Following a soft opening for friends and family last Friday, Andrew Dennison, Carl Cross and Dean Moore have opened the doors to The Half, a gourmet sandwich shop and taproom located at 510½ Red Cross St., the former home of Detour Deli.
Dennison said the soft opening gave the team the opportunity to assess their workflow and make some minor tweaks the process and menu that features 12 sandwiches, five of which are vegan.
“The support we received during opening weekend was more than we could have imagined,” he said. “We put a lot of work into the building and creating the concept, so to finally be able to enjoy that with people was a dream come true.”
Dennison said he and his co-owners are thrilled to have Charles Fogg on board as their culinary director. Fogg worked at Detour Deli for about a year prior to the COVID-19 lockdown and has worked at a number of delis as well as Sealevel City Gourmet, under its original owner, Nikki Spears. He also has bottle shop experience.
“When they approached me about joining the team it felt like a perfect fit,” Fogg said.
Fogg has incorporated several nods to Detour’s menu, including his version of the beloved caprese sandwich and bread from Neomonde Bakery in Raleigh. Some of the post popular sandwiches over opening weekend included the Chipped Ham, a take on a Pennsylvania classic featuring frizzled ham with a garlicky mustard, onions, house pickles and Swiss on an Italian roll; the Rachel, with turkey, sauerkraut, coleslaw, Swiss and Russian dressing on rye; and the Take Out, a vegan sandwich piled with roasted broccoli, green onion, a cucumber salad with peanuts, sauerkraut and Szechuan sauce on ciabatta.
“It tastes like a night of over-indulging and waking up to leftovers the next day,” Fogg said of the Take Out.
Other notable sandwiches include Italian Parts Unknown, with ham, Genoa salami, capocollo, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, giardiniera red wine vinegar and olive oil on an Italian roll; and its vegetarian counterpart, Italian Gardens Unknown, with marinated eggplant, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, red onions, pesto and provolone, which can be made vegan upon request.
There is also the $3.50 Mom’s grilled cheese, available with vegan cheese upon request.
Fogg plans to eventually run daily specials as well as an evening menu. All sandwiches are served with a choice of side, and while house seasoned kettle chips, cucumber and tomato salad and potato salad will be mainstays, Fogg plans to rotate some additional seasonal sides as well.
In addition to bringing made-to-order sandwiches back to the neighborhood, The Half’s owners plan to feature collaboration beers created with breweries across the country. Cross and Moore both have extensive experience in the brewing industry and are eager to travel and collaborate with brewers in order to bring truly unique beers to The Half.
Their first collaboration, Halfway There, is an American lager brewed at Burning Blush Brewery in Mills River, outside of Asheville. Next month’s collaboration will be with Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. of Charleston, South Carolina, and the team is traveling next week to begin work on their third collaborative brew with Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary.
The bar also offers canned beer, wine and hard seltzer.
The Half has undergone some significant renovations including the installation of a bar and wrap-around counter, as well as three four-top tables at the front of the building and additional counter seating along the front and side windows.
More of the original brick walls have been exposed and painted white to create a bright, airy space with pops of color from local artwork and fresh flowers. There is new flooring throughout, as well as a new restroom. A six-tap draft system has been installed, and work was done to the outdoor patio, creating a welcoming gathering space with six picnic tables, partially covered bench seating and firepits. The patio is pet-friendly and can easily seat upwards of 40 guests.
“We’re looking forward to getting in the groove of our normal operations and continuing the momentum created this past weekend,” Dennison said.