Friday Fun Food Facts – March 18, 2022

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news…that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.

Featured Restaurant News

  • A huge congratulations to the Triangle’s finalists for the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards. First up is Alley Twenty Six in Durham, a finalist for Outstanding Bar Program. Alley Twenty Six is the first North Carolina bar or restaurant to be a semifinalist or nominee in this national category. In the Best Chef in the Southeast category, congratulations goes out to Cheetie Kumar at the Garland in downtown Raleigh and Ricky Moore at Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham. Winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13th at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Check out the full list here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Tonight, March 18th, at 5 p.m. “Top Chef” alum Katsuji Tanabe opens A’Verde Cocina and Tequilla Library at 2300 Walnut Street in the former Wild Wing Cafe space at the Centrum at Crossroads shopping center in Cary. With A’Verde, Tanabe will draw on his Mexican heritage with a menu full of memories and stories of family recipes and experiences…so, don’t expect traditional Mexican fare. While the dishes will be familiar and comforting, the flavors will be on trend with North Carolina’s best seasonal ingredients or the latest hot culinary or beverage movement. Get familiar with the new concept here.
  • Cary’s Park West Village is gearing up to open a slew of new dining options this summer. They shared this week that Piada Italian Street Food, Leo’s Italian Social, Feng Cha, and Red, Hot & Blue will all open by the summer of 2022. Piada, a fast-casual Italian restaurant, features custom-rolled Italian-style street wraps, as well as salads, pastas, and street sides. Leo’s will be a neighborhood spot where you can enjoy crafted cocktails, a glass of wine or a signature infused spirit and classic Italian cuisine. Feng Cha will be a teahouse offering a comforting, stress-relieving atmosphere. And Red, Hot & Blue will bring their authentic southern style BBQ with a side of Southern hospitality in their new fast-casual format. Keep up with announcements at Park West here.
  • In Raleigh, blogger EatRaleigh shared that chef Kevin Ruiz, formerly of Rockford and Lady Luck, has announced that he’s opening Bendito, a modern Puerto Rican restaurant, in McNeil Pointe (corner of McNeil Street and Wake Forest Road at 2330 Bale Street). They are looking to open in May. Visit their site here.
  • In downtown Raleigh, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance shared the news that Jimmy John’s has reopened their “pod” at 437 Fayetteville Street. Visit them here.
  • In Wake Forest, we have an updated opening date for Poki Bowl at 1898 South Franklin Street. The new opening date is April 15th. Thanks to Ashly Chavez for providing the update. The concept began in California, and now has locations that stretch all across the country to the East coast. Get familiar with them here.
  • If you are down in Fuquay-Varina and looking for chicken wings, we have good news for you thanks to a tip from David McCreary. Wingstop has opened at 8215 Fayetteville Rd. near the new Costco. And Wing It On, a new Buffalo-inspired franchise that’s on a mission to “save the world from mediocre chicken”, is coming soon to 1061 East Broad Street near Walmart. Visit Wingstop here and Wing It On here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • In Chapel Hill, tomorrow Saturday, March 19th is the date for the opening of the next location of Rise Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chicken. They are located in the Eastgate Crossing shopping center on Franklin Street. This marks the 9th Triangle area location and the 18th location throughout all Rise locations. This location will not have indoor dining, just “to-go” options and online ordering. To celebrate, Rise Chapel Hill will donate 10% of its grand opening day sales to the Ephesus Elementary School PTA. Rise will also be giving away free t-shirts at the grand opening for up to 100 customers starting at 11 am. Don’t know about you, but I will make a special effort to get by as a tribute to Tom Ferguson, their founder who passed away recently. Here’s to you Tom! Check them out here.
  • Moving over to Durham, but staying on the March 19th date, Jennifer Buchholz informed us that Wayback Burgers will have their grand opening at 4104 Surles Court (out in front of WalMart near the intersection of Hwy. 54 and 540). That opening happens at 11 a.m. The chain originated in Delaware and now has 156 total locations, with one in Raleigh, one in Mebane and another on the way for Morrisville. Check them out here.
  • Next Friday, March 25th is the opening date for the next round of BB’s Chicken from Ashley Christensen and MDO Holdings. This second location (the first location opened in Raleigh out in front of Wegman’s on Wake Forest Road) will be in Durham’s University Hill (the exact address is 3109 Shannon Road). A third location will open in Cary soon. Best to follow them on Instagram for announcements and updates.
  • The Triangle Business Journal also shared that the new Durham location of Gizmo Brew Works is opening above BB’s Crispy Chicken in University Hill on March 25 as well. Visit Gizmo here.
  • Glenn Gillen shared the news that Spring Rolls, and Asian bistro and sushi bar, has opened a second Triangle location at 701 W. Main Street in Durham. Spring Rolls also has a location in Raleigh inside Wade Park (5433 Wade Pakr Blvd.). Visit Spring Rolls here.
  • It was announced this week that Chef Chick’s Bakery, an authentic European bakery, is set to open at Meridian Business Park (2500 Meridian Parkway) in Durham this summer. Owned and operated by Durham resident Małgorzata (Gosia) Szewczyk, the bakery specializes in bringing a “taste of Europe to your home,” allowing guests to experience the flavors and delicacies enjoyed by Europeans without having to travel overseas. Follow along on Facebook here.
  • And down in Hillsborough, there are some changes taking place at Panciuto…but all good! In a nutshell, Panciuto is hitting the pause button and “transforming” into into Hillsborough Bakeshop and Pasta Company. A lot of what you love about Panciuto has been built into the Hillsborough Bakeshop & Pasta Co. concept. Perhaps the change was best described on their Facebook page by saying, “Panciuto is not gone. It’s more like it just wakes up earlier, got a new haircut, and now prefers going by its middle name. It’s still here, it’s just a little different.” It is in the same physical space (110 S. Churton). The unique food quality, commitment to local sourcing, living wages, and general thoughtfulness that you’ve loved at Panciuto is very much alive at HBPC. Go check it out here.

