Friday Fun Food Facts – March 15, 2019

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

Featured Restaurant News

  • In the heart of downtown Raleigh at Moore Square park, the folks over at ITB Insider shared that the $12 million renovation of the park is nearing completion and  is set to reopen late this summer, following nearly two years of construction. The bulk of the remaining work is now focusing on the cafe, the trellis, and the play and fountain areas of the project. Empire Eats, the group behind The Pit (Raleigh & Durham), Raleigh Times, Morning Times, Gravy, Sitti,  and The Mecca, will be leasing the cafe on the property. No word yet on what kind of fare they will be bringing to the park. Will we watching this one closely. Visit Empire Eats here.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Got word from the folks over at NC Triangle Dining that the upcoming Calavera Empanadas and Tequila restaurant will not be opening in the former Tasty 8’s hot dog restaurant space on Fayetteville Street, but will instead take over the old Moonlight Pizza location on Morgan Street, according to owner Ken Yowell. Visit Calavera on Facebook here.
  • And speaking of Ken Yowell, not sure if we officially shared this, but his Acorn at Oak City is now open next to his Oak City Meatball Shoppe on East Davie Street. It replaced Kaiju, a ramen and bao bar, which he closed Feb. 8. They serve breakfast and brunch daily and then switch to small plates accompanied by wine and spirits  in the evenings. Thanks to Drew Jackson and the News & Observer for the update. Visit them on Instagram here.
  • Got word from Michael DePersia of National Restaurant Properties that he sold the Five Bro’s Pizza (former Toppers Pizza) off Wake Forest Rd on Ronald Dr. (just behind Hooters) to John Molite who plans on opening up his second Triangle location of Manhattan Pizza in the next few weeks. Their original location is  in the former Greek Fiesta spot in the Falls Point shopping center at Durant and Falls of Neuse. Visit Manhattan Pizza here.
  • In Morrisville, got word from reader Joe McGarry a while ago, and just confirmed, that Hickory Tavern is bringing a location to Park West Village in the former BlackFinn Ameripub space. Actual address is 3201 Village Market Place. No word on a timeline. They already have Triangle-area locations in Cary and Carrboro. Check them out here.
  • In Apex got word from Jennifer Willis that the Chick-fil-A at Beaver Creek is closed for renovations. Their Facebook page notes they will be closed through April 15th. So, every day is a Sunday from now until Tax Day for those in Apex. Sorry! Keep up with their progress on their Facebook page here.
  • Over in the Brier Creek area, got word from from reader Jennifer Buchholz that the Mellow Mushroom is targeting March 25 for their opening. It is located at 9600 Brier Creek Parkway. Follow their social media to confirm their opening. Visit them on their website here and on Facebook here.
  • Well, not exactly Triangle-area restaurant news, but certainly something that impacts anyone in the Triangle that has planned their trips to the coast around a stop at Goldsboro’s Wilber’s Barbecue. Got word from Mike DePersia that the N.C. Dept. of Revenue has shut it down. Will keep an eye on it in the event the situation is rectified.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • In Durham near the intersection of Mt. Moriah Road and 15/501, the Shiki Sushi Facebook page indicated that they are very close to opening another location of their sister restaurant, Tasu Asian Bistro (was referred to as Tasu Express). They currently have Tasu locations in Raleigh’s Brier Creek and Cary’s Waverly Place. No word on a timeline. Keep up with them here.
  • On a recent visit out to RTP, I noticed a sign for Daily Taco at the corner of Hwy. 54/Chapel Hill Road and Carrington Mill Blvd. That is at the same intersection as Daily Grind Coffeehouse. Hmmm. Not sure if there is a relationship there, but one has to speculate. Stay tuned.
  • A quick update in Chapel Hill. A few weeks ago we shared that a Japan Express was going into the former Pizza Hut location on Estes Drive. Well, reader Davene Mainwaring shared the news that they actually leveled the old Pizza Hut location. Kinda sad, but looking forward to the new development for Japan Express.
  • Over in Carrboro we have solved the “musical chairs” surrounding a couple of restaurants thanks to readers Tom Viemont and Ari Bowers. We now know that Esperanza Empanadas & Tequila has permanently closed. With that closure, One Fish Two Fish Poke has closed their current location BUT will move into and reopen in the Esperanza space. No word on a timeline for the reopening of One Fish Two Fish. Also, no word as of yet what will go into their (now) former space. Keep up with their progress on their Facebook page.
  • And down in Chatham County, saw on the Town of Pittsboro Facebook page that Cafe Diem coffee shop (I think it is officially Davenport’s Cafe Diem)  has opened at 439 Hillsboro Street. Filtered brewed coffee, Café au lait, Café & cocoa, Espresso, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Café Latte, Café Mocha, Café Americano and frozen drinks are on the menu. Check their website out here and their Facebook page here.


