Friday Fun Food Facts – June 11, 2021

Featured Restaurant News

  • The word mecca is loosely defined as a place where people really want to go. Nothing could be more true about The Mecca in downtown Raleigh and its upcoming reopening — it has been closed since early in the pandemic. The Triangle Business Journal shared this week that arguably downtown Raleigh’s most iconic restaurant will reopen in late July. The 91-year-old, 1930s-style diner at 13 E. Martin St. will reintroduce its popular Southern comfort food after undergoing $150,000 to $200,000 worth of restoration work. But don’t worry, the menu and overall feel will be just the same. Congrats to owner Greg Hatem, executive chef Melanie Dunia and the entire team at Empire Eats Restaurant Group. They will initially open for breakfast and lunch before eventually resuming dinner service and returning to a 7-day schedule. Keep up with updates here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • In downtown Raleigh, RalToday shared that a new downtown speakeasy, The Merchant, is now open at 126 S. Salisbury St. above Virgil’s from 5 p.m.-12 a.m. Tuesday through Wednesday and 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. It is brought to us by Jon Seelbinder of the Local Icon Hospitality Group. Visit them on Instagram here.
  • And speaking of drinking, Triangle Business Journal shared that Vault Craft Beer, a tiny little 1,100-square-foot former drive-thru bank at 518 W. South Street, has set an opening ‘date’ of late fall. This one has been in the planning state for over 3 years. While tiny, it will offer 18 taps of beers from across the state and lots of outdoor space. Get to know them here.
  • Reader Chris Creighton shared that there is a new location of City Barbecue coming to Lake Boone Trail (4122 Lake Boone Trail), next to Panera Bread, just down from Rex Hospital. It is still under construction, so no word yet on an open date. With locations in Raleigh (Falls of the Neuse), Cary (Kildaire Farm Road), Durham (Highway 54) and Garner (Cabela Drive), this will be their 5th Triangle-area location. Visit City BBQ here.
  • Got word from several readers that Justin’s Grill on the corner of Millbrook and Falls of the Neuse Road (Quail Corners) has closed, but will reopen in July as Morning Rolls. We can roll with that! Stay tuned on updates and the opening of Morning Rolls.
  • Out in Brier Creek, reader Jennifer B shared with us that a Crumbl Cookies is coming to 8531 Brier Creek Pkwy next to Tamarind Asian Fusion Bistro. Jennifer suggested they are opening at some point this month. Check them out 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

  • Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies founder Carrie Brogren shared the news on Facebook yesterday that the old Speakeasy at Tyler’s in Carrboro is going to be a bar/music venue. It will be called Speakeasy On Main. The folks behind it, including Liz Renick, are the previous owners of The Second Wind, which was located next to Armadillo Grill, also in downtown Carrboro. They hope to be open by August. Can’t find an online presence just yet. Stay tuned.
  • Carrie Brogren also reminded us that Mosaic Cafe & Bistro will open on June 16 (already taking online reservations). As you will remember, Mosaic is the reopening of the former Provence on Weaver Street in Carrboro. Brogren shared that during the day, it will be a café and pastry shop specializing in baked treats and in the evenings it will transform into a modern, casual tapas-style bistro. Follow them on Facebook for any additional announcements and/or changes.
  • Over in Durham, got word that, starting today, June 11th, Durhamites can now experience Dunkin’s store of the future. Dunkin’ will open its new restaurant at 3718 N. Roxboro Road featuring the brand’s next generation design, with a modern atmosphere and innovative technologies. They ain’t just donuts anymore. Check it out.
  • 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

  • This one sucks big time. Chapel Hill’s iconic Crook’s Corner has closed after 40 years of literally changing the culinary landscape, not only in Chapel Hill, but the entire Triangle region and beyond.
  • Twitter buddy Burgeoning Baker shared the news that after 12 years, Sansui Sushi in Durham has closed permanently.

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.


  • Shop Local Raleigh/Greater Raleigh Merchants Association‘s NC Hops Festival is THIS weekend, June 12 and 13 at the NC State Fairgrounds. 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.
  • 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 (June 12) from 5-9 p.m. This weekend’s focus will be the Warehouse District. Complimentary parking is available throughout downtown. Get all the details and see which restaurants will be participating this Saturday here.
  • 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 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 this Saturday, 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.
  • On Monday, June 14 the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) is hosting the fourth and final preliminary round of the 2021 NCRLA Chef Showdown, North Carolina’s premier culinary and mixology competition of the year, at Wake Technical Community College’s Baking and Pastry Campus in Raleigh. Fifteen chefs from across the region will gather in Raleigh to compete for the coveted titles of NCRLA Chef of the Year and NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year. The chefs include: Alex Franson with The Durham Filling Station; Ashleigh Fleming with Blue Jay Bistro; Eamonn Kelly with Tra’li Irish Pub; Glen Whittaker with Brookdale Senior Living; Katsuji Tanabe with LM Restaurants; Kevin Ruiz with The Rockford; Kyle Fletcher with Craft Concepts Kitchen; Mark Mishalanie with The Honeysuckle at Lakewood; Richard Carter with Catering Works/NC Museum of Art; Ryan Lawton with The StateView Hotel; Saif Rahman with Vidrio; Sam Hernandez with Farmers and Merchants; Sera Cuni with The Root Cellar Cafe; Tad Balio with Barrique; and Tie Whittaker with Buttermilk Boutique. Get 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

  • When school is out, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina knows families struggle to keep food on the table. Budgets for so many families are already stretched thin from the pandemic, with job losses and hours being cut. Thankfully, our generous corporate and individual donors are matching gifts up to $132,000! Every $10 you give can help provide 100 meals… feeding twice as many kids, teens, and families in need. Can you chip in? Click here if you can!

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