Friday Fun Food Facts – February 21, 2020

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • If you are not familiar with 321 Coffee, you should be. They are a nonprofit coffee shop that provides meaningful work experience to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently 321 operates out of the North Carolina Farmers’ Market (Thursday through Sunday at 1202 Agriculture Street), and they are just $50k short of their fundraising goal of moving into permanent space. They have raised $200k of their $250k goal in just four months! It is heart-warming to see the outpouring of support from not only the coffee community, but the community as a whole. Consider making a donation to this great cause or getting your company behind their efforts. Get all the details here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Speaking of the State Farmers’ Market, I saw on their Facebook page that the State Farmers’ Market Restaurant is temporarily closed until next Saturday, February 29th for “maintenance, remodel and repair.” They will re-open at 6 a.m. on the 29th. Keep up with any changes or announcements on their Facebook page here.
  • In North Raleigh, we heard from a follower on Twitter that a coffee and bubble tea shop called Beans and Bubbles is opening in the Bedford neighborhood. According to their Facebook page they are shooting to open by the end of the month. Get to know them here.
  • Also in North Raleigh, Jimmy Conder shared with us that Thaiphoon Bistro is opening in the Stonehenge Market shopping center, operating a takeout version of their downtown restaurant, in the space formerly occupied by 888 Chinese. Will be a few months before they open. In the meantime, get familiar with their downtown location here.
  • Up in Wake Forest, reader Katie Page shared that Korean Kitchen in the old Mona Pita location has opened at 2101 S Main Street. We were unable to find a web presence for them, but the Yelp reviews so far are very strong.
  • In Garner reader John Tipton shared that Garner Biz reported that Alpaca is opening in new location in White Oak Shopping Center across from Sheetz. While on their site, I also noticed they have plans to open two other locations – on on 15/501 in Durham and one in Nichols Plaza in Apex. No timeline on any of these new locations. Keep up with Alpaca here.
  • Over in Apex, reader Heather Black shared that she saw signage for another Starbucks location in the new shopping center being built at the corner of Hwy. 55 and Hwy. 64 across from Beaver Creek.  She noted that it looks like it will have a drive thru. Visit Starbucks here.
  • Down in Holly Springs, David McCreary shared the news that Sweetberry Bowls has opened at 150 W. Holly Springs Road. The healthy fast-casual eatery offers açaí and poke bowls, smoothies, salads and wraps. Discover more info here.
  • And before we ‘leave’ Wake County, a happiest of birthdays to a Raleigh institution – The Players’ Retreat is turning 69 this year, and to celebrate, they’re throwing it all the way back to 1951, the year The PR was born! Next Monday, February 24th, join them all day at the restaurant to enjoy original Players’ Retreat prices and menu items, like 25¢ hotdogs and 35¢ Budweiser. Get the latest on their Facebook page here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • In a stunning announcement this week, Piedmont Restaurant shared via Facebook that buyers from outside of North Carolina have purchased the building and intend to “recapture” the space at the end of February. That means that this Saturday, February 22nd will be their last service. Get in if you can before they close.
  • Also in Durham, Glenn Gillen shared that East Durham Bake Shop’s Facebook page says they are expanding into the space next door on Angier Ave. in Durham. To help them finance this, they are selling prepaid Club Sandwich punch cards that can be redeemed for breakfast and lunch items. More details in their post here. Here are the details on the Club Sandwich program.
  • Chapel Hill’s Breadmen’s is moving! In 1974 Roy Piscitello opened Breadmen’s in Chapel Hill and was later joined by his sister Arlene and brother Bill. In ’92, they moved into their current location, the old Western Sizzlin’. But that era is coming to an end, making way for more development along Rosemary Street. Likely before year’s end, they will move into the former Haw River Grill space at 261 S Elliott Rd. Visit them here. Thanks to Michael DePersia at National Restaurant Properties for the heads up.
  • Got word this week that CholaNad Restaurant and Bar on Chapel Hill’s W. Franklin Street is leaving their current location and moving next door into the former Mellow Mushroom space. They will continue with normal operations in their current space until they announce their grand opening in the new space. Visit CholaNad here.
  • UNC MBA student Alex Brandwein has spent the last six months hosting pop-ups and doing caterings as he learned his way through perfecting his bagels. This week he announced that he is opening a permanent ‘brick-and-mortar’ location of Brandwein’s Bagels in the former Midway Community Kitchen at 505 W. Rosemary St.! Obviously the timing of the opening  is contingent upon final plans, permitting and redesign. In the meantime, he will have another pop-up this Saturday, Feb. 22, 8am to 12pm in their new home at 505 W. Rosemary St. Get there early! Visit them on Facebook here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, Kristina Killgrove shared with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group that Cerritos Cantina, on E. Franklin Street across from The Siena Hotel, is rebranding as Casa Maria Latin Cuisine. Don’t know exactly what the entails as far as any changes (menu, ownership, decor, etc.) but you can check them out on Facebook here.

Closings

  • Reader Tom Hailey shared the sad news that Donato’s Pizza at Seaboard Station closed this week.
  • David McCreary shared that Jus’ Enuff Home Cookin’ at 736 N. Main Street in Fuquay-Varina is closing its doors for good as of February 26 after a 13-year run. The diner’s owner, Cindy Johnson, posted the announcement on Facebook this week. On a personal note, David noted that he’s  not sure where he’ll go now to find a hobo plate (scrambled eggs mixed with sausage). Moment of silence, please!

