Upon hearing Teddy Diggs planned to open his own restaurant in Carrboro, I had to learn more. North Carolina is full of people who’ve come here from somewhere else, bringing their ideas and backstories to our burgeoning melting pot of a state. Diggs brought his name and resume to our state’s table. He’s also built upon that with further success at Il Palio in Chapel Hill. Now, Teddy has embarked on the journey that is starting his own Roman-style pizzeria, Coronato Pizza. And as long as he at least keeps up with his own pre-set pace, this new venture will remain a Triangle mainstay for a long time.
Teddy Diggs of Coronato Pizza
Why North Carolina?
Teddy came to North Carolina five years ago with a clean slate. Coming from Martha’s Vineyard, Teddy and his family, wife Holly, my two daughters (Keira, 10 and Lenah, 8) had a chance to move anywhere in the US. Where did they decide upon? The Triangle. With a small town feel, the Diggs family were attracted by the “global relevance and influence.” They also liked “the tight-knit community and the educational opportunities for our daughters.”
Diggs grew up a Navy brat, moving from place to place. However, the constant in his life seemed to be cooking, specifically watching the Food Network as a child. He says he started to become excited about each place he moved to. Why? Because he could explore the cultures and cuisines that were unique to each place they lived. He was on a mission to eat “Indian fry bread on Native American reservations in Oklahoma, or find the best clam chowder in Newport, Rhode Island.”
CIA and DC
Cooking started to become a passion after Teddy received an Emeril Lagasse cookbook for Christmas in the third grade. It spurred a lifelong love for culinary arts. It also led him to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Teddy spent time working in Washington, DC turning out plates for many politicians and notable people like Steve Jobs. Teddy says his most memorable DC moment was when the terrific chef and person Jose Andres ate at his restaurant (Ripple) when he was 24. He’s served plates to Mike Myers, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis, and even (then) POTUS Barrack and FLOTUS Michelle Obama while working in Martha’s Vineyard.
The Siena Hotel and James Beard House
Landing in North Carolina, Teddy found a terrific opportunity with the Siena Hotel and Il Palio. In 2016, Chef Diggs was invited to showcase his cooking at the James Beard House. That is an incredible achievement for a chef. But what Teddy says he is most proud of? Work/life balance. “It has always been a goal of mine to balance the demanding lifestyle of a chef with the ultra-important and equally demanding lifestyle of a family.”
With the pressures of opening his own restaurant, Chef Diggs still maintains that balance. Of course, he does so while “working hard, every day, with enthusiasm, determination, and integrity.” He says that in order to balance the emotionally treacherous restaurant world this work ethic is integral to stay on the path to success.
Final Thoughts and Yours, Too!
And while we anxiously await the opening of Coronato Pizza (located TBD), Teddy will be hosting pizza pop-ups for the public. I can’t wait for the next one and if you’re in the Carrboro area, keep an eye out for these fun events. You can stay up to date via Coronato Pizza’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
If you’re in Chapel Hill or nearby in the Triangle and surrounding Piedmont area, are you looking forward to eating Teddy’s delicious pizza? Where else should he explore in North Carolina beyond Asheville?