Friday Fun Food Facts – November 17, 2017

Triangle Restaurant News

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •   After operating for nearly 70 years in Raleigh, the legendary Finch’s Restaurant is now open in Durham at 3211 Chapel Hill Road in the former Family Garden plant store and greenhouse. In addition to their breakfast offerings, they offer dinner and outdoor seating. A huge loss for Raleigh; an amazing gain for Durham; and a lot of smiling faces for all of those in the Triangle that have missed Finch’s since they closed. Not much has changed on their Facebook page.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • A couple of updates over at Crabtree Valley Mall thanks to Michael DePersia of National Restaurant Properties. Crabtree Beer Garden (former Tomato Pie across from Panera Bread) closed and will hopefully be opening soon as the Crabtree Ale House with an operator out of Fayetteville. Stay tuned.
  • Also, DePersia also informed us that the Red Monkey Tavern (formerly owned by the same group as Crabtree Beer Garden) was sold to new owners from Lincoln Brewery and Tropical Picken Chicken. There are no plans to change anything, aside from the addition of beers from Lincoln Brewery. The restaurant never closed throughout the sale and they are looking forward to the busy holiday season. Check them out here.
  • In North Raleigh, the folks over at the ITB Insider reported that Raleigh’s only source of fresh-baked English muffins, Michael’s English Muffins, will soon have a permanent spot to call home in a space at the Towne Square shopping center (corner of Capital Blvd. and Spring Forest Rd.). The English muffins are currently sold at a number of farmers markets and other retail locations around the area, but now the small cafe allows customers to either purchase the muffins in bulk or enjoy them on site with a variety of spreads. Congrats to owner Michael Annabelle Comisar. They hope to open by the end of the year. Get familiar with them here.
  • Also in Raleigh, Rocky Top Catering has announced that its premier event venue located at 1705 East Millbrook Street in Raleigh has been rebranded from 1705 Prime to 1705 East. The new name reflects the expanded scope of events the facility is able to host, from celebrations and special events to business meetings and corporate functions. Check it out here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Conveniently located on Hwy. 86 between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, reader Sara Weiss notified us that New Hope Market is now open. Located just north of Allen & Sons they are open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. The restaurant/market features a grill menu, locally roasted coffee (Carrboro Coffee Roasters), a market for everything from pantry staples to craft beer and local meat. Really looks like a cool spot. Check them out on Facebook here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, the folks over at Taste Carolina informed me that Wilmington’s Tama Tea has opened at 105 East Franklin Street (most recently Sweet Frog Yogurt) serving up tea, coffee, smoothies and toast. And it doesn’t look like they are stopping there. A recent blog post suggested they are now looking to open a location in Raleigh. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check them out there.
  • In Chapel Hill’s University Place (I still call it University Mall), Southern Season’s restaurant, Weathervane, has revamped their menu and added back breakfast service. Thanks to Richard Brewer for the update. Check out Weathervane here.
  • Over in Durham, the INDY reported this week that the owners of Durham’s Old Havana Sandwich Shop will open a new restaurant, COPA, at 107 West Main Street (once occupied by Revolution restaurant) in mid-February. This new venture, however, means that Old Havana will close at least two weeks before COPA opens. Keep up with Old Havana here.
  • Also in Durham, Bites of Bull City founder Amber Watson informed me this week that Melina’s Fresh Pasta, located at 2717 Chapel Hill Road in Durham, will hold its grand opening Saturday, December 2 and will features new Grand Opening pasta varieties that will be announced closer to the date. During the event, there will be pasta samples, cooking and pasta making demos, and tours of the facility as the pasta machines are running. Check out details on the grand opening on their Facebook event page here.
  • Last week WRAL reported Northgate Mall’s Earth To Us, a 100% vegan farm to table restaurant, had closed after operating for less than a month. We learned this week that Green Paradise, a 100% vegan/vegetarian hand-crafted comfort food restaurant, has opened in that spot. It is owned by Esther Betty Ortiz and replaces her Lucky Chicken establishment.
  • Also at Northgate Mall, Salcedo’s Pizza has opened in their food court and features Italian fare including pizza pies, pizza by the slice, salads, pastas, stromboli, calzones, and paninis. Check them out here.
  • Timing is everything in the restaurant business, and so it is with Pittsboro Roadhouse’s Greg Lewis. Just as things start to turn cold here in North Carolina, Greg landed a gig this week cooking in tents in Naples, Florida where he’s been tapped to be the executive chef at the LPGA CME Group Tour Championship at the Tiburón Golf Club, Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. Greg heads a team of chef’s from around the country. You are a smart man Greg, but we’ll see you back up here in the cold  in a few days! Check out Pittsboro Roadhouse here.


