Friday Fun Food Facts – January 17, 2020

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  • We have less than one week now! Executive chef Matt Kelly and his team at Saint James Seafood announced earlier this week that they will be shucking some oysters, steaming some shrimp and frying some fish again beginning on Thursday, Jan. 23. You’ll remember that St. James has been closed for nine months due to the natural gas explosion on nearby North Duke Street. Time to re-familiarize yourself with them here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • It was announced this week that La Farm Bakery and Cafe will open its 4th location when it  moves into Terminal 2 at the RDU International Airport. They will bring their signature baked goods as well as coffee, beer and wine. LaFarm is scheduled to open in the airport in late 2020, but a pop-up is expected to begin in May. What a great way to welcome travelers to the Triangle! I can smell it now! Congrats to Lionel and Missy Vatinet. Visit LaFarm here.
  • Chef Jake Wood finally revealed the full details of his next venture. You’ll remember Wood from Jason Smith’s 18 Seaboard followed by his stint at Plates in Raleigh, Well, after months of social media teases at his next venture, Wood finally revealed his plans to his adoring fans. He will open Lawrence BBQ this summer in Boxyard RTP, a micro retail-and-dining space made from upcycled shipping containers located in the Research Triangle Park. Lawrence BBQ’s menu will be anchored by pit-cooked, whole-hog pulled pork, but Wood will highlight other smoked proteins including brisket, ribs, sausage, poultry, and North Carolina seafood like broiled oysters. Thanks to the INDY for additional details on this news. Keep up with Lawrence BBQ on Facebook here and Boxyard RTP here.
  • Brew Coffee Bar, at their new location in Gateway Plaza at 2409 Crabtree Blvd., followed up last week’s ‘soft open’ and just coffee service by rolling out full-on food service which includes breakfast tacos! They suggested another announcement today, which we can only guess involves liquor! Stay tuned and visit them on their Facebook page to keep up with the latest!
  • The Triangle Business Journal reported this week that a new boutique hotel called Origin Raleigh is set to open at the edge of the Warehouse District in downtown Raleigh this March. The hotel is between Boylan Avenue and West Street and will be launching Good Day Good Night, a new “neighborhood restaurant” featuring a “thoughtfully sourced, plant forward menu” and a commitment to working with North Carolina farmers. Get familiar with the restaurant here (and the hotel while you’re at it).
  • And the folks over at Downtown South Raleigh pointed out the hibachi place at 2004 New Bern Ave. (near Frank’s Pizza) had closed, has now reopened as Chuan Raleigh. Take a peek here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • “Welcome to Moe’s” takes on new meaning next week as the 2020 “barbecue renaissance” in the Triangle begins. Next Monday, January 20th Moe’s Original BBQ will open at 11 a.m. at 2014 Hillsborough Road in the former Blu Seafood and Bar spot.  They made the announcement via their Facebook page. Help us “welcome” them by paying them a visit! Get to know them here.
  • WRAL shared the sweet news this week that Two Roosters Ice Cream will soon open their third location – this one coming this spring at the Golden Belt Campus next to Hi-Wire Brewing. This location lands them in a historic building, adjacent to a huge grassy area and outdoor stage as well as a rooftop patio overlooking it all! Get ready Durham!
  • And one more note from Durham, got word from multiple sources that the new Milklab location in Durham is now in soft-open mode. They are located in the Homestead Market shopping center at 105 W. NC Hwy. 54, just a few doors down from Bean Traders and Sprouts grocery store. During their soft-open they plan on being open limited hours from 12 to 8 pm until their official opening. If you are not familiar with them, their original location is in Cary on Tryon Road and they feature Thai-style rolled ice cream and Boba milk tea. Check them out here.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, the “watch” is over for the opening of First Watch at Chapel Hill’s East 54 in the former Egg & I location. Carrie Brogren of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group on Facebook indicated that it will officially open on Tuesday, January 21. Visit First Watch here
  • And finally in Carrboro, The Daily Tar Heel reminded us that we have two exciting additions coming in February. Sutawanee Duke will open Thai Station restaurant at 201 E. Main St. in the former Southern Rail location. And just down the street, Durham’s Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas will open in February as well in the former Milltown spot. Exciting times for Carrboro! Check out Thai Station here and Luna’s here.

Closings

  • Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom (in Carrboro) has closed…for now. That was the last Tyler’s location. The Speakeasy (serving 42 craft beers & a smaller rotating menu of best sellers) remains open. Tyler’s may reopen…or open a new concept…or may sell…time will tell. Thanks Tyler for 21 yrs of great hospitality! Thanks to Bart Smith for the initial notice on this development.

Food Trucks 

  • If you are missing the food truck rodeos, my friend the BurgeoningBaker shared with me that we are are not far from the next one. The Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year. And the first one in 2020 is on January 26! Get more details and updates here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  • Triangle Restaurant Week is next week – January 20-26, 2020. During TRW participating restaurants offer special three-course menu options and fixed pricing, a great opportunity to check out places you’ve never been. No reservations, tickets or passes required. Pricing for the event is $15 for a 3-course lunch, and $20-$35 for a 3-course dinner. Price is for each person and does not include beverages, tax or gratuity. Get all the details and a listing of participating restaurants here
  • The Inter-Faith Council will host their 26th Annual Taste of Hope Gala on Sunday, January 26th at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel at 4100 Main at North Hills Street. Proceeds from the six-course dinner and silent auction will provide critical funds for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s hunger relief efforts. The evening also includes a special giving opportunity for the BackPack Buddies Program, which provides healthy meals and snacks to children struggling with hunger. There is still time to be a sponsor and/or donate an item for the auction. Get all the details and purchase tickets to attend here.
  • Crook’s Corner, the beloved Chapel Hill restaurant, will host their January Supper Club on Wednesday, January 29th at 6 pm. The January Supper Club is a four-course, family-style meal prepared by chef Justin Burdett with beer pairings from Saxapahaw’s Haw River Farmhouse Ales. The cost is $65 per person for four courses and beer pairings (plus tax and gratuity). Advanced reservations are required and seating is limited. To make a reservation, please visit here.
  • The 8th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the DPAC. The event pairs delicious local restaurants, with breweries from across the nation. Unlimited food and beer samplings will be spread throughout all three floors at DPAC, plus the On Stage Experience will bring guests up onto the performing arts stage to showcase even more food, beverages and live music. Get all the details here.
  • The Thrive NC Food Festival will return to downtown Raleigh this spring on May 7 and 8. Thrive NC, which held its inaugural festival in 2018, was developed to help raise awareness about food insecurity in the Triangle, where more than 1.5 million North Carolinians struggle with hunger on a daily basis. The first day will include a food summit that delves into ways to address hunger in the state. A service project will be held on the second day involving members of the community in partnership with a local non-profit. Each night includes a food festival with more than 65 local restaurants and beverage purveyors, live entertainment, chef demonstrations and music. Tickets for Thrive NC’s food festivals are $30 each and go on sale Feb. 27. Tickets have sold out each year. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  •   Did you know that 2020 marks the 40th year that the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina has been serving our communities with food for daily nourishment, suppliesduring disasters, programs that serve families, and education that empowers our community? Join me in wishing them a happy 40th! No One Goes Hungry. Make a donation today here.

Friday Fun Food Facts – January 10, 2020

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  • We got word this week that chef Michael Lee will venture outside of Durham for the first time opening a second location of M Sushi in Cary’s Fenton development, a 69-acre mixed-use destination opening next fall. He will join Scott Crawford’s Crawford Brothers Steakhouse, Ford Fry’s Superica and Steve Palmer’s Colletta. Visit M Sushi here and keep up with the Fenton development here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • This past Tuesday, Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican franchise, opened  its first location in the Southeast at One Glenwood in Raleigh (currently in soft-open mode). The restaurant’s menu features fresh ingredients, superfood options and customizable dishes, such as burritos, bowls, tacos, nachos, dos capas and quesadillas. Fueled by a mission to help end world hunger, Zambrero participates in the Plate 4 Plate initiative in partnership with Rise Against Hunger where each burrito, bowl or bottle of water purchased provides a meal to someone in need. They will also be opening a store in Durham’s University Hill. No word on the timeline for that. Get familiar with them here.
  • The folks over at Brew Coffee Bar shared yesterday that their new location in Gateway Plaza (2409 Crabtree Blvd.) is in ‘soft open’ mode which means – right now they are open for coffee service only. But be patient, food and liquor come next week! Visit them on their Facebook page to keep up with the latest!
  • Not sure what, but something is changing at Calavera on Morgan Street in Raleigh – in the meantime, they are closed. Their Facebook post stated, “We have some big things coming in the next month or so….. and that’s when we will tell you! We appreciate your patience and we can’t wait to share our next phase with you all!” So, follow them on Facebook and stay tuned.
  • The good people at ITB Insider tipped us off to the fact that Raleigh is soon to land their fourth location of First Watch. They noted that the upscale breakfast-chain is coming to the Marketplace Shopping Center on Lake Boone Trail. Raleigh already has locations on Glenwood north of the mall; Triangle Town Center on Capital; and Brier Creek). Check them out here.
  • Stepping over into Cary, I got the opportunity yesterday to pay a visit to V Pizza – the concept that is entering this market later this month – and met with owner Anthony Rapillo. V Pizza is the Jacksonville, Florida based pizza concept that is extending outside of Florida for the first time coming to Cary in the  former La Stella Pizzeria location in the Shoppes of Kildaire. They are targeting a January 21 opening (of course that is all pending health inspections). Stay tuned and dial-in to their Facebook page to keep up-to-date on any announcements.
  • Also in the Shoppes at Kildaire, we told you back in December that Szechuan Mansion Hotpot was coming to the old Patrick Jane’s Gourmet Pizza Bar spot. Well reader Matt Christ notified us that they just opened and he noted that early reviews and posts indicate that it looks amazing and authentic! Get familiar with them here.
  • Also in Cary, Cinnaholic at 1209 Parkside Main Street in the Parkside Town Commons shopping center opens this morning (January 10th) at 10 a.m. Although they are open all day, if you get there between 10 and 2 today, they are selling their cinnamon rolls for just $1! They serve create-your-own cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats like made from scratch brownies, cookies, and edible cookie dough. Select from over 20 unique frosting flavors and a variety of fresh and decadent toppings for your cinnamon roll. Mix and match flavors to create a new experience every visit! I went last night for a preview and it is WELL worth a visit (and I can highly recommend the Cookie Monster!!!)! Congrats to Vishal Shah and his team! Take a peek at their yumminess here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • The News & Observer reported that Blake’s Grill opened this past Monday to long lines in the former Wimpy’s Grill space in Durham, serving a similar breakfast and lunch menu and keeping the same 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. hours. Wimpy’s closed last year after more than three decades of serving hamburgers and hot dogs on Hillsborough Road. Blake’s Grill is named for its owner, Blake Hawthorne, who is best known for serving popular hot dogs and concessions in the parking lot of the Durham Lowe’s. You can see the menu and all the details on their Facebook page here.
  • And over in Chapel Hill, the watch continues for the opening of First Watch at Chapel Hill’s East 54 in the former Egg & I location (First Watch owns Egg & I and this is part of the process as they transition those stores). Visit First Watch here.