Food Trucks 

  •  If you are enjoying the warmer-than-normal winter as much as I am, you will also sense that the food trucks are warming up as well. And that means food truck rodeos! Durham rolled out their first one already and their next one is next month. Check it out here. And just this week, Raleigh rolled out their schedule for the year with the first one in May. Check out Raleigh’s schedule here and visit Durham’s here.
  • Here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  •  The Sarcoma Foundation of America is hosting a fundraising  event at The Glass Jug THIS Saturday, February 22nd. The Glass Jug will be featuring a one off beer by Starpoint Brewing being brewed specifically for the event. There will also be a silent auction and Boricua Soul food truck. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • The 8th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience will take place THIS 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.
  • Also on Sunday, February 23rd, grab your crockpot, secret ingredients, and competitive spirit because it’s time for Ponysaurus Brewing Co.’s Fourth Annual Chili Cook-Off! Show off your chili chops, drink delicious Ponysaurus beer, and compete for the grand prize of, you guessed it, more food, and beer! Oh, and a trophy … who doesn’t like trophies? All amateur cooks welcome. One grand prize winner will be selected by Ponysaurus Brewing’s esteemed panel of judges including Clayton Anderson of Whiskey Kitchen, Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea, and Billy Cotter of Dashi & Toast. If you’re more taste-tester than competitor, there will be a People’s Choice award – just donate a non-perishable food item to PORCH-Durham to vote! Get all the details here.
  • Jennifer Noble Kelly reached out to us to let us know that as part of his on-going Bravo TV Top Chef Series, chef Katsuji Tanabe of High Horse welcomes James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Northeast” 2018 winner chef/owner Karen Akunowicz of Fox & Knife in Boston for dinner at High Horse on Monday, Feb 24th. Meet chef Karen Akunowicz in Raleigh before she airs on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef All Stars” March 19th. Reserve through RESY at 7pm February 24th here .
  • The 4th Annual Cooking for a Classic benefiting the kids at the Lucy Daniels Center begins with round one on February 24-27 and tickets are just $75 each. Two chefs each night will prepare three courses each with at least one secret ingredient per dish, and attendees and guest judges decide which chef advances to the next round. Rond One features the following chefs: Monday, Feb. 24 – Eli Rodriguez of so·ca vs. Kevin Smith of 41Hundred at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel Tuesday, Feb. 25 – Blake Gotliffe of Under the Oak vs. Kyle Teears of Whiskey Kitchen Wednesday, Feb. 26 – Kyle Fletcher of Wye Hill vs. Scott Ruzicka of Mia Francesca Thursday, Feb. 27 – Andres Kaifer of Vidrio vs. Carey Ball of STIR. All events take place at 1705 East in Raleigh. New this year, enter a raffle to win a triple-black loaded 1969 Chevy Camaro! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On March 1st, Locals Seafood will host their sixth annual Winter Seafood Jubilee at their oyster bar in downtown Raleigh. The 2020 Jubilee will feature a fish fry and oyster roast at Transfer Co. Food Hall. Special guests at the Jubilee will include oyster growers, fishermen and women, policy makers and industry stakeholders. This event gives consumers the opportunity to enjoy eating seafood while meeting the folks who harvest, produce, and advocate for our seafood resources. This educational event is free and open to the public. There are no tickets required for the Jubilee, but guests are encouraged to RSVP on Facebook here.
  • Then on March 2,  the celebration of seafood continues with the day-long NC Catch Summit. The Summit is an annual gathering of folks from every facet of the industry to discuss the state of North Carolina seafood and the industry as a whole. This year will be the first time the Summit is not held on the coast. Attendees can expect presentations and panel discussions from 9:30am to 4pm inside the Transfer Co. Ballroom. A break for lunch will allow attendees to enjoy food from the many vendors inside the food hall. The Summit is free and open to the public. Registration and all the details can be found here.
  • Also on March 2nd, The Umstead in Cary they will kick off a new quarterly program called Umstead Unbottled. It is an interactive classroom-style event with educational talks from Herons’ in-house sommeliers. Both somms have a passion for wine exploration and education and will walk customers through the Herons wine list. The first session, kicking off on Monday, March 2nd, will focus on Old World versus New World wines and will teach guests the differences between the classic styles. The event will be held quarterly, with a different area of focus for each session. Tickets are $45 plus tax and service fee, and can be purchased by calling 919-447-4050. For more information and to view a complete list of the hotel’s upcoming events, visit them here.
  • On March 14th and 15th the Lebanese Festival returns, but in a new location. This year it will be held at the NC State Fairgrounds in the Kerr Scott Building and will feature Lebanese food, music, dancing, beer, wine, and lots of fun!! This event is free and open to all!! Get all the details on their Facebook events page here.
  • This sounds like a lot of fun – the Sisters vs. Sisters Battle on April 2nd that will pit the Sassool Sisters facing off against the Soul-Full Sisters in a family recipe battle like you’ve never tasted before! Noelle and Simone are the sisters that run the three Sassool restaurants in Raleigh and Cary. And Paten and Quinn are sister food bloggers and storytellers who just really love food. The battle pits Lebanese family recipes against Southern home cooking. The event will be held at 1705 East venue (1705 East Millbrook Road in Raleigh) at 6 pm on Thursday, April 2. The battle will benefit the Lucy Daniels Center, which supports programs in children’s mental health. You decide who wins! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Lindsey Chester notified us that Fest in the West is back for its fifth year on Saturday, May 2 from 11 am- 5 pm at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. The event features food & beer, music, arts & crafts, a KidZone, contests and a petting zoo. A great way to spend time with 7,000 of your closest friends. Admission is free! Get all the details here.
  • The 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival will be held on Saturday, June 6 from noon until 10 p.m. in the 100-200 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. While there you will be able to try authentic international food, desserts as well as  imported beer and wine! There will also be lots of music and entertainment at this child and pet friendly event. Admission is free and parking on the street is as well. Get all the details on their Facebook event page 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

  • Want to do something for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina at your office? Forget the hassle of a trip to the grocery store for your next food drive… create a food drive without the heavy lifting using our Virtual Food Drive, and maximize your donation times five! For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide FIVE meals! You can make a difference in your community by hosting a Virtual Food Drive for your friends, family members, or coworkers.  Starting a Virtual Food Drive is easy! See how easy here!

