Linda’s Bar & Grill seeks community help and gets assistance from Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership

photo courtesy of Linda's Bar & Grill.


By Tyria Bourda

Located at 203 East Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, Linda’s Bar and Grill is known for its cozy yet welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant serves classic American fare, signature cocktails, draft and craft beers, and boutique wines. The restaurant’s most popular dishes include Philly cheesesteaks, Cuban sliders, and gourmet burgers.

Chris Carini, owner of Linda’s Bar and Grill, is seeking help to keep the business thriving. Most of the establishment’s struggles are a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which left Linda’s and other businesses struggling amid staffing shortages, lockdowns and inflation.

To help keep his business afloat, Carini  started a GoFundMe account on September 27, As of  Monday, October 23, the business has raised $29,600. Donations were as small as $10 and as large as $1,000 from an anonymous person.

Over the years, Linda’s has survived on the strength of the community

Additionally, Carini said that small business owners are trying to balance the cost of infrastructure in a town filled with aging buildings and the post-pandemic economic conditions.

“I’m asking for help from all the people far and wide who love Linda’s to help me keep it around for another 47 years,” Carini said in the fundraiser post. “In order to keep our people paid, the lights on, machines fixed, and the building up to code, etc. we need a bit of help. It feels like a burden worthy of asking my community for help so we may continue into the future.”

Once the GoFundMe was posted, by Friday afternoon, the page had raised more than $19,200 of a $135,000 goal. Stephanie Cobert, Marketing director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, a 501(c)( 3) nonprofit, shared that the partnership is making plans to connect Linda’s with other resources. Mainly through a grant program through Orange County Economic Development, so they do not have to rely solely on donations.

“We always work to support our downtown businesses in their times of need, and it is heartening to see the community come out to support them as well,” said Cobert.

In June of 2023, Linda’s was named in “25 Best Things To Do in Chapel Hill” by VacationIdea and Dream Vacation Magazine.

Joining the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership nearly a year ago, Cobert’s passion for her job has only grown. In a discussion with The Local Reporter, Cobert discussed current events in Chapel Hill, as well as the city’s plans for the future.

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership works to bring the resources of the town, university and downtown community together to maintain, enhance, and promote downtown as the social and cultural center of Chapel Hill. The partnership intends to honor Chapel Hill’s rich traditions by creating experiences for the downtown community. In this regard, the partnership reports to and collaborates with town officials on downtown-related issues.

As a second-generation Tar Heel, Cobert’s love runs deep for the town. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology, and a master’s degree in Public/Applied History from East Carolina University. With a background in marketing, community relations, and program coordination, she combines history and culture in her work. Her experience includes digital marketing for Education First FCU, as UNC Public Communications Officer, Grant Writer for the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and Historic Site Manager for the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

“It’s so heartening to see how much other residents love it too. I feel that our community is in a transformational period. It’s very exciting to imagine where we go from here. I believe that by working together for the good of Chapel Hill, we can continue our upward trajectory and continue to thrive.”

During Cobert’s time as director of marketing, Chapel Hill’s innovation hub has grown substantially. There is a boom in new businesses, such as Bull Box, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, Crumble Cookies, and Ay Por Dios Mexican Bistro, coming soon.

Tyria McCray-Bourda is a story-driven journalist whose work also appears in The Carolinian newspaper in Raleigh. With a bachelor’s in journalism & mass communication from North Carolina A&T State University, she has the distinction of having interviewed President Joe Biden when he was a candidate on the campaign trail and Vice President Kamala Harris.

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