Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - February 25, 2011

Triangle Restaurant News

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

  • Downtown Raleigh continues to get great news from some of its best chefs. In an article by the N&O's Andrea Weigl, it was revealed that Ashely Christensen of Poole's Diner will open three new restaurants on Wilmington Street this spring. Each concept will focus on a specialty: hamburgers, fried chicken and honey and a basement cocktail bar. Read the entire article here.

    Spring is in the air, which means there are a number of new ventures on the verge of opening. Here's a quick peek at a few:
  • One of downtown Raleigh's newest additions is one step closer to opening. A tweet this week revealed that PieBird, which will make and sell all natural pies, just got their permits. It is/will be located at 618 N. Person Street just down from Krispy Kreme. Visit their site here.
  • Apparently we are getting pretty close to an opening of The Raleigh Wine Shop, which will be located at 126 Glenwood Avenue. To keep up, you can visit their website and/or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
  • And in Durham, we're getting very close to the opening of Bull City Burger and Brewery. To hype the anticipation, Bull City is hiding "golden" bulls in and around Durham. Apparently there are two that still haven't been found. The "finders" win a free meal each week for a year! Visit their site to get daily clues on where to find the last two bulls.
  • Spring also means the "hibernating" season is over. Specifically, that means that all of the area's Rita's Italian Ice stores will resume normal hours as of noon today. Find a location near you.
  • And thanks to a tip from John over at Triangle Explorer (@TriangleExplorer on Twitter) a new Papa Murphy's pizza joint has opened in Wake Forest off of US 1 next to Krispy Kreme.
  • The Ragazzi's in Wake Forest off of US 401 has closed. With that closing, that leaves the chain with locations locally in Raleigh, Garner, Cary and Southern Pines.
  • A high-school buddy of mine informed me this week that the Texas Steakhouse & Saloon restaurant up in Wake Forest closed. That leaves just one in the Triangle, out in Morrisville (two, if you count the one in Smithfield).
  • If you are a fan of Andrea Reusing (and who isn't?), chef at Chapel Hill's Lantern restaurant, get ready to enjoy some of her recipes. She has a cookbook being released in April entitled Cooking in the Moment; A Year of Seasonal Recipes. Reusing's restaurant often lands in the top five restaurants in the Triangle, and she was recently nominated for Best Chef in the South East 2011 James Beard Award.
  • Downtown Raleigh's The Flying Saucer is turning 11 years old and will be holding an anniversary party - 11 Beers for 11 Years this Saturday from noon 'til 11 pm. The restaurant is located at 328 W. Morgan St.

    Here are a couple of "foodie" events you can participate in this weekend.
  • If you are looking for a good deal on "entertainment equipment" you are in luck. Sister's Catering in Raleigh is having a "yard sale" starting today through the weekend to clear out the company's excess supply of things like: themed props, tables, chairs, glassware, china, chafing dishes, furniture, linens and electronics. Sisters' is located at 2400 E. Millbrook Road. More information here.
  • Want free chicken and help a good cause? The North Carolina School of Science and Math is trying to break the world record for the largest food drive, and you can help. Bring at least three cans of food to the Chick-fil-A restaurant at 11730 Retail Drive in Wake Forest and you'll get a free Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit or spicy chicken biscuit between 6 and 10:30 am, or a free Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich or spicy chicken sandwich between 10:30 am and 10 pm. But hurry, this is only good this Friday and Saturday. Click here to view the event info.
  • Speaking of Chick-fil-A, they are introducing a new milkshake flavor starting next Monday - Banana Pudding! And from what I've been told, it is like drinking your grandma's recipe thru a straw. I know where I'll be on Monday!
  • Durham's Alivia's bistro will have a Triangle Beer Dinner next Monday. Space is limited to 60 people and the cost is $45 per person. Call 919-491-7381 to reserve your spot. Alivia's is located on the corner of Gregson and West Main.
  • Acme in Carrboro will hold a wine dinner with Nick Stacy of Vinaceous Wines on Sunday, March 6th at 6:30 pm. The meal will include four courses and six wines and will set you back $58. Reservations required by calling 919-929-2263.
  • T.G.I. Friday's is at it again with coupons. Now you can get a $5 coupon for your purchase of $15 or more. Get it here.
  • Jake's Wayback Burgers is living up to its name by "rolling back" prices on its signature Jake Burger to $2.49 for its 20th anniversary celebration. This promotion runs through Sunday. The Triangle's only location is in Durham at 4104 Surles Court, next to the new Walmart and Sam's Club just inside 540. More information here.
  • And a tip of the hat to Michael Hardwood, a barista at Chapel Hill's Café Driade and Open Eye Café in Carrboro. Hardwood recently won the 2011 Southeast Regional Barista Championship in Atlanta. Harwood will head to the U.S. Barista Competition in Houston at the end of April with hopes of making it to the World Barista Competition in Columbia in June. Good Luck Michael!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - February 18, 2011

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

  • If you are a fan of William D'Auvray, former chef at Fins and bu.ku, we've got great news. It was announced this week that he would be the chef at a new Thai restaurant opening in the former Duck & Dumpling location in Moore Square in downtown Raleigh. The restaurant will be called Fai Thai. While there is not set date for opening. earlier reports indicated end of first quarter, early second quarter.
  • Also in downtown Raleigh came word this week from the N&O's Sue Stock that the RBC Plaza in downtown Raleigh has landed its first retail occupant, a restaurateur familiar with downtown Raleigh. G. Patel, who also owns The Oxford and Sono in downtown and Mura in North Hills, will open a new Pan Asian restaurant on the bottom floor of the RBC Plaza building. Expected to open this year, there is no word yet on the name.
  • Downtown Raleigh's Cherry Bomb, which replaced Joe's Place about seven months ago, will re-open in March as it transforms into Brewmaster's Bar and Grill. In addition to a new menu, and over 60-featured beers, they will host beginner homebrewing classes!
  • Raleigh's Hillsborough Street underwent major renovations in hopes of attracting new life to the area, and this week came an announcement from blogger GoGoRaleigh that it appears to be working. The extremely popular fast-Mex concept Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that it would be opening the Triangle's fifth location across from campus. While the exact location hasn't been confirmed, the chain hopes to have it open by this summer.
  • Over in Durham, Bear Rock Café has successfully completed its move from University Mall in Chapel Hill to Durham, specifically the former, and recently renovated, Rick's Diner location at 4015 University Drive. Stop in and give Len Morton and his crew a warm Durham welcome!
  • And just across the street, the N&O's Andrea Weigl tweeted yesterday that Shane Ingram of Four Square Restaurant fame, is set to open a new restaurant: G2B (burgers, beer & charcuterie) in the old Starlu location. It is expected to open later this spring or in the early summer. The location is on the corner of University Drive and Shannon Road, on the backside of the building there on the corner.
  • Back over in Raleigh, El Rodeo Grill at 7420 Six Forks Road, will open its doors this Monday under a new name - La Rancherita - and with a new, expanded menu. Might want to drop in next week to enjoy their "grand re-opening" celebrations with lots of drink specials.
  • Chapel Hill (and really the entire Triangle) was dealt a huge blow this week with the news that Bonne Soiree, located in Chapel Hill's Courtyard, will be closing at the end of the April as Chip & Tina Smith plan to move to New York City. Make your plans to get in there between now and the end of April. Or, plan a trip to New York!
  • Raleigh's hottest entertainment district, Glenwood South, got word this week that Bogart's will close its doors at the end of the month after a 10 year run. This follows on the footsteps of the news that another member of the Rocky Top Hospitality group, Michael Dean's, is being replaced by Tribeca Tavern's second location. But Bogart's is going out in style, with a five-day celebration starting next Wednesday in which 10% of all proceeds will be donated to charity. Get by next week to give your last respects to Bogart's.
  • In downtown Raleigh the Wild Ginger Café, a sushi and Asian Bistro located on the ground floor of the new Progress Energy Building on Davie Street, is currently closed for renovations. No word on when it will re-open.
  • The list of James Beard Foundation semifinalists came out yesterday and seven local chefs are on the list for Best Chef Southeast. They are: Ashley Christensen, Poole's Diner of Raleigh; Andrea Reusing, Lantern of Chapel Hill; Chip Smith, Bonne Soiree in Chapel Hill; Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto in Hillsborough; Scott Crawford, Herons at Umstead Hotel in Cary; Scott Howell, Nana's in Durham; Shane Ingram, Four Square in Durham. Durham's Magnolia Grill also was nominated in the Outstanding Restaurant category. Its chef-owners Ben and Karen Barker are the state's only James Beard award-winning chefs. See more here.
  • In addition, Aaron Vandemark of Panciuto in Hillsborough was named one of the Best New Chef's in the Southeast by Food & Wine magazine. If you'd like to vote for Aaron, please do so here.
  • Listen up Food Truck fans! There is a Food-Truck-Round-Up this Saturday from 2-8 pm at Johnny's of Carrboro and 5% will go to Table, a local non-profit that helps to feed hungry children in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Participating trucks (at this point) are: Will & Pop's, Joe D's Hotdogs, Only Burger, ParlezVous Crepes, Valentino's Italian, Local Cookie, Johnny's Taco Truck...and more I'm sure.
  • The Angus Barn will hold a complimentary wine tasting this Sunday, February 20th with certified Sommelier Henk Schuitemaker and his staff. The tasting will be from 3:30 to 5 pm. Reservations are not required. Complimentary Wine Cellar tours will be available. Please email Kecia Bobbitt or Paige Person for all inquiries or call 919.787.3505.
  • Want to know where the hottest new restaurant scene in the Triangle is? You might check the new Terminal 2 at RDU! Check out this line-up - 42nd Street Oyster Bar, Brookwood Farms BBQ, Breugger's Bagel, California Pizza Kitchen, Carolina Ale House, Carolina Vintages, Five Guys, Gordeon Biersch, Jason's Deli, KFC Express, Panopolis and of course, Starbucks! Makes me want to fly!
  • The two Triangle locations of California Pizza Kitchen will be donating 20% of sales on February 22nd and February 28th to the St. Baldrick's Foundation providing needed funds for curing childhood cancers. Make your reservations now and support a great cause. More information is available here.
  • Here's another fun "food" fundraiser. The 5th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser will be held on March 3rd from 5:30 to 8 pm at the Armory in Durham to benefit Urban Ministries of Durham's food pantry. Tickets are $30 for soup sampling and an artisan bowl to take home or $15 for just the soup. Get more information here.
  • If you are a chef or restaurant owner, listen up. The Holly Springs Farmers Market is looking for chefs to be featured as part of their Farm to Table Chef series sponsored by Rex Healthcare. The market opens May 7 and runs through October. Contact me if you are interested.
  • And for you do-it-yourselfers out there, there is a workshop scheduled for March 5 at Marbles Kid Museum called Dig In, designed for anyone who wants to build and maintain a community garden or gain expertise for success in a home garden. Register here.
  • And we close with a cool, fun food fact. A recent survey by the National Restaurant Association shows that nearly 50 percent of restaurants are now owned by women. The research also shows that restaurants employ more minority managers than any other industry, and that Hispanic restaurant ownership has increased 42 percent in the past five years.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - February 11, 2011

