Homeward Kitchen opens Dec. 6

The most recent Southern Pines Town Council meeting saw the advancement of Homeward Kitchen, a new restaurant franchise being piloted in Southern Pines. On April 11, council members reviewed plans for Homeward Kitchen, praising the project for “thinking ahead” and offering a “fresh look” to an old building.

Homeward Kitchen is operated by parent company Golden Corral, which is giving the new restaurant a test run on Highway 15-501 and Murray Hill Road. The new franchise will be moving into the storefront that previously housed Chick-fil-A, and the team has been working hard on drafting plans and changes for an architectural review. Ironically, Chick-Fil-A recently moved to the former Golden Corral site on Highway 15-501 in front of Walmart.

According to notes provided by National Restaurant Designers, “Homeward Kitchen is a new restaurant concept focused on bringing fresh home-style cooking to the community of Southern Pines.” Much like its predecessor and parent company Golden Corral, the restaurant will feature home cooking and comfort foods such as fried chicken, meatloaf, salads, sides, and sandwiches.

However, where Golden Corral once offered a buffet experience, Homeward Kitchen will move away from the buffet model and instead focus on traditional dine-in, drive-through, and takeout experiences.

With a drive-through in mind, the team behind Homeward Kitchen and the Southern Pines Town Council have already addressed the issues brought about by the drive-through line by the building’s previous tenant, Chick-fil-A.

At this time, it is not anticipated that Homeward Kitchen will experience the same issues that Chick-fil-A once had, with one representative noting that while Homeward Kitchen hopes they can one day achieve such a high level of success, for the foreseeable future, it is unlikely that drive through traffic will back up onto 15-501 as it has in the past.

The restaurant, which is on the same parcel as Kickback Jack’s, will have access from both Highway 15-501 and from the new Morganton Park South development in the rear. Modifications will be made to not just the appearance of the building but also to the parking areas and drive-through lane to promote ease of access for future customers.

“Homeward” was previously the moniker given to Golden Corral’s virtual brand, which launched as a result of changes brought about by COVID lockdown-induced restrictions to buffets. Following Homeward’s success, the company decided to launch a new restaurant chain—which became Homeward Kitchen—and selected Southern Pines as the pioneer for said project.

The council reviewed a presentation regarding changes to the physical appearance of the building. The existing building will be renovated, undergoing changes to both the interior and exterior, with a new façade, a fresh coat of paint, and new awnings among the anticipated alterations.

After considering the plans and artists’ renderings, council members were pleased with the changes. Mayor Haney commended the changes for having a fresh appearance and distinct style as opposed to “looking like a repurposed Chick-fil-A.”

The council voted unanimously in favor of the plans, allowing the Homeward Kitchen project to move forward. 

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Abegail Murphy.

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