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Near Wrightsville Beach, Chapel Hill Restaurant Owner To Shoot For Success With Another Four Corners

By Cece Nunn, posted Jan 4, 2024
The owner of a Chapel Hill establishment is opening a location of his sports restaurant at 2025 Eastwood Road, former home of Soundside Seafood & Raw Bar. (Photo courtesy of Cape Fear Commercial)

Kristian Bawcom corrects people when they call his Chapel Hill restaurant Four Corners a "sports bar." 

The iconic Franklin Street establishment, named after legendary basketball coach Dean Smith’s “Four Corners” offensive play, is a sports restaurant, Bawcom explained.

“We make everything from scratch from the kitchen,” said Bawcom, who has owned Four Corners in Chapel Hill for 15 years. “We don’t buy stuff frozen, drop it in a fryer and serve it to people … we put a lot of love in our food.”

Bawcom is bringing Four Corners to the Wrightsville Beach area after buying the former Soundside Seafood & Raw Bar site at 2025 Eastwood Road, within walking distance of the Wrightsville Beach bridge.

According to a deed recorded Dec. 29, Bawcom's FOCO Restaurant Group paid $2.46 million for the property previously belonging to Urban Food Group of Raleigh. Patrick Riley of Wilmington-based real estate firm Cape Fear Commercial represented the seller, while CFC's Paul Loukas represented Bawcom.

Bawcom said the menu at his new restaurant will feature much of the same American cuisine as the Chapel Hill Four Corners, such as wings, baby back ribs cooked for 10 hours overnight, marinated ribeye steaks and pork chops, grilled salmon, fish and shrimp tacos and a variety of burgers. The Chapel Hill Four Corners, 175 East Franklin St., opened 45 years ago.

Previously called Boca Bay, the site of the Wilmington Four Corners was purchased by Urban Food Group from longtime Wilmington restaurateur Ash Aziz as part of a three-restaurant deal announced in 2019. Urban Food Group rebranded the restaurant to Soundside but ended up closing it in 2022, citing a lack of momentum, according to a StarNews story.

Bawcom and his wife, who have a vacation home close to the Wrightsville Beach bridge, noticed the Eastwood Road restaurant for sale on one of their walks on nearby trails. Other Chapel Hill transplants had been urging him to open a Four Corners location in Wilmington. 

He plans to overhaul the Eastwood Road restaurant by knocking down walls, replacing the bar and flooring, installing a draft beer system and eventually opening an expanded outdoor dining area. He hopes to open the inside of the new Four Corners around the end of March or early April.

In the second phase of changes at the Eastwood Road restaurant, he plans to widen the existing patio and add an outdoor bar, TVs, fans and heaters.

“What we're doing out here is going to be amazing,” Bawcom said.

Bawcom, who grew up in South Florida, started working in the restaurant business as a high school senior in Florida. He studied business management at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and helped grow restaurant groups in Houston and Florida. “I love this industry,” he said.

Bawcom said the second location of Four Corners will stay true to its UNC Chapel Hill roots but also be open to the fandom of other schools, including the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

“I am looking forward to the relationships I'm going to develop here,” he said. “There's no doubt it'll be fun.”

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