Friday Fun Food Facts – March 7, 2014

Triangle Restaurant News

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

 Featured Restaurant News

  •  In hopes of “willing” the warm weather, our featured news this week is this weekend’s (Sunday, March 9th) Food Truck Rodeo over in Durham’s Central Park. It will be held on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The Brooklyn-based 10-piece band PitchBlak Brass Band is playing at the rodeo, and Kidznotes is slated to present a musical showcase and instrument zoo. Get all the details here.

Wake County Restaurant News 

  • So it is official now. Driftwood Southern Kitchen in Lafayette Village officially opened to the public this past Wednesday. Billed as a farm to table restaurant inspired by Southern ingredients, you can visit them here.
  • For over 10 years  Mike Choa Hui Chen and Bobo Liew ran Fortune Palace in Raleigh before closing it in 2012. Now, two years later, they have re-opened as Red Pepper Asian Restaurant offering dishes from Chinese, Thai and Malaysian cuisines (along with some Fortune Palace favorites). Visit them at 4121-109 New Bern Avenue (Wilders Grove Shopping Center) in Raleigh or online here.
  • New Raleigh reported this week that downtown Raleigh’s South Street will soon be getting a new bakery called Boulted Bread. NR suggested that it will be in the next few weeks, but we’ll keep our eye on it. Get more details here.
  • And speaking of bakeries, the News & Observer reported this week that, pending inspections, we will get North Carolina’s first Iraqi bakery next week when Sue Al-Atar opens Baghdad Bakery at 744 Chatham Street in Cary. The bakery will specialize in samoon, a diamond-shape loaf baked in a stone oven. The oven will also turn out a flatbread similar to Indian naan, as well as a variety of specialty foods with a focus on Iraqi provenance.
  • The News & Observer’s Greg Cox reported this week that Posta Tuscan Grille, the Italian restaurant in the Raleigh Marriott City Center, is slated for a makeover. The new concept will feature Low Country cuisine and they will unveil the new concept in September. Check them out here.
  • Thanks to reader John Lindsey, he noticed some activity in the former Subway location on Salisbury Street in downtown Raleigh. The new spot’s windows are covered in brown paper, but John noticed “London Burger” written on one of the windows. Remains a bit of a mystery at this point, but we’ll keep an eye on it. Thanks John!

Durham, Orange & Chatham County Restaurant News 

  • We got word this week that Smashburger is opening March 12 in Durham at the Pavilion East development (think TGIF Friday, Chipotle and Hungry Leaf) near Duke University Hospital. This will be the chain’s first Triangle area location. Check them out here.
  • Thanks to the Triangle Business Journal, we know that the first location in the area for Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom will open next Monday (March 10) in the 140 West Franklin complex in downtown Chapel Hill. In addition to pizza, this location will feature the restaurant’s new tavern-stye design and menu, featuring 110 different beers. Check them out here.
  • The Herald Sun is reporting that the owner of the Cinco de Mayo Mexican restaurants in Chapel Hill and Raleigh is planning to open a third restaurant in Durham in the former space of the El Agave Mexican Grill near N.C. 55’s intersection with N.C. 54. Take a peek at their Raleigh and Chapel Hill locations here.


  • Got the sad news this week that Chapel Hill’s Tracy’s New York Deli has closed. Chef Scott got an executive chef position that was too good to pass up and Tracy will return to commercial real estate. All my best to Scott and Tracy!
  • Also in Chapel Hill, we were able to confirm this week that Piola in Chapel Hill’s 54 East has closed their doors. However, the Raleigh location is still thriving.
  • And thanks to the keen eyes of reader Paul Hetzel, we learned that the KFC/Taco Bell on Six Forks Road in Raleigh across from Costco has closed.

Food Trucks 

  • As noted above, the next food truck rodeo at Durham Central Park is this Sunday, March 9th from noon to 4 p.m. The Brooklyn-based 10-piece band PitchBlak Brass Band is expected to play at the rodeo, and Kidznotes is slated to present a musical showcase and instrument zoo. Get all the details here.


  • If you’ve never been over to see the event space at The Cookery in Durham, this Saturday might be the perfect opportunity to see it live and in action. Their second Public House Night is this Saturday from 6-11pmSympathy for the Deli is roasting a pig and Iced Cupcakes will be serving sweet treats. The Duke vs. UNC basketball game will be shown on a 15 foot HD screen. Great beer, wine and cocktails for sale at the bar and entry is free. Check out their Facebook events page here.
  • If the saying, “I never met a meat I wouldn’t eat” fits you, then you’ll want to head over to Bull City Burger and Brewery in Durham during the month of March. Known as Exotic Meat Month, the popular burger joint will serve up such meats as caribou, python, elk, ostrich, iguana, alligator and edible bugs. Get all the details here.
  • The Hibernian is officially open “full-time” and just in time for the annual Hibernian St. Patrick’s Day Block Party which will be held from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday, March 15th at the downtown Raleigh location of Hibernian (and surrounding streets). Get more details here.
  • The Bull City Food & Beer Experience is back for its second year. This year’s event will be held at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) on March 9th at 4 p.m. The event pairs food from 30 Durham restaurants and unbelievable beer from 30 premier craft / import breweries. Tickets are $85.50. A limited number of exclusive VIP tickets are also available. Get all the details here.
  • If you are in the market for a new cookbook with a local twist, you’ll definitely want to check out Andrea Weigl’s new cookbook – Pickles & Preserves, a Savor The South cookbook. She has some book signings coming up, with the first on March 12th at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. Get all the details on her cookbook and signings here.
  • Got a note on my blog about an event coming up on March 15th called the Raleigh Tamale Festival, a Latino heritage festival, with tamale competition, soccer, music, dancing & more. It will be held in Raleigh at Peach Road Park from 1-4 p.m.
  • Here is an event you are definitely going to want to get on your calendar for this year. Two words: Beer. Bacon. That’s right, a Beer and Bacon Festival is coming to Cary’s Booth Amphitheater featuring at least 75 craft beers and 10 varieties of bacon (did you know there were 10 varieties?). The event will be held on March 29 from noon until 6 p.m. Get all the details and ticket information here. 
  • Wake Technical Community College will host their annual Culinary Arts Showcase on Tuesday, April 1st from 4-7 p.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center. Tickets are just $8 in advance. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On the evening of April 6th, downtown Raleigh’s Café Helios will be converted into a pop-up Japanese noodle restaurant called The Lucky. Matthew Bettinger and Zach Neuman’s concept is simple: A casual spot that offers counter-service of hot ramen noodles cooked in a pork-based broth. The Lucky is the first of six pop-up events, with each being its own entity. The next one will be at least a month after The Lucky. Everything begins at 7 p.m. and lasts until the noodles run out!
  • The 2nd Annual East Meets West food and performance festival celebrating Morrisville’s diverse community will be on Saturday, May 17, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission to the festival is free, tickets will be available for purchase to buy food, beer and wine. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner   

  • The Pit’s 6th Annual ‘Cuegrass Festival returns to Raleigh Saturday, April 26, with a jam-packed day full of great food and music, with all proceeds benefiting the Food Bank! Get all the details here.

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