Friday Fun Food Facts – June 21, 2019

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

Featured Restaurant News

  •  It was revealed this week that the original plan to bring bu*ku to the former ān space changed slightly. Instead, bu•ku owner Sean Degnan is bringing chef Drew Smith with him to Cary to open kō•än in the former ān space at 2800 Renaissance Park Place. Opening in early August, kō•än’s menu will be focusing on dishes from Vietnam and Thailand, reflective of the year Smith spent traveling in that part of the world. Smith’s menu and vision for kō•än includes an array of small plates meant for sharing like Cauliflower 65, Duck Bao and Lobster Gyoza, along with large plates like NC Thai Fried Snapper and Green Tea Smoked Duck. Expect to find inventive bowls on the menu as well like the kō•än Hot Pot brimming with lobster, cod, shrimp and local vegetables or the Vietnamese Pho with Wagyu Beef Short Rib. See more on their website.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • It has been 14 months, but the News & Observer reported this week that the former Standard Foods space near Person Street will soon come back to life with a slight name change and a completely new concept: Standard Beer and Food. It’s the latest project from Whit Baker and Andy Schnitzer, who are also partners in Cary’s popular Bond Brothers Beer Co. and the beer pop-up Ancillary Fermentation. The new Standard will continue their focus on beer, but Baker and Schnitzer promise something beyond the ordinary brewpub fare. Minor renovations will begin this summer with plans to open by the fall. Get to know them (again) here.
  • Also in Raleigh, reader Thomas Porter updated us with the news that Hieu Bowl Vietnamese Kitchen has opened in the former Burger King location at 3701 Hillsborough Street. You can get to know them and view their menu online at their website here.
  • Out in Wendell, got word this week that Daniel Whittaker and chef Patrick Cowden are unveiling a second restaurant concept. Farmhouse Café will be located in Wendell Falls development and will feature creative, seasonal dishes, local vendors and a community-focused atmosphere built on sustainable practices – and fun things like prosecco and kombucha on tap. Whittaker and Cowden are also behind downtown Raleigh’s The Pharmacy Cafe and the catering company Green Planet Catering. It is slated to open in September and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Get more details on the Wendell Falls website here.
  • In Morrisville, we learned this week that Charlotte-based brand Hickory Tavern opened their 28th store company-wide yesterday at Park West Village across from the Stone Theaters – Park West Village 14. Hickory Tavern is known for its substantial menu, signature burgers and a 360-degree view of televisions perfect for watching the big game. The Morrisville location will be the fourth Triangle-area location (Carrboro, Cary, Holly Springs). Get to know them here.
  • Down in Apex, the Triangle Business Journal reported this week that developers have begun work on a new Culver’s in Apex, with construction set to be completed later this year. This will be the third Triangle-area location for the Wisconsin-based chain and will be located at 1401 Kelly Road. The other locations are in Wake Forest and Clayton. For those not familiar, Culver’s is a quick-service, family-style restaurant chain specializing in burgers, frozen custard shakes and Wisconsin-style cheese curds. Check them out.
  • Also in Apex, reader Chris Creighton notified us that the latest Zaxby’s has opened right on Hwy. 64 at 1171 Pine Plaza. Visit them here

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • The folks over at NC Triangle Dining shared the news that chef Michael Lee’s newest concept, M Pocha, is now in soft-open mode. Lee’s latest venture is in the five-points area of downtown Durham in the former Cupcake Bar space serving up pan-Asian small plates like nasi goreng, grilled kalbi (short rib) and dumplings. Visit all the M restaurants here.
  • A quick update, the folks over at Bites of Bull City let us know that The Oak House in Durham is now open on the ground floor of One City Center. It is described as not a coffee shop that serves drinks and it is not a bar that serves coffee-it’s a high-end craft beverage lounge with something for everyone. Keep up with their latest on their Facebook page here.
  • And a reminder in Durham that Rocky Mount Mills Beer Garden at American Tobacco has taken over the space that was formerly home to Tyler’s. The beer garden features brews sourced from breweries at Rocky Mount Mills, including Hopfly, Tarboro, Koi Pond and BDD brewing companies. The beer garden’s regular hours will be Thursday and Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 9 p.m. Keep up with them on Facebook here.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, the News & Observer reported that Blue Dogwood Public Market is entering its second year with a couple North Carolina basics: barbecue and ice cream. Joining this summer will be Big Belly Que from chef Garret Fleming, who was the chef at the acclaimed Motto restaurant in downtown Durham before it closed in July 2017. The second new vendor is Burlington’s Smitty’s Homemade Ice Cream, which is returning to Chapel Hill and opening a satellite location at the food hall’s bar. Blue Dogwood opened last June at 306 W. Franklin St., with six vendors and a bar, tucked back on Franklin Street in a former grocery store building. Get all the latest here.
  • Also in Chapel Hill the Triangle Business Journal reported that out on Hwy. 54 heading to Interstate 40  in the Vallero gas station, Dunkin’ Donuts has opened their newest prototype store. Located at 110 Stancell Drive, this brand new generation of design makes getting your Dunkin’ fix easier and quicker. The new look and feel also offers an innovative tap system serving consistently cold beverages such as its coffee, iced teas, cold brew coffee and nitro infused cold brew coffee. Pop in and check them out.


