Ashley Christensen opened Poole's diner in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina in 2007. But Poole's had a long life before that, starting in 1945—first as a pie shop, then expanding into a luncheonette, and then going through various iterations and owners over the next several decades. Christensen herself bartended and cooked there during college but it wasn't until years later, after she had become a professional chef, that the stars aligned and Christensen bought Poole's. She subsequently turned the menu on its head, with dishes daring and bold—but kept around the comfort and community of the original neighborhood diner.
On her menu? Homegrown Tomato Pie. Duck Liver and Sweet Potato Dirty Rice Cakes. Grits with Roasted Pumpkin, Aged Maple Syrup, and Crispy Pepitas. Oyster Stew with Twice-Fried Saltines and Charred Turnip Relish. This ain't your grandma's diner.