Friday Fun Food Facts – October 11, 2019

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •  Andrea Weigl shared the great news yesterday that executive chef and owner Matt Kelly plans to reopen Saint James Seafood in January 2020. The restaurant has been closed since a nearby natural gas explosion on April 10, 2019 in Durham’s Brightleaf Historic District. Kelly’s restaurant was one of several businesses closed in the aftermath of the explosion that injured 25 people and took the lives of two people – Kaffeinate Coffee Shop owner Kong Lee and Jay Rambeaut, a gas company worker. Kelly also owns four other restaurants in Durham – Vin Rouge, Mateo, Mothers & Sons Trattoria and Lucky’s Delicatessen. Re-familiarize yourself with Saint James, which had arguably become the Triangle’s top seafood restaurant, here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • The State Fair is coming up Oct 17-27 in Raleigh so go ahead and load up on Pepto-Bismol and coat your stomach before you go. Yes they will have all the food classics, but new this year includes delights like: JoCo HoHo (basically a jalapeno popper on a stick with brisket); Neomonde’s Loaded Lamb Nachos (complete with shawarma spiced ground lamb simmered with onions on a bed of pita chips and topped with fresh pico, feta cheese and harissa yogurt sauce); Cookie Dough on a Cone; Reese’s Donuts; Pumpkin Spice Hushpuppies; and The Chickenator (a fried chicken sandwich served inside a cinnamon bun). And don’t forget the Weekday Lunch Pass Program – on weekdays only, enter Gate 9 off Trinity Road, or Gate 1 off Hillsborough Street after 11:30 a.m., pay $10 cash, stuff yourself silly, return before 1:30 pm and get your $10 back. Remember, weekdays only and only at those gates. Get ALL the details at their website here.
  • The News & Observer reported that one of the most memorable contestants in the history of “Top Chef”Bravo’s culinary reality competition – is opening a restaurant in downtown Raleigh. Chef Katsuji Tanabe plans to open a live-fire restaurant later this year in Raleigh’s City Market. The unnamed restaurant will be around the corner from MOFU Shoppe, moving into the space at 208 Wolfe St. Tanabe, his wife and two children are moving from Los Angeles to make Raleigh their full-time home. The Mexico-born chef has six other restaurants spread out around the country – in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and California. The name is still being developed, and Tanabe declined to put an opening timeline in place, but he hopes to start serving by the end of 2019. Stay tuned.
  • Saw a tweet from John Johnston that Denver-based Snooze Eatery is bringing their concept to Raleigh in the Midtown East project (i.e. Wegman’s). They tout themselves  on taking creative twists on America’s favorite breakfast classics in a casual, friendly and vibrant atmosphere. This will be their first Triangle-area location. No word yet on an open date, but I guess now is a good time to get to know them.
  • In Cary reader Julia Ray shared that she saw a sign for The Parkway Tavern at 982 High House Road in Cary in the former Ledo Pizza & Pasta spot next to Thai Spices and Sushi. We were unable to find an online presence for them nor an estimated open date. Stay tuned and thanks Julia!
  • I saw a notice on Facebook that Sugar Magnolia Cafe & Emporium and Magnolia Roots Music Lounge up in Wake Forest is now under new ownership. Husband and wife team of John and Amy Stephens, residents of Wake Forest, recently took over the reigns. They closed this past Wednesday to make some updates/changes, but are now reopen and waiting to see you! Visit them here.
  • Over in Apex, friend Keri McCauley (inadvertently) notified me that Wake Zone Coffee House opened their second location back on September 8th on Olive Chapel Road in the Publix shopping center. Their original location is also in Apex on Old Jenks Road. Wake Zone is owned by husband and wife team Paul and Marianne Peterson. Get to know them here.
  • And down in Knightdale, reader Peter Ansbacher shared with us that Saltgrass Steak House has opened their newest location at 6601 Knightdale Blvd. in the Shoppes Midway Plantation. Their menu features certified Angus beef steaks, seafood and homemade desserts. The Knightdale restaurant opens at 11 a.m., seven days a week and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Saltgrass has over 86 locations throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas. Get familiar with them here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  •  Got word from reader Jennifer Buchholz that a second Triangle location of Showmars is on the way – the next will be in Durham’s The Corners at Brier Creek out off Glenwood Avenue in the same shopping center as Harris Teeter. Founded in Charlotte in 1982, Showmars serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and their menu features a diverse mix of Greek, Southern and American dishes with signature items including gyros, pita burgers and fresh salads. The other Triangle area location is in Wake Forest on Stadium Drive. No word yet on the open date for Brier Creek. Learn more about Showmars here.
  • Reader Glenn Gillen shared that he was recently in the Woodcroft Shopping Center in Durham and noticed that GG Fish and Chicken is now open. There is also a GG Fish and Chicken on Fayetteville Street in Durham, but I was unable to determine if they are related (I would think they are). Visit them on Facebook here.


