Friday Fun Food Facts – December 24, 2021

Featured Restaurant News

  • Thanks to a tip from my Twitter buddy Burgeoning Baker we learned that the Cinelli family has opened Vici Ristobar in the Hope Valley Commons shopping center in Durham at 1125 W. NC 54 in the former Tre Forni spot. This is the same family that owns Vieni Ristobar in Holly Springs and Vivo in Raleigh (and former owners of Osteria G and Trattoria Salve). Get familiar with their new concept here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • In case you missed it, last Friday Crave Hot Dogs and Barbecue opened at The Shoppes at Oberlin Court in Raleigh at 1028 Oberlin Rd. (former Zoës Kitchen spot). They are serving up all beef hot dogs, hot and mild sausages, and brats along with the pulled pork, pulled chicken and smoked brisket and more. Oh, did I mention they have a self-serve beer wall with 24 taps!?!? Now that they are open, they have $2 hot dogs with two free toppings on Tuesdays, Kids Eat Free on Wednesdays, and in the new year they will also be introducing bingo night (day to be determined) and Trivia Night Thursdays. It is a great spot for families, friends, college kids…truly something for everyone! Congrats to Eric and Jesse Reyes! You can follow them on Facebook here or Instagram here.
  • Caryite Paul Fletcher shared the news this week that there appears to be a Panera Bread being outfitted in the old TGIFriday’s/Cary Towne Kitchen & Bar building in Crescent Commons on the corner of Tryon Rd. and Kildaire Farm Rd. No word yet on an open date. Thanks Paul! Keep us posted. Visit Panera here.
  • Down in Garner, it was shared this week on the Garner, NC: A Great Place to Be! Facebook page that Eggs Up Grill will be the third tenant in the old Kroger location along with both Lidl and Harbor Freight. They expect to be open this spring. Get familiar with them here.
  • Triangle Business Journal reported this week that Knightdale is getting a new cocktail bar with a retro twist. Rewind Retrobar is coming to 319 N. First Ave. in Old Town Knightdale in the first quarter of 2022. The space is currently gutted, but will soon hold arcade games, video game consoles and a bar spanning 29 feet. Knightdale residents Jessica Caswell and Cara Lancaster and their spouses teamed up in early June to bring the retro-themed bar to the town. You can follow their progress on Facebook here or Instagram here.
  • This is fun to look over. Visit Raleigh put out their “Best Openings in 2021” – take a trip down memory lane and see if you agree with their list of spots that opened (in Raleigh….and Wake County) in 2021. See their list here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • The good folks over at Bites of Bull City brought it to our attention that Durham is home to a new wine bar that was originally slated for Charlotte. Instead, the owners fell in love with Durham and opened Killer Queen wine bar at 117 E. Main Street. Owners Silvia Gallo and Lindsay Webb brought on chef Aaron Coffey to create fresh, seasonal, shareable plates that compliment their wines. Pay them a visit here.

Closings / Cancellations

  • None to report. Keep eating local, folks!
  • There is no doubt we saw more closings in 2021 than anyone wanted. We wanted to take a moment to let our restaurants that pivoted, shifted and re-invented themselves that this past week North Carolina launched a $500 million program to help restaurants and other small businesses recover from pandemic-related losses. The North Carolina Business Recovery Grant Program allows business owners who have seen at least a 20 percent decline in revenue to apply for grants equal to 10 percent of their losses, up to $500,000. Because the hospitality industry was hit so hard by closures and other restrictions, $300 million of the fund is earmarked for restaurants, hotels, bars and other entertainment businesses. Get all the details and apply here.

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.


  • Looking for restaurants open on Christmas Day? Well, WRAL is compiling such a list. Check it out here. If your restaurant is open and not on that list, please follow that link and reach out to WRAL as they are constantly updating that list.
  • Also of note, please brace yourself. All Chick-fil-A locations will be closed Saturday (Christmas Day) and the following Sunday (duh) – so an entire weekend without Chick-fil-A! You have been warned. If you have children, plan accordingly.
  • And speaking of warnings, please note that the Super Bowl AND Valentine’s fall on the same weekend in 2022. The Super Bowl is on Sunday, February 13th, the day before Valentine’s. And we know everyone typically books their Valentine’s date nights on that weekend. You have been warned. Guys, don’t screw this one up.
  • The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has officially launched their Sip and Savor the Season guides, which gives you all the intel you need to pick a drink or dinner spot while shopping in downtown Raleigh. You’ll find festive and seasonal cocktails, coffees, ciders, beers, and more. Check it out here.
  • Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies is doing a holiday charity collaboration again this year with Christmas House. Donations will go towards the purchase of grocery gift cards that will be distributed to local families in need (as identified by Orange/Chapel Hill/ Carrboro School system social workers). Additionally, during the month of December, they have partnered with Tandem restaurant in Carrboro to sell Carrie Brogren’s “Partridge in a Pear Tree” holiday cocktail with a portion of the sales from each cocktail added to the Christmas House donations. Make your donations here. Visit Tandem here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Double your impact with your holiday donation to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina! Because of the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic, and the rising cost of food, many of our neighbors are struggling this year. They are having trouble making ends meet and the holidays will only add to the pinch as heating bills soar and kids miss school meals during holiday break. Fortunately, there’s a chance now to make twice the difference for families facing hunger this year. Compassionate friends are matching all donations up to $600,000 to help our neighbors have a happy and bountiful holiday season. Donations must be made before December 31 to secure the match. Your gift today can provide two times as much food to families in our community.

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