Friday Fun Food Facts – February 14, 2020

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • Hillsborough tops the news this week as we got word that Nomad, the latest restaurant from Rasoi Ventures, is set to open in early March. The global fusion restaurant will offer a diverse range of cuisine influenced by the owners’ travels around the world and the types of foods they’ve experienced in various countries, in traditional ethnic dishes with a unique spin. One can expect delicious renditions of popular Korean, Thai and Indian street dishes. Nomad will be located in the historic Osbunn Theater in Hillsborough, an old movie theater  at 120 W. King Street. This is the same restaurant group behind Kasturi in Greenville and Tan-Durm and Viceroy in Durham. Get familiar with them here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • The folks over at ITB Insider shared the news this week that two dining/drinking establishments are planned for the 3800 Glenwood building currently under construction just inside the beltline. They noted that developer Grubb Ventures shared that The Pizza Press (which also has a location in Chapel Hill) and The Glenwood Taproom will likely open near the end of the year in the 3800 building. There doesn’t appear to be an online presence for the taproom just yet, but get familiar with The Pizza Press here.
  • Saw in the RalToday email this week that a new cafe called Bean Sprouts is now open at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh. The healthy dining concept has 17 locations nationwide – serving up sandwiches, salads, and pizza at family destinations – but this is the brand’s first East Coast store. Get familiar with them here.
  • The folks over at Taste Carolina informed us that we are getting very close to the opening of Lady Luck on Glenwood South, which will soon begin serving small plates (under the direction of chef Kevin Ruiz) and cocktails (led by Megan Corbally). They are taking over the former Blue Mango/Indio space at 222 Glenwood Avenue. In fact, they have a ‘pop-up’ on February 22 at Little City Brewing + Provisions Co. where you can get a preview of their menu and cocktails. Get all the details and sign up here. Follow them on Instagram here.
  • Also in Raleigh, the Triangle Business Journal reported that breakfast lovers will have another spot to eat starting this spring with the opening of a new First Watch restaurant at the Marketplace at Lake Boone (think Bottle Revolution, Buffalo Brothers, Guasaca, Just Salads and The Oaks). They are set to open next month. First Watch is a breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant with nine Triangle locations. Visit First Watch here.
  • Over in Morrisville, Twitter buddy @BurgeoningBaker notified me that Meeples Brew, Morrisville’s first board game cafe, opened this past weekend in the same shopping center as Swagat Indian and Alpaca Chicken at 9545 Chapel Hill Road. Get to know them here.
  • And before we ‘leave’ Wake County, a happiest of birthdays to a Raleigh institution – The Players’ Retreat is turning 69 this year, and to celebrate, they’re throwing it all the way back to 1951, the year The PR was born! On February 24th, join them all day at the restaurant to enjoy original Players’ Retreat prices and menu items, like 25¢ hotdogs and 35¢ Budweiser. Get the latest on their Facebook page here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • In Chapel Hill, Ed Elliott shared with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group that a gluten free bakery and restaurant called Savor has opened at 110 Columbia Street, just behind Lula’s (formerly Spanky’s). They had a successful soft-opening event, and are open tomorrow (Saturday, 2/15) with a full-bakery and a limited breakfast menu from 9 am to 3 pm. And on Sunday, they are hosting a Pancake Breakfast/Brunch from 9 am until 2 pm! Get details on the Pancake Breakfast here and visit their website here.
  • Over in Carrboro, Carrie Brogren with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group on Facebook shared two nuggets this week. First up, Thai Station in Carrboro just passed their final inspection and their grand opening date will be Monday, February 17th. You can keep up with any announcements on their Facebook page here.
  • Brogren also shared that Luna’s grand opening in Carrboro will be Tuesday, February 18th. They have moved into the former Milltown space where they will begin serving up wood-fired rotisserie meats, Andean-inspired braises, empanadas and small plates. Think of it as South American meets American South! The original location remains at 112 W. Main Street in Durham. Get familiar with them here.

Closings

  • None to report. Keep eating local, folks!

Food Trucks 

  • Saw on the Facebook page for the “You Know You Grew Up In Raleigh North Carolina When. . .” group that an old classic Raleigh favorite is back…in the form of a food truck. That’s right, Don Murray’s is now rolling around the streets. Member Mary Holt Collins added that, “Kenny is the man, and he and his wife have the truck set up every Tuesday and Thursday in the Marathon gas station lot at the corner of Departure Drive and Millbrook. Go pay them a visit. I just inhaled some bbq and mac n cheese and my childhood came right back.” Check them out here and their Facebook page here.
  • How can we not share this. Also saw in the RalToday email that a popular Atlanta-based food truck called The Slutty Vegan will host a pop-up event this Saturday, February 15 at Hi-Wire Brewery in Durham. They will be there from 6 to 10 p.m. Be sure to check out their flavor-filled Impossible burgers, vegan shrimp + chicken, and the PLT – grilled jerk-seasoned plantains with caramelized onions, lettuce, and tomato on a Hawaiian bun. Get all the details about the event in Spectacular Magazine here.
  • If you are enjoying the warmer-than-normal winter as much as I am, you will also sense that the food trucks are warming up as well. And that means food truck rodeos! Durham rolled out their schedule. Raleigh, we are ready to see your schedule! In the meantime, visit Durham’s here.  
  • Here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  •  The Sarcoma Foundation of America is hosting a fundraising  event at The Glass Jug on Saturday, February 22nd. The Glass Jug will be featuring a one off beer by Starpoint Brewing being brewed specifically for the event. There will also be a silent auction and Boricua Soul food truck. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • The recently announced Lawrence BBQ, slated to open late this summer in Boxyard RTP, will be serving up mouthwatering sandwiches, oysters and their “not yet famous sticky ribs” at Kingfisher on Thursday, February 20 starting at 6 p.m. Guests will sip on Sean Umstead’s award-winning ground-to-glass cocktails in a space designed by co-owner Michelle Vanderwalker, while enjoying food from Jake Wood’s Lawrence BBQ + Oysters. Visit Kingfisher here and Lawrence BBQ on Facebook here.
  • Jennifer Noble Kelly reached out to us to let us know that as part of his on-going Bravo TV Top Chef Series, chef Katsuji Tanabe of High Horse welcomes James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: Northeast” 2018 winner chef/owner Karen Akunowicz of Fox & Knife in Boston for dinner at High Horse on Monday, Feb 24th. Meet chef Karen Akunowicz in Raleigh before she airs on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef All Stars” March 19th. Reserve through RESY at 7pm February 24th 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 4th Annual Cooking for a Classic benefiting the kids at the Lucy Daniels Center begins with round one on February 24-27 and tickets are just $75 each. Two chefs each night will prepare three courses each with at least one secret ingredient per dish, and attendees and guest judges decide which chef advances to the next round. Rond One features the following chefs: Monday, Feb. 24 – Eli Rodriguez of so·ca vs. Kevin Smith of 41Hundred at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel Tuesday, Feb. 25 – Blake Gotliffe of Under the Oak vs. Kyle Teears of Whiskey Kitchen Wednesday, Feb. 26 – Kyle Fletcher of Wye Hill vs. Scott Ruzicka of Mia Francesca Thursday, Feb. 27 – Andres Kaifer of Vidrio vs. Carey Ball of STIR. All events take place at 1705 East in Raleigh. New this year, enter a raffle to win a triple-black loaded 1969 Chevy Camaro! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On March 1st, Locals Seafood will host their sixth annual Winter Seafood Jubilee at their oyster bar in downtown Raleigh. The 2020 Jubilee will feature a fish fry and oyster roast at Transfer Co. Food Hall. Special guests at the Jubilee will include oyster growers, fishermen and women, policy makers and industry stakeholders. This event gives consumers the opportunity to enjoy eating seafood while meeting the folks who harvest, produce, and advocate for our seafood resources. This educational event is free and open to the public. There are no tickets required for the Jubilee, but guests are encouraged to RSVP on Facebook here.
  • Then on March 2,  the celebration of seafood continues with the day-long NC Catch Summit. The Summit is an annual gathering of folks from every facet of the industry to discuss the state of North Carolina seafood and the industry as a whole. This year will be the first time the Summit is not held on the coast. Attendees can expect presentations and panel discussions from 9:30am to 4pm inside the Transfer Co. Ballroom. A break for lunch will allow attendees to enjoy food from the many vendors inside the food hall. The Summit is free and open to the public. Registration and all the details can be found here.
  • This sounds like a lot of fun – the Sisters vs. Sisters Battle on April 2nd that will pit the Sassool Sisters facing off against the Soul-Full Sisters in a family recipe battle like you’ve never tasted before! Noelle and Simone are the sisters that run the three Sassool restaurants in Raleigh and Cary. And Paten and Quinn are sister food bloggers and storytellers who just really love food. The battle pits Lebanese family recipes against Southern home cooking. The event will be held at 1705 East venue (1705 East Millbrook Road in Raleigh) at 6 pm on Thursday, April 2. The battle will benefit the Lucy Daniels Center, which supports programs in children’s mental health. You decide who wins! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Lindsey Chester notified us that Fest in the West is back for its fifth year on Saturday, May 2 from 11 am- 5 pm at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. The event features food & beer, music, arts & crafts, a KidZone, contests and a petting zoo. A great way to spend time with 7,000 of your closest friends. Admission is free! Get all the details here.
  • The 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival will be held on Saturday, June 6 from noon until 10 p.m. in the 100-200 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. While there you will be able to try authentic international food, desserts as well as  imported beer and wine! There will also be lots of music and entertainment at this child and pet friendly event. Admission is free and parking on the street is as well. Get all the details on their Facebook event page 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