  • Got word from WRAL viewer Barbie Izlar that Chapel Hill’s Olio & Aceto Cafe has closed indefinitely after owner/chef Suzie Keenan lost her mother and business partner Glenda to cancer. Our prayers are with Suzie and her family in this difficult time. Their sister store, Blue Sky Oil & Vinegar, will continue to operate. Visit them here.

Food Trucks 

  • My great friend Mary Crist notified me that a father and son team of John and Mike Cline are bringing a new food venture called Carolina Crust to the Triangle. It will be a wood fired pizza, beer and food truck catering corporate events, weddings, parties, etc. But this isn’t your “typical” truck – it is a beautifully restored, vintage 1950s truck that you really need to see. Check out the pictures on the website here.
  • The folks over at EatRaleigh notified us that a new barbecue truck, And Also With Cue, is rolling into the Triangle. It is a social enterprise in partnership with the First Baptist Church, where every purchased meal equals a barbecue sandwich for a person in need. Their grand opening will be on October 27th. Get to know them here.
  • Got word from the folks over at Bites of Bull City that the streets of the Triangle will soon have a hand-crafted churros truck called Mama Churros rolling around soon! If you are like me and can’t wait, visit their Facebook page here to learn all about them and their pending announcement.
  • The next Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo happens Sunday, October 27th from 12-4pm at 405 S. Brooks St. downtown Wake Forest! Just about everything and anything that is served from the back of a truck will be featured from savory food and dessert vendors. In addition, a beer tent will be provided by Brooks Street Bowl, live music, a variety of craft vendors, and a Kid’s Zone. Get all the details on their Facebook page here.


