CARY, N.C., — Renowned restaurateur, author, and 2019 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Chef, Ashley Christensen, will be bringing her signature fried chicken and a new fast-casual restaurant to Parkside Town Commons in Cary, NC. Owned and operated by Kite Realty Group Trust (NYSE:KRG), Parkside Town Commons is an open-air community and entertainment center serving the Research Triangle Park area, located at the intersection of North Carolina Highway 55 and Interstate 540.
“I have often thought about the right way to expand our reach beyond downtown Raleigh, and this is the perfect opportunity,” says Christensen. “We are excited to bring the approachable, universally comforting flavor of chicken sandwiches to a larger audience, and to bring our cultural approach to a new model of restaurants.”
Christensen has been working to craft the menu, which currently features five unique iterations of chicken sandwiches, three flavorful sides, two salads, spun-to-order milkshakes, and delicious fried pies. The restaurant will partner with a local brewery to serve beer on-site. Christensen has entered a partnership with MDO Holdings to create the restaurant at Parkside Town Commons, slated to open in mid-2020.
“We are thrilled to work with Ashley and MDO Holdings in bringing this concept to life. Ashley is a rare talent, and we are proud to help expand her vision of food and community,” said Gregg Poetz, Senior Vice President of Leasing at Kite Realty Group. “Her new restaurant and open-air taproom will be an iconic addition to Parkside Town Commons, and a truly unique experience for all who visit.”
The restaurant and taproom will exist in a new build-to-suit structure with shared outdoor dining space. A name for the restaurant has yet to be announced, but plans will be unveiled over the coming months on its landing page: https://projectxtracrispy.com. Christensen’s new concept will join a diverse lineup of existing offerings at Parkside Town Commons, including IMPROV Raleigh, Target, CineBowl & Grille, Starbucks, and Orangetheory Fitness.
About Kite Realty Group Trust:
Kite Realty Group Trust is a full-service, vertically integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that provides communities with convenient and beneficial shopping experiences. We connect consumers to tenants in desirable markets through our portfolio of neighborhood, community, and lifestyle centers. Using operational, development, and redevelopment expertise, we continuously optimize our portfolio to maximize value and return to our shareholders. As of March 31, 2019, KRG owned interests in 111 operating and redevelopment properties totaling approximately 21.8 million square feet and one development project (0.5 million square feet) currently under construction. For more information, please visit kiterealty.com.
About Ashley Christensen:
Christensen is a chef and restaurateur based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She owns and operates AC Restaurants, which includes Poole’s Diner, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, Fox Liquor Bar, Death & Taxes, and AC Events. She most recently won the 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. She has also been awarded “Chef of the Year” by Eater in 2017 and Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2014.
Christensen began cooking while in college, throwing dinner parties for her friends and family. These intimate gatherings helped her recognize her passion for cooking and sharing food, and ultimately led to her first professional cooking job at the age of 21. Upon taking the position, she knew she had found her life’s work.
Christensen remains very active in local and regional non-profits and causes. She has served as a board member of the Frankie Lemmon foundation and is a co-chair of its annual fundraising event, Triangle Wine & Food Experience. In honor of her long-time support, the Frankie Lemmon School named their school’s kitchen in honor of Christensen in June of 2019. She has also served on the board of Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. She is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and founded the biannual event Stir the Pot, in which she hosts visiting chefs in Raleigh to raise funds for the SFA’s documentary initiatives. Christensen is also currently helping raise funds for NextStep Raleigh, a paralysis recovery center opened in part by Michael Thor, a fellow Raleigh restaurateur who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 2015. She also continues to be an activist for women’s equality issues and for fair wages and treatment of all food service industry workers.
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