Friday Fun Food Facts – December 20, 2019

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • Next week should be a slow week for everyone …at least let’s hope so. So, as you lounge on the couch by the fireplace looking for a good read, we will release our End of the Year Edition where we will highlight all that happened in 2019 and take a look ahead at what to expect and get excited about that is heading our way in 2020. And to give you a sneak peek, it looks like 2020 is shaping up to be the year of three letters….B…B….Q. That’s right, in 2020, 11…count them…11 barbecue joints are in the “que” to open in 2020. We will have all of that and so much more for you on Monday. Enjoy your week next week, slow down a little, unplug, and enjoy your family and friends! Here’s to a great 2020!

Wake County Restaurant News

  • The Triangle Business Journal shared some potentially big news this week that we will have to wait until New Year’s Eve to confirm. The news surrounds the possible sale of a Raleigh institution – Irregardless Cafe. Arthur Gordon founded the restaurant in 1975 and since then it has been a foundation of the Raleigh dining scene and always on the list of places you have to go. What TBJ has been able to confirm is that Gordon is planning a special event on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the restaurant, thank people for their support, and announce the sale. TBJ also confirmed that the new ownership group is local and in very close proximity to Irregardless. Stay tuned. In the meantime, visit them here.
  • Ever since I first met Jake Wood at Jason Smith’s 18 Seaboard, I have been a huge fan. I followed him as he left there and took the helm at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen in Raleigh. Well, he announced recently that he has left naturally I’m on Jake watch. And I’m happy to report that he posted this week what appears to be at least part of a logo for his next venture and it includes the words – barbecue, oysters and beverages. That’s the good news. The rest of the story we will just have to be patient and await the big announcement – which I assume will be made in early 2020. Don’t keep us waiting too long Jake!
  • The folks over at ITB Insider and York Properties shared with us that there is a new breakfast, brunch and lunch joint is coming to Cameron Village. The Daily Fare just signed a lease for the former Brixx Pizza space at Berkshire Cameron Village. They will be serving daily from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning in May 2020. Here’s the announcement on York’s Instagram.
  • Norse Brewing Company opened to a huge crowd yesterday (Thursday, December 19) at 203 Brooks Street in downtown Wake Forest. As they open and start to fill their tanks, they have collaborated with some of their friends and have those beers available as well – Raleigh Brewing Company, Bond Brothers, Lynwood and Deep River to name a few. Get familiar with them here and pay them a visit over the holidays.
  • Also opening this week just in time for the holidays is Sir Walter Coffee + Kitchen at 242 S Main St. in Holly Springs in the new Town Hall Commons. In addition to their coffee and tea, they have a full kitchen serving breakfast, light lunch and all day snacks. Get to know them here.
  • Down in Johnston County, we shared last week that Redneck BBQ Lab was the first signed tenant of the Old North State Food Hall. This week the News & Observer shared they didn’t have to go far either for their second announcement – Clayton coffee shop Boulevard West will join the Interstate-95 food hall as well.  They will open next spring off of Interstate 95 in Selma. Learn all about the food hall here.
  • A quick reminder that Brew’s last day at Seaboard will be tomorrow, December 21st when they will be hanging out in the morning and then closing a little early to start packing. They have set a planned opening date of December 27th for Gateway Plaza! During that transition, you can visit their locations at either McNeil Pointe or in downtown Cary. Find out more on their website here.
  • In North Raleigh, reader Burke Williams shared that Bali Hai will be opening a new location in North Raleigh beside Sassools in Harvest Oaks Plaza on Strickland. Build out has just begun in the old 6 Flavors (Aarusuvai) Indian Restaurant & Bar spot. Bali Hai already has locations in Raleigh and Durham. Check them out here.
  • Burke Williams also shared that Papaya Chicken in Bent Tree Plaza at the corner of Falls of Neuse Rd and Strickland, has transitioned into a new concept called El Rincon Peruano. Looks to be the sameowners as the website is the same. Check it out here.
  • And WRAL brought it to our attention that we should extend a high-five to Brewery Bhavana and Crawford and Son both in downtown Raleigh for making OpenTable’s list of the Top 100 restaurants in the Country. OpenTable compiled the list based on more than 12 million guest reviews of 30,000 restaurants across the United States. Bhavana, located at 218 S. Blount St., has received numerous awards since opening in March 2017. It was named one of the 10 Coolest Places to Eat in the world in 2018 by Forbes and one of Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants in America.Visit Crawford here and Bhavana here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • As we have already shared, Matt Kelly is aiming to reopen Saint James Seafood in mid-January. The restaurant has been closed since the April 2019 gas explosion in Durham. However, you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy some of your favorite dishes from Saint James. Menu specials from Saint James are available at chef Matt Kelly’s other Durham restaurants throughout December. For instance, the Maine Lobster Roll at Lucky’s; “Crab Dip” at Vin Rouge; “Aguachile” at Mateo; and Squid Ink Pasta Shells at Mothers & Sons.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, the watch continues for the opening of First Watch at Chapel Hill’s East 54 in the former Egg & I location (First Watch owns Egg & I and this is part of the process as they transition those stores). Carrie Brogren of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group on Facebook indicated that it would be this week…but we know how things go in Chapel Hill. Visit First Watch here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, Nancy Luberoff shared with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group that Just Salad will be opening up near Whole Foods on Elliott Road. There is no signage up yet, but Carrie Brogren confirmed that it is listed on Village Plaza website. There is also a location in Raleigh’s Lake Boone shopping center. Get to know them here.


  •  A reminder that after a 30+ year run, Sunflower’s Cafe located over in front of Seaboard Station on Peace Street, will close their doors for the final time tomorrow, Saturday, December 21.

Food Trucks 

  • If you are missing the food truck rodeos, my friend the BurgeoningBaker shared with me that we are are not far from the next one. The Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo is an all-ages Sunday afternoon gathering of dozens of the Triangle’s most popular food trucks, five times each year. And the first one in 2020 is on January 25! Get more details and updates here.
  • As things get cold, here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.


  • The good folks over at Chatham County’s Root Cellar will host their New Year’s Eve Wine Dinner – on December 31. The dinner features an all-inclusive 3-course meal, featuring the creative talents of chef Sera Cuni and wine pairings from Vino Wine Shop. Tickets are $75. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On January 16th, the fine folks over at Sassool Cafe in Cary will team up with Steven Ashton, a holistic nutritionist from Earth to Fork Nutrition, to bring you a 5-course Mediterranean Spice of Life Dinner focused on highlighting spices that not only add great flavor, but bring tremendous health benefits. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • The 8th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the DPAC. The event pairs delicious local restaurants, with breweries from across the nation. Unlimited food and beer samplings will be spread throughout all three floors at DPAC, plus the On Stage Experience will bring guests up onto the performing arts stage to showcase even more food, beverages and live music. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • ‘Tis the season…to double your impact! This holiday season, you can make twice the difference for children, families and seniors facing hunger. Generous friends of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina have agreed to match every gift you give through December 31- up to $174,000! Donate here!

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