Closings

  • None to report! Keep eating local, folks!

Food Trucks 

  • If you are missing the food truck rodeos, my friend the BurgeoningBaker shared with me that we are are not far from the next one. The Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year. And the first one in 2020 is on January 25! Get more details and updates here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  • What does it mean to have a celebrity chef in our midst? Well, for starters, how about a dinner series at Katsuji Tanabe’s High Horse restaurant beginning on Monday, January 13th where he will be bringing in Silvia Barban from Brooklyn’s LaRina Pastificio & Vino for a ticketed dinner. And if that is not enough, the menu items from that night will begin on the menu on January 14th in addition to the regular High Horse menu. Follow them on Instagram for any announcements.
  • On January 16th, the fine folks over at Sassool Cafe in Cary will team up with Steven Ashton, a holistic nutritionist from Earth to Fork Nutrition, to bring you a 5-course Mediterranean Spice of Life Dinner focused on highlighting spices that not only add great flavor, but bring tremendous health benefits. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • Triangle Restaurant Week is right around the corner happening January 20-26, 2020. During TRW participating restaurants offer special three-course menu options and fixed pricing, a great opportunity to check out places you’ve never been. No reservations, tickets or passes required. Pricing for the event is $15 for a 3-course lunch, and $20-$35 for a 3-course dinner. Price is for each person and does not include beverages, tax or gratuity. Get all the details and a listing of participating restaurants here.
  • The 8th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the DPAC. The event pairs delicious local restaurants, with breweries from across the nation. Unlimited food and beer samplings will be spread throughout all three floors at DPAC, plus the On Stage Experience will bring guests up onto the performing arts stage to showcase even more food, beverages and live music. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Check it out! The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina has a new logo and a new look – “New Look. New Chapter. Same Food Bank.” Their new logo represents the innovative ways the Food Bank is developing programs addressing root causes of hunger, building new partnerships, and most importantly, nourishing people. Until no one goes hungry. When you volunteer, donate, or see them working in the community, we hope it reminds you of how the Food Bank is evolving in order to have a true impact on hunger, and working to create an environment where North Carolinians thrive. In 2020, get involved. Donate. Make a difference. Visit their website here to see what you can do!

Friday Fun Food Facts – January 3, 2020

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  • We told you about this back in December, but it is now official thanks to confirmation from WRAL and INDY. Arthur Gordon and his wife Anya have sold the 45-year-old institution that is Irregardless Cafe to Trophy Brewing co-owner David Meeker and Lee Robinson, who was a manager at Player’s Retreat. And the plan is to pretty much keep things the same. Other than a few cosmetic facelifts, the biggest change to the menu will be the introduction of Trophy beers. The INDY noted some of the things that made Irregardless so iconic – it was the city’s first vegetarian restaurant before it started serving meat in the 1980s; they championed farm-to-table before it was cool; and it was one of the first in the state to ban smoking in 1985. Congrats to Arthur and Anya on a job very well done. Enjoy your retirement! In the meantime, visit them here.
  • Did you miss our end-of-the-year wrap-up for 2019? And look at what is to come in 2020? Did we mention 11 BBQ restaurants are in the “que” for 2020? Check it out here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • In Raleigh’s Cameron Village, I saw on Village Deli’s Facebook page the announcement that they are expanding – taking over about 1/4 of the Moe’s space next door and adding 25 more seats to the restaurant. The expansion should be complete by mid-January. Keep up with their progress on their Facebook page here.
  • Over at North Hills, Rosewater Kitchen & Bar announced on their Facebook page that they will begin lunch service on Monday, Jan. 6th at 11am. Keep up with any additional announcements on their Facebook page here.
  • And this is a fun collaboration in Raleigh’s Morgan Street Food HallRaleigh Rolls has begun a monthly collaboration series with Triangle area chefs and artisan food makers. To kick the year off, Raleigh Rolls and Sassool Select have perfected a recipe for specialty Baklava Ice Cream Rolls. These delicious rolls have a creamy base with orange blossom water and crushed pistachios. Each order includes a piece of Sassool baklava on top, along with a Hershey’s chocolate syrup drizzle and crushed pistachios for the perfect bite. The cost per serving is $8. Check it out here on their Facebook page.
  • And keeping an eye on all that Ashley Christensen does, reader Jake Weir-Gertzog gets the award for the most keen eye to date. He noticed on the University Hill website (one of three locations for Christensen’s upcoming fast-casual chicken sandwich concept – an unnamed to this point) is listed as BB’s Chicken Coop. We will see if that name sticks. The three locations are early spring 2020 at Midtown East in Raleigh; Spring/Summer 2020 at University Hill in Durham and late 2020 in Parkside Town Commons in Cary. Keep up with any more news here.
  • Up in Wake Forest, looks like the Triangle is getting ready to get another Chick-fil-A location. Located in Heritage Village at 1010 Forestville Rd., the store will open on Wednesday, January 8th with all the usual opening day activities including a camp-out where 100 participants will earn a year’s supply of Chick-fil-A. Visit Chick-fil-A here.
  • Back in October we told you that a new restaurant was coming to the old Sweet Tomatoes location at 2310 Walnut Street called Seol Grille, an all-you-can-eat Korean steak house.Well, reader Matt Christ just informed us that It looks like they had a soft opening Christmas Eve and continue to be in soft-open mode through this week. Matt also noted that the banner out front indicates Korean Tabletop Barbeque. Check them out on Facebook here.
  • Staying in Cary, got word from Ibanca Anand that they have opened a new Indian street food restaurant in Cary called Nukkad. It is near the intersection of Davis Drive and High House Road (1710 High House Road) in the former Wendy’s location. They opened November 8th and will be having a launch ceremony on January 9th. Get familiar with them here.
  • Also in Cary, Vishal Shah notified us that Cinnaholic (located at 1209 Parkside Main Street) in the Parkside Town Commons shopping center will have their grand opening on January 10th at 10 a.m. Once open, they will serve create-your-own cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats like made from scratch brownies, cookies, and edible cookie dough. Select from over 20 unique frosting flavors and a variety of fresh and decadent toppings for your cinnamon roll. Mix and match flavors to create a new experience every visit! Get familiar with them here.
  • David McCreary sent us a note to let us know that the delightful couple of George and Andia Xouris are opening a second Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream location in Cary. Opening this month, the new shop will be located at 1008 Ryan Road near Cary High School. If you are not already familiar with Andia’s, do so here.
  • McCreary also informed us that the good folks at Crosstown Pub & Grill in downtown Cary plan to open a breakfast spot called Daybreak in early 2020. The restaurant will be located in a building adjacent to Crosstown at 154 E. Chatham St. Go ahead and get familiar with them here.
  • And one last note from Cary, reader Chris Creighton informed us that a new Bojangles is coming to Cary at the intersection of Walnut Street and Tryon Road. Visit Bojangles here.
  • And for those flying in and out of RDU, the Triangle Business Journal just provided a quick update on the restaurant additions and changes happening at the airport. In summary, Cary’s Bond Brothers Beer Company is making their debut this weekend replacing Gordon Biersch with local beer and spirits as well as a menu with what RDU calls “local flair.” Cantina Grill is replacing Carolina Ale House at Gate C17 and will feature a slew of offerings from tacos to burgers to local beers and spirits – and it will have vegan and gluten-free options. Raleigh Brewing collaboration Raleigh Taproom is replacing Carolina Vintages at Gate D3, offering its beers along with a full bar and menu. In addition to the Taproom, Raleigh Brewing will open the flagship Raleigh Brewing Tavern in Terminal 1 later this year. Further down the road, Deli & Co replaces Brookwood Farms at Gate C9 and will feature locally-sourced, healthy, organic and made-to-order food options. Rush Bowls replaces Flavours at Gate D9 and will feature smoothies and bowls with fruit, granola, honey and other “nutritious ingredients.” Wow Bao replaces A&W All American Food at Gate C18 and brings a fast casual Asian concept to the terminal, with steamed dumplings, rice bowls and bao – steamed hot Asian buns with a variety of savory and sweet fillings. Keep up with all the dining at RDU on their site here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Reader Mike Bamford notified us that Al’s Burgers is expanding their reach over into Durham as they join with Beer Study’s expansion into the former Boot space next door on University Drive. Beer Study’s expansion makes room for Al’s, a private event space and a separate soccer-focused pub with with a full bar called The Boot Room. They expect to complete the expansion in March, but stay tuned to their Facebook page for updates and announcements.
  • Over in Carrboro, reader Jeremy Simon sent us word that a Jersey Mike’s sign is now up in the Carrboro 54 Plaza just down from Monterrey. I was able to confirm this is another location under the umbrella of Charlie Farris and Clint Winslow and their growing Jersey Mike’s empire. The boys indicated that this location should open in March and provided an update on the Eastgate location which should open in April. Visit Jersey Mike’s here.
  • In Chapel Hill, Carrie Brogren with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook Group notified us that Chimney Indian Kitchen & Bar opened on January 1st. They are located at 306 W Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. They are open for lunch and dinner. Get to know them here.

Closings

  • Got word from reader Lisa Sonntag that the Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar location at the corner of High House Road and Cary Parkway has closed. It is no longer listed on the company website. However, there are still locations in Cary’s Tryon Village as well as locations in Raleigh and Durham.
  • Chris Creighton informed us that the Little Cesar’s Pizza in the Harris Teeter shopping center at Ten Ten and Kildaire Farm Rd. has closed.

Food Trucks 

  • If you are missing the food truck rodeos, my friend the BurgeoningBaker shared with me that we are are not far from the next one. The Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year. And the first one in 2020 is on January 25! Get more details and updates here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  • Chef Matt Kelly will be bringing a taste of Saint James Seafood to Raleigh on Jan. 9 at St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar. Kelly is an old friend of St. Roch’s chef-owner Sunny Gerhart. This is a fun opportunity for the two chefs to cook together and get the word out about Saint James’ reopening. It’s very informal: No reservations or set menus. Just a specials menu featuring some Saint James favorites. If you have been eagerly awaiting Saint James reopening in mid-January, this is your chance. Here is the event page on Facebook with all the details.
  • What does it mean to have a celebrity chef in our midst? Well, for starters, how about a dinner series at Katsuji Tanabe’s High Horse restaurant beginning on Monday, January 13th where he will be bringing in Silvia Barban from Brooklyn’s LaRina Pastificio & Vino for a ticketed dinner. And if that is not enough, the menu items from that night will begin on the menu on January 14th in addition to the regular High Horse menu. Follow them on Instagram for any announcements.
  • On January 16th, the fine folks over at Sassool Cafe in Cary will team up with Steven Ashton, a holistic nutritionist from Earth to Fork Nutrition, to bring you a 5-course Mediterranean Spice of Life Dinner focused on highlighting spices that not only add great flavor, but bring tremendous health benefits. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • The 8th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the DPAC. The event pairs delicious local restaurants, with breweries from across the nation. Unlimited food and beer samplings will be spread throughout all three floors at DPAC, plus the On Stage Experience will bring guests up onto the performing arts stage to showcase even more food, beverages and live music. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Check it out! The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina has a new logo and a new look – “New Look. New Chapter. Same Food Bank.” Their new logo represents the innovative ways the Food Bank is developing programs addressing root causes of hunger, building new partnerships, and most importantly, nourishing people. Until no one goes hungry. When you volunteer, donate, or see them working in the community, we hope it reminds you of how the Food Bank is evolving in order to have a true impact on hunger, and working to create an environment where North Carolinians thrive. In 2020, get involved. Donate. Make a difference. Visit their website here to see what you can do!