  • Michael DePersia of National Restaurant Properties shared the news this week that Cafe Buongiorno has closed in the Falls Village neighborhood in North Raleigh.
  • Over in Durham, the folks at Bites of Bull City shared that Cuban Revolution in the American Tobacco Campus has closed.
  • The folks at Eighty8 Asian Bistro over in Cary shared on their Facebook page that they are officially closing their doors on June 23rd. They did note, however, that they will continue to operate their food truck…and hinted at the possibility of reopening in a different location. Get in there one last time this weekend.
  • David McCreary shared the news that the WhichWich at 145 Grand Hill Place in the Holly Springs Towne Center has permanently closed.
  • Just a reminder that Jason Smith’s s 18 Seaboard will end a 14 year run on July 2 – but good luck reserving a “farewell” lunch or dinner. Here is their website.

Food Trucks 

  • Thanks to a note from Mark Ginsberg, I learned that the Knightdale Food Truck Thursdays is 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.
  • And the remaining two dates for the 2019 edition of the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo are: Sunday August 4th – 3pm-9pm ( Evening Rodeo); and Sunday Oct 6th – 12-6pm. All are held along Fayetteville Street. Get all the details here.


  •  Ever wanted to show off your pickle? Now is your chance. The Rickhouse hosts Durham’s 5th Annual PickleFest this SATURDAY, June 22 – featuring a Home Pickler’s Contest. The pickle-packed tasting event and marketplace will be showcasing North Carolina made products from pickle vendors near and far including locally crafted kombucha and kimchi! Triangle area restaurants sample their unique pickle dishes as well as pickle flavored beers and a Bloody Mary bar to quench your thirst and pucker your lips! VIP $25 includes early bird entry from Noon – 1pm + Home Pickler’s Contest Tasting + (1) free drink ticket. General Admission $10 – Session 1 from 1 – 3pm | Session 2 from 2 – 4pm. Kids under 10 years old are free. Visit their Facebook event page here.
  • The folks over at Pompieri Pizza are expanding their annual Lambrusco Fest this year – extending it over 6 days from June 17 through June 22! Lambrusco Fest was a one day festival, but this year they are changing up with events happening over six days. They will have pasta and parmesan dinners as well as specials featuring prosciutto and balsamic and fun things! Get all the details on what is being offered each day (some events are already sold out!).
  • Taste celebrates the vibrant Durham-Chapel Hill culinary scene with a festival of food & beverage events, June 26-30, 2019. All told, the event features 5 premium culinary events. New for this year, they are offering back-to-back nights of their signature Grand Taste Experience at the Durham Armory – with each night featuring over 30 great local restaurants. The week also boasts a 1920s themed Speakeasy Nightclub at a secret location, a 6-Course Southern Feast Dinner at Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club and a Boozy Brunch at Clouds Brewing. Get all the details and tickets here.
  • You can ask the lovely and talented Lori Bowers-Lennard, but I’m not much of a fruit fan. But one fruit I can get excited about is a good ol’ North Carolina peach. That is why I’m excited to share that Dexter Hill reached out to me this week to be one of the judges at the NC Peach Day which will take place at the State Farmers Market on Thursday, July 11 beginning at 11 a.m. There will be free peach ice cream, fresh NC peaches, a peach recipe contest (of which I will be a judge!) and a special appearance by the N.C. Peach Queen (who knew?). Get all the details here.
  • It was recently announced that one of Chatham County’s largest food festivals, the 12th Annual Pittsboro Pepperfest, is returning to main street in downtown Pittsboro. The date for this year’s event is Sunday, September 22 from 3 – 6 p.m. So go ahead and mark your calendar to spend your afternoon in historic, downtown Pittsboro. Get all the details here.
  • One of my favorite annual events released details about their event dates and when tickets will go on sale. The 10th anniversary edition of Terra Vita Food & Drink Festival will take place in Chapel Hill October 16 – 19, 2019. Tickets go on sale July 11, so put that date on your calendar to snap up the quick sell-outs! Get all the details here.

Food Bank Corner

  • While some kids daydream about trips to the pool and neighborhood games, others are worried summer will mean months with an empty fridge. But thanks to our generous corporate sponsors, you can help twice as many kids facing hunger this summer: Every gift you give before July 31 will be doubled – up to $102,500! That means that every $10 you give will be doubled to help provide 100 meals for children and families losing access to school-provided meals this summer. Double your donation today!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.