Friday Fun Food Facts – December 31, 2021

Featured Restaurant News

  • The Triangle Business Journal reported this week that a Hillsborough Street institution will return in February if things continue as planned. Mitch’s Tavern, which has been closed since the pandemic began, will reopen under new management with Mitch Hazouri continuing as the principal owner. The 47-year-old tavern is located at 2426 Hillsborough St., directly across from North Carolina State University’s main campus. The group running MoJoe’s Burger Joint on Glenwood Avenue, among other restaurants, is set to take over running the tavern. Might be best to follow along on Facebook here for updates.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • WRAL shared the news this week that Parker Kennedy, the owner of popular downtown Raleigh restaurant Caffé Luna, is retiring after more than 25 years of leading the eatery he opened at the corner of Blount and Hargett streets. Today, December 31, is his last day. Kennedy truly set the gold standard as a most gracious host. Darcey Tinga, Brent Thompson and Max Gaskins became partners of Caffé Luna in 2017. Thompson has been the restaurant’s general manager since 2010. Our best to Parker! Visit Caffé Luna here.
  • Heading out US 70 into Garner from downtown Raleigh, reader Christine Johnson noticed that the Golden Corral at the corner of 70 and Tryon Road reopened this week under new ownership.
  • 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 Herald Sun reported this week that the team behind Luna Rotisserie (with locations in Durham and Carrboro) recently opened Rubies on Five Points at 347 W. Main Street. It is a live music, bar, and event space on the second story. In early 2022, the Remedy Room, a “classic neighborhood bar” with drinks and a bar menu with shared plates, will occupy the first story of that building. Check out Rubies here, Remedy Room here and Luna Rotisserie here. Congrats to Shawn Stokes, Rob Montemayor and Anthony Kofler.
  • Reader Navin Johnson shared the news that Gizmo Brew Works Craft Brewery and Taprooms will be opening a third location in the winter of 2022. This one, Uhill Durham Taproom, will be located in Durham’s University Hill. They already have locations in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. Visit them here.
  • And over in Chapel Hill, the corner of Franklin and Columbia streets got two shots of good news this week. First up, Chapelboro reported that Seafood Destiny Express, a Greensboro-based eatery that cooks “soulful seafood,” opened in the former Lotsa Pizza spot. Across the street on that corner, buddy Denny Marcin brought it to my attention that that former Spanky’s/Lula’s will soon become Raising Cane’s, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based chain with a menu focused on chicken. This will be North Carolina’s 3rd location of the chain which has locations in 25 states. Get familiar with Seafood Destiny here and Raising Cane’s 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.

Events

  • Mark your calendars for February 3 through February 5th for the Triangle Wine & Food Experience. It is North Carolina’s premier wine and food event with all proceeds benefiting the Frankie Lemmon School & Developmental Center. The event features acclaimed winemakers and celebrity chefs from all over the world, as well as thousands of donors and supporters, participating in this truly amazing event. This three-day affair includes winery dinners at the Triangle’s top restaurants, wine tastings at area wine shops, and trade events. TWFE weekend culminates in the Grand Auction, which features a dazzling selection of wine and food, and an exciting auction that features rare and incredible lots. Tickets are on sale now. Get all the details here.
  • Guys, you have been warned. 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.
  • 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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