Month: July 2021

Grata Café, built on gratitude, filling void left by Elmo’s

By Monica Chen CARRBORO – Inside Carr Mill Mall on Tuesday, Jay Radford was busy getting his new restaurant ready. Full of energy and optimism, Radford walked here and there in the former Elmo’s Diner space, gathering materials, telling construction workers what he wants done, enlisting the help of one of his sons. Other business owners in Carr Mill and employees stop by to chat with him. Grata Café can open as soon as in the next couple of weeks, Radford said, as soon as the permits are approved. Would he like to sit down for this interview? “Oh, no. If I sit down, I’ll fall asleep,” Radford said. Radford is a man who likes to keep moving. Over the course of his life so far, the 52-year-old has built a multitude of experiences and skills. They are all informing his approach to Grata Café. His work style is rooted in the ‘80s and ‘90s. A native of Washington, D.C., he worked as a page at the Capitol Building when he was young. (“When I …