  • Want to do something for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina at your office? Forget the hassle of a trip to the grocery store for your next food drive… create a food drive without the heavy lifting using our Virtual Food Drive, and maximize your donation times five! For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide FIVE meals! You can make a difference in your community by hosting a Virtual Food Drive for your friends, family members, or coworkers.  Starting a Virtual Food Drive is easy! See how easy here!

Friday Fun Food Facts – February 7, 2020

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • After years of being vacant, the historic Sam-Jones House in downtown Cary is finally getting a new tenant. Acclaimed chef Michael Chuong is opening MC, a modern Asian-fusion restaurant, to give gourmet diners an upscale and elegant culinary experience. Chuong will hold an open-house for the public tonight (Feb. 7) from 5-8 p.m. before opening next Tuesday! Chef Chuong is no stranger to Cary as he served as the executive chef for Prestonwood Country Club, opened and operated the popular An restaurant for six years, and then opened his own restaurant, Elements, in 2012 in Chapel Hill. Mark Hornbeck, Michael’s son-in-law has been Michael’s sous chef/right hand man in the kitchen for 17 years and will remain at Elements and Van (Michael’s daughter) will continue to handle the front of the house. Chuong will split time between the two. You can read more about it here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Mike DePersia of National Restaurant Properties let us know that Seoul 116 Korean Kitchen and Bar closed down last week at 116 N West St in Raleigh (if you miss the owner’s cooking, you can visit them at City Market Sushi across downtown). That’s the bad news. The good news is that a group of veteran bartenders local to the downtown Raleigh scene (Zack Thomas and Josh Gagne) purchased it and will open a craft cocktail bar called Killjoy. Additionally, they plan on subleasing the kitchen to a local caterer and will serve small plates once they get their footing, hopefully within the next 2-3 months. You can follow their progress and sign-up to be a member on their website here.
  • DePersia also notified us that Taste at 1912 Bernard St has been sold to new owners. But not to worry, the new owners are experienced restaurateurs and smart enough to not change a thing. Looking for Justin, Maranda and Ryan of JMR Kitchens? You can find them down at The Oak at 4035 Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh. You can see their announcement here.
  • Noticed on Ashton Mae Smith’s newsletter that The Merchant NC is coming soon to 126 S. Salisbury Street in downtown Raleigh. The Merchant is part of the Local Icon Hospitality Group (think The Architect, Linus & Pepper’s, Virgil’s Taco, The Green Light, and Little City). The Merchant will offer guests a carefully selected lineup of classic and adventurous cocktail options along with a chef-driven bar bites menu. Dial into their website to keep up with the latest and any announcements.
  • Over on Twitter, Brian Hammill brought it to everyone’s attention the great news that Bali Hai Mongolian Grill is opening a new location (their third) next to Sassool in the Harvest Plaza shopping center. Those that have been around a while, will remember that we lost the original Raleigh location to a fire. Since then, they’ve opened one in Raleigh/Garner and Durham. No timeline on the North Raleigh location. I know no one is more excited about this than my friend Michael Stickney! Visit them here.
  • Art Sheppard, aka the Wandering Sheppard, notified us that popular food truck Arepa Culture is opening a location at the old Bruegger’s Bagels at Pleasant Valley at 6274 Glenwood Ave. Look for them to open this Spring. Keep up with their progress and any announcements on Facebook here. Thanks also to reader Jane Bell for the tip on this.
  • Over in Cary, there is some work taking place at the former Newk’s/Hibernian site in Cary. Apparently a concept called Cahills Grill & Bar is now listing their address as 1144 Kildaire Farm Road. Not much else to report at this point aside from a shell of a Facebook page here. Thanks to reader Alison Grimme and ‘Too Ashamed To Name’ on Twitter for bringing this development to our attention.
  • And before we ‘leave’ Wake County, a happiest of birthdays to a Raleigh institution – The Players’ Retreat is turning 69 this year, and to celebrate, they’re throwing it all the way back to 1951, the year The PR was born! On February 24th, join them all day at the restaurant to enjoy original Players’ Retreat prices and menu items, like 25¢ hotdogs and 35¢ Budweiser. Get the latest on their Facebook page here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • The folks over at The Best of the Bull reminded us that Milk Lab is holding their ‘grand opening’ this Saturday (Feb. 8) from 11:30 am until closing. This Thai rolled ice cream and bubble tea spot will be giving away tumblers, gift cards, and discounts. Find them at 105 W NC Hwy 54 Ste 265 in the same shopping center as Bean Traders and Sprouts. Get all the details here on their Facebook events page.
  • Thanks to Amber Watson over at Bites of Bull City for letting us know that Buzzy Bakes, a mobile bakery and coffee bar, is the latest tenant announcement at Boxyard RTP. Get familiar with their yumminess on their website here.
  • Carolina Brewery, the oldest brewery in the Triangle, turns 25 years old on February 9th. To commemorate the event, Carolina Brewery in Pittsboro is hosting an Open House on Saturday, February 8th. See first hand the extensive renovations that were completed in January (a more open floor plan including garage doors and large-pane tower windows, new tables and booths, an open kitchen, and new lighting and decor), an updated menu, and the launch of a new pale ale. In 2017, it modernized its brewery restaurant in Chapel Hill. Visit them here.

