Food & Drink

Ashley Christensen’s New Raleigh Restaurant Opens with a Splash

This year’s James Beard Award Outstanding Chef adds a pizza joint, Poole’side Pies, to her North Carolina culinary empire. Come on in, the dining’s fine

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Photo: Johnny Autry

Ashley Christensen.

After winning Outstanding Chef at this year’s James Beard Awards, Ashley Christensen, who has long been making a name for herself as one of the South’s preeminent chefs, got her due as a nationwide culinary leader. Today, the pride of Raleigh, North Carolina, adds another accolade to her list: her latest restaurant, Poole’side Pies, begins serving Southern-meets-Neapolitan pizza in a former tire shop beside her flagship, Poole’s Diner. While classic margheritas appear on the menu, so does a streak-o-lean-topped pizza; a breakfast-for-dinner-inspired tomato, egg, and turnip green creation; and an heirloom tomato pie with Duke’s mayo as a base. In a few weeks, once the pies get established, Christensen plans to add such “fried bites” as shrimp and grit croquettes and fried mac-and-cheese balls that feature the same recipe used at Poole’s. Beneath a fifty-two-foot skylight, the aqua, teal, and coral-colored dining room has a swim-club vibe—lanes are tiled into the floor and shelves above the bars mimic old-fashioned diving boards. “This is the first building we’ve been landlords of as well as tenants,” says Kaitlyn Goalen, who has directed and managed AC Restaurants since 2015, and this summer, married Christensen. “We got to have fun with how it’s going to flow. Throughout the whole menu and the design, we’re really going for playful.”