Friday Fun Food Facts – May 10, 2019

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • Yep. She’s a badass. We already knew that, but now the entire world knows that Raleigh is home to Ashley Christensen, the nation’s top outstanding chef as selected by the James Beard Foundation. This past Monday Christensen brought home the hardware after going up against four other Beard finalists including: David Kinch, Los Gatos, California; Marc Vetri, Philadelphia; Corey Lee, San Francisco; Donald Link, New Orleans. Christensen took over the old Poole’s Diner, which first opened in 1945, in downtown Raleigh in 2007. That small location, with its homey atmosphere and southern food, soon became a sensation as it dished out patron-favorite macaroni and cheese and other updates on traditional Southern cuisine. Christensen’s group also includes Death and Taxes, Beasley’s Chicken and Honey, Chuck’s and the Fox Liquor Bar. Well done and well deserved. Visit all her restaurants here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • And if that is not enough awesomeness out of Ashley Christensen in one week, WRAL reported that Happy and Hale has teamed up with James Beard award winner for a special salad in honor of her upcoming pizza restaurant. The Pooleside Salad will be available at all four locations May 16 through Aug. 14 and features arugula, kale, charred squash, marinated peas, roasted tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, crispy sopressata, toasted seed mix, basil yogurt and an oregano and roasted tomato vinaigrette. Fifty cents from each Pooleside Salad will be donated to NextStep Raleigh, a community-based paralysis recovery and fitness center, started by Whiskey Kitchen co-owner Michael Thor’s family. Thor suffered a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident in Raleigh in 2015. NextStep will also receive all proceeds from each limited edition Pooleside Salad T-shirt sold. Check out Happy and Hale here.
  • Saw this week in Ashton Mae Smith’s weekly email that August 3rd is the target date for the reopening of Moore Square in downtown Raleigh. As you will recall, Empire Eats, the group behind The Pit (Raleigh & Durham), Raleigh Times, Morning Times, Gravy, Sitti, and The Mecca, will be leasing the cafe on the property. No word yet on what kind of fare they will be bringing to the park. Will we watching this one closely. Visit Empire Eats here.
  • Also, saw on Ashton Mae Smith’s Twitter feed that the folks over at Calavera had their soft opening earlier this week and are now officially open in their new space at 615 W. Morgan Street (in the former Moonlight Pizza spot). For now, they are just open for dinner, but will be adding lunch soon. Get by and check them out. Visit them here on Facebook.
  • In Cary, a follower on Twitter shared the news that a restaurant called Himalayan Grill Restaurant & Bar has opened at 1207 Kildaire Farm Road in the former Super Asian Buffet spot. They specialize in Indian and Nepalese cuisine. Check them out here. Thanks Chris!
  • And in the eastern part of Wake County my buddy David McCreary shared two bits of news from those parts. First up, One Stop Market, which serves a wide variety of scratch-made Italian provisions, now has inside seating available. It’s located inside a Citgo convenience store/gas station at 101 Dickens Road in Fuquay-Varina. Check out here on Facebook. And secondly, Blind Pelican Seafood House is now open at 120 Bass Lake Road in Holly Springs. Check them out here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Started doing the happy dance this week when reader Joe Keilholz shared the news that the masterminds behind KoKyu BBQ joint are opening another location in the former Cure Deli & Cafe spot at 245 E NC-54. That is just 2.5 miles from their current Kokyu joint Na’Mean. No word yet on a timeline – but the sign is up! Get to know them here.
  • The News & Observer reported this week that Bull City Solera and Taproom is the new beer-centric project from Seth Gross, who also owns Bull City Burger and Brewery and Pompieri Pizza. It will open this fall  in the shuttered Chick-fil-A at 4120 University Drive, behind Target. Construction will start this summer to transform the fast-food restaurant. The drive-thru window will be built over, and Solera will have outdoor seating and tables and fire pits on its patio. For the menu, Gross plans “Mexican Pizza” and “Italian Tacos,” as well as vegan and gluten-free options, saying in a release that the restaurant won’t repeat what’s going on in his other restaurants. Keep up with their progress here.
  • The Triangle Business Journal reported this week that a Chicago-based Italian-American cuisine restaurant and entertainment concept called Pinstripes will be opening inside The Streets at Southpoint in Durham. Pinstripes, alongside food, wine and cocktails, also combines bowling and bocce ball to its repertoire. No word yet on an exact timeline. Get familiar with them here.
  • Got word this week that a Haitian Caribbean Cuisine inspired restaurant called Pierro ToGo opened about a month ago at 2100 Angier Ave. in Durham. Jethro Pierre is the owner/chef and he originally set up shop in Emporia VA and has now branched out with this being the first in the Triangle. Get to know them here.
  • And finally, the most curious restaurant news of the week (and possibly the year). Chatham County News informed us this week that Siler City is getting a Chick-fil-A. That certainly is not extraordinary news. But what makes this news worthy of something you might hear on April 1, is the fact that it will open inside the Mountaire Farms chicken processing plant. And yes, in case you were wondering, Mountaire is a supplier for Chick-fil-A (talk about fresh). And yes it will be accessible to the general public. Only in Siler City…


  • Got word this week that the Cameron Village location of Brixx Wood Fired Pizza closed this past Sunday. Already hearing rumblings of something else coming into that space, so stay tuned.
  • Reader Jeff Dunmire shared the hard-to-believe news that Char-Grill has closed in Garner. That’s the bad news. But apparently there is already a sign announcing “Indian Street Food” coming soon. Who doesn’t like Indian street food!?!
  • The folks over at EatRaleigh reported that the couple behind the amazing Filipino market and restaurant Bitter Melon in Angier have decided to retire, and will be closing shop on May 26th. There is still time to get by!