2019 – A Look Back; 2020 – A Look Ahead

A Look Back At Triangle Food News in 2019…And A Look Ahead To 2020

So, here it is. The longest read of the year. A look back at what was 2019. And a look ahead as to what is in store for 2020. Not to jump ahead…but, 2020 will be the year of three letters…B…B…Q. 11…count them…11 BBQ restaurants will come online in 2020 (so keep reading…you’ll want to see who they are). And of course there was sadness in 2019 – we lost some great people and lots of restaurants turned their lights off for the last time.

With that brief intro, grab a cup of coffee (or two) and let’s take a trip down memory lane and then look ahead to 2020…shall we?

Raleigh in 2019 – The Highlights

Ashley Christensen, was selected as the nation’s top chef by the James Beard Foundation (did we mention that it was in.the.nation?!?). And not to rest on her laurels, she opened her much-anticipated pizza restaurant, Poole’side Pies;

Celebrity chef Katsuji Tanabe opened High Horse, a live-fire restaurant in Raleigh’s City Market;

Scott Crawford opened his newest restaurant, Jolie, a French bistro located in historic Oakwood;

Transfer Co. Food Hall came onto the scene in 2019, following Morgan Street Food Hall’s debut in 2018. The following opened in Transfer Co. in 2019: Benchwarmers Bagels (Boulted Bread and Jubala Coffee), Burial Beer Co., Captain Cookie & The Milkman, Che Empanadas and Locals Oyster Bar, Bul Box, Chhote’s, Dank Burrito, Alimentari at Left Bank and Mama Crow’s;

Speaking of food halls, Morgan Street Food Hall had some additions this year: YoHo Hibachi & Sushi Burritos, Primal Cuts, Pazza Pasta and Raleigh Mini Donut Company;

North Hills enjoyed the opening this year of Stir, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls and Giorgio Bakistas’ Rosewater Kitchen & Bar;  

Over at The Dillon in downtown Raleigh, we saw the opening of Oak Steakhouse and Barcelona Wine Bar;

Sushi Mon, the Chris Lee-owned Japanese/sushi restaurant opened adjacent to NC State’s campus;

Boylan Bridge Brewpub is no more making way for Wye Hill Kitchen + Brewing which took over the downtown skyline spot in June;

The folks over at Relish Craft Kitchen and Bourbon Bar doubled their yumminess and fun by opening The Kitchen Table at Relish (biscuits, brews and board games);

Up in North Raleigh, the much-anticipated Cape Fear Seafood Company opened their first location outside the Wilmington area in the former Kamado Grill/Lucky 32 spot;

Layered Croissanterie, opened in downtown Raleigh at 911 N. West Street in the old Rainbow Upholstery building;

The Acorn opened …and then closed…then Reuben’s NY Deli opened at 170 E. Davie Street in the former Acorn at Oak City/Kaiju space;

And in that same restaurant group, Calavera opened in their new space at 615 W. Morgan Street in the former Moonlight Pizza spot;

Jake Wood, chef de cuisine at 18 Seaboard left, taking over as the head chef at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen. And here at year’s end, is moving on from there (Pro Tip: see more on Jake below);

We saw Rise Biscuits and Donuts make the change to focus on biscuits and fried chicken; changing their name to Rise Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chicken. By year’s end, customer cries were heard and they brought back some of the donuts;

Gregory Goldberg brought his Uninhibited Tapas Bar into the former Taste location on Medlin Drive;

321 Coffee opened at the State Farmers Market. 321 Coffee is a “nonprofit coffee shop staffed by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities;

Gateway Plaza enjoyed a massive renovation and enjoyed the addition of Andrew Ullom’s Union Special Bread;

And some other honorable mentions: Saints & Scholars finished their remodel and re-opened (February 2) at 909 Spring Forest Road; Raleigh got its location of Rockin’ Rolls Sushi Express; Oak City Fish and Chips opened their second location in Farmington Square in Raleigh; Uncle Julio’s opened on the Upper Level of Crabtree Valley Mall; McNeil Pointe on Wake Forest Road welcomed Chido Taco and Brew; Empire Eats Restaurant Group, expanded this year with the opening of Square Burger in the reopened/renovated Moore Square; Falafel & Co. opened in the former Brookside Market in Raleigh on the corner of Glasscock St and Brookside Dr.; Mildred Council’s (aka Mama Dip) granddaughter opened her Sweet Tea & Cornbread Grill & Eatery in the North Carolina Museum of History; Brother/sister team of Ben and Holly Schultz opened SmokeStacks Cafe at 701 E Lane St.; and 13 Tacos and Taps moved into the old Chubby Tacos location on Durant Road.

Durham in 2019 – The Highlights

Sister Liu’s Kitchen opened in Durham in the space in front of New Hope Commons near the intersection of 15-501 and Interstate 40 (same complex as Namu);

Dame’s Chicken and Waffles finally re-opened in downtown Durham in a new location in the Liberty Warehouse Apartment building;

Scott Howell reopened his legendary Nana’s restaurant in Durham on University Drive, which he had closed after a 26-year run;

Lime & Lemon Indian Grill on Ninth Street (former Dale’s spot) opened to rave reviews at 811 Ninth Street;

Chef Mike Lee (think M Kokko, M Sushi, M Tempura) continued building his empire in downtown Durham with the opening of his newest concept, M Pocha in the old Cupcake Bar space at Five Points;

Sidney Coves opened the second location of his True Flavors Diner at 2022 Chapel Hill Road, taking over the former Lakewood restaurant space and Scratch Baking spots. And before the year’s end he had also opened Debbie Lou’s next door to True Flavors’ Lakewood location (built around biscuits);

And some other honorable mentions: A new Italian restaurant in Brightleaf Square in the former Little Dipper restaurant space called Trattoria Salve. It is owned by Gianni Cinelli, who also has Vivo Ristorante Pizzeria In Raleigh and Osteria G in Apex; The Oak House in Durham opened on the ground floor of One City Center; Spanglish opened in Durham in the former Bagel Bar location at 104 City Hall Plaza. They operate the Spanglish food truck as well as Pressed by Spanglish over in Raleigh; Piper’s Deli in Durham closed and reopened as Steel Spatula Burger Company; The highly anticipated cocktail bar Kingfisher opened in downtown Durham; David “Flip” Filippini opened his newest Kokyu joint at 245 E. NC Hwy. 54 (near Southpoint) in the former Cure Deli & Cafe spot; The new Korean fried chicken place Chicken Bee opened on Ninth Street; A new Italian spot opened in downtown Durham at 104 City Hall Plaza called Convivio Restaurant and Wine Bar offering traditional and authentic Italian dishes; Jeddah’s Tea opened in downtown Durham at 123 Market Street; The second Triangle location of Showmars opened in Durham’s The Corners at Brier Creek out off Glenwood Avenue; The folks over at Boricua Soul food truck opened their first-ever brick and mortar at American Tobacco Campus; and Gusto Farm to Street opened its newest Triangle restaurant in Durham on Page Road.

Chapel Hill in 2019 – The Highlights

Brandon Sharp opened Hawthorne & Wood in the former Raaga spot in Chapel Hill’s East 54;

Chef Teddy Diggs opened Coronato Pizza in the South Green shopping center in Carrboro;

Al’s Pub Shack opened a slightly tweaked version of his Al’s Burgers in Chatham County near Governor’s Club. However, it wasn’t long before he converted it to a straight up Al’s Burgers (with a few twists)

In Carrboro, 401 Main, an upscale dive bar from Chapel Hill native Chris Baldwin and Al Bowers of Al’s Burger Shack opened;

Deli Edison, the Chapel Hill deli concept from partners Dan Obusan, Sam Suchoff and Pete Wagner opened in the North Chapel Hill Cedar Falls Courtyard adjacent to The Pig, a whole-hog barbecue joint, and Your Neighborhood Bar, soon to be rebranded as PiggyBack;

A new watering hole called The Casual Pint opened on the ground floor of the Berkshire Apartments on Elliot Road;

And some other honorable mentions: Welcomed and subsequently said goodbye to Haw River Grill on Elliott Road; Cat Tails Cat Cafe opened on W. Franklin Street in the Courtyard; Don Chicken, a Mexican rotisserie with Southern inspired sides, opened on Elliot Road in the former Monterrey location…but rebranded as Monterrey Tacos; The joint venture between Vinnie and Angelo at Italian Pizzeria III and Al Bowers of Al’s Burgers to open Yellow House Tacos eventually fell apart and won’t happen; A concept called Chimney Indian Kitchen & Bar is going into the space formerly occupied by Vespa at 306 W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill and will open before year’s end (maybe).

Elsewhere in the Triangle in 2019 – The Highlights

The big news in Cary this year was the opening of the area’s first Shake Shack in Cary’s Waverly Place;

Sean Degnan and Drew Smith opened kō•än in the former An space in Cary;

Asali Desserts & Cafe opened in Cary’s MacGregor Village.

And some other honorable mentions: Dean’s Kitchen + Bar transitioned into a Der Biergarten; In Garner, Big Ed’s opened a third location; In Chatham Cafe Diem coffee shop opened on Hillsboro Street; and the Triangle’s third location of Mi Cancun opened in Penguin Place; In Hillsborough, James Pharmacy replaced LaPlace Louisiana Cookery; In Wendell, Daniel Whittaker and Patrick Cowden opened Farmhouse Café in the Wendell Falls development; In Holly Springs Osha Thai Kitchen & Sushi and Sir Walter Coffee + Kitchen both opened in the new Town Hall Commons; Town Hall Burger opened their newest location there; also bakery/cafe called Harvest Moon opened; In Apex, Wake Zone Coffee House opened their second location; Over in Wake Forest, Norse Brewing Company opened just last week.