Closings

  • Mike DePersia notified us that Seoul 116 Korean Kitchen closed last week at 116 N. West Street. But if you miss the owner’s cooking, you can visit them at City Market Sushi across downtown.
  • DePersia also told us that Poke Bar (2604 Hillsborough St.) has closed for business but will be reopening soon under new ownership as the same concept. Stay tuned.
  • Reader Trish Sabino shared the news that Viva Mexican Kitchen at 4075 Davis Dr. (near intersection with McCrimmon Pkwy.) has closed. They still have a location in Raleigh.
  • And in Wake Forest, reader Tara Edwards broke the news that CiCi’s Pizza in Wake Forest has closed, noting that they lost their lease after 18 years.
  • Ann Marie Gunter shared that on a recent visit to Crepe Traditions in North Hills she discovered a sign on their door that announced that they had permanently closed as of February 1.

Food Trucks 

  • If you are enjoying the warmer-than-normal winter as much as I am, you will also sense that the food trucks are warming up as well. And that means food truck rodeos! Durham rolled out their first one last weekend and their list for the year has been unveiled. Check it out here. Raleigh, we are ready to see your schedule! In the meantime, visit Durham’s here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  •  Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours will offer Valentines/Eat Your Heart Out walking tours in eight North Carolina cities on Valentine’s Day 2020 – Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill/Carrboro, Wilmington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Asheville. Sign up for the tours are underway, and gift certificates are available. Each guided tour visits multiple restaurants for food and drink and chats with chefs and owners. A holiday gift is also included on these special tours. Registration for February 14th and for weekend tours throughout 2020 can be found here. Taste Carolina gift certificates are the perfect experience gift for all who love food and fun, and they can be purchased online here.
  • The Sarcoma Foundation of America is hosting a fundraising  event at The Glass Jug on February 22nd. The Glass Jug will be featuring a one off beer by Starpoint Brewing being brewed specifically for the event. There will also be a silent auction and Boricua Soul food truck. Get all the details on their Facebook event page 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 4th Annual Cooking for a Classic benefiting the kids at the Lucy Daniels Center begins with round one on February 24-27 and tickets are just $75 each. Two chefs each night will prepare three courses each with at least one secret ingredient per dish, and attendees and guest judges decide which chef advances to the next round. Rond One features the following chefs: Monday, Feb. 24 – Eli Rodriguez of so·ca vs. Kevin Smith of 41Hundred at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel Tuesday, Feb. 25 – Blake Gotliffe of Under the Oak vs. Kyle Teears of Whiskey Kitchen Wednesday, Feb. 26 – Kyle Fletcher of Wye Hill vs. Scott Ruzicka of Mia Francesca Thursday, Feb. 27 – Andres Kaifer of Vidrio vs. Carey Ball of STIR. All events take place at 1705 East in Raleigh. New this year, enter a raffle to win a triple-black loaded 1969 Chevy Camaro! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Lindsey Chester notified us that Fest in the West is back for its fifth year on Saturday, May 2 from 11 am- 5 pm at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. The event features food & beer, music, arts & crafts, a KidZone, contests and a petting zoo. A great way to spend time with 7,000 of your closest friends. Admission is free! Get all the details here.
  • The 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival will be held on Saturday, June 6 from noon until 10 p.m. in the 100-200 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. While there you will be able to try authentic international food, desserts as well as  imported beer and wine! There will also be lots of music and entertainment at this child and pet friendly event. Admission is free and parking on the street is as well. Get all the details on their Facebook event page 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

  • Want to do something for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina at your office? Forget the hassle of a trip to the grocery store for your next food drive… create a food drive without the heavy lifting using our Virtual Food Drive, and maximize your donation times five! For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide FIVE meals! You can make a difference in your community by hosting a Virtual Food Drive for your friends, family members, or coworkers.  Starting a Virtual Food Drive is easy! See how easy here!

