Carrie Schleiffer joins Durham's Alley Twenty Six | Food

Carrie Schleiffer joins Durham's Alley Twenty Six


The revolving kitchen door has spun again, this time in two prominent Durham bars and restaurants. Chef Carrie Schleiffer has left Scott Howell's bustling Bar Virgile, which she helped open in December, to assist Shannon Healy in expanding the food menu at craft cocktail bar Alley Twenty Six.

The transition was a quiet one, with Schleiffer leaving Bar Virgile about a month ago and starting at Alley Twenty Six two weeks later. Friends and fans discovered the move when Schleiffer changed her Twitter handle from @CarrieBarVirgle to @CarrieSchleiffr. Oh, modern world. 

"Shannon has brought me on as an extra hand to help with the food program," Schleiffer confirmed Thursday night. She declined to say when changes will debut on the menu, which currently offers a modest selection of upscale bar snacks, including fine cheese, a perfect pickle plate and a signature Tonic Sundae.

Likewise, Healy was reluctant to discuss details, including the space's lack of a full kitchen. "Actually, [she and I are] having a few drinks and talking about it right now," he replied when reached for comment. As he recently told INDY, "We strive for delicious small eats on par with our drinks."

This new opportunity represents Schleiffer's third top chef gig in less than a year. She was squeezed out of her long time run at Durham's G2B gastropub last fall when owners installed current executive chef Travis Robinson. She wasn't idle long, however, and soon joined Howell to run the kitchen at Bar Virgile. Aaron Louv, of Nana's restaurant, is now powering the Bar Virgile kitchen. On Thursday, the restaurant playfully posted a photo of a water buffalo's head on its Facebook page with the message, "Please welcome the newest member of our team."

This is the second major business announcement in recent months for Healy, too, a former bar manager at Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill. He and head bartender Rob Mariani started producing a commercial version of the tonic syrup used to make cocktails at Alley Twenty Six. Unlike most clear tonics, it get its distinctive orange color from the bark of Peruvian cinchona trees, the natural source of quinine. A contender in this year's Martha Stewart American Made contest, Alley Twenty Six tonic is available at Parker and Otis, Cave Taureau, Beer Durham, the Rambler, Bull City Craft, Foster's Market and more.

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