2020 – Year Of Three Letters….B…B….Q

Check this out, 11 BBQ Joints are in the “que” to open in 2020 (one is not in the Triangle, but of huge interest to everyone in the Triangle). Here’s a quick rundown:

Pitmaster Ed Mitchell (originally from The Pit BBQ) will be opening a new restaurant in early 2020 called The Preserve with LM Restaurants and Lou Moshakos;

Moe’s Original Bar B Que is poised to open in the former Blu Seafood on Hillsborough Rd. in Durham;

Sam Jones BBQ has announced they are coming to Raleigh at 502 W. Lenoir St., in the former Dusty’s Garage near Boylan Heights;

Longleaf Swine (currently a food truck) will open in Transfer Co. Food Hall;

Picnic’s Wyatt Dickson will be opening his second bbq restaurant – Wyatt’s Whole Hog Barbecue –  in Raleigh’s Gateway Plaza;

In Wake Forest, Anthony Bowman’s Smoky Tony’s BBQ will open in early 2020;

A new bar/BBQ place is coming to Main Street in Garner called Shady’s;

Jason Howard (The Cardinal and The Atlantic Lounge) shared that he plans on opening Friendship BBQ in the Topps Building in downtown Raleigh;

And not exactly Triangle area restaurant news (but certainly something of interest to thousands of folks that travel to the coast for vacation), Wilber’s Barbecue has been sold to a group of local investors in Goldsboro and will reopen in spring 2020;

And in Johnston County, The Old North State Food Hall, opening next spring off of Interstate 95 in Selma, named Redneck BBQ Lab its first tenant;

And something we haven’t reported yet, Jake Wood, from Plates and before that 18 Seaboard, has put up a logo on Facebook that touts something involving barbecue, oysters and beverages….look for that unveil in early 2020. 

More Big Doings in 2020 – Certainly there is more than BBQ…Yes…Yes there is!

Saint James Seafood will re-open in January 2020. The restaurant has been closed since a nearby natural gas explosion in April;

Celebrity chef Kenny Gilbert announced plans to open a restaurant in north Raleigh called Cut & Gather and is expected to open at 13100 Falls of Neuse Road in early 2020. You might recognize him from Bravo, Food Network and as a chef for Oprah Winfrey;

Brother and sister Vansana (“Van”) and Vanvisa Nolintha (think Bida Manda and Brewery Bhavana) will open Luang Prabang (pronounced LWAHNG prah-BAHNG) next year on the ninth floor of The Dillon in downtown Raleigh;

Ashley Christensen will be rolling out three locations of a yet-to-be-named fast-casual chicken sandwich concept – locations will be Raleigh’s Wegman’s shopping center; Durham’s University Hill; and in Cary’s Parkside Town Commons;

David Sadeghi will open O’Ya Cantina next to his Town Hall Burger at the entrance to Chatham’s Briar Chapel. Also in Chatham, Chatham Park will welcome Town Hall Burger & Beer; People’s Coffee; and Everything Bagels;

Out in RTP, Boxyard RTP is a very cool concept featuring ‘cargotecture design’ (think shipping containers) to showcase food, beverage and experiences. The first tenant announced is Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery;

Cary will welcome a spin-off from an iconic New York City pizzeria – Di Fara Pizza. They have been open in Brooklyn since 1965 and the New Yorker, The New York Times, Zagat’s and the late chef Anthony Bourdain all called Di Fara the best pizza in New York;

Down in Apex, the former Peak City Grille will become The Peak on Salem from the folks behind Jimmy V’s Steakhouse & Tavern;

In downtown Raleigh The Flying Mayan will open on Fayetteville Street in the former Wahlburger’s space. From the same team behind the Flying Burrito;

The owners of Gonza Tacos y Tequila will open their new concept Macondo Latin Cuisine in the new Longfellow Real Estate high-rise in downtown Durham as well as in Raleigh in the Sojourn Glenwood Place Apartments;

MacGregor Village’s Tony’s Oyster Bar will open as Tony’s Tap & Oyster Co.;

Secrets Pho Noodle Bar is coming soon to Ninth Street in the old Saint & Co location;

Acme Food & Beverage Co. in Carrboro and Tin Roof Brewery of Baton Rouge, Louisiana will open a joint venture – a new brewery and neighborhood restaurant located at 5401 North, called Heyday Brewing;

Australian-based Zambero, a Mexican restaurant concept that also donates a meal to someone in need from disadvantaged communities across Africa, Asia and the Americas, will open in January in One Glenwood;

A Place at the Table, the pay-what-you-can cafe concept in downtown Raleigh, will enjoy a much needed expansion, adding 2,000 square feet, 50 more seats and a commercial kitchen, with a stovetop, oven and hood;

Florida’s V Pizza is bringing their concept to this market after it was announced that they just bought out LaStella Pizza on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary;

Down in Johnston County, looks like they will be getting into the “food hall” game when they open Old North State Food Hall next spring. Redneck BBQ Lab is the first announced tenant;

In Wake Forest, an English tea room called Southern Royal Tea is opening in early 2020;

In Memory – We Lost Some Great People In 2019

The tragic loss of Kong Lee at Kaffeinate after the explosion that rocked downtown Durham; Lowell Thomas “Tommy” Bullock, owner and operator of Bullock’s Bar-B-Cue restaurant in Durham; And the loss of Salvatore “Rino” Fevola, principal partner in Pulcinella’s in Durham

Restaurant Closings in 2019:

Seven-month-old Wahlburger’s in downtown Raleigh closed in January; Tyler’s Taproom at American Tobacco Campus in Durham closed; Over in Chapel Hill Southern Season’s restaurant Weathervane closed; After a 40+ year run, Boondini’s at Celebrations at Six Forks closed; and after a 30+ year run, Sunflower’s Cafe closed; Mami’s/Mami Nora’s opened out on Glenwood Avenue, and the very next day they suffered an electrical fire that leaves it closed indefinitely; And we bid farewell to Boylan Bridge Brewpub’s after a 10-year run; and Jason’s Smith’s 18 Seaboard after a 14-year run.

Other Closures In Raleigh: 

Mura in North Hills ended a 15 year run; The Twisted Fork at Triangle Town Center; McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks; Moonlight Pizza; Kaiju Bowl and Bao; North Hills location of Spring Rolls; East Village Grill (but will reopen in 2020); The Acorn at Oak City closed after just a few months; Pho Pho Pho Noodle Kitchen + Bar on Glenwood South; Living Kitchen closed in both Raleigh and Chapel Hill (twice); Raleigh and Cary locations of LaStella; and Raleighwood Cinema Grill.

Other Closures In Durham:

After 12 years, Watts Grocery; Blu Seafood & Bar; Food truck rodeo venue County Fare; Gluten-free restaurant Primal Food & Spirits; Big Bundts & More Bakery; The Little Dipper Fondue restaurant in Brightleaf Square; Saint & Co. on 9th St.; The Boot Italian Restaurant on University Drive; the Bagel Bar in Durham & Chapel Hill; Lilly’s Pizza in Durham; and Cuban Revolution in the American Tobacco Campus.

Other Closures In Chapel Hill/Carrboro:

Franklin Street this year lost: Roots Bistro & Bar; the Cuban Revolution Express; Pizza place MiDici; Hops Burger Bar; and Mellow Mushroom.

While Carrboro lost Esperanza Empanadas & Tequila; One Fish Two Fish Poke; CrossTies Bistro & Beer Garden; Milltown; and Spike’s Hot Chicken.

Also of note: Babalu in Eastgate Crossing; Olio & Aceto Cafe; and Haw River Grill.

Other Closures In Cary/Apex:

Taco Mac in Cary’s Waverly Place; LaShish Mediterranean Cuisine; bankruptcy got Peak City Grill & Bar; Eighty8 Asian Bistro; and Tony’s Oyster Bar in MacGregor Village

Other Closures In Chatham:

Sadie’s Southern (sister restaurant to Oakleaf) in North Chatham.

Barbecue Joint Closures:

Goldsboro’s Wilber’s Barbecue; The Q Shack at North Hills closed after a 15-year run and Bill Ellis Barbecue in Wilson closed.

And Finally:

And we can’t talk about “closings” without mentioning the “closing” of Colleen Minton’s Terra Vita Food & Drink Festival that did so much for putting this area on the “foodie” national map. This was their 10th and final year. Thanks Colleen!

Friday Fun Food Facts – December 20, 2019

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  • Next week should be a slow week for everyone …at least let’s hope so. So, as you lounge on the couch by the fireplace looking for a good read, we will release our End of the Year Edition where we will highlight all that happened in 2019 and take a look ahead at what to expect and get excited about that is heading our way in 2020. And to give you a sneak peek, it looks like 2020 is shaping up to be the year of three letters….B…B….Q. That’s right, in 2020, 11…count them…11 barbecue joints are in the “que” to open in 2020. We will have all of that and so much more for you on Monday. Enjoy your week next week, slow down a little, unplug, and enjoy your family and friends! Here’s to a great 2020!

