Friday Fun Food Facts – March 23, 2018

Triangle Restaurant News

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •  One month after the Old Havana Sandwich Shop in Durham ended a seven-year run, the husband and wife team of Roberto Copa Matos and Elizabeth Turnbull will open the farm-to-table Cuban restaurant Copa today at 107 West Main Street in the larger, renovated former Revolution spot. Copa will start with lunch service this week, adding dinner and brunch in a week or so. The lunch menu is the Old Havana you may be familiar with, but the dinner menu is where Copa separates itself from Old Havana, with a menu comprised largely of tapas and small plates. Get to know them here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Just outside of Raleigh up in Franklin County, an email from Russ Vollmer of the Vollmer Farm indicated that he and his wife Vanessa are going to open a restaurant, a true farm to table restaurant, right on their farm in Bunn this fall. Called Rustic Root, it will tap into local farmers (including Russ) to source their menu and Vanessa’s background in the restaurant business. Stay in touch with their efforts and progress on their website here.
  • In Raleigh, reader Morgan Hinch-Wood notified us that there is a sign up for a Mega Pizza in the old Marco’s location at 9101 Leesville Road in the Food Lion shopping center. Not much of an online presence, so we will have to ask Morgan to keep an eye on this for us.
  • Over in Cary, saw in Offline Raleigh + Durham that Milk Lab has opened at 6418 Tryon Road serving up ‘rolled’ Thai ice cream with unlimited toppings and organic milk tea. Not much on their website yet, but you can get all the details on their Facebook page here.
  • Remember last week we told you that last weekend was the last chance to get by German Grille before they were closing their doors? Well, WRAL learned that they realized they needed a bit more time to say goodbye to their customers. To that end, they will be open limited hours over the next 3-4 weekends and continue offering brats, schnitzel and beer. They will also be selling off some of their German décor. Best course of action is to make reservations through their website here and keep up with their plans to wind down on their Facebook page here.
  • Down in Apex, reader Chris Creighton noticed a sign this week hanging outside the old Perkins restaurant on US 64 for a Ciudad Mexico coming soon. No word yet on a time-frame. Stay tuned amigos!
  • And finally, a couple of Saturday celebrations to attend tomorrow – Saturday, March 24. Escazu Chocolates will celebrate their 10th anniversary all day on Saturday with free birthday cake for all (while it lasts). They are located at 936 N. Blount Street in downtown Raleigh. Get all the details on their website here.
  • Also, Chronic Tacos will hold their grand opening celebration tomorrow at 9424 Falls of the Neuse Road featuring live music, an eating contest, lots of giveaways and an appearance by Wee Man. Get all the details here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • The wait is over. This past Wednesday saw the opening of East Durham Bake Shop at 406 South Driver Street. They specialize in handmade seasonally inspired pastries that can be paired with house-made soups and salads alongside locally roasted espresso beverages and organic teas. And of course their flaky, buttery, handmade sweet and savory pies. Check them out here.
  • Also in Durham, Glenn Gillen notified me that Urel’s Jamaica House is now open in the Hope Valley Shopping Center at 3825 S Roxboro Street. You can learn more about them on their Facebook page here.



  • Learned through the News & Observer, just after Greg Cox had reviewed and given them a very favorable 3 ½ stars, that Just Cookin’ in Garner has closed.
  • Reader Chris Creighton informed us that TGI Fridays in Cary on Kildaire & Tryon has closed. That leaves just one in Raleigh and one in Garner for our market.
  • Creighton also informed us that the Applebee’s at the corner of Gorman and Hillsborough Street in Raleigh has closed.

Food Trucks

  • The next Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo will be held on Sunday, April 8th from 12-4 at the Over the Falls shopping center located at 405 S. Brooks St. If you can’t make that, future rodeo dates are June 24th and October 28th. Check in with them on Facebook here.
  • The dates have been set for the Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo and Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeos. Check out Durham here and Raleigh here.
  • Two great sites to keep up with your favorite food trucks. Street Food Finder is one – find it here. And another, aptly named, is Roaming Hungerfind it here.