  • It is that time of year again…time to nominate your favorite people and businesses for the 2019 Voters’ Choice Awards. There are a ton of areas/categories, but of course our favorite is the Food & Drink category where you can nominate everything from your favorite deli to your favorite watering hole. You can also nominate things like your favorite Twitter personality (cough, cough) your favorite blogger (again, cough, cough) or your favorite caterer (boy, this cough is bad). Nominations will close on the morning of Oct. 14. The finalists will be revealed on Oct. 21 and voting will be open through Dec. 1. Winners will be announced on Jan. 9, 2020, at a cocktail event for finalists. Start your voting here.
  • John Huisman, aka Triangle Explorer, reminded us that the annual Beericana festival is THIS Saturday, October 12th at Sugg Farm Park in Holly Springs. The event is from noon until 6 p.m. and features nearly 70 breweries (count at this point). It is a craft beer and music festival that brings great beer from breweries from across the state of North Carolina (and some from beyond) for attendees to enjoy. Tickets are $45, or $75 for VIP (2 hour early access). Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Also THIS Saturday, October 12th is Durham Bowls, a project pairing local chefs with school nutrition managers to develop new, delicious, and “school food”-compliant recipes for school lunch, are hosting their 2nd annual Durham Bowls Food Fest on October 12th at the Scrap Exchange in Durham. Tickets ($6 and $3) include a tasting of each of the 10 new recipes, a chance to vote for the People’s Choice award, live music, lots of great organizations tabling, and more. It’s super fun, and people leave full! Get your tickets and all the details here.
  • Another option for you for this Saturday, October 12th is the 4th Annual NC Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival at LaFayette Village in Raleigh. The event allows you to taste local and regional chocolates and cheeses that will make your palate scream with delight! A variety of wines will be showcased from different regions of Italy, Spain, France and the US. We’ll also include some NC favorites to show some “Local Love.” Get tickets and all the details here.
  • And one last event for you to consider for Saturday, October 12th is the Sir Walter Raleigh Smoke-Off. Join us at R&D Brewery for a day of barbecue, music and cold beverages. Over a dozen professional BBQ Teams will compete for the coveted Sir Walter Smoke-Off Golden Pig Trophy and up to $1,000 in prize money. Buy your tickets, then bring your picnic blankets and camping chairs, and we’ll take care of the rest. Your Pork Passport will let you sample BBQ from each of our competitors while supplies last, and then cast your vote for the People’s Choice. General Admission is also FREE when you bring $15 worth of non-perishable food items for the Eastern Food Bank North Carolina. Get all the details here.
  • On Tuesday, October 15th Katie Parla is traveling to Coronato in Carrboro for a special collaborative pizza party with chef-owner Teddy Diggs. Parla is a Rome-based food and beverage educator and journalist who came out with a cookbook earlier this year, “Food of the Italian South.” In her book, 85 authentic recipes and 100 stunning photographs capture the cultural and cooking traditions of the Italian South, from the mountains to the coast. During the upcoming dinner, Parla and Diggs will be serving delicious dishes from her book or inspired by the Italian South. Get the menu and all the details here.
  • This is it. Your last chance. I’ve been touting this amazing event that Colleen Minton dreamed up 10 years ago and now we are at the 10th and FINAL Terra Vita Food & Drink Festival in Chapel Hill October 16-19, 2019. Yep, you read that right. This is the grand finale. There will be no more. And heed my last (and final) warning – tickets will not last. If you’ve never been – GO! If you’ve been, don’t miss the last one. If you don’t know, it is a multi-day celebration that brings together top chefs, food artisans, sommeliers, baristas, brewers, educators, distillers, cookbook authors and industry luminaries from across the Southeast to celebrate culinary excellence and sustainability in food and drink. Get tickets and details here on all the events that week.
  • Triangle Oktoberfest, a two-day beer, food and music festival celebrating German culture and benefiting local and international charities, will hold its 6th annual event on Friday, October 18, from 5 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, October 19, from noon to 9 p.m. at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre. The festival is organized by Apex Sunrise and Cary MacGregor Rotary Clubs in collaboration with the Town of Cary. Get all the details here.
  • On Wednesday, October 23rd, Walter Magazine will host Taste of the Wild in Transfer Co’s brand new event space honoring the outdoors with a locally-sourced dinner. Locals Oyster Bar and Longleaf Swine BBQ are joined by Fullsteam Brewing and Wye Hill Brewery to discuss sustainability, wild-foraged ingredients and the importance of eating local. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a three-course dinner, beer and wine pairings, along with signature cocktails. Get all the details and sign-up for the event here.
  • On Sunday, November 3rd, more than 30 of the Triangle’s finest restaurants will be paired with world-class wines at the third annual Sip + Savor – A Wine, Food and Music Experience.  Sip + Savor will showcase 30+ culinary all-stars, sommeliers, on-stage experience with live music, VIP lounge, and more. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • The folks over at Mandolin Restaurant will hold their Fall Oyster Roast on their farm on Durant Road on Sunday, November 3rd from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. At their traditional North Carolina Oyster Roast, they will be cooking wild NC oysters over an open fire and serving them with the traditional accompaniments and seasonal dishes from our farm. $65 per person includes all food, non-alcoholic beverages, and gratuity. Wine and beer will be available for a supplemental fee. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will hold their Brewer’s Ball on November 8, 2019 from 6:30-10pm at The Rickhouse in Durham. The Ball  is an evening celebrating the Triangle’s “finest” young professionals and features food, beer, live music, live and silent auctions, and a chance to mingle, all while being a part of a great cause: helping move us closer to a cure for cystic fibrosis.  This one-of-a-kind beer tasting event has grown each year with the 2018 event hosting over a dozen different vendors including local craft breweries, and food from several Triangle area restaurants. The event will be capped at 300 people and tickets have sold out every year! Get tickets and details here.
  • If you are looking for the recipe for a perfect fall day, here’s a tip: Salt & Smoke VII presented by chef Kevin Callaghan and his team at ACME on Saturday, November 9th from 1:30 to 6:30 pm. Join the nearly 300 people who’ve already bought their tickets to the seventh annual celebration of southern food and drink and music at the beautiful Rock Quarry Farm in Orange County. Visit their Facebook events page here and get tickets here. Isn’t it time you #GetYourSouthOn? Thanks to the folks over at Taste Carolina for the reminder.
  • Sunday, November 10th from 12 to 2 p.m. is the annual Triangle Chili Challenge that brings out some of the best restaurants, food trucks, caterers, businesses and organizations as they compete for the title of “Best Chili in the Triangle”. Triangle Chili Challenge will donate a portion of this year’s proceeds to Special Olympics North Carolina. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.

Food Bank Corner

  • We mentioned the NC State Fair above, but don’t forget that Food Lion Hunger Relief Day at the N.C. State Fair is Thursday, October 24. Bring six (6) cans of Food Lion brand food to the N.C. State Fair on Thursday, October 24, and exchange them at any gate for one (1) free admission ticket. Since 1993, more than 5 million pounds of food have been donated by fairgoers to feed neighbors in need. Get all the details here on their Facebook events page.

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