Urban Food Groups Acquires Three Wilmington-Based Restaurants
The husband-and-wife team that owns Vivace in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina and Avelina in Denver, among other concepts, has acquired three of Wilmington-based Circa Restaurant Group’s six restaurants.
Urban Food Group (UFG), owned by Kevin and Stacey Jennings, bought Brasserie du Soleil and Osteria Cicchetti, as well as Boca Bay, including the real estate associated with the restaurant near the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. Circa Restaurant Group, owned by Ash Aziz, retains its other three restaurants in the area.
“These much-loved restaurants are very similar to our group’s in concept, service approach, pricing, location—everything,” says Kevin Jennings. “We love Wilmington but hadn’t planned to expand here yet. When we learned these restaurants were going to be available—as Circa owner Ash Aziz began thinking about retirement—it seemed serendipitous.”
“Ash is old school,” Jennings continues. “He’s active in the community. Many of his employees have been with him for a long time. Our philosophies are very similar.”
UFG won’t change much at any of the three restaurants new to the portfolio. “We’ll maintain Ash’s commitment to quality, staff and guests,” Jennings says. “The restaurant names won’t change, the staff—we sincerely hope—won’t change and the food quality won’t change.” Over time, UFG will introduce new technology to aid servers, kitchen and back office staff, but those changes won’t be felt by guests.
UFG hired Albert Kahn as regional director of operations for Wilmington. He has 25 years of experience in hospitality and previously lived in Wilmington for 5 years.
Brasserie du Soleil in Lumina Station is Wilmington’s go-to spot for authentic French cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner, The Brasserie features an extensive French fare including pate, escargot, bouillabaisse, steak au poivre, as well as a full raw bar and entrees including beef and lamb.
Osteria Cicchetti at The Forum is one of Wilmington's premier Italian restaurants. Open for lunch and dinner, the menu includes pasta dishes, full antipasti selection, formaggi, specialty pizzas and more.
Boca Bay Restaurant near the Wrightsville Beach Bridge is one of Wilmington’s most loved seafood restaurants. Open for dinner seven nights a week and brunch on Sunday, it may be best known for its oyster bar.
UFG also owns Chow and Coquette Brasserie in Raleigh and will soon open both Civetta Italian Kitchen + Bar and Bar Marcel in Charlotte.