You know and love The Villager Deli for its all-beef hot dogs, cold soda and pasta salad — but you’ll soon have a reason to visit after 2:30 p.m.
Longtime owner Koley Keel (left) has joined forces with chef Prem Nath, formerly of Restaurant 195, for a concept he’s calling the Villager After Dark.
Later this month, the Pinehurst staple will open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday. During the dinner hour, they will have real china, upscale wine and a quieter atmosphere — with chef Prem at the helm.
“I missed his food,” Koley said. “I’ve been eating his food for more than 22 years. His food is transparent — he could cook anywhere, and people would eat it.”
If you’re from Moore County, you’ve probably been acquainted with Chef Prem, the longtime chef at Restaurant 195 who once trained under Bobby Flay and has been peer-reviewed as one of the Best Chefs in America. He came to Moore County in 1994 and started cooking for the community three days later.
For the new venture at The Villager, Koley had to make a few adjustments in the kitchen, too. Chef Prem needed a gas stove. And Koley’s current staff needed to know that for them, things would continue to operate as normal.
“These are expensive things to try,” Koley says. “I wouldn’t do it without Chef Prem. Having access to him was a game-changer. I think it will work — and when I ask myself that question the answer is yes, because we miss his food and we want to eat it, wherever it is.”
A menu has not yet been set, and likely won’t be. Chef Prem plans to rotate the menu every few weeks. The only thing he promises is that it will be comprised of fresh, local ingredients, and not limited to what ends up in print.
“If someone asks me for something, I will make it,” he says. “I can’t say no.”
Want to visit the Villager After Dark? Keep an eye on The Sway’s social media for updates.