Café Duo offers new culinary ‘excellence’

Published 1:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chris and Mayra Shireman believe Café Duo’s menu and commitment to excellence will appeal to many people in the Washington-Chocowinity area. (WDN Photo/Mike Voss)

BizLine is a weekly feature highlighting local businesses serving Washington and Beaufort County. This week’s BizLine covers Café Duo in Chocowinity.

Name of business: Café Duo.

Name of owner(s): Chris and Mayra Shireman.

Address of business: 28 N.C. Highway 33 West, Chocowinity.

Telephone number: 252-940-1230.

Hours of operation: Lunch, Tuesdays through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner, Tuesdays through Sundays, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; brunch, Sundays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Date business opened: Aug. 24, 2011.

Q: What type of business do you operate — what do you sell, or what service do you provide?

A: Café Duo serves American food with Italian influences — fresh pastas, seafood, pastries, wine and beer. Café Duo is available for private events. Café Duo offers gift cards.

Q: Where are you from originally, and why did you decide to open your business in Beaufort County?

A: Chris Shireman is from Indianapolis. Mayra Shireman preferred not to say where she’s from. The Shiremans met at Johnson & Wales University in Miami.

Q: What experience do you have in this field?

A: The Shiremans previously operated Café Duo in Winterville. Chris Shireman worked for restaurants and private clubs while in Miami Beach. Mayra Shireman handles the pastries. “She does desserts and bookkeeping, and I do the rest of the stuff,” Chris Shireman said.

Q: What sets your business apart from other similar businesses?

A: “I wouldn’t say there’s a signature dish. There are several dishes I’ve kept on the menu that people like,” Chris Shireman said. “The butternut squash tortolloni is very popular. …The cioppino is popular.”

The butternut squash tortolloni is served in a brown butter sage sauce. Cioppino is a seafood stew.

Asked to use one word to describe Café Duo, Mayra Shireman said, “Excellent.”

Trent Tetterton, who’s becoming a Café Duo regular, said, “In my opinion, this is one of the best restaurants there is in eastern North Carolina, if not the best. I certainly rank it to be competitive with places like On the Square in Tarboro and Chef & the Farmer in Kinston.”

Q: What types of customers do you hope to reach in Beaufort County?

A: All those who appreciate and enjoy “excellent” food.

Q: Why did you choose to open where you did?

A: “It kind of selected me,” Chris Shireman said. “It’s not just Chocowinity. It’s a Washington-Chocowinity market. I think this area is in need of a restaurant (like Café Duo).”

Q: What are your plans for your company’s future?

A: Café Duo plans to open a Greenville location, 505 Red Banks Road, later this year.

Compiled Mike Voss.

If you would like to nominate a business for BizLine, email your nomination to or call 252-940-4210.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike