Friday Fun Food Facts – May 21, 2021

Featured Restaurant News

  • This week Triangle Business Journal reported that Nawwaf Said, the owner of Jasmin & Olivz Mediterranean, is planning to launch a new restaurant across from the site for Epic Games’ new headquarters in Cary in the former Romano’s Macaroni Grill location. Said opened the first location in 2005 and now has seven throughout Cary, Morrisville and Raleigh. But the newest restaurant, which he has not yet named, will have a different brand with more options. The new restaurant is scheduled to open by the end of the year. In the meantime, visit Jasmin here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • BB’s Crispy Chicken, to get your mouth watering for the much anticipated early summer opening of their first location in Raleigh, released a preview of their menu this week. The Raleigh location in Midtown East (think Wegman’s) will open first, followed by locations in Cary and Durham. Check out their menu here.
  • Raleigh Convergence shared the news this week that The Ark Royal, an “exotic cocktail lounge” from the minds behind Watts & Ward opened Thursday on Glenwood South in the former Enoteca Vin space at 410 Glenwood Ave. Named for the ship by Sir Walter Raleigh, which he never sailed on, the cocktail menu includes tropical libations and tiki drinks, heavily featuring rum-based drinks. (Side note: you should subscribe to Raleigh Convergence!). Get to know them here.
  • The Triangle Business Journal also reported this week that Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican cuisine franchise, is preparing to open its Cary location this fall. It will be part of Parkside Town Commons at 1151 Parkside Main St. in Cary. The fast-casual restaurant serves healthy options in the form of customizable burritos, bowls, tacos and more. They have another location in Durham, and plan to open more in the Triangle (the Raleigh location closed during the pandemic). Visit Zambrero here.
  • WRAL reported this week that Marbles Kids Museum’s Bean Sprouts Cafe is serving customers again. The sit-down restaurant reopened on Friday, May 14. Since the fall, the cafe has been serving items from a cart. Visit them here.
  • The town of Morrisville shared the news that Mezeh Mediterranean Grill at Twin Lakes is having their grand opening on Friday, May 21. Mezeh offers a modern take on a classic ‘mezze’ dining experience, with vibrant recipes made in-house from scratch every day, with no hormones, preservatives, and no additives. They are located in the Twin Lakes Shopping Center at 1125 Hatches Pond Lane in Morrisville. Grand opening special includes a free bowl with the purchase of a drink (in-store only, one per guest, lamb and steak $1.50 extra). Opening day hours 11:30 – 2:30 and 5:30 – 8:30). Check them out here. Looks like they have a location coming to Apex as well. Stay tuned!
  • Looking for all the outdoor dining options in Downtown Raleigh? The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has put together a great list of those options, and they even divided it up by district. Check out that list here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Over in downtown Durham, Simon Says Dip This is having their grand opening today, May 21st! Looks like they open at 12 noon. The concept is pretty simple: Step 1: Choose a cone, a cup, or ice cream sandwich; Step 2: Choose from one of our 24 flavors to dip your ice cream in; Step 3: Choose from a variety of toppings to roll your ice cream in; Step 4: Enjoy! Dipped ice cream, cookies, chocolates, and freeze-dried candies. They are located at 117 W. Parrish St. Get more information and all the details here.
  • Also in Durham, I saw on Facebook this week that Gizmo Brew Works is opening a third taproom later this year in the Durham UHill Apartment community (University Hill). Their original brewery and taproom is in Raleigh on Triangle Drive and they have a taproom and bottle shop in Chapel Hill on E. Franklin Street. An exact date hasn’t been set yet, just Fall 2021. Keep up with their expansion plans here.
  • One final Durham note, the folks over at Bites of Bull City shared the news that Everlou Coffee Co. will be opening at the end of the month at 506 N. Mangum Street in downtown Durham. The shop will feature Pure Intentions Coffee Roasters out of Charlotte. They will also serve tea and a variety of treats from local bakeries, including JP’s Pastry (gluten free) and Junie Be’s cookies. Everlou will be open for business starting May 29th. During soft opening, hours will be 7:30am-2:30pm. Get to know them here.
  • In Carrboro, Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies founder Carrie Brogren shared that news that Grata Cafe will be opening in the old Elmo’s location at Carr Mill Mall. Not much on their website yet (except links to their social media) and no indication as to what type of cuisine they will be offering nor hints as to a possible opening date. Stay tuned!
  • And here are a couple of wonderful resources for those looking to dine in downtown Durham or downtown Chapel Hill – Downtown Durham Inc. has an up-to-date listing of the status of each restaurant in downtown Durham. Check out the list here. And the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership has put together a similar list for Chapel Hill here.

Closings / Cancellations

  • None to report. Keep eating local, folks!

Food Trucks 

  • Looking to find your favorite food truck (or stalking them and simply don’t want to have to admit it)? We understand. Find them on Street Food Finder here.