Friday Fun Food Facts – January 31, 2020

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • If you love keeping up with the latest and greatest restaurant news (I assume you do and thus why you are even reading this), this is one of the things I look forward to each year – Greg Cox at the News & Observer puts together his list of the best restaurants in the Triangle. I shared that with you last week. And this week, he shared his Restaurant Of The Year. Drum roll please! Congrats to chef Michael Lee and his M Tempura Restaurant hauling in this year’s honor from Mr. Cox. Well deserved. Check out Greg’s article here and visit M Tempura here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Cape Fear Seafood Company, which currently has one location in Raleigh on Spring Forest Rd., will open two additional locations in the Triangle with franchise partners Eddie Elliott and Matt Wivell. The News and Observer’s Drew Jackson shared that the next location would be in Cary, likely in the summer of next year, and would lead to a newly built restaurant. The third local Cape Fear restaurant will open somewhere in the Triangle, but at this point there’s not a specific city. Get ready for them here.
  • Also in Raleigh, Samantha Leach shared that at the old Sweet Tomatoes building at 3105 Capital Blvd., there is now a sign up for Outback Steakhouse. It is also showing up on their website. Visit them here.
  • Over in Cary, reader Tom Moynihan shared with us that Parkway Tavern is now open. They are located at 982 High House Rd in the former Ledo Pizza & Pasta spot next to Thai Spices and Sushi. Get familiar with them here.
  • Also in Cary, reader Bill Velto shared that Noodle Blvd is moving from their tiny spot on N. Harrison in the Wal-Mart anchored Northwoods Shopping Center to the old Pizza Hut/Hotpoint Deli location at 1718 Walnut Street (Walnut Street and Buck Jones Road). Right now the plan is to close the current location on February 10, but stay tuned to their social media, as things tend to change. Their Facebook page is here and their website is here.
  • Velto also notified us that the Egg and I on Walnut is falling in line with its counterparts as it is being converted to another location of First Watch (First Watch purchased Egg & I). Visit them here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Amber Watson over at Bites of Bull City shared the news that in a few short months, Fresh Levant Bistro, a Raleigh restaurant well known for its fresh-baked pastries and Mediterranean food (all organic and gluten-free) will be opening a second location in Durham in the same building (above) Kingfisher Bar at 321 E. Chapel Hill Street. They are working diligently to stay on schedule for a late spring opening. Congrats to owner Anita Khalek on her success! Check them out here.
  • Amber also shared that a new coffee shop is getting ready to “jet” to town. Jetplane Coffee Co. is making progress converting a former workshop at 812 N. Mangum Street into a chic diner and coffee shop. Owner Daryn Berlin worked on the Counter Culture Coffee team for 23 years before launching this venture. He has been labeling the new spot as a “restaurant disguised as a coffee shop” so expect great food and great Counter Culture Coffee. For now, you can find Jetplane at its Parrish Street pop-up for a few more months (maybe longer). The hours are currently Monday-Friday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm. The hope is to open the permanent location this spring. Visit their Facebook page here to keep up with their progress.
  • Dear friend Beth Deacon shared with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group on Facebook that Market and Moss will be the name of the restaurant opening in the former Pazzo spot in Chapel Hill’s Southern Village. It is owned by Annie Johnston who also owns La Vita Dolce Espresso & Gelato Cafe a few doors down. Annie shared that Market and Moss will be a seasonal new American restaurant and bar offering fresh, vibrant cuisine made with local ingredients, a carefully curated wine list, and specialty cocktails all in an organic European ambiance. Look for them to open in April (but remember, this is Chapel Hill, so…). In the meantime, keep up with their progress on Instagram here and see some of the creations of their (obviously) talented chef here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, reader Jeremy Simon shared with us that he had noticed a sign up in the spot formerly occupied by Hops Burger Bar at 140 W. Franklin Street for Que Chula Tacos and Craft Tequilas. Nothing much on their website yet, but did I mention tacos and tequila? No word on a timeline yet.
  • And speaking of new openings in Chapel Hill, we are down to the short rows (we’re hearing a matter of weeks) of waiting on Hawkers Asian Street Fare set to open in University Place across the open space from Bartaco, SilverSpot and Stoney River. Keep up with any announcements here.
  • Over in Carrboro, you won’t see chef Teddy Diggs or his staff at Coronato Pizza for a few days. He shared that they are taking off for Winter Vacation from January 27th to February 3rd! He noted that especially after the holidays, this is an important measure that they are taking to stand up for our employees and stand against the mental health and workaholism issues that plague the industry. Kudos! Head back over on the 4th!
  • Carolina Brewery, the oldest brewery in the Triangle, turns 25 years old on February 9th. To commemorate the event, Carolina Brewery in Pittsboro is hosting two events – a tapping party on Wednesday, February 5th, and an Open House on Saturday, February 8th. These events will celebrate the reopening of the Pittsboro restaurant after extensive renovations were completed in January (a more open floor plan including garage doors and large-pane tower windows, new tables and booths, an open kitchen, and new lighting and decor), an updated menu, and the launch of a new pale ale. In 2017, it modernized its brewery restaurant in Chapel Hill. Check them out here.
  • Don’t have plans for Monday night? Great, settle in front of your tv and watch as Pizzeria Toro will be featured Monday, February 3rd at 9 pm on Cooking Channel’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate! Tune in to see chef/owner Gray Brooks in action, to discover which dish they cover and to see which one of these folks recommends it: Mauro, Simon Majumdar, Ali Khan, Elena Besser, Pati Jinich, Shinmin Li, and Marc Murphy! Check them out here.

Closings (maybe)

  • So, this is interesting. My Twitter pal @BurgeoningBaker tipped me off to the fact that Treforni in Durham’s Hope Valley Commons shopping center has closed. Their website simply states, “Closed” and Yelp and others are reporting them closed. However, a member of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook group indicated that they are moving. No confirmation on that, so stay tuned. See for yourself here.

Food Trucks 

  • If you are enjoying the warmer-than-normal winter as much as I am, you will also sense that the food trucks are warming up as well. And that means food truck rodeos! Durham rolled out their first one last weekend and their list for the year has been unveiled. Check it out here. Raleigh, we are ready to see your schedule! In the meantime, visit Durham’s here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.

