Friday Fun Food Facts – May 8, 2020

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • We are continuing our path to some sort of normalcy, but please realize that our restaurants and caterers need our continued support. The two biggest things you can do are: One, continue supporting our amazing local restaurants and their curbside pick-up and deliveries. You know you are tired of cooking at home! And, two, continue to support all those efforts to support hospitality workers, frontline workers and those serving our communities. You can review all of those in a previous post here. Thanks for all the love and support that we are seeing throughout all of our communities!
  • Need some good news? Raleigh chef Cheetie Kumar of Garland is a finalist for James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast! The awards are often referred to as “The Oscars of Food.” Congrats and best of luck to Cheetie!
  • Want more good news? WRAL shared the story about 15-year-old Durham native Anelise Soderberg who is baking to raise money for the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, a fund for restaurant workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19. So far, she has raised $675 for the fund and continues to bake when she’s not doing online school. Check out her store Soderberg Sweets here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Saw in the Raleigh Convergence newsletter that a new coffee shop near Oakwood Park and Mordecai has opened with a limited takeaway menu at 1000 Brookside Dr. The Optimist originally planned to open in mid-April, but adjusted plans to open as a coffee window to start. From their website: “Who opens during a pandemic? We do. That’s who. We’re optimists, after all.” Get to know them here.
  • Got word this week that Prime, the new BBQ place in Knightdale, finally opened this past week! And Prime Barbecue Pre-Order Pickup has officially begun – pre-orders must be made 48 hours in advance on their website. Pickup started this past Tuesday, May 5th. Get to know them and what they are about here.
  • Saw in Raleigh Magazine a quick update on North Raleigh’s Cut & Gather restaurant from Kenny Gilbert. Here is the excerpt: “In an ideal world, chef Kenny Gilbert would be putting the finishing touches on his new north Raleigh restaurant Cut & Gather. Instead, he’s cooking $10 meals in a friend’s restaurant kitchen, supporting his community while keeping tabs on construction of the new spot. “The pizza oven is installed, the smoker is created and shipping soon and tables are being built,” Gilbert says. “It’s fair to say we will open 30 to 45 days after the state reopens.” Read more about some of his planned dishes here.
  • According to information from Neal DePersia over at National Restaurant Properties, the Triangle is soon to get another location of BurgerIM at 9400 Brier Creek Parkway. They already have a location on Capital Blvd. in Wake Forest. No word yet on an open date. Get to know them here.
  • In appreciation of National Nurses Week (May 6-12), Sassool, with locations in Raleigh (2) and Cary, is offering a 15% discount to ALL individuals that order from Sassool and show their medical badge at checkout during the week of May 6-12th. This is at both Sassool Cary and Raleigh. Visit Sassool here.
  • Beginning next Monday, and every Monday in May at any Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken location, healthcare workers get a free 1/4 Chicken Combo with any 2 sides complimentary. Just show your work badge…and enjoy! Check out all the area Alpaca locations here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • In Chapel Hill, the wait is over as Que Chula (craft tacos and tequilla bar) opened this past Thursday in Hops Burger Bar’s old location at 104 W. Franklin Street. Like everyone else, they are just open for takeout and delivery. Check out their Facebook page here.
  • Saw on their Facebook page that CholaNad Restaurant and Bar on Chapel Hill’ s Franklin Street has successfully completed their move into the former Mellow Mushroom space at 310 West Franklin Street. It looks amazing, but it will be a little while before we can enjoy being in their new space. In the meantime, you can enjoy takeout, curbside pickup and delivery! Get all the details and see some pictures of the inside on their Facebook page here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill, owners Charlie Farris and Clint Winslow “moved” their Jersey Mike’s location on South Elliott Road to their newest location at Eastgate Crossing. That location is now open for take-out and delivery (their Elliott Road location is now closed). Farris and Winslow operate six locations around Chapel Hill, Durham and Hillsborough. Visit Jersey Mike’s here.
  • Over in Carrboro, Carrie Brogren of Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook group shared that Pizzeria Mercato will re-open next Wednesday, May 13 for curbside service. All orders must be placed in advance and timeslots will fill-up fast! Order the day before, or the morning of pick-up. Get all the details on their site here.
  • And over in Hillsborough, got word from Carrie Brogren of Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook group that Napoli Hillsborough, a partnership between Napoli Pizza and Glasshalfull, has opened in the former Mystery Brewing space. You can find them at 230 South Nash St. in Hillsborough next to the Hillsborough BBQ Company. Their curbside pick up menu features Neopolitan pizzas from their wood-fired oven, breadsticks, fresh salads, marinated olives, and antipasto. Their pizzas are served either par-cooked to be reheated at home or fully cooked. They are open from 4:30 pm – 8 pm Thursday through Sunday. Get to know them here.
  • And in Durham, reader Marianne Boger shared the news that California Tortilla will be opening at the Homestead Market shopping center in South Durham. We first reported on California Tortilla coming into this market back in December, 2017! California Tortilla, also known as “Cal Tort,” brings a “fresh perspective to Mexican,” according to the restaurant’s website. The chain already has nearly 40 franchises sprinkled throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. No word yet on an exact date. Get to know them here.

