Samad Hachby, owner and creative director of Babylon, Raleigh’s award-winning Moroccan restaurant, announced today that Babylon will be moving to a smaller, more intimate dining space.
Babylon’s current space at 309 N. Dawson Street will be transformed into an Italian restaurant to be named Mulino Italian Kitchen and Bar. Mulino’s menu will focus on homemade pastas, pizzas, and breads cooked in the wood-fired oven, locally sourced meats and seafood as well as traditional Italian fare and an expansive Italian wine selection.
Babylon will take reservations in its current location until Sunday, April 2, 2017, with Mulino opening mid-April.
The name change and new brand identity comes as a result of Hachby’s desire to offer an Italian and southern European-influenced menu. The word Mulino means “the mill,” which has historical significance to the restaurant’s location in Melrose Knitting Mill, a historic space which opened in 1901 as the City of Raleigh’s textile factory which first made undergarments and then manufactured bathing suits for the city’s first public pool.
“Changing the restaurant’s name to Mulino is a natural progression of our culinary concept and is a better representation of the food we’ll be serving to our guests,” said Hachby. “If you look at the history of Morocco, many of the cultural and culinary influences came from Italy, and we want to elevate that influence by putting the focus on Italian dishes that highlight both traditional and unexpected Italian flavors.”
In addition to a new name and menu, the restaurant will also highlight interior and exterior spaces to better reflect anItalian ambiance, including the building’s historic original rustic wood features, the increased use of the woodfired oven, enhancements to the large reflecting pool and removing the large brick wall that faced Dawson Street to better weave in with the urban landscape.
Hachby, a native of Morocco, moved to Raleigh attend NC State University after studying Italian and working on Italian cruise ships around the world, where he further honed his knowledge of Italian wines and cuisine.