New Asheboro restaurant to aim for vacation vibes

ASHEBORO — A chef from New York has come to Asheboro to open a restaurant, hoping to put diners in a resort frame of mind.

The Bun Hut NC will open within a month at 132 Sunset Ave., offering food and cocktails. It will specialize in Caribbean-Asian dishes.

“When you walk in, we want you to feel like you’re on a Caribbean vacation,” said business owner Kermit Raymond Mackey.

The new restaurant’s location will be in the former location of Hamilton’s Steakhouse, which has moved to 328 Sunset Ave.

Mackey is referred to as “Chef Ray” and he’ll be doing much of the cooking. 

Mackey said he hopes to have the restaurant open by late November or early December. He initially expects to have five employees.

“It depends on business,” he said.

There will be a traditional Caribbean menu with an Asian twist. The restaurant, which has an upstairs and downstairs, can seat up to 140 diners.

“We recently closed a location in New York,” Mackey said. “We were fortunate to find this beautiful location. … It’s a good difference for me. I was looking for peace and quiet.”

He said his Manhattan location was open for about 1 ½ years, beginning in the pandemic. He said there were challenges with COVID and civil unrest. 

Mackey, who turns 38 later this month, said he has been in the restaurant/food service industry for 21 years. He entered culinary school at age 16 in the Bahamas.

Mackey is also opening a restaurant with a similar theme in Newark, N.J., at a branch of Rutgers University. He said that venue will have a set-up geared more toward quick service.

Mackey said he came to this region of the country because one of his cousins had been a chef at Duke University in Durham and he has a brother in the Triangle.

By Bob Sutton

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