owns the neighboring Durham Bulls Athletic Park and has been a crucial supporter of the adjoining Durham Performing Arts Center. 

Hines and USAA are also proven developers in the Triangle area, having partnered on the highly anticipated Fenton mixed-use destination in Cary. Hines’ expertise with historically significant developments is evident in its success with Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

Phase One of ATC’s expansion is expected to unfold over eight acres with the partners eyeing a construction start in late 2020 or early 2021. In addition to bordering ATC, the new development features easy access on its south side to Highway 147, a vital Triangle artery connecting downtown Durham to the Research Triangle Park, I-40 and I-85. Just to the north is Durham’s burgeoning urban core featuring a host of amenities. 

Timber Structures

Architecturally, the ATC expansion will carefully and imaginatively fit with the historic look of the original American Tobacco campus while embracing the amenities, efficiencies, and innovations of new builds. They will also respect and play-off downtown Durham’s unique flavor.

As but one example of the expansion’s distinctiveness, the partners plan to utilize T3 timber structures throughout the project’s first phase. The timber builds will be a first-of-its-kind in the Triangle, and join only a handful of mixed-use destinations in the U.S.

Heavy timber construction goes back centuries, from churches to schools to warehouses. But the vast majority of buildings that dot modern skylines were built with steel and concrete or are  ‘stick-built,’ i.e. wooden-stud construction atop a concrete base.

A T3 structure is different — both beautiful and environmentally responsible. The airy and bright office spaces will feature manufactured wood columns and beams braced by steel and as well as a flooring system that includes thick, laminated wood beams sandwiched with a layer of concrete. 

Press Coffee & Crepes is NOW OPEN!

American Tobacco Campus is thrilled to invite you to experience Press, a European-inspired coffeehouse, creperie, and cocktail bar now open in Diamond View III (directly adjacent to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park).

Press is open for weekday breakfast and lunch and weekend brunch. Press serves coffees, crepes, salads, sandwiches, and craft cocktails, all inspired by Europe while highlighting local ingredients.

Press is an open, airy, all-day café with an espresso bar, cocktail bar, and a seated crepe bar for watching the kitchen in action. Press also features an expansive covered patio.

The Press menu includes classic coffee and espresso drinks, 32 oz. coffee growlers to go and fair trade teas. Their scratch-made breakfast crepes are served all day, along with sweet and savory crepes, weekend specials like the hash brown waffle, avocado toasts, and signature sandwiches and salads. The cocktails, beer and wine all rotate with the seasons and are focused on quality, consistency, and accessibility. Press features local purveyors whenever possible, including Counter Culture coffees, draft beers from Forgotten Road Ales in Graham, and Ashe County Hoop Cheese.

Come and check it out!!

Parker & Otis is NOW OPEN!

Parker and Otis (now open)

For decades, Durhamites and visitors alike have flocked to Parker & Otis for a casual breakfast with friends, a business lunch, a first date dinner, and everything in between.

Now located in the heart of American Tobacco, Parker & Otis is at home within the campus’ historic walls and ready to accommodate the more than one million workers, visitors, and residents that come to the campus each year.

With a full-day menu of southern-inspired dishes, there is something for everyone and anyone who enjoys delicious, scratch-made, and high-quality local fare.

Come for the Shrimp BLT and stay to work in the cafe or browse their eclectic and inspired retail shop.

Just look for the bright pink P&O sign calling you home.

Duke Performances Brings Music Back to the Lawn

This summer and fall, we’re proud to announce we’re partnering with Duke Performances for a series of concerts on the beloved American Tobacco Campus Amphitheater lawn!

Featuring an eclectic and diverse slate of local artists, the concert series will offer something for everyone:

  • Wed, Sep 15: The Dead Tongues
  • Wed, Sep 22: Rissi Palmer
  • Wed, Sep 29: Skylar Gudasz
  • Fri, Oct 1: The Veldt

Make sure to mark your calendars and plan your visit now! To-go menu items will be available from all restaurants and there will be plenty of space to stretch out on the lawn.