  • None to report. Keep eating local, folks!

Food Trucks

  • So, with the cold months upon us there simply aren’t many “official” food truck rodeos happening. So, you will have to act like a squirrel and really work to find your food trucks for the next several months. Here are a couple of online resources to help you do just that (please note, this is not an endorsement of any of these sites, just an effort to help my readers find their favorite trucks). Street Food Finder is one, check them out here. And another is aptly named Roaming Hunger and you can find them here.

Thanksgiving Made Easy

  • It is turkey time! Donovan’s Dish is serving up chef prepared Thanksgiving meals to you and your family. Think fresh, made from scratch, locally-sourced and of course delicious; all without you having to spend hours in front of the stove. All this and they’ll deliver it right to your door! Order your Thanksgiving dinner and take the day off to enjoy friends and family. You’ll be THANKFUL you did! Get all the easy details here.
  • If you don’t want to spend your Thanksgiving in the kitchen, we have some information you will be interested in. Raleigh’s Q Shack offers up everything from whole smoked turkeys, to sides, to the entire turkey-day meal! My family has been doing this for several years and it has been fantastic! Order online here.


  • The new Voters’ Choice Awards voting is under way now through December 17. The awards all you to vote for your favorite North Carolina people, places and businesses, from the mountains to the coast. Vote here. And while you are there, if you love my blog I would be greatly honored if you’d throw a vote my way for Best Blogger! 🙂
  • Mattie Beason of Black Twig Cider House will host TxotxFest on November 18 from noon to 4 pm. TxotxFest returns for a second year, offering award-winning regional and national ciders with North Carolina cuisine, and features the txotx – a traditional Spanish cider barrel. Beason introduced TxotxFest in 2016 as the first event of its kind in the Southeast to celebrate cider, the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry. This year, Beason kicks off TxotxFest November 17th with a $50 five-course cider-paired dinner at Black Twig Cider House featuring Asheville’s chef Steven Goff of Brinehaus Meat & Provisions and ciders from Noble Cider, Urban Orchard, Appalachian Mountain, and James Creek. Get all the details here 

Food Bank Corner

  • No child or family should go hungry during the holidays… and with your help, they won’t! That’s the power of your giving when you share a meal from your table to theirs. Help reach the goal of 2.5 million meals before December 31!
  • A gift of $35 will feed a child for twoFOUR months
  • A gift of $85 will provide groceries to an elderly couple for over twoFOUR months
  • A gift of $120 will provide enough food to sustain a familyTWO FAMILIES through the winter months
  • A gift of $210 will provide more than 1,0002,000 piping hot holiday meals to local families

    And your gift goes even further this winter. To help make sure our neighbors have enough to eat, friends of the Food Bank have generously agreed to match donations, up to $56,000, now through December 31st. Help ensure that no one goes hungry this holiday season…Share a meal today!

Raising a Ruckus

  • Fellow restaurateurs, Ruckus Pizza has created a non-profit organization, Raising a Ruckus (RAR), which works with local guidance counselors to help identify families most in need in our Wake County School system. These are families that without someone stepping in to help, would not have what many of us know as “Christmas.” In the spirit of the season, we would like to reach out to our fellow restaurant owners and see if you would be open to partnering with us for collaboration on this annual project.
    will take care of the organization of the project, including identifying the families needs, creating marketing materials, putting together all materials your restaurant would need and coordinating the pickup and delivery of the items to these families. What we are asking of you is to consider “adopting” one of these families with us and promoting the giving tree in your location and working to collect all items on the family’s wish list. More often than not, most items are basics like socks, pants, a jacket, a gift card for groceries, a new doll and other basic items.
    With several of us working together, we can partner to help provide for those most in need in our area and allow our customers to get involved in the giving process. This is a brief summary of the program, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on how to get involved or if you have more questions. We hope you will consider a partnership together during the time of year that can often be one of the most difficult for those in need. For more information contact:

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