Closings / Cancellations

  • None to report. Keep eating local, folks!

Food Trucks 

  • The Greek Goat food truck is excited to announce its grand opening on Tuesday, March 29 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. at House of Hops at 6909 Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. The Greek Goat is the Triangle’s newest family-owned and operated food truck delivering an authentic Greek street food experience with all the traditional favorites one would come to expect with a Greek dining experience. Congrats to owner Ioannis Theodorou, whom you may recognize where he was a mainstay at both Taverna Agora and Vidrio. Get to know them here.
  • Happy to share that the Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo has announced the dates for 2022 rodeos. They are as follows – May 1st, June 12th, August 7th, Sept 25th or Oct 2nd and November 6th (Alternate/Rain Date). The rodeo is set up on downtown Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street featuring a half mile of food trucks and restaurants spread out over 10 city blocks. Details here.
  • And not to be outdone, Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo has also released their 2022 schedule with the first one occurring THIS Sunday, March 20. The remainder of the season is as follows: June 5, September 4 and October 30. Mark your calendars. 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.


  • WRAL shared the news that Raleigh Roasts, an event celebrating local coffee, will take place this Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. in Moore Square in downtown Raleigh. There will be coffee, tea and treats to taste from local vendors. Tickets are $5 for City of Raleigh Museum members and $7.50 for nonmembers. All tickets must be purchased in advance. A ticket will allow admittance to the event for 45 minutes. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • The Bazaar is back this Sunday, March 20th over in Carrboro. Shop locally made goods, listen to live music, indulge in craft beer and food trucks, and more at the craft and art market at Carrboro Town Commons from noon to 5 p.m. Dining options include Succotash Durham, Chirba Chirba Dumpling, Yee Haw Doughnuts, Craftboro Brewing Depot and Carrboro Coffee Roasters. Visit their Facebook events page here.
  • On Saturday, March 26th, Full Bloom Coffee Roasters in historic downtown Garner (141 W. Main Street) invites you to enjoy an evening of local art, music and libations at their first Avant-Garde Art Show from 6-9 p.m. The event will feature a gallery of nature illustrations from Char Hall (with prints and originals for sale), as well as live performances by minimal synth artists Midcentury Modular and Chinchorro. Visit Full Bloom here.
  • April 2 will see the return of a very popular food festival in Cary. Let me warn you, this is “nacho” average food festival – it is the Tacos ‘N Taps Festival from 12-5 p.m. at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre. The event features over 15 taco trucks, taquerias, and Mexican restaurants with over 30 different types of tacos. Each taco vendor will offer a wide variety of tacos and Mexican inspired dishes. Additionally, they will have over 60+ craft beers, mezcals, margaritas, tequilas, wine and ciders. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • Cary’s Downtown Chowdown food truck rally returns this year on Sunday, April 10th where you can enjoy a food-filled afternoon along Academy Street tasting some of the best food in the Triangle, enjoy cool beverages from craft beer and wine vendors, and relax to the music of great local performers. See you downtown! Get all the details here.
  • Raleigh’s Vidrio restaurant is hosting a “Taste Tour of the Mediterranean” monthly dinner series and it begins on Thursday, April 14th from 6:30-9 p.m. The destination and menu inspiration will change each month as they work their way through the Mediterranean. Each “culinary tour” will be led by executive chef Saif Rahman. The cost is $85, plus tax and gratuity. Buy tickets and get all the details here.
  • On Saturday, April 16th (I think it is in honor of my birthday on Sunday)The Pit’s 12th ‘Cuegass Festival returns to downtown Raleigh. The event will once again support SAFEchild. For the event, they close down the streets around The Pit and fire up the pig cookers to serve plenty of their famous Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue and a selection of locally made beers. And on the stage they’ll have your favorite bands. Get all the information here.
  • And we are just under three months away from this year’s edition of Shop Local Raleigh’s Brewgaloo (April 22-23) – NC’s largest craft beer festival and 2nd biggest in the US! Voted #1 Best Beer Festival two years in a row by USA Today’s 10Best. The weekend of events features craft breweries from NC and partners with local food trucks, local vendors and local bands. Friday night will be a sampler event from 6-10pm. Tickets are $45 per person. Saturday’s event is 2-10pm and open to the public. Beer is sold by the pint or the taste. The day will feature over 75 NC breweries, over 50 food trucks, dozens of local vendors and bands. Drink tickets will be sold in advance and available for purchase at the festival. Food trucks and vendors accept cash and credit options. Get tickets and all the details here.
  • The folks over in Cary are proud to announce that Fest in the West, western Cary’s signature event, is back at Thomas Brooks Park on Saturday, May 7th from 11am-5pm. There are two stages with entertainment featuring some of the best talent in the Triangle. Food trucks will be in three areas, a centrally located beer garden and a fun Kids Corral with activities for families along with a petting zoo. Mark your calendar and get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • You can make a difference every month! Despite a record amount of food being distributed to individuals, seniors, children, veterans, and families of all kinds who are facing hunger last year, the food bank is still not meeting the increased need in the 34 counties the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina serves. Their partner agencies on the front lines are still reporting a sustained 35% increase in need over pre-pandemic levels. They need your reliable support to nourish all their neighbors in need. Sign up this January and your 1st monthly gift can be matched up to $2,500! Start giving today! #NoOneGoesHungry

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