Revival Market chef Ryan Pera is probably too classy to ask a silly question like "If God isn't a Tar Heel, why is the sky Carolina blue?," but he can relate to the sentiment. The Charlotte, NC native graduated from UNC in 1996 with a degree in anthropology.
Thankfully for fans of his signature black pepper spaghetti at Coltivare, Pera tells CultureMap he discovered during his senior year that he "enjoyed cooking much more than digging in the dirt," which led him to pursue a career in the kitchen.
With his team in town for the Final Four, Pera has developed three Carolina-inspired specials that will be available this weekend at Revival Market. Of course, they're made from scratch with high-quality, locally-sourced proteins.
The first is a chicken, egg, and cheese biscuit sandwich inspired by Chapel Hill institution Time Out. "I remember eating way too many of them," Pera says. "A super gut buster that after a night of drinking couldn’t be more perfect. I think all generations of Tar Heels know what you’re talking about when you say Time Out."
Pera will serve shrimp and grits in homage to legendary Carolina chef Bill Neal, who popularized the dish at Chapel Hill restaurant Crooks Corner. "I never worked for him, but a lot of my bosses did," Pera recalls.
Carolina-style pulled pork will be available at breakfast on a biscuit or during lunch as a sandwich. Pera seasons the pork with a red chile rub then smokes it over hickory and dresses it with a vinegar sauce just before it's served. He's not too worried about criticism from brisket-loving Texans.
"We have a nice smoker, but I don’t have a real pit," Pera says. "There’s going to be much better North Carolina barbecue out there, but we’re going to do the best we can to make it match what I remember."
Just don't expect to see Pera at Revival much this weekend. He's scored tickets to the game and will be cheering on his team in their matchup against Syracuse on Saturday night