Billy Cotter

Billy Cotter

Chef, Toast, Dashi

Kelli and Billy Cotter, owners of the popular Downtown Durham paninoteca, Toast, and Rochelle and Nick Johnson, owners of the culinary incubator and event space, The Cookery, joined forces to create a casual restaurant and bar with an exceptional menu and stellar service.

Their partnership rooted from Hakanai, a Japanese pop-up restaurant at The Cookery that featured Billy and Kelli Cotter in 2013.  The restaurant was only open for 3 nights, but the media and community attention far exceeded expectation – in fact, the day that reservations became open online, so many people attempted to access The Cookery’s website that it crashed!  Once the website was restored, all 300 seats were reserved within 15 minutes.  Hundreds of people signed up for the wait list.

After catching their breath from the whirlwind weekend of Hakanai and many glasses of wine later, the foursome, realizing that their varied talents complemented each other perfectly, decided that a permanent restaurant should be the next adventure together.

Focusing on ramen as the ultimate nourishing meal and comfort food, Dashi was born!