  • The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has brought back their extremely successful Dine Out Downtown program that they began last year. It continues every Saturday through June and highlights a different district in downtown. This Saturday (May 22) from 5-9 p.m. This weekend’s focus will be on Fayetteville Street. Complimentary parking is available throughout downtown. Get all the details and see which restaurants will be participating this Saturday here.
  • Also on May 22, the folks at ACME are hosting a Crawfish Boil from 2-5 p.m. at their sister restaurant/brewery – Heyday at 5301 Tin Roof Way in Raleigh. If you haven’t checked out Heyday yet, this is the perfect chance to see what Louisiana and North Carolina blended into one joint with great food and good beer looks like. Get all the details and your tickets here.
  • WRAL reported that the Spring Food Fest is planned May 21-23 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily allowing attendees a chance to savor a variety of fair food vendors. Most vendors will be cash-only. Guests should enter the fairgrounds at Gate 9 off Trinity Road and park in the midway area. While at the fairgrounds, guests can also purchase early admission tickets to the upcoming N.C. State Fair (October 14-24) for $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 6 to 12 years old. Get all the details here.
  • As if you need another reason to get your Covid 19 vaccine, here’s a very sweet reason. At Krispy Kreme, anyone who shows their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card receives a free Original Glazed® doughnut. And you can do this every day for the duration of the promotion. One donut a day sounds pretty good to me! Available in the shop or drive-thru. Here are all the details.
  • Also during the month of May, Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies is raising money for Meals on Wheels of Orange County. Carrie Brogren has collaborated with Il Palio in Chapel Hill creating two cocktails — “Gin Garden” and “Spring Thyme.” A portion of the total sales of those 2 cocktails in May will be donated to Meals on Wheels. Stop by Il Palio today for a drink…or two!
  • You may remember that in 2018 Cary started the Pimento Cheese Festival and expanded it in 2019. And we all know what happened with the entire year of 2020. Well, 2021 will see its return, but with a twist. Taste of Pimento Cheese will run from Friday, June 4 through Sunday, June 13 with participating restaurants creating new dishes that feature pimento cheese and adding them to their menu. People who order the pimento cheese dishes will not only get some great food but also receive a Taste of Pimento Cheese collectors pin. In addition to the restaurants, Grazin Gals is creating special charcutier boxes that feature two types of pimento cheese and many other great items. These boxes will be available to order and picked up at one of the Cary breweries (Bond Brothers, Fortnight, Cotton House, Brueprint Cary location) or the Downtown Cary Farmers Market on June 12thGet all the information on the individual dishes to come here.
  • Downtown Durham Inc. announced that The Streetery will return on June 12 at Brightleaf with added outdoor seating and buskers. Join them from 12 – 9 p.m. to shop, carry out, dine in or dine out. The Streetery happens on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month and they will announce the location for each Saturday. Get all the details here.
  • Jennifer Martin over at Shop Local Raleigh/Greater Raleigh Merchants Association reached out to me to let us know that they are holding NC Hops Festival on June 12 and 13 at the NC State Fairgrounds where they will have live music, food trucks, local vendors, and of course, unlimited sampling of NC beer, cider and hard seltzer. The event will be indoors and out. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Created on the North Carolina Food and Beverage Podcast, ‘Bubbles and Brisket’ is a collaboration of chefs, pit-masters, wine producers and sommeliers, pairing sparkling wine with a variety of cooking techniques and side dishes that feature everyone’s favorite: brisket. The event will take place on June 26 from 2-6 p.m. at V Pizza on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. The event will feature brisket by: Toriano Fredricks of Boricua Soul; Carrie Schleiffer of Alley 26 and Crooks Corner; James Johnson of Skippers; Marc Russell of Longleaf Swine BBQ; Kyle Sutton of Butts for Babies; Anthony Rapillo of V Pizza; and Derek Wilkins of the Butcher’s Market. And bubbles by: Triangle Wine Company; Vintage 59; Broadbent Selections; and WineSellers. Tickets are $65 and you can get those and all the details here.
  • You might want to go ahead and plan on spending your Labor Day weekend in Pinehurst for the inaugural Pinehurst Barbecue Festival – a three-day event, staged in and around the historic Village of Pinehurst from September 3-5, 2021. The event will offer a unique culinary sampling experience of various barbecue meats and traditional sides. Choose to experience the entire three-day festival, or attend just one signature event. A multi-ticket VIP package, as well as individual tickets for each event are available. The pitmaster lineup includes: Ed Mitchell, The Preserve (Raleigh); Christopher Prieto, Prime Barbecue (Knightdale); Adam Hughes, Old Colony Smokehouse (Edenton); Joe Lumbrazo, Backyard Bistro (Raleigh); and Ashley Sheppard, Pik N Pig (Carthage). Get tickets, schedule and all the details here.
  • Our friends over at RalToday pointed out a few events you might want to go ahead and get on your calendar. So exciting to think of some of our favorite events actually happening in 2021! First up, Raleigh Veg Fest 2021 originally scheduled for April 4 has moved to October 31 in downtown Raleigh’s Moore Square. Details here. And Brewgaloo is now scheduled for September 17 & 18 in downtown Raleigh. Details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • May is Bytes for Bites Month at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Over the past year, the ways we have used technology to connect with one another has exponentially grown, and while so much of our lives seem to have moved to a virtual platform, our basic household needs remain ever present. With the loss of jobs, income, and in-person schooling, there are 38% more individuals and families struggling to keep food on the table. For the month of May, technology companies and organizations across the Food Bank’s 34- county service area are invited to raise meals in a friendly competition to fight hunger for bragging rights, an exclusive volunteer opportunity and a trophy! Think your company has what it takes to win? Here is what you need to know.

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