Cast Iron Group

Cast Iron Group encompasses a variety of businesses and partnerships with Nick Hawthorne-Johnson and Rochelle Johnson, a husband and wife team based in Durham, NC.  This family of businesses revolves around the love of food, drink, and all that surround it.


Nick & Rochelle Johnson
Established 2010

The Cookery features a state of the art commercial food production facility and incubation program, in addition to a beautiful event space in the heart of Durham.


Through our commercial kitchen, we aim to provide the tools, both intellectual and practical, entrepreneurs need to launch a lasting and successful culinary venture. Whether you aim to cater events or create a line of wholesale products, as a Cookery member, you can rent the production facility to launch your business!

Starting a food business can be daunting. We are here to foster creative culinary minds as they set out to become the next big thing on the local food scene. Using the tools a Cookery membership offers, you have everything you need to make your culinary business a success.


Boasting exposed brick walls, distinctive metalwork salvaged from Durham landmarks, a Front Room with ceilings stretching 20 feet high, an outdoor cobblestoned garden and a courtyard, The Cookery's grounds in downtown Durham are the perfect setting for a myriad of private celebrations, corporate functions, and public events. 

Learn more about The Cookery at


Billy & Kelli Cotter,
Nick & Rochelle Johnson
Established 2014

Dashi is a Japanese ramen shop and izakaya (Japanese pub) in downtown Durham. Centering on exquisite ramen noodle bowls, our menu also features innovative small plates paired with sake and shochu.

The main floor is a vibrant, bustling ramen shop with a traditional open kitchen with surrounding seating as the focal point.  In addition, our second story izakaya features craft cocktails, shochu (a popular Japanese spirit), sake, wine and beer.  Small plates are available in the bar, offering a traditional izakaya atmosphere.

Learn more about Dashi at


David Baldwin &
Nick Hawthorne-Johnson
Established 2013

Ponysaurus Brewing Co. is a forward-thinking, backward-tasting brewery based in Durham, NC, creating beers that are meant to be savored, appreciated, contemplated, philosophized, studied, nuzzled, and mindfully guzzled.  

The brewery and beer garden is located on the corner of Ramseur Street and Fayetteville Street, featuring a taproom outfitted with a large double decker patio, multiple TVs to watch your favorite sports, and a platform to host your favorite Triangle food trucks every night.

Learn more about Ponysaurus Brewing Co. at 


Nick & Rochelle Johnson
Established 2014 by Oren Wais and Yael Lazar
Joined CIG 2018

Soomsoom Pita Pockets food truck and catering brings a delectable integration of traditional American and Middle Eastern tastes to the Triangle. 

Working with organic and local ingredients whenever we can, our pita pockets not only taste wonderful, but are also fresh and healthy. 

Learn more about Soomsoom Pita Pockets at

The Cookery banner photo by Jessica Arden Photography