The Exchange Announces First Restaurant by Two Raleigh Locals

Award-winning duo opening premiere restaurant at The Exchange

Raleigh’s hottest development just upped its cool factor. The Exchange is cashing in on its candid commitment to food and bev with the announcement of its first restaurant from two local industry VIPs—2021 NCRLA Chef of the Year Saif Rahman, and Watts & Ward and The Ark Royal co-owner and screenwriter Patrick Shanahan.

“The marriage of these two creative minds is going to bring a new fine-dining staple to the Raleigh community,” says Dewitt Carolinas Executive VP Steven Beattie, “which I hope is the first of many at The Exchange.” From its inception, Dewitt has been focused first and foremost on its MO as a heightened food-and-beverage destination—rather than retail—with this culinary concept the first feather in its cap.

Initially meeting to vet mutual pursuits—Shanahan, for a cocktail space; Dewitt, for its premiere hospitality partner—the now-collaborators hit it off. But Dewitt maintained its devotion to a restaurant—and so Shanahan embarked on his quest for the right chef.

Naturally, Shanahan turned to Elm Partners, who intro’d him to former Vidrio standout Rahman—and a perfect pairing was born. The duo—now co-founders of  S&P Hospitality—instantly connected over shared values, which also aligned with Dewitt’s. “What I love about the [Dewitt] team is it’s really grassroots,” says Shanahan. “They really were eager to get local talent. … It hasn’t really felt like business, [but] like we’ve been welcomed into a family.”

Call it a mutual admiration society. “Saif has always delivered an amazing culinary experience, while Patrick has a unique talent for creating spaces and experiences that make you forget you’re in Raleigh,” says Beattie. “You can see they share a joy in creating phenomenal experiences that celebrate and elevate food and hospitality—two local masters of their craft joining forces.” 

Borrowing from Rahman’s rich ancestry as muse, the pair’s yet-to-be-named “American” venture is anticipated to bow this fall—and not at all what likely comes to mind when you think of American fare. So, less burgers and fries and more drawing inspo from cultures the world over that comprise American—and Southern—cuisine as we know it.

“We’re really going to dive into a lot of the different cultures Saif has been exploring, testing and workshopping over his entire career to bring a whole melting pot of flavor into this experience—a transportive experience where you feel like you walked out of Raleigh and ended up all over the world,” says Shanahan. “You can really explore the world through our menu in a night.”

Naturally, good ’ole Southern hospitality—at a heightened level—will be a prominent fixture to boot. “Really our goal is to bring true hospitality back to the South,” maintains Shanahan, by treating the guests in such a way they can “really relax and feel like they left Raleigh and all their worries behind.” And, so, a world of new experiences awaits. 

Consider Saif Rahman & Patrick Shanahan’s upcoming restaurant a game changer for The Exchange—and for Raleigh. (Photo
courtesy of Shanahan)

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.