ATC Live Music P’s and Q’s

  • No glass allowed
  • Leashed and well-behaved pets are welcome
  • Please be mindful and courteous of other guests. Aim to leave the now customary six feet of space between you and those outside your party.
  • Duke University has instituted a mask mandate for all outdoor events over 100 people.
  • The City of Durham has instituted a mask mandate for all businesses. Masks must be worn indoors at all restaurants and other businesses, including lobby areas and restrooms.


Coffee, Crepes, & Cocktails Coming to Campus!

Press, a coffee and crepe concept that catalyzed Downtown Graham, will open its second restaurant in American Tobacco’s Diamond View III this summer.

With a promise of “European Inspired, Carolina made,” the casual eatery will serve the campus’ 3,500 daily workers and more than 1.2 million annual visitors a menu of scratchmade, local breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner items seven days a week. The menu for their Graham location can be found here.

In addition to a full menu of both sweet and savory crepe options, Press aims to translate its status in Graham as a welcoming “third place” coffee shop that serves as a gathering spot outside of work and home for telecommuters, families, friends, and business meetings. 

Press joins a recent slate of American Tobacco news including the launch of a new website and visual identity as well as the recent opening of Boricua Soul and Parker Paper Co.

Press is completely renovating and remodeling the space formerly occupied by The Bullpen in Diamond View III (359 Blackwell St, Ste 135, Durham, NC 27701). Restaurant hours and exact opening date to be announced. 

Parker Paper Co. is NOW OPEN!

The shop is now open in American Tobacco’s Diamond View III!

Parker Paper Co. is a standalone extension of the popular retail shop within Parker & Otis’ acclaimed restaurant. 

Parker Paper Co. focuses on those items dedicated to the tactile experience of putting pen (or pencil) to paper as well as gifts and grab and go sandwiches from the restaurant’s beloved menu.

They will soon offer craft beer and wine to continue the tradition of Parker & Otis’ extensive and curated stock.

Stop on by today to grab a sandwich or some stationery! 

Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Monday through Friday

Junior League One of Three Winners of ATC’s Next Big Event Competition

Durham-Orange Counties Branch of the Junior League to Offer Community Health Fair in June

(Durham, NC) – January 28, 2020 – American Tobacco Campus (ATC) has announced the first winner of its Next Big Event competition. The Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties will host its Community Health Fair at the historic and innovative campus on Saturday, June 27, 2020.

The fair will be free and open to the public with a focus on healthy living and include stations like hearing and vision checks, vaccinations, school sports physicals, fitness demonstrations, a blood drive, and more.

“The goal of the Community Health Fair is to utilize the dynamic space of the American Tobacco Campus to offer a fun and engaging event targeted to local children and their families,” says Rebecca Mason, Co-Chair, Junior League of Durham & Orange Counties Health Fair Committee. “We’re honored to have been picked for this amazing opportunity.”

In 2019, American Tobacco flipped the script and instead of programming all of their annual events for the million-plus visitors the campus sees each year, they allowed the community to propose events to host on campus.

More than twenty large community event submissions came in and three winners have been selected. The Community Health Fair is the campus’ first event to announce with others soon to follow.

“American Tobacco offers a one of a kind setting and platform to reach our entire community,” says Adam Klein, strategist, Capitol Broadcasting Company. “The Next Big Event competition represents one of the many new innovations we’re bringing to campus to start this exciting new decade.”

The winners of the next big event competition join American Tobacco’s recent announcement that Parker Paper Co. (a subsidiary of Parker & Otis) will open on campus in March 2020 and a new brand and web design for the historic campus.

Keep an eye on for more information about the Community Health Fair as well as future announcements, including additional Next Big Event winners.

About Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties
More than 500 members strong, the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop the potential of women, improve the community and promote volunteerism.