Friday Fun Food Facts – September 27, 2019

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •  Everyone is talking about Wegman’s opening in Raleigh this weekend. Whatever. (OK, just kidding – that is very cool). But we are more excited that WRAL reported that award-winning chef Ashley Christensen will open her first fast-casual fried chicken restaurant in the Wegman’s development in Raleigh in the spring of 2020. This will be the first of three of the yet-to-be-named concepts centered around a fast-casual chicken sandwich, offering five different versions. The other two locations will be in Durham (University Hill) and Cary (Parkside Town Commons). A new website, titled Project Xtra Crispy, promotes the project, but is not the final name or branding. The other two locations are expected to launch later in 2020. Visit the site here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • The News & Observer reported this week that chef Regan Stachler (who closed Little Hen in 2017) will return this fall with a new wine bar, teaming up with Fuquay-Varina’s Cellar 55 and owner Bill Wigington. The wine shop and bar are located at 1351 E. Broad St. in the Fuquay Crossing shopping center. The new restaurant is named Laurel, planning a Mediterranean-focused menu largely of snacks that pair well with wines. Cellar 55 will remain primarily a retail wine and beer shop, but seating for more than 30 has been added. The shop will still pour wines and beer, but Laurel will feature about a dozen wines by the glass selected by Stachler. Laurel will open in mid-October with full service running Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a limited menu Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. He said he’s already setting his sights on expanding Laurel, as he looks for a location for the wine bar in Cary. Follow Cellar 55 here.
  • In downtown Raleigh, Ashton Mae Smith noted on her weekly blog that Brewerks Cafe & Bakery on Lane Street in downtown Raleigh has closed. But she also noted that some work appears to be happening inside. The folks over @reSPECT4UsNow informed us that a concept called Smoke Stacks Cafe will be opening in that space. We were unable to find an online presence for them. Stay tuned.
  • Also in downtown Raleigh, the folks at Offline Raleigh shared the news that Alimentari at Left Bank opened in Transfer Co. Food Hall this week, meaning the main part of the hall is officially full! (Longleaf Swine BBQ will still be opening later this year in a slightly different area of the building.) This new collab between the chef and owner of Mothers and Sons in Durham and Left Bank Butchery in Saxapahaw is bringing serious Italian specialties, including fresh pasta and homemade sauces, the freshest cuts of meat from animals raised locally with care (including some charcuterie) and great sandwiches. Get to know them here.
  • If you’ve bought a car recently, you know the process can be arduous and one can work up quite an appetite. Well, the folks at the new Crossroads Ford dealership have jumped on what appears to be a trend working its way across America by opening a restaurant inside the dealership. It is called Mustang Charlies (love the name!). You don’t need to be there getting your vehicle serviced to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can just go and enjoy. Check them out here. Thanks to Michelle Alarcon for the heads up!
  • Reader Hugh Autry brought it to our attention that the Garner, NC Facebook page noted that a new bar/BBQ place is coming to Main Street (106 E. Main Street to be exact) called Shady’s. No word on an open date, but they are getting closer as they just got new doors and windows. Keep up with their progress and opening announcement here.
  • Also while on the Garner, NC Facebook page, noticed that Carolina Fish Fry Co. is opening next week on Highway 50 at 1566 Benson Rd. where Burger King used to be. Can’t find an online presence, but looks like they have locations in Clinton, Jacksonville, Wallace, Wilmington and Dunn.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  •  Missed this last week, but WRAL reported that 401 Main, the new upscale dive bar from Chapel Hill native Chris Baldwin and Al Bowers of Al’s Burger Shack opened a little over a week ago. 401 Main features seafood and veggie po’boys, a full bar, and an extensive beer list. Their outdoor space features two patios and allows dogs. Cold Beer. Fresh Seafood. Friendly Dogs. Works for me! Check them out!
  • The folks over at Bites of Bull City brought it to our attention that you will soon have the perfect spot to meet up for fun, causal D.I.Y. crafting projects while enjoying a local beer, glass of cider or wine. Crafts and Drafts NC will open Oct. 5 in North Durham at 3117 Guess Road. Get all the details here.
  • Bites of Bull City also informed us that the next PopUp at American Tobacco Campus (359 Blackwell Street) will feature two concepts in October. First up, a former employee of Durham’s famed Counter Culture will be opening up a “restaurant disguised as a coffee shop” called Jet Plane Coffee at 812 N. Mangum Street, but first, he’ll take over the Pop-up space. The second, and a perfect complement, will be Sweet Charlies delicious rolled ice cream, who also has a permanent location in South Durham. This will be a great time for downtown residents and workers to check it out. Both will be making an appearance throughout October. Visit Sweet Charlies here, visit Jet Plane here, or the PopUp website here.


  • Dana McCall informed us that the Zoës Kitchen on Oberlin Road in Raleigh has closed.
  • And over in Cary, reader Rachael Goer informed us that the Greek Fiesta at Stone Creek has closed.