Wake County Restaurant News

  • The Triangle Business Journal shared some potentially big news this week that we will have to wait until New Year’s Eve to confirm. The news surrounds the possible sale of a Raleigh institution – Irregardless Cafe. Arthur Gordon founded the restaurant in 1975 and since then it has been a foundation of the Raleigh dining scene and always on the list of places you have to go. What TBJ has been able to confirm is that Gordon is planning a special event on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the restaurant, thank people for their support, and announce the sale. TBJ also confirmed that the new ownership group is local and in very close proximity to Irregardless. Stay tuned. In the meantime, visit them here.
  • Ever since I first met Jake Wood at Jason Smith’s 18 Seaboard, I have been a huge fan. I followed him as he left there and took the helm at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen in Raleigh. Well, he announced recently that he has left Plates..so naturally I’m on Jake watch. And I’m happy to report that he posted this week what appears to be at least part of a logo for his next venture and it includes the words – barbecue, oysters and beverages. That’s the good news. The rest of the story we will just have to be patient and await the big announcement – which I assume will be made in early 2020. Don’t keep us waiting too long Jake!
  • The folks over at ITB Insider and York Properties shared with us that there is a new breakfast, brunch and lunch joint is coming to Cameron Village. The Daily Fare just signed a lease for the former Brixx Pizza space at Berkshire Cameron Village. They will be serving daily from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning in May 2020. Here’s the announcement on York’s Instagram.
  • Norse Brewing Company opened to a huge crowd yesterday (Thursday, December 19) at 203 Brooks Street in downtown Wake Forest. As they open and start to fill their tanks, they have collaborated with some of their friends and have those beers available as well – Raleigh Brewing Company, Bond Brothers, Lynwood and Deep River to name a few. Get familiar with them here and pay them a visit over the holidays.
  • Also opening this week just in time for the holidays is Sir Walter Coffee + Kitchen at 242 S Main St. in Holly Springs in the new Town Hall Commons. In addition to their coffee and tea, they have a full kitchen serving breakfast, light lunch and all day snacks. Get to know them here.
  • Down in Johnston County, we shared last week that Redneck BBQ Lab was the first signed tenant of the Old North State Food Hall. This week the News & Observer shared they didn’t have to go far either for their second announcement – Clayton coffee shop Boulevard West will join the Interstate-95 food hall as well.  They will open next spring off of Interstate 95 in Selma. Learn all about the food hall here.
  • A quick reminder that Brew’s last day at Seaboard will be tomorrow, December 21st when they will be hanging out in the morning and then closing a little early to start packing. They have set a planned opening date of December 27th for Gateway Plaza! During that transition, you can visit their locations at either McNeil Pointe or in downtown Cary. Find out more on their website here.
  • In North Raleigh, reader Burke Williams shared that Bali Hai will be opening a new location in North Raleigh beside Sassools in Harvest Oaks Plaza on Strickland. Build out has just begun in the old 6 Flavors (Aarusuvai) Indian Restaurant & Bar spot. Bali Hai already has locations in Raleigh and Durham. Check them out here.
  • Burke Williams also shared that Papaya Chicken in Bent Tree Plaza at the corner of Falls of Neuse Rd and Strickland, has transitioned into a new concept called El Rincon Peruano. Looks to be the sameowners as the website is the same. Check it out here.
  • And WRAL brought it to our attention that we should extend a high-five to Brewery Bhavana and Crawford and Son both in downtown Raleigh for making OpenTable’s list of the Top 100 restaurants in the Country. OpenTable compiled the list based on more than 12 million guest reviews of 30,000 restaurants across the United States. Bhavana, located at 218 S. Blount St., has received numerous awards since opening in March 2017. It was named one of the 10 Coolest Places to Eat in the world in 2018 by Forbes and one of Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants in America.Visit Crawford here and Bhavana here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • As we have already shared, Matt Kelly is aiming to reopen Saint James Seafood in mid-January. The restaurant has been closed since the April 2019 gas explosion in Durham. However, you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy some of your favorite dishes from Saint James. Menu specials from Saint James are available at chef Matt Kelly’s other Durham restaurants throughout December. For instance, the Maine Lobster Roll at Lucky’s; “Crab Dip” at Vin Rouge; “Aguachile” at Mateo; and Squid Ink Pasta Shells at Mothers & Sons.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, the watch continues for the opening of First Watch at Chapel Hill’s East 54 in the former Egg & I location (First Watch owns Egg & I and this is part of the process as they transition those stores). Carrie Brogren of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group on Facebook indicated that it would be this week…but we know how things go in Chapel Hill. Visit First Watch here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, Nancy Luberoff shared with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group that Just Salad will be opening up near Whole Foods on Elliott Road. There is no signage up yet, but Carrie Brogren confirmed that it is listed on Village Plaza website. There is also a location in Raleigh’s Lake Boone shopping center. Get to know them here.

Closings

  •  A reminder that after a 30+ year run, Sunflower’s Cafe located over in front of Seaboard Station on Peace Street, will close their doors for the final time tomorrow, Saturday, December 21.

Food Trucks 

  • If you are missing the food truck rodeos, my friend the BurgeoningBaker shared with me that we are are not far from the next one. The Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year. And the first one in 2020 is on January 25! Get more details and updates here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  • The good folks over at Chatham County’s Root Cellar will host their New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner – on December 31. The dinner features an all-inclusive 3-course meal, featuring the creative talents of chef Sera Cuni and wine pairings from Vino Wine Shop. Tickets are $75. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On January 16th, the fine folks over at Sassool Cafe in Cary will team up with Steven Ashton, a holistic nutritionist from Earth to Fork Nutrition, to bring you a 5-course Mediterranean Spice of Life Dinner focused on highlighting spices that not only add great flavor, but bring tremendous health benefits. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • The 8th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the DPAC. The event pairs delicious local restaurants, with breweries from across the nation. Unlimited food and beer samplings will be spread throughout all three floors at DPAC, plus the On Stage Experience will bring guests up onto the performing arts stage to showcase even more food, beverages and live music. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • ‘Tis the season…to double your impact! This holiday season, you can make twice the difference for children, families and seniors facing hunger. Generous friends of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina have agreed to match every gift you give through December 31- up to $174,000! Donate here!

Friday Fun Food Facts – December 13, 2019

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  • Here’s some sweet news! The folks over at Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken listened to what, I’m sure, became a bit of a deafening demand – Donuts!!! They are bringing back the donuts! Well, at least some of them…the classics — Double Glazed, Vanilla Icing with Sprinkles, Chocolate Icing, Apple Fritter and a Special Seasonal that will change throughout the year. So, I guess something is better than nothing. But at least we know they listen. So if you don’t see a donut you really want, speak up! Check their site to see which donuts are being carried at the location closest to you.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • A few menu changes have arrived at chef Tom Cuomo’s Papa Shogun at Seaboard Station, the unique restaurant concept featuring classic Italian dishes that incorporate traditional Japanese ingredients and techniques. Chef Cuomo’s newly invented space and menu reopened this week and will only be open dinner hours this week, with regular lunch and dinner hours returning next week. Check them out here. .
  • Reader Herman Huang shared with us this week that signage is up at the former H Street Kitchen / La Stella location on Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street. The signage indicates it will become Umami Asian Bistro. Unfortunately we don’t have any other details at this point. Stay tuned!
  • Also in Raleigh, the folks over at Eat Raleigh tipped us off to the fact that a new burger restaurant, Hightop Burger, is coming to McNeil Pointe – taking over the Muscle Maker Grille space. Look for them to open in late February.
  • Eat Raleigh also shared the news that a place called Lady Luck, serving small plates and cocktails, is expected to open in early March, taking over the former Blue Mango/Indio space on Glenwood South (222 Glenwood Ave.). They noted that it will be headed by Balu Torres who’s been involved in many other local restaurants. While nothing is posted yet, you can keep up with them on Instagram here.
  • Triangle Business Journal shared the news this week that Thaiphoon Bistro on Glenwood South is opening a second location at Stonehenge Market in Raleigh. Construction will begin on the space soon, and the restaurant plans to be open by March. Visit them here.
  • A quick update on the news we shared last week about Brew closing their Seaboard Station location in downtown Raleigh and moving it to Gateway Plaza out on the edge of downtown. A reminder that their last day at Seaboard will be December 21st. They will be hanging out that morning then closing a little early to start packing. They have set a planned opening date of December 27th for Gateway Plaza!! In the interim, you can visit their locations at either McNeil Pointe or in downtown Cary. Find out more on their website here.
  • We’ve been following this one for some time now, but just yesterday Norse Brewing Company up in Wake Forest shared on their Facebook page that they will be opening “in about a week.” So, looks like the folks in Wake Forest have been very good this year and will receive that opening in time for Christmas! Get familiar with them here and follow their opening announcement on Facebook here.
  • Also in Wake Forest, John Huisman, aka Triangle Explorer, shared with us that an English tea room called Southern Royal Tea is coming to Wake Forest in early 2020. It is owned by Jennifer Sullivan. Find out more here.
  • In Cary, reader Kristina Shuford shared that Szechuan Mansion Hotpot has signage up at the old Patrick Jane’s Gourmet Pizza Bar spot in the Shoppes of Kildaire at 1353 Kildare Farm Road. We couldn’t find an online presence for them nor an open date. Stay tuned!
  • Down in Holly Springs the folks over at Sir Walter Coffee shared via their Facebook page that they are very close to opening their Sir Walter Coffee + Kitchen concept at 242 S Main St. in the new Town Hall Commons. In addition to their coffee and tea, they will have a full kitchen serving breakfast, light lunch and all day snacks. While we don’t have an exact opening date, they have “suggested” they will open before the end of the month – so sometime in the next two weeks! Look for any announcements and get to know them here.
  • And finally, down in Johnston County last week we told you about the future Old North State Food Hall. Well this week the News & Observer shared the great news that it has been christened with barbecue. The Old North State Food Hall, opening next spring off of Interstate 95 in Selma, named its first tenant Wednesday, adding one of Johnston County’s own – the popular Redneck BBQ Lab has signed on as one of the food hall’s 10 vendors. Learn all about the food hall here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Sam’s Quick Shop is returning to Durham! Well, sort of, according to The Chronicle. The Boy family, who owned Sam’s Quik Shop for decades, plans to open a “spin-off” of the convenience store in downtown Durham and name it The Quikie which will be located at 618 Ramseur Street. They are aiming to open sometime during the second quarter of 2020. The new shop will be owned by John Boy’s partner, Holly Tucker, and daughter, Hollin Boy, making the Boy family’s collective operations a fourth-generation family business. In the meantime you can visit their Bottle Shop here. Thanks to WRAL for the nod on this story.
  • The good folks over at Taste Carolina shared with me this week that Milklab over in Cary’s Wellington Park shopping center has a sign up over in Durham’s just a few doors down from Bean Traders in the Homestead Market shopping center. No word yet on a timeline, but get to know them here. You can thank me later.
  • Also in Durham, reader J. Norris shared the news that something’s in the air at the old Wimpy’s Grill location in Durham at the corner of Hicks St. and Hillsborough Rd. The ‘For Sale’ signs are gone and, just this week, a new sign went up for Blake’s Grill. It appears there’s some work going on inside the building, but no indication of when Blake’s may open, or what the menu may be. Wimpy’s fans are praying for hearty breakfast biscuits, outstanding burgers, and mama’s own pinto beans. Stay tuned!
  • Got word from the folks over at Bites of Bull City that Tandoori Bites Indian Kitchen is now open in the former Dickey’s BBQ spot in the New Hope Commons shopping center at 5311 New Hope Commons Drive. They also have locations in Wilmington and Fayetteville. Get to know them here.
  • Today is the day for casual beer drinkers (or serious been connoisseurs) in Chapel Hill! Today (12/13) at 4 p.m. on the ground floor of the Berkshire Apartments, a new watering hole called The Casual Pint swings open their doors. Their mission is to share the craft beer experience in the neighborhood, one pint, one growler and one person at a time. They tout that they are a fun spot with an upscale, yet casual family-friendly atmosphere much like a coffee shop, with a focus on craft beer. Get familiar with them here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, Chris Thorpe, broker at National Restaurant Properties, let us know that Buns Burger & Fries has new owners after a 10-year run in downtown Chapel Hill. Mina Rhee and her brother will be serving up your favorite Buns burger starting today (December 13) and plan to continue with the successful menu. Stop by and pay them a visit here.
  • And finally in Chapel Hill, Mike DePersia of National Restaurant Properties informed us that Pazzo in Chapel Hill’s Southern Village had been sold to Annie Johnston (owner of La Vita Dolce a few doors down) and that it would be closed for a few months while they renovate the space. Keep up with future announcements via their Facebook page here.

Closings

  •  A reminder that after a 30+ year run, Sunflower’s Cafe located over in front of Seaboard Station on Peace Street, will close their doors for the final time tomorrow, Saturday, December 21.
  • After 42 years of making sandwiches, Boondini’s Sandwich Superstore owner Billy Williams closed his doors for good this week. Those are two big blows to the Raleigh deli scene.
  • The Triangle Business Journal shared the news this week that Raleighwood Cinema Grill in Raleigh filed for bankruptcy liquidation and has closed their doors.
  • Reader Bill Striegel shared with us that Szechuan Heat in Parkside Town Commons in Cary is permanently closed.
  • And Chapelboro confirmed what a lot had been discussing in the Chapel Hill Foodies group that Red Bowl at University Place will serve its last meal on Sunday, December 15.

Food Trucks 

  • If you are missing the food truck rodeos, my friend the BurgeoningBaker shared with me that we are are not far from the next one. The Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year. And the first one in 2020 is on January 25! Get more details and updates here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  • Tomorrow, December 14th, the folks over at Bull City Ciderworks will host their 2nd Annual Bull City Oyster Roast at 305 S. Roxboro Street. They are handling the entire event in-house this year so all oysters will be shucked for you, and they’re adding smoked ribs. The cost is $2.50 per oyster / rib. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On December 19th enjoy an Afro Vegan Community Dinner at Zwelli’s in Durham from 6-8 p.m. Experience African vegan flavors with an all-you-can-eat buffet created by chef Zwe! Your “journey” will take you from Morocco to Zimbabwe through an intimate evening of dining and music. Tickets are $39.99 per person, $7 for kids 6 and under. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • And the good folks over at Chatham County’s Root Cellar will host their New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner – on December 31. The dinner features an all-inclusive 3-course meal, featuring the creative talents of chef Sera Cuni and wine pairings from Vino Wine Shop. Tickets are $75. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • The 8th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the DPAC. The event pairs delicious local restaurants, with breweries from across the nation. Unlimited food and beer samplings will be spread throughout all three floors at DPAC, plus the On Stage Experience will bring guests up onto the performing arts stage to showcase even more food, beverages and live music. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • ‘Tis the season…to double your impact! This holiday season, you can make twice the difference for children, families and seniors facing hunger. Generous friends of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina have agreed to match every gift you give through December 31- up to $174,000! Donate here!

Friday Fun Food Facts – December 6, 2019

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  • He’s back! Got the great news over the Thanksgiving break that BBQ pit master Ed Mitchell, along with his son, Ryan Mitchell, have joined Lou, Joy, and Amber Moshakos of LM Restaurants (think Carolina Ale House, Vidrio and Taverna Agora to name a few) to open a BBQ restaurant called The Preserve at the site of the original Carolina Ale House at 512 Creekside Drive in Midtown Raleigh. The restaurant is slated to open in the Spring of 2020. You can follow their progress on Facebook here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • The News & Observer shared this week that A Place at the Table, the pay-what-you-can cafe concept in downtown Raleigh, will celebrate its second anniversary in January and is currently in the midst of a major expansion. The restaurant is adding 2,000 square feet, 50 more seats and a commercial kitchen, with a stovetop, oven and hood. Currently, the menu is limited to only what can be made with toasters and waffle irons, or served cold. The expansion, taking over the space that was Alli boutique, should be finished by the spring, in March or April. In its first year, they gave away more than 8,000 meals. By October of their second year, they had already provided 11,000 meals. Get familiar with them here.
  • A bit of a change-up over in Cary. Got final confirmation this week from Paul Scott with V Pizza out of Jacksonville, Florida that they are bringing their concept to this market after it was announced that they just bought out LaStella Pizza on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. This will be their first location outside of Florida and they will be looking to open the middle of January. Self-described as authentic Italian pizza, they also feature award-winning wings and this location will feature 40-50 NC craft beers on tap. And this won’t be their only location, as they begin to explore other options in the Raleigh and Charlotte markets. Get to know them here.
  • And speaking of good pizza, the News & Observer shared the news this week that Ashley Christensen’s Poole’side Pies is now open a few more hours in the day with the addition of  lunch service from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Check them out here.
  • Also in downtown Raleigh, the folks over at Brew Coffee Bar posted that they are indeed closing their location at Seaboard Station and moving it a few miles down the road to the redeveloped Gateway Plaza. Look for that to happen these first few weeks of December. Visit them here.
  • And if that is not enough downtown Raleigh news for you, the folks over at ITB Insider shared some updates on happenings going on over on West Street. First up, progress is being made at the Rainbow Building at 911 N. West Street where permits were recently issued for the Rainbow Luncheonette, a small, old-school diner that will offer breakfast and lunch all week, and dinner on the weekends. Jason Howard, of The Cardinal and The Atlantic Lounge, is behind the “25-seater” that will offer standard breakfast and lunch fare. Think of it as a reincarnation of sorts of the old Finch’s Restaurant. There is no exact timeframe, but expect it to be at least 90 to 120 days out.
  • Howard also shared with the ITB Insider that a little further down West Street, at 303 North West, he plans on opening Friendship BBQ in the Topps Building right beside the train tracks. Stay tuned on both of these developments.
  • And before we “leave” downtown Raleigh, I share in ITB Insider’s excitement that $100k in renovation work was recently approved for the Krispy Kreme location at the corner of Person and Peace streets. Don’t know exactly what the work entails, but solidifies the belief that they will be around to fulfill their 20-year lease. It also looks like it will include a new 4’ LED exterior wall sign as well that no doubt says, “Hot Now!” Visit Krispy Kreme here.
  • Carrie Brogren with Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies shared via Facebook that Cinnaholic is opening soon in Cary at 1209 Parkside Main St. where you can create-your-own cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats (like made from scratch brownies, cookies, and cookie dough). Customers can choose from over 20 frosting flavors and a variety of toppings. All of their products are fresh-baked and 100% vegan, dairy and lactose-free, egg-free and cholesterol-free. Get familiar with the yumminess here.
  • Over in Wake Forest we got word that chefs Serge Falcoz-Vigne and Horacio Rodriguez, both formally of the award-winning Saint Jacques French Cuisine restaurant in Raleigh, have taken on ownership of Bodega, Tapas, Wine, and Rum. Former owner and chef Nunzio Scordo says that Falcoz-Vigne and Rodriguez are the perfect candidates to take on his vision of Bodega and make it their own. They are located in downtown Wake Forest at 110 South White Street. Check them out here.
  • And down in Johnston County, looks like they will be getting into the “food hall” game when they open Old North State Food Hall next spring according to the News & Observer. The project will turn a corner of the old JR’s outlet into a dining destination for interstate drivers (as well as local residents), becoming the first interstate food hall. It will have 10 vendors, plus a craft beer taproom called the North Carolina Craft House specializing in small breweries from around the state. Larry Lane says to expect a nationally known chef among the vendors, as well as some North Carolina barbecue and a breakfast all-day concept (and notably will not have any national chains). Get familiar with them here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • In Chapel Hill, Deli Edison, the Chapel Hill deli concept from partners Dan Obusan, Sam Suchoff and Pete Wagner will open next Monday, December 9th. Deli Edison will feature handmade bagels baked fresh every morning, a deli counter stocked with house-made salads and Lady Edison charcuterie, soft-serve ice cream, select gourmet provisions and more. Deli Edison is the third project from Suchoff in the North Chapel Hill Cedar Falls Courtyard. The others include The Pig, a whole-hog barbecue joint, and Your Neighborhood Bar, soon to be rebranded as PiggyBack. Get to know them here.
  • In Carrboro, last we were together we shared that a Thai concept was coming into the spot formerly occupied by Southern Rail/Crossties. Reader Bart Smith was able to share a little bit more information on the new concept which will be called Thai Station Restaurant and is looking to open in January, 2020. Keep up with their progress on their Facebook page here.
  • Over in Durham, the News & Observer reported that Debbie Lou’s opened this past week next door to True Flavors’ Lakewood location at 2022 Chapel Hill Road, which chef Sidney Coves opened earlier this year. His original True Flavors Diner opened four years ago in South Durham, becoming something of a brunch sensation. It has also been named the best breakfast spot in the Triangle by dining critic Greg Cox. As his third restaurant, Debbie Lou’s is built around biscuits, serving an extensive menu of sandwiches based on the South’s favorite carb. Visit them here.
  • Also in Durham, the folks at Bites of Bull City noted on Twitter that a sign for Hook & Reel Cajun Seafood & Bar is hanging at the old Friday’s location on Erwin Road (2608 Erwin Road to be exact). No word on a timeline / expected open date. They are listed as “coming soon” on their website. Get familiar with them here.
  • Down in Hillsborough, Michael DePersia with National Restaurant Properties shared the news that Antonia’s in downtown was sold to Brian and Dana Pearson. But don’t worry, they don’t plan on changing the name or menu, but they are interested in keeping the operation running as is – maybe open for lunch down the road! Visit them here.
  • And finally in Chatham County, Neha Shah, director of the county visitors bureau, shared with me that a concept called The Hill Nutrition is coming to 50221 Governors Drive in Governor’s Square in the spot that I believe used to house a yogurt shop. They’ll be serving up healthy shakes, teas and coffees. According to their Instagram page, they’ll open late February / early March. Probably best to keep up with them on their Instagram page here.

Closings

  •  John Huisman, aka Triangle Explorer, shared the sad news that after a 30+ year run, Sunflower’s Cafe located over in front of Seaboard Station on Peace Street, will close their doors for the final time on Saturday, December 21. There is still plenty of time to get by for one or two more visits!

Food Trucks 

  • If you are missing the food truck rodeos, my friend the BurgeoningBaker shared with me that we are are not far from the next one. The Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year. And the first one in 2020 is on January 25! Get more details and updates here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  • On Thursday, December 12th, Leli’s Diner in Wake Forest will hold their “Retro” Holiday Wine Dinner beginning at 7 p.m. The cost is $75 per person and reservations are required. The menu and all the details can be found on their website here. You can also call 919-263-1377 to make reservations.
  • On December 14th, the folks over at Bull City Ciderworks will host their 2nd Annual Bull City Oyster Roast at 305 S. Roxboro Street. They are handling the entire event in-house this year so all oysters will be shucked for you, and they’re adding smoked ribs. The cost is $2.50 per oyster / rib. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On December 19th enjoy an Afro Vegan Community Dinner at Zwelli’s in Durham from 6-8 p.m. Experience African vegan flavors with an all-you-can-eat buffet created by chef Zwe! Your “journey” will take you from Morocco to Zimbabwe through an intimate evening of dining and music. Tickets are $39.99 per person, $7 for kids 6 and under. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • And the good folks over at Chatham County’s Root Cellar will host their New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner – on December 31. The dinner features an all-inclusive 3-course meal, featuring the creative talents of chef Sera Cuni and wine pairings from Vino Wine Shop. Tickets are $75. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • The 8th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the DPAC. The event pairs delicious local restaurants, with breweries from across the nation. Unlimited food and beer samplings will be spread throughout all three floors at DPAC, plus the On Stage Experience will bring guests up onto the performing arts stage to showcase even more food, beverages and live music. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Listen up restaurants and caterers! The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is  looking to connect with restaurants and caterers to help produce reimbursable meals for federal nutrition programs in Moore, Nash, Edgecombe, Wake, Wayne, and Johnston counties.  If you or anyone you know are interested, we’re having an informational vendor meeting on Thursday, December 10 from 2:00-3:00 PM, held at their Raleigh Branch. Here is a link to all the details.

