Friday Fun Food Facts – February 28, 2020

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •  The James Beard Foundation announced their semi-finalists this week, and again the Triangle was on display showcasing why we are so lucky to call this area home. Ashley Christensen’s restaurant Death and Taxes was named a semi-finalist this year for Outstanding Wine Program. The Angus Barn in Raleigh was named a semi-finalist for Outstanding Hospitality. Crawford and Son’s Krystle Swenson was named a semi-finalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. The best chef in the southeast award semi-finalist list included Steven Devereaux Greene of Herons in Cary, Cheetie Kumar of Garland in Raleigh and Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham. The James Beard Award finalists will be announced March 25. The awards will be presented at a gala on May 4 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. A complete list of the semi-finalists can be found here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Reader Jan Delory shared the news this week that Crab Du Jour Cajun Seafood and Bar held their grand opening this week, taking over the space formerly occupied by Mimi’s Cafe in Plantation Center at 6320 Plantation Center Dr. off Capital Blvd. You can get to know them here.
  • In Apex, reader David Amann shared that Mission Market is open at 124 N. Salem St. right next to the re-opened Peak on Salem (was Peak City Grill). Mission Market serves Counter Culture coffee, açaí bowls and smoothies, avocado toast and  is owned by the couple that owns Apex Outfitter. Get familiar with them here.
  • Over in Cary, we told you about this move back in January, but reader Andy Siouville confirmed that the move is complete – Noodle Blvd has completed their move from their tiny spot on N. Harrison in the Wal-Mart anchored Northwoods Shopping Center into the old Pizza Hut/Hotpoint Deli location at 1718 Walnut Street (Walnut Street and Buck Jones Road). Visit their Facebook page here and their website here.
  • Just a reminder that the State Farmers’ Market Restaurant reopens tomorrow, Saturday, February 29th after undergoing “maintenance, remodel and repair.” They are scheduled to re-open at 6 a.m. but check in with their Facebook page for any changes or announcements.
  • And finally, if you are not familiar with 321 Coffee, you should be. They are a nonprofit coffee shop that provides meaningful work experience to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently 321 operates out of the North Carolina Farmers’ Market (Thursday through Sunday at 1202 Agriculture Street), and they are just $50k short of their fundraising goal of moving into permanent space. They have raised $200k of their $250k goal in just four months! It is heart-warming to see the outpouring of support from not only the coffee community, but the community as a whole. Consider making a donation to this great cause or getting your company behind their efforts. Get all the details here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • In Durham, Kristen Venema shared with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies group that  Stephanie Rosse will be opening the Rockwood Dairy Bar, next to Nana’s, in a few weeks! Homemade ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes, homemade seltzers (Italian sodas), espressos, beignets and French pastries! We were not able to find an online presence, so stay tuned with further updates.
  • Saw in the Durham Magazine email this week that in March Bar Virgile owner Daniel Sartain and business partner Connell “Nellie” Vail plan to open an underground bar, Annexe, just below Bar Virgile at 105 S. Mangum St. The space features a bar with built-in turntables, pink Champagne on tap and a dance floor. Follow their progress on Instagram here.


  • WRAL reported this week that Calavera Empanadas and Tequila will not be reopening its doors. The restaurant closed in January after about eight months in business at 615 W. Morgan Street. There was a suggestion that their food would soon be available via a delivery service, but stay tuned on that.
  • And in Cary, friend Nancy Scotto shared that the Bruegger’s Bagels on SW Maynard Rd in Cary has closed.

Food Trucks 

  •  If you are enjoying the warmer-than-normal winter as much as I am, you will also sense that the food trucks are warming up as well. And that means food truck rodeos! Durham rolled out their first one already and their next one is next month. And last week, Raleigh rolled out their schedule for the year with the first one in May. Check out Raleigh’s schedule here and visit Durham’s here.
  • Here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.