Food Trucks 

  • Ashton Mae Smith noted in her weekly blog last week that the Longo family at Vic’s Italian Restaurant in Raleigh’s City Market (and on Lake Boone Trail) is getting a food truck! No word on when it will hit the streets as they are still trying to figure out what to name it! Weigh in on the naming of their truck on Michael Longo’s Facebook page here.
  • The next Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo happens Sunday, October 27th from 12-4pm at 405 S. Brooks St. downtown Wake Forest! Just about everything and anything that is served from the back of a truck will be featured from savory food and dessert vendors. In addition, a beer tent will be provided by Brooks Street Bowl, live music, a variety of craft vendors, and a Kid’s Zone. Get all the details on their Facebook page here.
  • The last 2019 Durham Food Truck Rodeo is November 3! Get all the details here. And the remaining two dates for the 2019 edition of the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo are: Sunday Oct 6th – 12-6pm; and the make-up date on November 10th. All are held along Fayetteville Street. Get all the details here.


  • It is that time of year again…time to nominate your favorite people and businesses for the 2019 Voters’ Choice Awards. There are a ton of areas/categories, but of course our favorite is the Food & Drink category where you can nominate everything from your favorite deli to your favorite watering hole. You can also nominate things like your favorite Twitter personality (cough, cough) your favorite blogger (again, cough, cough) or your favorite caterer (boy, this cough is bad). Nominations will close on the morning of Oct. 14. The finalists will be revealed on Oct. 21 and voting will be open through Dec. 1. Winners will be announced on Jan. 9, 2020, at a cocktail event for finalists. Start your voting here.
  • This Sunday, September 29th is a special farm-to-school fundraiser benefiting Working Landscapes! At Chefs on the Farm, you’ll enjoy small plates prepared on-site by eight top regional chefs. This year’s participating culinary teams, who hail from the Triangle and the Warren County area, are from 41Hundred, Chef Mario’s, Coronato, Hen and the Hog, Honey’s Kitchen, Robinson Ferry, Saint Jacques French Cuisine, and Whiskey Kitchen. Each dish will feature fruits, vegetables or meats from local farmers.  Craft cocktails and beers are also included, along with live music from GrassStreet! Tickets and details can be found here.
  • The 2019 NCRLA Chef Showdown final event is coming to Durham on Monday, September 30! The culinary participants, all based in North Carolina, advanced after cooking up the highest-rated dishes across five statewide preliminary rounds and partaking in regional rounds in Raleigh and Charlotte. Chefs and pastry chefs will prepare savory and sweet portion-sized dishes for attendees, while a team of mixologist and distillery pairs whip up can’t-miss cocktails for guests to sip on. At the end of the night, the top titles of Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year and Mixologist & Distillery of the Year will be announced. Tickets are now on sale for the event on Monday, Sept. 30 from 6-8:30 p.m. at Angus Barn’s Bay 7 in Durham.
  • The Root Cellar Cafe & Catering will host the 8th annual Porkapalooza Festival at its Chapel Hill restaurant on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 6:30 p.m. The eagerly anticipated porktastic farm dinner will offer eight small plate courses, featuring locally raised pork from Burnette Ranch in Pittsboro and handcrafted beers from Fuquay-Varina’s Mason Jar Lager Co. This is the 8th anniversary of what has become one of the signature food events in North Carolina. Tickets for Porkapalooza include all food and drink and are $69. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • October 5th is the second annual Festa Italiana Raleigh from 12 to 8 p.m. It is a celebration of Italian culture, wine and food! Location: 609 Tucker St (corner of Tucker and N. Boylan). Get all the details here.
  • St. Ann Church in Clayton will host their 11th International Food Festival on October 5th from 11-6 p.m. featuring foods from 20 countries prepared by parishioners. The family friendly event also includes live international entertainment on stage, children’s games and a silent auction. Admission and parking are free. Get all the details here.
  • Also on October 3rd, Big Boss Brewing Company will host the 9th Annual Casktoberfest, a mashup of old world beer cultures where European style festival traditions collide and the brewery is transformed into a traditional beer hall while serving a variety of specialty cask ale. This is a pay as you go event, no advance purchase or ticket is required. Taproom opens at 3pm,  “Beer Hall” opens at 5pm. Big Boss is located at 1249 Wicker Drive in Raleigh. Get all the details here.
  • And if that is not enough for one day, the folks over at The Beltline Buzz reminded us that The Tacos N Taps Festival will take you south of the border for some foodie fun. This all-you-care-to-taste beer and tequila festival is Saturday, October 5 from 1-5pm at Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre and offers up some of the Triangle’s best tacos and Mexican food, the best dancing music from the Triangle area DJs, margaritas, piñata punching, contests and many other surprises. Get all the details here.
  • On October 6, TROSA will hold their 5th Annual Foodie Fundraiser for TROSA co-presented by Sysco Raleigh. This fun, family-friendly event will feature music, games, crafts with The Scrap Exchange, and an amazing sampling of food from some of the Triangle’s best chefs and restaurants. The current list includes: Foster’s Market, Guglhupf, J. Betski’s, Linda J’s Cupcakes, Local 22, Mateo, Parizade, Rise, Rue Cler, Sage & Swift Gourmet Catering, Saltbox Seafood Joint, Scratch, Talullas, and Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe and more. Tickets are limited and on sale now for $30/Adult; $10/Children ages 5-12. Children 4 and under free. Get tickets and event info here.
