Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - January 7, 2011

Welcome to 2011! I trust everyone had an enjoyable holiday season. Let's just say things have been busy in the Triangle restaurant scene these last few weeks, so let's jump right into it...
  • Bear Rock Café is making some changes here in the Triangle. First, the Bear Rock Café in University Mall has ended their lease there. That's the bad news. The good news is that they will be re-opening in a matter of weeks over in Durham in the former Rick's Diner location (which moved down the street a few months back) on University Drive behind Sam's & Target.
  • Which means there is a vacancy at Chapel Hill's University Mall. And word on the street, albeit not 100% confirmed, is that a Red Bowl Asian Bistro will be moving into that location. Which is interesting in that it is directly across from Spice Street. We'll keep you posted.
  • In other Bear Rock news, the Raleigh location on Lake Boone Trail and the Morrisville location at the corner of Cary Parkway and Chapel Hill Road have changed ownership. Bart Carmichael and Arthur Page, who own another Bear Rock Café in Greensboro, have purchased those two stores. Look for new and fresh ideas coming out of those stores, including bakery-fresh desserts! Welcome to the Triangle Bart & Arthur!
  • The N&O's Sue Stock is reporting that Wake Forest has landed Matt Naugle's first Triangle-area restaurant - Sambuca Chop House at 11216 Capital Blvd., near U.S. 1 and U.S. 1-A. If you frequent Lake Gaston, you'll be familiar with Naugle's other restaurant, the WatersView.
  • You may remember back in July we told you about the opening of Mangia and Eat on Oberlin Road in the former EVOO spot. Well, if you didn't get by there, too late. After 6 short months, that dual-restaurant concept has closed and a new concept called Bellini is now open there. (And for the bonus points round, here is a list of the most recent tenants in that space - Johnson's Drug Store, The Bulldog, The Raven, Maccini's, Riptide's, EVOO, Mangia Bistro and Eat Kitchen & Bar...and now, Bellini.)
  • Speaking of revolving doors, we've got an update to last month's news that Giorgio's was closing its doors at the corner of High House and Cary Parkway. Turns out former Blue Cross Blue Shield big dog Bob Greczyn is bringing the extremely popular Mellow Mushroom concept to Cary! Expect an opening toward the end of the 2nd quarter. It will be the Triangle's fourth Mellow Mushroom location.
  • The Raleigh blog GoGoRaleigh reported last week that Crabtree Valley Mall will soon be home to a new restaurant called Red Monkey. It looks like it will occupy space on two levels, just to the left of the Belk entrance. Not much else is known about this concept at this time.
  • Speaking of Crabtree, the renovations at Kanki Japanese House of Steaks & Sushi are complete. Check out their new bar and sushi area!
  • The much-anticipated location of Tijuana Flats in Cary has announced that they will open on January 17 and will have a week of "grand opening" events. This location is at the corner of Cary Parkway and Kildaire, in the old Camille's Sidewalk Café location next to Trader Joe's.
  • RDU's Terminal 2 south concourse will open at the end of this month, on January 23rd to be exact. The dining options that will be opening there include - Five Guys (although they might be delayed - no airport pun intended), Flavours, Jason's Deli, Carolina Vintages wine bar and Starbucks (with the new logo, we presume). Plan your flight schedule accordingly.
  • The TBJ is reporting that North Raleigh will be getting a new McDonald's. The newest location will be in the Falls Pointe Shopping Center where the Kohl's store is.
  • Here are a few more openings and renovations thanks to Sue Stock over at the N&O - Fuego Loco Mexican Buffet has opened at 4614 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh. The Dunkin' Donuts on Wilmington Street is undergoing renovations ('bout time). And if we didn't' have enough donut places, another Dunkin' Donuts has opened at 8401 Capital Blvd. in North Raleigh. And over in Durham, Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet has opened in the Oak Creek Shopping Center.
  • Triangle Town Center's Twisted Fork has put a new twist on their dining experience. They have unveiled a 32-foot salad bar that features 24 pre-made healthy salads as well as 48 fresh items to build your own. A new 40-item menu has also been unveiled. Looks like those New Year's resolutions will be a little easier to keep.
  • But maybe not. Here's one that is NOT good for those New Year's resolutions. IHOP has brought back their all-you-can-eat pancakes for $4.99 - available now through February 27th. There is just something cruel about the timing of this.
  • OK, forget what I just told you about IHOP, let's get back to more healthy options. If you're over in Durham, you'll notice something a little different. The former Green Tango, located across Erwin Road from campus, is now Chopped Greens. And to mark their new opening, our friends at Chopped Greens will be offering all their salads and wraps for just $4.99 next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Be sure to drop in next week! Visit them online here.
  • In case you missed it. Downtown Raleigh's Duck & Dumpling closed on the last day of 2010. But don't expect that space to sit empty long. Empire Eats restaurant group will open a new concept in that location this spring. While not officially announced yet, it is anticipated that the new concept will have a "south of the border" influence.
  • For those that traverse 15-501 between Chapel Hill and Fearrington Village / Pittsboro, you'll have to look for a new spot to get your java fix. The little coffee hut Local Latte is all but empty now. It was located in the Cole Park Plaza shopping center near Torero's.
  • Also over in Chapel Hill on Elliott Road, Café Parvaneh, which had been preparing the unique dishes of Persian (Iranian) cuisine for the past 15 years, has closed their doors.
  • Sue Stock is also reporting that the OCharley's restaurant is Wake Forest has now closed. This is part of chain-wide closings that last month closed the Garner location. That leaves just the Cary location here in the Triangle.
  • If you can't get enough of downtown Raleigh's The Mecca, we've got good news for you. They've obtained their liquor license and are now staying open until 11 pm on weeknights, and "late night" on weekends (they used to do this way back when). This also comes with a new late-night appetizer menu.
  • With the new year comes new things and that is no exception for The Diner over in Raleigh. Not only have they introduced a new menu, but they've lowered their prices - including a $4.95 burger!
  • Margaux's Restaurant and Taylor's Wine Shop, both in North Raleigh, are putting on a three-course dinner featuring the wines of Barnett Vineyards. Winemaker David Tate will attend the Jan. 27 dinner. For $75, you get three courses and samples of six wines. For a reservation, call 847-3069.
  • Fearrington House has announced the dates in 2011 for their special dinners. These fill up fast, so you'll want to move quickly with the first one coming up on Sunday, January 16th. Each evening begins with a reception at 6, followed by dinner at 7 pm. The cost is $125 per person. Call 542-2121 to make a reservation. See the year's schedule on Andrea Weigl's blog here.
  • The fourth annual Triangle Restaurant Week is taking place the week of January 24th this year. If you are not familiar with this event, participating restaurants offer special menu offerings and pricing during the entire week. It is a great opportunity to try out places you haven't been to yet. So, squirrel away your dining budget until the last week of the month and have fun! Here is a complete list of participating restaurants and their menus.
  • Chick-fil-A is rolling out a new typical Chick-fil-A fashion. Beginning next Monday, if you have a reservation, you'll be one of the first to try their new Spicy Chicken Biscuit. To "reserve" your biscuit, go here.
  • And finally, with the new year comes nutty calendar happenings - like January 11, 2011 (1/11/11). So to commemorate that, Papa John's has a special offer-a large one-topping pizza for $11 and a second large one-topping for 11 cents more. That's two pizzas for $11.11 that is good for that one day for delivery and carryout customers.


  1. Red Bowl is definitely coming to UMall, they've already begun work and plan to have it open by spring.

  2. Thanks Green Eats. I drove by UMall yesterday afternoon and saw the banner hanging for Red Bowl.