  •  The 4th Annual Cooking for a Classic benefiting the kids at the Lucy Daniels Center began this week with round one on February 24-27. Round 2 is March 4 & 5. And the finale is on March 11. All events take place at 1705 East in Raleigh. New this year, enter a raffle to win a triple-black loaded 1969 Chevy Camaro! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • On March 1st, Locals Seafood will host their sixth annual Winter Seafood Jubilee at their oyster bar in downtown Raleigh. The 2020 Jubilee will feature a fish fry and oyster roast at Transfer Co. Food Hall. Special guests at the Jubilee will include oyster growers, fishermen and women, policy makers and industry stakeholders. This event gives consumers the opportunity to enjoy eating seafood while meeting the folks who harvest, produce, and advocate for our seafood resources. This educational event is free and open to the public. There are no tickets required for the Jubilee, but guests are encouraged to RSVP on Facebook here.
  • Then on March 2,  the celebration of seafood continues with the day-long NC Catch Summit. The Summit is an annual gathering of folks from every facet of the industry to discuss the state of North Carolina seafood and the industry as a whole. This year will be the first time the Summit is not held on the coast. Attendees can expect presentations and panel discussions from 9:30am to 4pm inside the Transfer Co. Ballroom. A break for lunch will allow attendees to enjoy food from the many vendors inside the food hall. The Summit is free and open to the public. Registration and all the details can be found here.
  • Also on March 2nd, The Umstead in Cary they will kick off a new quarterly program called Umstead Unbottled. It is an interactive classroom-style event with educational talks from Herons’ in-house sommeliers. Both somms have a passion for wine exploration and education and will walk customers through the Herons wine list. The first session, kicking off on Monday, March 2nd, will focus on Old World versus New World wines and will teach guests the differences between the classic styles. The event will be held quarterly, with a different area of focus for each session. Tickets are $45 plus tax and service fee, and can be purchased by calling 919-447-4050. For more information and to view a complete list of the hotel’s upcoming events, visit them here.
  • March 6th through 8th the Graham Building over at the NC State Fairgrounds will host the 34th International Festival of Raleigh. While there you will be able to enjoy delicious food from around the world and you’ll also find a great selection of international beers and wines. They suggest that you bring your appetite. Get tickets and all the details here. Thanks to reader Rua Mordecai for bringing this event to our attention!
  • On March 14th and 15th the Lebanese Festival returns, but in a new location. This year it will be held at the NC State Fairgrounds in the Kerr Scott Building and will feature Lebanese food, music, dancing, beer, wine, and lots of fun!! This event is free and open to all!! Get all the details on their Facebook events page here.
  • Durham-based Markay Media and UNC-TV will present a special screening of an episode of Somewhere South, a new series featuring award-winning chef Vivian Howard. The premier will take place at the Carolina Theater in Durham on Sunday, March 15 at 4:30 p.m. This celebration will also feature a Q&A with Howard and series director Cynthia Hill and tickets are $15.50. The show premiers at 9 p.m. March 27 on PBS stations nationwide. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • This sounds like a lot of fun – the Sisters vs. Sisters Battle on April 2nd that will pit the Sassool Sisters facing off against the Soul-Full Sisters in a family recipe battle like you’ve never tasted before! Noelle and Simone are the sisters that run the three Sassool restaurants in Raleigh and Cary. And Paten and Quinn are sister food bloggers and storytellers who just really love food. The battle pits Lebanese family recipes against Southern home cooking. The event will be held at 1705 East venue (1705 East Millbrook Road in Raleigh) at 6 pm on Thursday, April 2. The battle will benefit the Lucy Daniels Center, which supports programs in children’s mental health. You decide who wins! Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Lindsey Chester notified us that Fest in the West is back for its fifth year on Saturday, May 2 from 11 am- 5 pm at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. The event features food & beer, music, arts & crafts, a KidZone, contests and a petting zoo. A great way to spend time with 7,000 of your closest friends. Admission is free! Get all the details here
  • The Thrive NC Food Festival will return to downtown Raleigh this spring on May 7 and 8. Thrive NC, which held its inaugural festival in 2018, was developed to help raise awareness about food insecurity in the Triangle, where more than 1.5 million North Carolinians struggle with hunger on a daily basis. The first day will include a food summit that delves into ways to address hunger in the state. A service project will be held on the second day involving members of the community in partnership with a local non-profit. Each night includes a food festival with more than 65 local restaurants and beverage purveyors, live entertainment, chef demonstrations and music. Tickets for Thrive NC’s food festivals are $30 each and went on sale this week. Tickets have sold out each year. Get all the details here.
  • The 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival will be held on Saturday, June 6 from noon until 10 p.m. in the 100-200 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. While there you will be able to try authentic international food, desserts as well as  imported beer and wine! There will also be lots of music and entertainment at this child and pet friendly event. Admission is free and parking on the street is as well. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Want to do something for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina at your office? Forget the hassle of a trip to the grocery store for your next food drive… create a food drive without the heavy lifting using our Virtual Food Drive, and maximize your donation times five! For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide FIVE meals! You can make a difference in your community by hosting a Virtual Food Drive for your friends, family members, or coworkers.  Starting a Virtual Food Drive is easy! See how easy here!

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