  • On Tuesday, October 8th, chef Greg Goldberg will host a Hungarian Wine Dinner at Uninhibited Tapas along with Rooted Selections. Tickets are $95 for the 5 course meal. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • On October 9th. Locals Seafood and Locals Oyster Bar are hosting a special four-course dinner benefiting Ocracoke Seafood. Ocracoke Seafood was badly damaged as floodwaters from Hurricane Dorian rushed across the island. As the last fish house on the island, Ocracoke Seafood is critically important to the livelihood of local fishermen and their families. Proceeds from this event will be donated to Ocracoke Foundation’s efforts to repair Ocracoke Seafood. In addition to the dinner, we’re running a special Ocracoke Platter until October 9th. The platter features fried fish, shrimp, hushpuppies, and slaw and is available all day. $10 from each platter sold will be donated to Ocracoke Foundation’s efforts to repair Ocracoke Seafood. This is a joint fundraising effort by Locals Oyster Bar and Locals Seafood. Get tickets to the dinner here and the website for Locals Oyster Bar here and Locals Seafood here.
  • John Huisman, aka Triangle Explorer, recently shared via Twitter that the annual Beericana festival is scheduled for Saturday, October 12th at Sugg Farm Park in Holly Springs. The event is from noon until 6 p.m. and features nearly 70 breweries (count at this point). It is a craft beer and music festival that brings great beer from breweries from across the state of North Carolina (and some from beyond) for attendees to enjoy. Tickets are $45, or $75 for VIP (2 hour early access). Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Also on October 12th, Durham Bowls, a project pairing local chefs with school nutrition managers to develop new, delicious, and “school food”-compliant recipes for school lunch, are hosting their 2nd annual Durham Bowls Food Fest on October 12th at the Scrap Exchange in Durham. Tickets ($6 and $3) include a tasting of each of the 10 new recipes, a chance to vote for the People’s Choice award, live music, lots of great organizations tabling, and more. It’s super fun, and people leave full! Get your tickets and all the details here.
  • This is it. Your last chance. I’ve been touting this amazing event that Colleen Minton dreamed up 10 years ago and now we are at the 10th and FINAL Terra Vita Food & Drink Festival in Chapel Hill October 16-19, 2019. Yep, you read that right. This is the grand finale. There will be no more. And heed my last (and final) warning – tickets will not last. If you’ve never been – GO! If you’ve been, don’t miss the last one. If you don’t know, it is a multi-day celebration that brings together top chefs, food artisans, sommeliers, baristas, brewers, educators, distillers, cookbook authors and industry luminaries from across the Southeast to celebrate culinary excellence and sustainability in food and drink. Get tickets and details here on all the events that week.
  • Triangle Oktoberfest, a two-day beer, food and music festival celebrating German culture and benefiting local and international charities, will hold its 6th annual event on Friday, October 18, from 5 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, October 19, from noon to 9 p.m. at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre. The festival is organized by Apex Sunrise and Cary MacGregor Rotary Clubs in collaboration with the Town of Cary. Get all the details here.
  • On Sunday, November 3rd, more than 30 of the Triangle’s finest restaurants will be paired with world-class wines at the third annual Sip + Savor – A Wine, Food and Music Experience.  Sip + Savor will showcase 30+ culinary all-stars, sommeliers, on-stage experience with live music, VIP lounge, and more. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will hold their Brewer’s Ball on November 8, 2019 from 6:30-10pm at The Rickhouse in Durham. The Ball  is an evening celebrating the Triangle’s “finest” young professionals and features food, beer, live music, live and silent auctions, and a chance to mingle, all while being a part of a great cause: helping move us closer to a cure for cystic fibrosis.  This one-of-a-kind beer tasting event has grown each year with the 2018 event hosting over a dozen different vendors including local craft breweries, and food from several Triangle area restaurants. The event will be capped at 300 people and tickets have sold out every year! Get tickets and details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • This year for Hunger Action Month in September, we’re asking everyone we know to #ShareYourWhy – what makes fighting hunger so important to them as an individual or a company. That can be on social media, one one of our special #ShareYourWhy banners at our six branches, or even in conversation with a friend or family member. With our collective voices, we can make sure that the issue of hunger, and the solutions we can all help build, are lifted up. Everyone has a role to play in ending hunger. Hunger Action Month is your opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our effort to feed more North Carolinians than ever before. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making a donation, having a short conversation with friends, or volunteering, you can find the way that’s right for you to make a difference during Hunger Action Month. Together, we can solve hunger. Find out more here.

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