Events

  •  The Cary Rotary Club is holding its 17th Annual Chili Dinner fundraiser for hunger relief where they will be serving 1400-1500 lunches and dinners on January 31. Individual tickets are $8 which includes: 8oz. bowl of chili (vegetarian available), cheese, pasta salad and cornbread. Lunch is served from 12-2:00 p.m. and dinner is served from 5 – 7:30p.m. Meals are prepared by Whole Foods Market and will be served at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church at 200 High Meadow Drive in Cary. Additional details can be found here.
  • Everything Bagels returns to The Durham Hotel on Saturday, February 1! Join them in the Coffee Shop for bagels paired with spreads and salads, from coconut curry and lemon miso cream cheese to chicken waldorf and curried tofu salads. Get a taste of their bagels before they move into their permanent home at the Durham Food Hall. Visit their Facebook event page here.
  • Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours will offer Valentines/Eat Your Heart Out walking tours in eight North Carolina cities on Valentine’s Day 2020 – Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill/Carrboro, Wilmington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Asheville. Sign up for the tours are underway, and gift certificates are available. Each guided tour visits multiple restaurants for food and drink and chats with chefs and owners. A holiday gift is also included on these special tours. Registration for February 14th and for weekend tours throughout 2020 can be found here. Taste Carolina gift certificates are the perfect experience gift for all who love food and fun, and they can be purchased online 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 4th Annual Cooking for a Classic benefiting the kids at the Lucy Daniels Center begins with round one on February 24-27 and tickets are just $75 each. Two chefs each night will prepare three courses each with at least one secret ingredient per dish, and attendees and guest judges decide which chef advances to the next round. Rond One features the following chefs: Monday, Feb. 24 – Eli Rodriguez of so·ca vs. Kevin Smith of 41Hundred at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel Tuesday, Feb. 25 – Blake Gotliffe of Under the Oak vs. Kyle Teears of Whiskey Kitchen Wednesday, Feb. 26 – Kyle Fletcher of Wye Hill vs. Scott Ruzicka of Mia Francesca Thursday, Feb. 27 – Andres Kaifer of Vidrio vs. Carey Ball of STIR. All events take place at 1705 East in Raleigh. New this year, enter a raffle to win a triple-black loaded 1969 Chevy Camaro! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Lindsey Chester notified us that Fest in the West is back for its fifth year on Saturday, May 2 from 11 am- 5 pm at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. The event features food & beer, music, arts & crafts, a KidZone, contests and a petting zoo. A great way to spend time with 7,000 of your closest friends. Admission is free! Get all the details here.
  • The 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival will be held on Saturday, June 6 from noon until 10 p.m. in the 100-200 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. While there you will be able to try authentic international food, desserts as well as  imported beer and wine! There will also be lots of music and entertainment at this child and pet friendly event. Admission is free and parking on the street is as well. Get all the details on their Facebook event page 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

  •  Singles Night at the Food Bank! Food is love! The Food Bank is looking to provide the community with both this Valentine’s season. The first ever Singles Night volunteer events will be held on Thursday, February 6 at their Raleigh Branch and Durham Branch. The volunteer shift will run from 6 pm – 7:30pm, but the evening doesn’t end there. The fun and mingling will continue after the meals are packed at local bar partners. In Raleigh, volunteers can walk across the parking lot to Mordecai Beverage Co. In Durham, Boxcar Bar + Arcade is providing tokens and some prizes to Food Bank volunteers, after the volunteer session! For more details or to register, visit here.

Friday Fun Food Facts – January 24, 2020

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • If you love keeping up with the latest and greatest restaurant news (I assume you do and thus why you are even reading this), this is one of the things I look forward to each year – Greg Cox at the News & Observer puts together his list of the best restaurants in the Triangle. I don’t always 100% agree, but no one knows the restaurant scene, and their dishes, better than Greg Cox. He visited dozens of restaurants last year. These are HIS nine best new restaurants of 2019, and the best of everything else. One will be his Restaurant of the Year. Check out his list here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • WRAL shared that Australia’s largest Mexican franchise Zambrero’s has opened its first location in Raleigh (and first in the Southeast) on the ground-floor of One Glenwood. The super-food menu includes customizable burritos, bowls, tacos, nachos, dos capas and quesadillas. Each come with hand-made salsas and sauces. All meat options are prepared by vacuum-sealing the meats in marinade and spices and submerging them in hot water and cooking for up to 18 hours. Additionally, all Zambrero locations participate in the Plate 4 Plate initiative where for each burrito, bowl or bottle of water purchased, Zambrero donates a meal to someone in need. They are holding their grand opening today (Friday) serving $5 burritos all day as well as a drawing for guests to win a free burrito catering event for up to 25 people. They will also be opening a location in Durham’s University Hill. No word on the timeline for that. Get by and check them out soon.
  • WRAL also shared this week that Ashley Christensen’s three fast-casual chicken restaurants will be called BB’s Crispy Chicken. The restaurant will first open in Raleigh’s Midtown East (Wegman’s), followed by Durham’s University Hill and Cary’s Parkside Town Commons. With that comes a new website!
  • High school buddy and the best dentist around, Dana McCall shared the news this week that the newest location of Mezeh Mediterranean Grill has opened at 832 Spring Forest Road in Raleigh. This is their second Raleigh location (original location is on Hillsborough Street). If you are not familiar with Mezeh, their food is made in house every day from all natural and fresh ingredients. You choose you base, your protein and all your toppings and enjoy your concoction in a bowl, flatbread wrap or pita pocket. Get to know them here.
  • No one is more excited than Raleigh native Gordon Brown after getting the news this week from York Properties that Noodles & Company is coming back to Cameron Village. Looks like they are moving into the Sugarland space. Gordon has been wandering the streets of Raleigh since October, 2018 looking for a good dish of Pesto Cavatappi (no, he doesn’t care that there are six other locations in the Triangle – it is a convenience thing). His wait is soon over. Re-familiarize yourself with them here.
  • Reader Peter Abrams shared with us that a new Cajun seafood restaurant Crab du Jour opened recently at Plantation Square in Raleigh at 6320 Plantation Center Drive. Get to know them and see their menu here.
  • Also in Raleigh, WRAL reported this week that the husband-and-wife duo behind The Cookie People is opening their first brick-and-mortar storefront in Mission Valley in mid-February. The Cookie People will open in the old Planet Smoothie space at 2237 Avent Ferry Road. April and Darrin picked the location because it’s close to N.C. State University, their home and the North Carolina State Farmers Market, where the business first got its start and continues to sell fresh-baked treats. Visit them on Facebook here.
  • Over in Cary, V Pizza, the Jacksonville, Florida based pizza concept, is in soft-open mode in Cary in the former La Stella Pizzeria location in the Shoppes of Kildaire. This is their first location outside of Florida. Keep up with them on their Facebook page here.
  • Up in Creedmoor, the folks behind Pulcinella’s Italian Restaurant in Durham (and Magone Italian Grill & Pizza in Chapel Hill’s Timberlyne Shopping Center) opened a new restaurant this week in Creedmoor. Instead of using the Pulcinella’s name, they are calling it Rino’s Italian Grill & Pizza to keep the spirit of Rino Fevola alive, who we lost in 2019. Head up to Creedmoor and check them out!
  • Over in Knightdale, it was announced yesterday (after waiting for what seems like forever) that Prime Barbecue will be opening in Knightdale in late March. The restaurant will be located adjacent to Knightdale Station Park at 403 Knightdale Station Run. Owner Christopher Prieto is a champion pitmaster, author, barbecue judge, teacher and barbecue eating expert. They offer a plethora of smoked meats, including brisket, house made beef sausages, beef and pork ribs, pork shoulder and turkey breast. A traditional Eastern Carolina style whole hog will be featured on Saturdays. Keep up with announcements and get to know them here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • It is open! Executive chef Matt Kelly and his team at Saint James Seafood are now  shucking oysters, steaming shrimp and frying fish again – opening yesterday after having been closed for nine months following the natural gas explosion on nearby North Duke Street. Time to refamiliarize yourself with St. James, located adjacent to Brightleaf Square, and their new menu.
  • Durham’s University Hill continues to unveil a fairly impressive list of dining options heading our way. Thanks to Carrie Brogren of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group, we learned that Happy + Hale will open a second location in late Spring, 2020. This will mark their 4th Triangle-area location (two in Raleigh, and one on Ninth Street in Durham). Visit Happy + Hale here.
  • Following up on last week’s announcement that Jake Wood was bringing his Lawrence BBQ to Boxyard RTP, Carrboro’s Carrburritos shared on their Facebook page this week that they too will be part of the mixed-use shipping container project led by the Research Triangle Foundation. Boxyard RTP will open summer 2020. Visit Carrburritos Facebook page here.
  • Art Sheppard, aka the Wandering Sheppard, notified us that popular food truck Mr. Cheesesteak will be opening a brick and mortar location in March in Durham at 5400 S Miami Blvd. in the former Lina’s Cafe spot. Now you can get a hand sliced Angus Beef cheesesteak anytime! Get updates on their Facebook page here.
  • WRAL reported this week that after 11 years in business, Café Meridian, at 2500 Meridian Parkway in Durham,  is searching for a new home. Despite efforts to extend his lease (and even expand), owner Rich Kazazian has until the end of March to find a new home. Visit them here.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, Brandwein’s Bagels first Pop-Up of the year is this Saturday, January 25th from 8 a.m. until noon at Midway Community Kitchen. Keep up with their latest (including possibly a big announcement in 2020) on their Facebook page here.
  • And down in Pittsboro, I saw on the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook page that a new restaurant has opened at Copeland Springs Farm. Their certified, naturally grown farm surrounds their vegetarian/vegan kitchen where their menu changes monthly based on what is harvested. Kinda gives true meaning to “farm to fork.” They share a “campus” with Fair Game Beverage Company, Starrlight Mead, Chatham Cider Works, Smelt Art Gallery, Chatham Axes and Hempsmith Clothing, with more to come. There is a playground, a walking trail and it’s generally just a cool place to hang out and eat and drink. Check this oasis out here.