  • The Indy brought it to our attention that the Bull City Vegan Challenge will return to Durham for the fifth time in April (kicks off April 1), with chefs at ten downtown meat-centric restaurants creating specialty plant-based dishes that their menus will carry throughout the month, culminating in a competition decided by diners’ votes. This year’s participants, all full-service restaurants, are: Dos Perros, Parizade, Pompieri, M Kokko, Juju, Guglhupf, Counting House, Jack Tar Diner, Unscripted, and Grub. Visit their Facebook event page here.
  • Durham Magazine, Chapel Hill Magazine and Chatham Magazine return with their popular culinary event, Taste to take place April 18-22 highlighting the culinary talents along the Durham/Chapel Hill corridor. The event will feature over 30 of the area’s top chefs at four unique events throughout the week. Keep up with the latest and get tickets here.
  • The Third Annual Big Biscuit Showdown will be held Thursday, April 26 from 6-9pm at The Rickhouse in Downtown Durham. This unique food competition features teams comprised of Rise Biscuits & Donuts chefs and a local brewery or beverage company. Each Rise chef will prepare a special biscuit and donut with inventive toppings and fillings that will be paired with a local craft-made beverage. Tickets are $50 and available in advance here.
  • Want to enjoy food perfectly paired with some of the areas best brews amongst lions and tigers and bears…oh my? Well, maybe not bears, but lynxes and lemurs? Get tickets to the Conservators Center’s Lions, Tigers and Beer event to be held on May 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The event will feature six food and beer pairings from local chefs and breweries, as well as a walking tour. All proceeds from the event go to the Animal Care Fund at the Conservators Center. But hurry, only 80 tickets will be sold – $100 each or two for $180. Get them here.
  •  Tickets have gone on sale for Thrive NC set to take place at downtown Raleigh’s City Market on May 10-11. All ticket sale proceeds will be donated to North Carolina nonprofits that address issues related to food insecurity. Attendees will help determine which nonprofits receive funding from ticket sales. The two-day event will highlight the fact that 1.5 million people in the state struggle to buy affordable and fresh foods. A highlight of the event will be a two-day food festival featuring top chefs from 50 North Carolina restaurants serving food and drink samples against a backdrop of live music each night. Keep up with the details as they unfold here.
  • And the 2018 version of Farm to Fork expanded to three events over several seasons and tickets to all three just went on sale. The fun begins with the first event on June 3, the perennial favorite Farm to Fork Picnic, where the area’s best farmers and chefs are paired. Then on September 16 they’ll host a pop-up dinner featuring Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea Underground & Catering. And the series will conclude on December 6th with John T. Edge and a celebration of Southern food on Chapel Hill’s Lavender Oak Farm. You can buy ticket to each individual event, or all three. Get tickets and all the details on their site here.
  • The 2018 version of Chefs for Change, a fundraising dinner series that pairs the burgeoning Durham food scene with the needs of families experiencing homelessness, is well underway. The first two events (featuring Charlie Deal on March 12 and Scott Howell on May 14) have sold out. And if last year is any indication, the next two dinners will sell out quickly. The July 9th event features Phoebe Lawless (The Lakewood and Scratch) and the September 10th event features Gocciolina’s Aaron Benjamin. Each night the chef will serve three or more courses at a ticketed dinner with the proceeds benefiting Families Moving Forward. The dinners are held at the Rickhouse and limited to 125 people. Get all the details and tickets here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Sadly, this article by Matt Kupac is one of the best reminders of what many folks in our community are faced with every day – having to put food on the table with just $4.70. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program providing support to low-income, low asset people facing extreme food insecurity. Matt took the challenge to eat on $4.70 per day and here is what he experienced. Please support the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and their efforts right here in our community.

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