Friday Fun Food Facts – November 22, 2019

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  • Got word this week from Jennifer Noble Kelly that Picnic’s Wyatt Dickson will be opening his second bbq restaurant – Wyatt’s Whole Hog Barbecue –  in Raleigh’s Gateway Plaza at 2431 Crabtree Blvd near downtown. The concept will be bringing the wood-smoked pastured pig pickin’ style of whole hog barbecue. In 2016 Dickson opened Picnic in Durham with partners Ben Adams and Ryan Butler. Look for Wyratt’s to open in the fall of 2020. Follow their progress on their website here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • The team over at Trophy Brewing opened into their expanded space this week over on Morgan Street – announcing that they had brought fermentation back to Morgan Street, expanded and improved their outdoor patio space, and added new menu items.  As they “slide” into their new space, they will begin renovations of the “old” space on Morgan Street to match the design of the expansion, which should be completed sometime early next year. Keep up with all of Trophy’s success here.
  • WRAL reported that the owners of Acme Food & Beverage Co. in Carrboro and Tin Roof Brewery of Baton Rouge, Louisiana will open a joint venture – a new brewery and neighborhood restaurant located at 5401 North, a traditional neighborhood development in Northeast Raleigh. The new concept, named Heyday Brewing, will be located in 5401 North’s new City Farm, now under construction. The space will feature a unique collaboration with Wake Tech Community College by providing students in Wake Tech’s craft beer classes access to commercial brewing equipment, classroom and lab space. The restaurant will also serve produce grown in 5401 North’s Purple Martin Community Farm. Plans are to open the property in summer 2020. We couldn’t find an online presence.
  • Rosewater Kitchen & Bar in Raleigh’s North Hills will begin brunch service this weekend and will be served both Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Rosewater is the latest concept from the Giorgio’s Hospitality & LIfestyle Group and opened at the end of last month in the former Bruegger’s spot. If you haven’t already, check them out here.
  • Saw on their Facebook page this week that the newest location of BREW Coffee Bar is now open in the McNeil Pointe development at the intersection of McNeil Street and Wake Forest Road (across from Mami Nora’s). Visit them here.
  • The folks over at NC Triangle Dining posted on social media that the Cha House, an Asian-inspired tea house influenced by the tastes and traditions of Taiwan, is now open open at the Stanhope Apartments at 3001 Hillsborough Street. Check them out here.
  • Got an update this week from Cherith Andes on some news we initially shared with you back in July. Australian-based Zambero, a Mexican restaurant concept that also donates a meal to someone in need from disadvantaged communities across Africa, Asia and the Americas, will open in January, 2020 and will be located in One Glenwood. This will be just their second location in the United States. And more good news, the next two US location will be in Durham and Cary (University Hill in Durham and Parkside Town Commons in Cary). Tell me the Triangle ain’t where it’s at!?! Keep up with them here.
  • Over on Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street, reader Tyler Glover shared that a “Coming Soon” sign for Crafty Crab Seafood went up this week at the old Applebee’s location. Looks to be part of a chain out of Florida and they currently have just one North Carolina location, in Charlotte. No word on an open date. Start to get familiar with them here.
  • Up in North Raleigh, got a tweet from “Gavin” that Papaya Chicken & Grill in Bent Tree Plaza at 7909 Falls of Neuse Road is changing things up. Not sure if this is a new concept or a re-concept, but there is a “coming soon” sign in the window for El Rincon Peruano Restaurant Fusion. Stay tuned
  • And down in Zebulon, got word from Randy Wester of Wester Auctions that Smithfield Chicken and BBQ will be demolishing their Zebulon location within the next 2-3 weeks to make room for their new and improved building. Stay tuned.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Quick update thanks to several readers. We had a possible “coming soon” with a “Well” sign hanging in front of the former Carolina Ale House on Chapel Hill’s West Franklin Street. Bad news is it isn’t a restaurant. Good news is it is a 400-employee Healthcare IT company. Nice boost for the eateries on that end of Franklin!
  • Down in Carrboro, I got word of Tyler’s being closed. Turns out it is just temporarily… thankfully. Sign on the door reads, “The restaurant side is closed temporarily for some much needed renovations. Please join us for next door we are serving our full menu & 42 beers on tap! Sorry for the inconvenience, we appreciate your patience.” Visit Tyler’s here.
  • Also in Carrboro, reader Jeremy Simon spotted a “Thai Restaurant coming soon” banner up at the spot formerly occupied by Southern Rail/Crossties. We don’t have any other details at this point, so stay tuned.
  • And my Twitter buddy, BurgeoningBaker, shared with me that Don Gallo Taqueria (former Tacos Nacos) at 3411 University Drive in Durham is now serving breakfast 7 am -11 am  7 days a week. Need to make my way over there! Check them out here.

Closings

  •  Reader Barbara Bender broke the news to us that the Brier Creek location of Donovan’s Dish (mostly take out dinners and such) has closed. Their catering business is still booming and they have their location in Apex. Check out Donovan’s here.

Food Trucks 

  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  • The fifth-annual WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards presented by Millennium Buildings launched in a major way. Over 20,000 nominations were made for the area’s best events, restaurants, businesses and more. And thanks to my amazing readers and followers, yours truly (Triangle Food Guy) was nominated for Best Blog AND Best Twitter personality ! But now that I am in the final five, the real work begins! Voting is now open through December 1st and I would greatly appreciate your support! Thanking you in advance. Vote early and vote often!!! Vote here!
  • And if you need one “smore” reason to head downtown, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance has something for you this Friday (November 22). Moore Square has partnered with Marbles Kids Museum to celebrate the release of Frozen 2! So come out for S’Moore Square from 6-8 p.m. where the party will include a bounce house, imagination playground, crafts, roasting over firepits and s’mores. This event is FREE and Square Burger will be providing free s’mores. Get all the details here.
  • Photography extraordinaire Felicia Trujilo was kind enough to remind me that the Triangle Family Services’ Gingerbread Benefit is back and better than ever! This year’s event is December 5th from 6:30-10pm. It will feature hors d’oeuvres and drinks, live and silent auctions, gingerbread house creations by the Triangle’s finest chefs, and dancing to live music by Sidecar Social Club. The dollars raised in the Gingerbread Benefit allow credentialed case managers and licensed therapists to provide the extra time and attention needed to move people from crisis to stability. Get ticket information and all the details here.
  • And the good folks over at Chatham County’s Root Cellar will host their New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner – on December 31. The dinner features an all-inclusive 3-course meal, featuring the creative talents of chef Sera Cuni and wine pairings from Vino Wine Shop. Tickets are $75. Get tickets and all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Help us set a larger table this year at Thanksgiving! Right now your donation to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina goes twice as far thanks to some very generous matching donors. Right now, every $10 you give will help provide 100 meals for children, hardworking families, and seniors in our community facing hunger this Thanksgiving. Give now — and make twice the difference!

Friday Fun Food Facts – November 15, 2019

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  •  Chef Katsuji Tanabe, the renowned chef who appeared on Bravo TV’s hit competition series Top Chef, will open his newest venture High Horse this Sunday, November 17th. Be prepared to be entertained, as the News & Observer pointed out, there are no knobs or burners or oven doors, only two side-by-side wood-burning grills and a set of pans dancing with the flames. High Horse is located at 208 Wolfe Street in historic City Market in downtown Raleigh, and will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 5 to 11 p.m. and later on Fridays and Saturdays. Get to know them here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • The folks over at NC Triangle Dining informed us that Primal Cuts is now open at Morgan Street Food Hall. Primal Cuts specializes in slow roasted, hand carved to order Prime Rib sandwiches, where you can design your meal or pick from their suggested menu. Their menu will also include various other hot sandwiches as well as house made horseradish sauce, hand cut chips, artisan Italian bread, and a wide array of cheeses and ingredients to elevate your sandwich experience. Visit them here.
  • Over in Cary, David McCreary shared the news with me that Honey Pig Korean BBQ is coming soon to 1065 Darrington Drive at Preston Walk in Cary. For those that remember, that is the former Panera Bread location. Not much on their Facebook page, but I’m sure that is where they will provide updates. Here it is here.
  • The newest version of Town Hall Burger & Beer opens today (Friday) at 4 p.m. in Holly Springs. It is located at 301 Mathews Dr. THB&B also has locations in Durham and Chatham County with announced plans for a location in Raleigh and a second location in Chatham County. Visit them here.
  • The folks over at ITB Insider recently received some architectural documents for a project named Taco Roos that’s set to open in the home of a former KFC at 1221 New Bern Avenue. The documents list the project’s owner as a representative from North Carolina’s own Cook-Out. They indicated that there is also a Taco Roos slated to open in Wilmington this month. In a Wilmington Star article, the Roo’s location near UNC Wilmington was described as a “breakfast diner and Mexican fast food” restaurant. Perhaps that opening will shed more light on what to expect in Raleigh. Stay tuned.
  • Up in Wake Forest, reader Sandy Fore notified us that Rookies Sports Bar is open at 11200 Capital Blvd. not far from the Sam’s Club. They also have a location in Durham. Get to know them here.
  • And not exactly Triangle area restaurant news, but certainly something of interest to thousands of folks that travel to the coast for vacation, WRAL reported this week that Wilber’s Barbecue has been sold to a group of local investors known as Goldpit Partners, LLC. The Goldsboro restaurant plans to reopen in spring 2020. Here is the story on WRAL.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Reader Jeremy Simon was the first to share the news that a concept called Chimney Indian Kitchen & Bar is going into the space formerly occupied by Vespa at 306 W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. There is a media preview dinner later in November, and looks like they will officially open before year’s end. Learn all about the concept on their website here.
  • Also on Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street, Simon also noted that there is a sign for “Well” in front of the former Carolina Ale House at 419 W. Franklin Street. Stay tuned as more details are sure to follow. Thanks Jeremy!
  • The Triangle Business Journal reported this week that Gusto Farm to Street, which already has a location in Raleigh, will open its newest Triangle restaurant on Monday, Nov. 18 in Durham at 5431 Page Road.  The farm-inspired, fast-casual eatery brings healthier menu offerings made with local and seasonal ingredients. Check them out here.
  • According to the News & Observer, Chapel Hill’s bagel torch has been passed. The former Bagel Bar space will soon reopen as Deli Edison, a new deli counter and gourmet market. But don’t worry, bagels are still in the picture. And according to discussion on the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook page, that could happen before Thanksgiving. Deli Edison is the latest project from Sam Suchoff, owner of Lady Edison Hams, as well as the pork-centric restaurant The Pig and around the corner watering hole, Your Neighborhood Bar. Get ready for them here.
  • Carrie Brogren with Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies also shared with me this week that the Egg & I location in Chapel Hill’s 54 East will become a First Watch on December 12. Colorado-based Egg & I Restaurants were bought by First Watch in May 2015, and while not every Egg & I will become a First Watch, many “conversions” have already taken place. There are already six First Watch locations here in the Triangle. Visit First Watch here.
  • Perhaps this is old news and I just missed it, but happened to notice the other night that the former Torero’s in Durham’s Oak Creek Village shopping center on the Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd. has switched over to Fiesta Ole. Check out their website here.

