Thirteen years ago, Chef Charlie Deal took the path less taken when, rather than locating his new restaurant, Jujube, in downtown Chapel Hill, he chose a spot about a mile away, at Glen Lennox. He felt the community offered several advantages beyond the region’s ready availability of super-fresh local produce and meats. It was a short drive or bike ride to the university and its proximity to a large residential neighborhood put Jujube within walking distance for hundreds of local residents, professors, and students. Perhaps most importantly, he would not have to compete against the many established downtown restaurants. Deal named his establishment Jujube after a small purple fruit native to China and first cultivated over 4,000 years ago.
Chef Deal was drawn from his native California by North Carolina’s diversity of climate, elevation, and temperature, which has made our state one of the most robust producers of agricultural goods in the nation. The experience and awards he gained working in some of California’s top restaurants made Deal confident that his outlook on meal preparation would find favor here in the Triangle area, which had become a magnet for foodies, farm-to-table fans, and discerning diners.
His vision was for a dynamic Asian fusion cuisine which drew on Chinese and Vietnamese traditional recipes, updated and attuned to Western tastes. His philosophy was and is to stay true to the character and natural attributes of the recipes and always-fresh ingredients while applying his own unique spin to each dish, and the success and longevity of Jujube is testament to the appeal of that philosophy.
Wondering where to find that jujube fruit today? Sip a Hot Date cocktail on your next dinner outing. Chef Deal’s house-made jujube preserves add an inventive twist to your cocktail that most mixologists never considered. Or perhaps the Iron Goddess of Mercy oolong tea coupled with a lemongrass beef Banh Mi sandwich and sampling of dumplings for lunch is more your style.
These unique and delicious creations in an upscale, casually cool and eclectic ambiance are why 13 years after its opening, Chef Deal and his staff continue to attract Glen Lennox residents, locals and intrepid travelers. If you’re looking for a locally sourced, internationally influenced dining experience that delights first-time visitors and repeat customers alike, look no further than Glen Lennox’s own Jujube.