Closings / Cancellations

  • WRAL shared the news this week that Ashley Christensen’s burger joint Chuck’s will not reopen when the pandemic restrictions lift, but will instead become an expansion space for Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. The good news is that some of Chuck’s menu items, including a signature burger, fries and shakes, will be added to the Beasley’s menu. Since Beasley’s and Chuck’s shared a kitchen space, the changes will mainly be cosmetic. Visit Christensen’s other restaurants here.
  • They posted on their Facebook page that Trali Irish Pub at Grace Park in Morrisville has decided to close their doors for good after a seven year run. That is the terrible news. The good news is that their location at Brier Creek will remain open and they look forward to seeing you at the pub when we can gather again.
  • Ashton Mae Smith shared in her weekly blog the sad news that Pharaoh’s American Grill, the longest serving restaurant in North Hills, has been closed/sold by George McNeil.
  • The Festival for the Eno announced this week that they have canceled their event this year – first time in its 40 year history! 🙁
  • After much thought and consideration, the Board of the Leonard-Mobley Small Farm Fund, Inc. decided to CANCEL the September 13th Dinner In The Meadow. However, they are planning for a bigger and better DITM in 2021…when everyone will be in a festive mood! Stay tuned here and on their social media for 2021 date and more!

Food Trucks 

  • Thanks to a tip from my buddy Frank Pierce, I learned that even tho school buses aren’t carrying kids to school now, it doesn’t mean someone can’t find a better use for a bus – Vic’s Pizza Bus from the folks at Vic’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria (with locations in City Market and Lake Boone Trail) will soon be rolling around the Triangle! Check out their converted bus and keep up with their progress on their Facebook page here.
  • Here are a  couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.


  • Carrboro United will host the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels annual fundraising event Dining For Others with a special Hub Day Wednesday, May 13. The event will feature celebratory meals prepared by local restaurants available to order through Carrboro United. You must order by 9 p.m. on Monday, May 11th. Get all the details and place your order / support Meals on Wheels here.
  • Save the date to pick up your favorite Jewish foods from the South’s most beloved Jewish Food Festival! All proceeds from food and raffle ticket sales go to the Jewish Federation’s initiatives to address food insecurity in our local community. The more you buy, the more you help! This year, the Food Festival will be a pre-order and drive-thru pickup only! We hope to nosh alongside y’all in person in 2021! Make sure you’re able to pick up your order on May 31, 11am-2pm. Orders that are not picked up within the pickup window will be donated to their Food Pantry. Want to be part of the fun? Sign up for a volunteer shift! To order, visit their site here.
  • The 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival has decided to move their event to Saturday, August 8th 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. Obviously, keep up with their Facebook event page for any announcements and/or rescheduling. Get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
  • This event is in Asheville, but who wouldn’t be down for a road trip come August? So, the Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Smokeshow Festival has been rescheduled to August 23, 2020. The wood-fired-hog-centric event is set to overflow with the biggest names in BBQ along with some of the nation’s most notable chefs, all coming together under one roof. Alongside endless soul-warming ‘cue from your favorite joints from across the southeast & beyond, guests can also expect to get down to live music, nosh on some equally as show-stopping non-BBQ bites and taste test Asheville’s best local brews from Highland Brewery. Get all the details here and tickets can be purchased here.
  • The Fest in the West is back for its fifth year on Saturday, November 7 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.

Food Bank Corner

  • This is a fun and delicious way to support the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Through the end of May, D’Nardys Cheesecakes will be donating $1 for every jar sold via local delivery to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, a nonprofit organization that has provided food for our friends and neighbors facing hunger in 34 counties. So order a four or six pack or however many you would like of their cheesecakes – you can select from chocolate cream, chocolate chip, snicker-doodle or peanut butter. Jars are $5.95 and include free delivery! Contact them here or at 919-481-3381 and they’ll bring their jars right to your door or place of business. Stay safe, keep eating cheesecake and don’t forget to support your local businesses.

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