Closings

  •  Carrie Brogren with Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies was the first to notify us that Southern Season’s restaurant Weathervane had closed. And that appears to be the first phase of the eventual closure of the Southern Season retail space in Chapel Hill’s University Place. The entire store will close in early January. Look for some great clearance deals throughout December.
  • In downtown Raleigh, got word from the folks at Taste Carolina that Oak City Market neighborhood grocery and deli on the first floor of SkyHouse Raleigh has closed.
  • In Durham, reader Mark Rutledge was the first to notify us that after a 4-year run, American Meltdown closed their location at the Streets at Southpoint. That’s the bad news. The good news is you can chase down their truck here.
  • And David McCreary shared that Sweet Creations Frozen Yogurt at 400 Broad Street in Fuquay-Varina has closed its doors for good.

Food Trucks 

  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  • The fifth-annual WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards presented by Millennium Buildings launched in a major way. Over 20,000 nominations were made for the area’s best events, restaurants, businesses and more. And thanks to my amazing readers and followers, yours truly (Triangle Food Guy) was nominated for Best Blog AND Best Twitter personality ! But now that I am in the final five, the real work begins! Voting is now open through December 1st and I would greatly appreciate your support! Thanking you in advance. Vote early and vote often!!! Vote here!
  • This is your last chance to get tickets to Families Moving Forward’s Chefs for Change Dessert Gala TONIGHT, November 15th at The Rickhouse, where desserts from Durham’s best restaurants, bakeries, and catering companies will be featured. The evening will include local desserts, a silent auction, live entertainment, and the unveiling of our 2020 Chefs for Change Series chef line-up! Sweets aren’t your thing? They’ll have savory dishes as well. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Nomad, a new global fusion restaurant opening in early 2020 in Hillsborough, NC, is hosting a pop-up at Viceroy this Tuesday, November 19 from 6pm to 9pm; 335 Main Street, Durham. The pop-up will offer diners a “sneak peek” of Nomad’s menu before the restaurant opens to the public. Guests are invited to visit Viceroy during the pop-up hours to try delicious bites from Nomad and grab a drink from the Viceroy bar. Follow Nomad on Facebook here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Help us set a larger table this year at Thanksgiving! Right now your donation to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina goes twice as far thanks to some very generous matching donors. Right now, every $10 you give will help provide 100 meals for children, hardworking families, and seniors in our community facing hunger this Thanksgiving. Give now — and make twice the difference!

Friday Fun Food Facts – November 8, 2019

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  •  Chef changes/announcements are always big news and we’ve got two this week. This week, chef Jake Wood shared via Facebook that November 27th would be his last day at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen. He shared that “the time has come to move in different direction and we couldn’t be more excited.” Wood gave no indication as to where that “direction” would take him, but let’s hope it keeps him here in the Triangle – this guy is super talented. You’ll remember him coming onto the scene prior to Plates with Jason Smith over at 18 Seaboard. And over at Mandolin, chef Sean Fowler announced that Derek Pierce would be his new chef de cuisine. Pierce was the sous chef at the Forbes 5-star Herons in The Umstead Hotel and Spa for four years. Check out Mandolin here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Saw in Ashton Mae Smith’s weekly email that The Brasserie at Neuse River Brewing is now open and serving a full menu of European inspired foods, wine and soon, liquor! Join them Wednesday through Sunday for dinner or on the weekends for brunch from 12-3pm. They are located at 518 Pershing Road in Raleigh, just outside the Five Points neighborhood. Visit them here.
  • Some exciting things happening over in downtown Wake Forest with two openings just around the corner. First of the two is Norse Brewing Company which will be at 203 Brooks Street in the former La Foresta Italian Cafe and Pizzeria. Things are headed up by Chris Jorgensen and brewmaster Brad Wynn. Stay tuned to their website and social media for an exact date.
  • And just around the corner Anthony Bowman and his construction/remodeling crew are busy converting the building at 107 S. White St. into Smoky Tony’s. Anthony’s (aka Smoky Tony) story begins in a small town in northern México where he learned the art of Mexican Pit Barbacoa. From there he learned techniques in California, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and even out west in Arizona and Utah! Visit their website and social media to keep up with their opening date.
  • Back in August we reported that MacGregor Village’s Tony’s Oyster Bar had closed. We got word this week from reader Barbara Leutner that a former owner has purchased the space and will open Tony’s Tap & Oyster Co. in that same space. According to their social media, they are looking to open next month. Check them out on Facebook here.
  • Thanks to a tip from reader Jeanette Hauser, we know that the former  O’Charley’s location in Brier Creek will be razed and an Olive Garden will rise in its place. The directory listing out at Brier Creek confirms this, but no word on a timeline. And speaking of one chain replacing another, we’ve seen no update on the prior news of Panera Bread moving across the street into the former Johnny Carino’s building. Anyone got an update on that?
  • And fast-casual pizza franchise Your Pie just announced a 9-store expansion plan across the Triangle area. All nine locations will be owned by local entrepreneur Efrem Yates, who acquired Your Pie in Cary Village Square Shopping Center this month and is already working toward a new location off Raleigh’s Capital Boulevard, projected to open in April 2020. For his next eight locations, Yates is looking toward Durham and Chapel Hill, as well as Triangle suburbs like Clayton and Knightdale. Get to know Your Pie here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • My wickedly talented daughter Lillian Lennard pointed out on a recent visit to downtown Chapel Hill (for breakfast at Breadmen’s), that Sawasdee Thai Restaurant at 110 N. Columbia Street, is closed for renovations and will reopen as Savor, gluten free eats and treats. No word on an open date (signage indicated September 2019 – but we know how Chapel Hill is). Stay tuned. Not much on the website.
  • WRAL’s Sarah Krueger shared the news this week that Secrets Pho Noodle Bar is coming soon to Ninth Street in the old Saint & Co location. We could not find an online presence, so stay tuned. Thanks Sarah!
  • The folks over at the Best of the Bull tipped us off to the fact that Boricua Soul, who operate a food truck and were one of the first businesses to occupy American Tobacco’s popular PopUp @ ATC space, opened its first-ever brick and mortar restaurant this week. You can find them in the Crowe Lobby (next to Saladelia Cafe). The owners describe the menu as “Puerto Rican inspired soul food.” The chefs have a flair for combining historic ingredients of their African and Carribean roots with nouveau Southern-Latino methods of cooking. Get to know them here.
  • And if that is not enough sweetness for one city, Bites of Bull City also let us know that Durham will get an Insomnia Cookies at 1105 W Main Street (near Brightleaf & Duke) in the Spring of 2020! If you didn’t know, you can get them delivered up until 3 a.m. Not that I know from experience… Get familiar with Insomnia here.
  • The grand opening of Showmars is set for THIS Saturday, November 9th and it will be in Durham’s The Corners at Brier Creek out off Glenwood Avenue in the same shopping center as Harris Teeter. The event will be from 11am-1pm and will include a red carpet entry, a prize wheel with giveaways, DJ and more. A portion of this weekend’s sales will be donated to Make-A-Wish of Eastern North Carolina. Founded in Charlotte in 1982, Showmars serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and their menu features a diverse mix of Greek, Southern and American dishes with signature items including gyros, pita burgers and fresh salads. Familiarize yourself with them here.
  • And finally, a happy 20th anniversary to Carrboro Coffee Roasters’ Open Eye Café in Carrboro. They also operate Caffé Driade in Chapel Hill and distribute their coffee all over the country. Visit them here.

Closings

  • More bad news over on Elliott Road in Chapel Hill – Haw River Grill has closed (this follows the closing of Olio & Aceto and Living Kitchen, the rebrand of Don’s Chicken (now Monterrey Tacos) and word that Jersey Mike’s is moving to Eastgate next month.

Food Trucks 

  •   The final date for the 2019 edition of the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo is THIS weekend, Sunday, November 10th. Get all the details here.

Events

  • The fifth-annual WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards presented by Millennium Buildings launched in a major way. Over 20,000 nominations were made for the area’s best events, restaurants, businesses and more. And thanks to my amazing readers and followers, yours truly (Triangle Food Guy) was nominated for Best Blog AND Best Twitter personality ! But now that I am in the final five, the real work begins! Voting is now open through December 1st and I would greatly appreciate your support! Thanking you in advance. Vote early and vote often!!! Vote here! 
  • If you are looking for the recipe for a perfect fall day, here’s a tip: Salt & Smoke VII presented by chef Kevin Callaghan and his team at ACME is THIS Saturday, November 9th from 1:30 to 6:30 pm. Join the nearly 300 people who’ve already bought their tickets to the seventh annual celebration of southern food and drink and music at the beautiful Rock Quarry Farm in Orange County. Visit their Facebook events page here and get tickets here. Isn’t it time you #GetYourSouthOn? Thanks to the folks over at Taste Carolina for the reminder.
  • The Zen Succulent & Jeddah’s Tea Grand Opening Party is taking place tomorrow, November 9th from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. Join The Zen Succulent and Jeddah’s Tea celebrate the grand openings of their new downtown Durham locations! Lots of vendors and kids’ activities. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • This Sunday, November 10th, the folks over at MOFU Shoppe in downtown Raleigh are hosting a pop-up meal, Get Lao’d for Veterans Suicide Awareness, benefiting Stop Soldier Suicide with an incredible Laos inspired menu from one of MOFU’s own, Dallas Frentz. Dallas is a Purple Heart recipient. Get all the details and reserve your spot here on their Facebook event page.
  • Also this Sunday, November 10th from 12 to 2 p.m. is the annual Triangle Chili Challenge that brings out some of the best restaurants, food trucks, caterers, businesses and organizations as they compete for the title of “Best Chili in the Triangle”. Triangle Chili Challenge will donate a portion of this year’s proceeds to Special Olympics North Carolina. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • November 14th is the date for the next Uninhibited Bourbon & Wine Dinner over at Uninhibited Tapas at 3048 Medlin Drive in Raleigh. Chef Gregory Goldberg’s first one was a huge success and they are looking to build on that with this one. Tickets are $45++ with the bar opening at 6, and the dinner beginning at 7:30. Get all the details on his website here.
  • Now is the time to get tickets to Families Moving Forward’s Chefs for Change Dessert Gala on November 15th at The Rickhouse, where desserts from Durham’s best restaurants, bakeries, and catering companies will be featured. The evening will include local desserts, a silent auction, live entertainment, and the unveiling of our 2020 Chefs for Change Series chef line-up! Sweets aren’t your thing? They’ll have savory dishes as well. Get tickets and all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Help us set a larger table this year at Thanksgiving! Right now your donation to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina goes twice as far thanks to some very generous matching donors. Right now, every $10 you give will help provide 100 meals for children, hardworking families, and seniors in our community facing hunger this Thanksgiving. Give now — and make twice the difference!