EXCLUSIVE: Poole’s Diner chef de cuisine David Ellis opening new restaurant in Humble Pie space
Following Humble Pie’s announcement that it’s closing its doors after 30 years of service, the first question on everyone’s minds was: What’s going to open in its place? Well, we have your answer. Figulina: Pasta and Provisions, a pastacentric restaurant by former Poole’s Diner chef de cuisine David Ellis, will be opening in the space in December/January. Finally, some good news for Downtown Raleigh.
Not your classic Italian concept (you won’t find any cacio e pepe here, says Ellis), Figulina will use pasta as a vessel to highlight North Carolina ingredients from local farming and fishing communities—with a touch of Southern flair, naturally. In turn, the menu will be created around the seasons. “We’re kind of just going to have a bit of fun with it,” says Ellis. “At the same time, you may see a tagliatelle Bolognese.”
Like a lot of people, Ellis especially got into making and eating pasta during the pandemic. He’s also worked with pasta over his years as a chef. The English Stoke-on-Trent native honed his culinary skills across the world before coming to the U.S. in 2019 and landing a job with Ashley Christensen shortly thereafter.
“As I was getting my concept together, [pasta] just felt right,” Ellis maintains. “This is what’s making me excited right now. … And I thought it would bring something different to the table. I’m still having a lot of fun making pasta.”
Ellis, who previously lived around the corner from Humble Pie and would walk there to eat with his wife on multiple occasions, realizes he has big shoes to fill. “The food was really approachable—we loved hanging out on the patio,” he muses. “We’re excited to go into the space now and do our own thing with it.”
Renovations will be very slight—think a new coat of paint and a freshening up of the existing furniture, with further upgrades over time. Additionally, Ellis will incorporate myriad pottery into the restaurant, a nod to his pottery-famed hometown and the name, which translates to “pottery work” and “to shape or form”—also relevant given the manipulation of pasta dough that will take place within the pasta production room and be visible to guests.
Figulina will also feature a small retail section with provisions like cookbooks, dry pasta and tinned fish, with plans to expand and include offerings like fresh pasta and sauces. Group classes and events are another goal for the future.
“I am so honored that [David] spent time with us growing and leading Poole’s kitchen,” says Christensen of Ellis opening his own restaurant, “and it has been a tremendous joy to witness his very thoughtful approach to Figulina. I am also beyond excited to see another independent restaurant set roots in Downtown Raleigh.” Forks up!