Closings

  • Reader David Larson shared with us that Xoco on Glenwood South is apparently closed for an upfit. Stay tuned to see whether it reopens as Xoco, something else, or not at all.
  • Reader Burke Williams was creative in letting us know that we lost The Lost Cajun at Bent Tree Plaza off Falls of Neuse and Strickland. They have closed permanently and their phone is forwarded to corporate.
  • Triangle Business Journal reported this week that In a rather unexpected post on Facebook on Jan. 17, Raleigh’s Brice’s Brewing Company said it will be closing its brewery on Jan. 25.
  • Over in Cary, reader Chris Creighton notified us that Bruegger’s Bagels on Maynard off Kildaire Farm Road has closed.

Food Trucks 

  • 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 is this Sunday, 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

  • 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 Triangle Wine & Food Experience is the Triangle and Carolina’s premier wine event encompassing tastings, dinners, and a Grand Gala and Auction over a three day period, January 30 through February 1. The event draws some of the world’s best wineries and the Triangle’s best restaurants and chefs. Last year, over 1,800 people participated in 44 winery dinners; the Gala and Grand Auction was attended by over 600 people who enjoyed the food of 15 award-winning chefs and 70 of the world’s top wineries. All proceeds from Triangle Wine & Food Experience benefit the Frankie Lemmon Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Frankie Lemmon School & Developmental Center, a preschool for children with and without special needs in Wake County. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • The Cary Rotary Club is holding its 17th Annual Chili Dinner fundraiser for hunger relief where they will be serving 1400-1500 lunches and dinners on January 31. Individual tickets are $8 which includes: 8oz. bowl of chili (vegetarian available), cheese, pasta salad and cornbread. Lunch is served from 12-2:00 p.m. and dinner is served from 5 – 7:30p.m. Meals are prepared by Whole Foods Market and will be served at Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church at 200 High Meadow Drive in Cary. Additional details can be found 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 4th Annual Cooking for a Classic benefiting the kids at the Lucy Daniels Center begins with round one on February 24-27 and tickets are just $75 each. Two chefs each night will prepare three courses each with at least one secret ingredient per dish, and attendees and guest judges decide which chef advances to the next round. Rond One features the following chefs: Monday, Feb. 24 – Eli Rodriguez of so·ca vs. Kevin Smith of 41Hundred at the Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel Tuesday, Feb. 25 – Blake Gotliffe of Under the Oak vs. Kyle Teears of Whiskey Kitchen Wednesday, Feb. 26 – Kyle Fletcher of Wye Hill vs. Scott Ruzicka of Mia Francesca Thursday, Feb. 27 – Andres Kaifer of Vidrio vs. Carey Ball of STIR. All events take place at 1705 East in Raleigh. New this year, enter a raffle to win a triple-black loaded 1969 Chevy Camaro! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • The 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival will be held on Saturday, June 6 from noon until 10 p.m. in the 100-200 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. While there you will be able to try authentic international food, desserts as well as  imported beer and wine! There will also be lots of music and entertainment at this child and pet friendly event. Admission is free and parking on the street is as well. Get all the details on their Facebook event page 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, supplies during 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 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!