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.


  • 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.


  •  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!

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