  • Gluten-free restaurant Primal Food & Spirits in Durham posted on their Facebook page this past weekend that they were closed effective immediately. Thanks to reader Sammi Van Hoy for alerting us to this.
  • And got word from several readers that the Fiesta Mexicana at the corner of High House and Cary Parkway has closed.
  • And in Chapel Hill, The Daily Tar Heel reported that Roots Bistro & Bar closed last month. They still have their location in Durham.

Food Trucks 

  • Go ahead and mark down the dates for 2019 for the Durham Food Truck rodeos – they are: March 24, June 16, September 1 and November 3! Get all the dates here.
  • And the dates for the 2019 edition of the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo have been released – they are Sunday May 5th – 12-6pm (Cinco de mayo ); Sunday June 9th – 12-6pm; Sunday August 4th – 3pm-9pm ( Evening Rodeo ); and Sunday Oct 6th – 12-6pm. All are held along Fayetteville Street. Get all the details here.
  • Thanks to a note from Mark Ginsberg, I learned that the Knightdale Food Truck Thursdays is getting ready to kick back up for the season. The event is held the third Thursday of the month from April through October at Knightdale Station Park for lunch AND dinner. Get all the details, truck schedule and more here.


  • On Sunday, March 24th Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom and Sam’s Quik Shop present the 7th annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience where 30 of Durham’s finest restaurants are paired with 30 refreshing beers. Unlimited food and beer samplings will be spread throughout all three DPAC floors, plus the On Stage Experience will showcase local food and live music on the DPAC stage. This event is a fundraising event to benefit the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association. Get all the details here.
  • Also on Sunday, March 24, Postal Fish Company, Sanctuary Vineyards, and Vino Wine Shop are joining forces to bring you a truly local seafood and wine dinner, Sanctuary Vineyards Wine Dinner, that will change your mind about North Carolina wines. Tickets are $65. All the details and ticket information can be found on their Facebook event page here.
  • Recently Brewgaloo was nominated as one of the top beer festivals in the country! That’s right, in the country! Right now we sit atop the leaderboard, but we need your vote to stay there. Please click through here and keep us there! Thanks to Jennifer Martin for bringing this to my attention.
  • Cary’s 4th annual Fest in the West festival returns on Saturday, May 4th from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The event features old-fashioned contests (like pie eating!), artists, beer, food trucks (10) and live bands on multiple stages. (Rain date is May 5). Get all the details here.
  • Tickets are on sale now for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s Thrive NC, scheduled for May 9 -10 at City Market in downtown Raleigh. The inaugural event attracted thousands of members of the community to celebrate North Carolina’s culinary roots, while also initiating critical conversations about food insecurity in our state. The highlight of the two-day event is the festival which will feature more than 60 of the area’s best restaurants serving food and drink samples as well as live entertainment, including chef demonstrations and music. Get all the details here. Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • Our first Fork + Bottle Dinner of 2019 is Thursday, March 21. Join award-winning chef Thomas Card as he welcomes local favorites The Kast Brothers to Counting House and 21c Museum Hotel Durham. Alex Kast is the director of Chapel Hill Creamery and brother Max Kast of Broadbent Selections, Inc. is the only Master Sommelier in North Carolina. The night will start with a tour of our current exhibition, Portraying Power and Identity: A Global Perspective, followed by cocktail hour and dinner. Chef Card has designed a menu to pair with Chapel Hill Creamery selections and wine will be poured to accompany the meal. Tickets are $75 a person and a portion of every ticket sold will benefit the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Visit their Facebook event page here for all the details.

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