Friday Fun Food Facts – November 8, 2019

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

Featured Restaurant News

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

Wake County Restaurant News

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

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

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


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

Food Trucks 

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


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

Food Bank Corner

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

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