Food Trucks 

  •  Thanks to a note from Mark Ginsberg, I learned that the Knightdale Food Truck Thursdays is getting ready to kick back up for the season. The event is held the third Thursday of the month from April through October at Knightdale Station Park for lunch AND dinner. Get all the details, truck schedule and more here.
  • Go ahead and mark down the dates for 2019 for the Durham Food Truck rodeos – they are: June 16, September 1 and November 3! Get all the dates here.
  • And the dates for the 2019 edition of the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo have been released – they are Sunday May 5th – 12-6pm (Cinco de mayo ); Sunday June 9th – 12-6pm; Sunday August 4th – 3pm-9pm ( Evening Rodeo ); and Sunday Oct 6th – 12-6pm. All are held along Fayetteville Street. Get all the details here.


  •  Der Biergarten at 1080 Darrington Dr. in Cary will host a Grand Opening Lawn Party starting at 2 p.m. this Saturday, May 11 with live music, giveaways, prizes, face painting, scavenger hunts for both kids and adults, an arts and crafts station, and food and drink specials. Check it out here.
  • Saturday, May 18th is the date for the 14th Annual Carolina Pig Jig, a BBQ cook-off at the NC State Fairgrounds and part of the Got To Be NC Festival. The event runs from 11 a.m. until the BBQ runs out. All proceeds go go to the Masonic Home for Children. Get all the details here.
  • In fact, the entire Got To Be NC Festival is next Friday, May 17 through Sunday, May 19 at the NC State Fairgrounds. The event features a full carnival with more than 30 rides, food vendors and games of chance. On Friday and Sunday, thrill seekers can take advantage of an unlimited-ride wristband for just $20. Additionally, North Carolina food companies, breweries and wineries will be sampling and selling some of the most delightful flavors North Carolina has to offer in the Homegrown Marketplace from Friday 12-8pm, Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday 10am-6pm. Get all the details here.
  • Mark your calendar for May 19th from 5 to 8 p.m. and make your way over to Pittsboro for their Farm & Art Dinner where they will celebrate Chatham’s culinary artistry, visual and performing artistry, and appreciation for small family farms. Main Street Pittsboro will welcome friends, guests and family to a table in the center of Hillsboro Street to discover, acknowledge, and honor the skills of local chefs, farmers, and artists in this fundraiser to continue the mission of revitalizing the historic downtown district. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • Also on May 19th from 5-8 p.m., the Rickhouse will host Durham Strong to help support those  injured or out of work from the explosion that shook downtown Durham. The event will feature live music, food, drink and a silent auction. $150 VIP early admission (4 p.m.) with an exclusive “In the Parlour” discussion with our city’s food leaders, or $100 for regular admission. Participants include:It’s a Southern Thing; COPA; Viceroy; Lula & Sadies’; Ramblers  ; Louella Wine Beer & Beverage; Alley 26; Fullsteam; Durham Distillery; Union Member House; The Parlor; Loaf; East Durham Bake Shop; and more. All proceeds go to the Bull City Strong Fund with Upserve Works in Durham 501(c)(3) and will benefit those injured or out of work from the explosion. Get details and tickets here.
  • The Apex Latino Festival will take place on Saturday, June 1 from 3-10 p.m in downtown Apex. Celebrate the Latino culture with children’s arts and crafts workshops, local Latino art exhibits, a culinary event, Latin American dance, music performances, and an authentic arts and crafts bazaar. Purchase a passport to sample tasty authentic food and dessert delights from over 12 different Latino Countries. Get all the details here.
  • The annual Farm to Fork Picnic returns to Fearrington Village in Chatham County on June 2nd from 4-7 pm. Visit the beautiful grounds of ​Fearrington Village​, where ​dozens of the area’s best chefs, farmers, artisan producers and beverage providers ​will create a dizzying array of delectable dishes highlighting the bounty of the season. The Picnic also features fun activities for children, live music, and surprises for the whole family. Tickets for adults are $100. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On Saturday, June 8th from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.  the Town of Cary will host the Pimento Cheese Festival where food trucks will line Academy Street to serve their regular menu, along with new dishes featuring a southern delicacy: pimento cheese! Enjoy live music at the Downtown Park, grab a drink from local breweries, and taste some of the best pimento cheese samples from local restaurants. You can even test your skills in the pimento cheese sculpting contest. Get all the details here.
  • Taste celebrates the vibrant Durham-Chapel Hill culinary scene with a festival of food & beverage events, June 26-30, 2019. All told, the event features 5 premium culinary events. New for this year, they are offering back-to-back nights of their signature Grand Taste Experience at the Durham Armory – with each night featuring over 30 great local restaurants. The week also boasts a 1920s themed Speakeasy Nightclub at a secret location, a 6-Course Southern Feast Dinner at Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club and a Boozy Brunch at Clouds Brewing. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • One of my favorite annual events released details about their event dates and when tickets will go on sale. The 10th anniversary edition of Terra Vita Food & Drink Festival will take place in Chapel Hill October 16 – 19, 2019. Tickets go on sale July 11, so put that date on your calendar to snap up the quick sell-outs! Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • The annual National Association of Letter Carriers will hold their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive TOMORROW Saturday, May 11. The annual drive, where you leave non-perishable goods at your mailbox, supports food distributions to families experiencing food-insecurity. Get all the details here.

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