Cafe Symmetry opens in Carrboro


Photo by Cindy McMahan

Originally published 7/29/2015
By Greg Cox
Cindy McMahan, a founding partner in Elmo’s Diner in Carr Mill Mall, has teamed up with a group of managers from that restaurant to open Cafe Symmetry in the same shopping center. The new restaurant offers a seasonally evolving menu with a focus on healthy locavore fare, served cafeteria-style. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-sensitive options are marked on the menu, as are dishes that contain peanuts. Organic produce and humanely raised meats are the rule.
The eclectic offering includes soups (bison chili, sweet potato-habanero), sandwiches on Guglhupf breads (gruyere, fig jam and parmesan on rustic sourdough; herb-grilled chicken with basil-cashew pesto on ciabatta) and salads with optional chilled protein toppings such as seared sesame wild-caught ahi tuna. You can create your own veggie plate from a selection of cold sides such as sesame noodles, Mediterranean quinoa, and a salad of avocado and tomato in a cilantro-lime dressing. Entree hot pots served over basmati rice (beef brisket, chicken mole, parmesan greens and beans) should satisfy heartier appetites.
Prices are easy to swallow, too, with the menu topping out at $9.50 for the brisket hot pot.
Beverage options cover the spectrum from organic coffee, tea and fresh juices to a full bar with signature cocktails such as Basil Grapefruit Martini and Carrot Ginger Margarita.
The owners have given the former Panzanella space a complete makeover, transforming it into a casual, airy dining room with earth tones and muted greens taking their cue from the menu. They’ve also added an inviting shaded patio with a fire pit built into the stained concrete top of a communal table.
Cafe Symmetry (200 N. Greensboro St., Carrboro; 919-903-9596; is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 11 a.,m. to 11 p.m. The kitchen closes at 9 p.m., but a limited bar menu is offered until closing.