Friday Fun Food Facts – May 28, 2021

Featured Restaurant News

  • Friend Jo Smith shared with me that North Raleigh will soon be home to Northside Bistro and Cocktails, an upscale neighborhood bistro. It will be located at 832 Spring Forest Road, moving into the former Mezeh Mediterranean Grill space, and sharing the building with Cape Fear Seafood Company. You’ll recognize chef John Scarangella from Saint Jacques French Cuisine and Village Grill. His wife Carol Scarangella will be the general manager. Check out their full menu and all the details here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Saw the great news on RalToday that The Mecca Restaurant, which remains temporarily closed due to Covid 19, will reopen at the end of July, following a test run in June. Mecca is located at 13 E. Martin Street in downtown Raleigh and is part of the Empire Eats family of restaurants. Visit them here.
  • David McCreary just notified us that Scratch Kitchen & Taproom has opened in downtown Cary in the former Postmaster Restaurant & Bar location at 160 E. Cedar Street, and right next to where the Big Mike’s BBQ location will soon open. Get all the details on their Facebook page here.
  • Blogger EatRaleigh saw signage in the window of the former Borough spot at 317 W. Morgan Street for the latest concept from Chef Hamm called Libations 317 – which will feature craft cocktail, beer, and wine as well as a bistro featuring scratch made chef created foods. Hamm also owns Cafe 121 and Libations 139, both in Sandord. Check it out here.
  • EatRaleigh also shared that the former Jose and Sons space in downtown Raleigh’s warehouse district will become The Venue Raleigh – opening later this year. While it is a multi-faceted event space, their specialty will be weddings. Check out the space here.
  • Los Tres Mexican Restaurant has opened in Cary at 1400 Boulderstone Way in the Stone Creek Village shopping center at the corner of Davis and High House. They already have locations in Apex and Durham. Get to know them here.
  • 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

  • Out in RTP, Lawrence Barbecue at Boxyard RTP is the first concept out there that has shared an open date. David McCreary shared that they will be open for picnic dining and takeout on June 5 at 11 a.m. It has been a long time coming – a huge congrats to Jake Wood and his latest venture. Keep up with any announcements or updates on his Facebook page here.
  • Saw on a post over at Bites of Bull City that a popular pizza place will be the latest addition at Golden Belt in Durham when Greensboro-based Cugino Forno brings their Neapolitan pies to the area this summer. Depending on the construction timeline, they hope to be open by the beginning of August. Get to know them in the interview with Bites of Bull City here.
  • WRAL’s Sarah Krueger reported this week that the new Starbucks on Ninth Street in Durham will open on June 11. What’s different is that this will be pick-up only, no seating inside. Makes you wonder if any other concepts will continue with drive-thru/take-out only….maybe some Chick-fil-A locations? #covidchanges
  • And we got the good news this week that the Durham Food Hall has opened for limited dine-in seating. You will find 60+ seats available for all-day service on a first come, first served basis as part of their initial phase. Check it out here.
  • 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 

  • Blogger EatRaleigh shared this week that there is a new food truck parked alongside Gym Tacos on Six Forks Road (220 E. Six Forks Road) called Papaya Love. Signage looks very similar to the signage up on the soon-to-be brick and mortar location of Gym Tacos on Hillsborough Street. Check them out on Instagram here.
  • Got word this week that a Texas-based restaurant chain called Abu Omar Halal will open their first North Carolina location with a food truck at 709 W. Peace Street in just outside of downtown Raleigh on Saturday, June 5th at 11 a.m. Abu Omar Halal is a chain of Mediterranean restaurants and food trucks, founded by Jordanian owner Mohammad Omar. They specialize in a variety of classic favorites like gyros and kabobs, but are most well known for their authentic shawarma. Get to know them here.
  • Durham Central Park will host a Taste of Soul NC Food Truck event on Saturday, June 5th from 2-7 p.m. Look for 5-6 food trucks to participate. Get all the details here.
  • 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.

Events

  • 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 29) from 5-9 p.m. This weekend’s focus will be at City Market. Complimentary parking is available throughout downtown. Get all the details and see which restaurants will be participating this Saturday 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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