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

  • I begin with a HUGE thank you for all the support and following I've received with the launch of the Triangle's only locally-owned online catering service - Triangle Food Guy. The first week far exceeded my expectations and the feedback has been phenomenal. If you haven't visited or used us, get on over now and take advantage of the Bailey's promotion for $500, $300 and $200 gift certificates. Order away!
  • Unfortunately, I opened my paper this morning to find some closings being reported by the N&O's Sue Stock. The first is up in North Raleigh on Creedmoor Road, where the Crowley's in Stonehenge Market has closed.
  • Also in North Raleigh, across Glenwood Ave./70 from the airport, The Westgate Deli on Westgate Road has closed. It was really a cute little deli, just a little off the beaten bath.
  • And finally, the Wendy's on U.S. 70 East in Clayton has closed.
  • Now onto some better news. Looks like the country's first two-story Chick-fil-A is a little bit closer to reality for Raleigh's Cameron Village. Plans for the new concept were submitted to the city of Raleigh this week, and if all goes well, it will be open this fall. The new location will feature a 2nd level patio, a two-lane drivethru and a conveyor system to expedite food to the drivethru and 2nd story.
  • In Chapel Hill, the Carolina Brewery turned 16 this week and is celebrating all week. Get by either the Chapel Hill location (which has free valet parking on weekends) or the Pittsboro location to help them celebrate. Visit their site for more information.
  • The N&O's Greg Cox featured two little deli/cafes that are also off the beaten path but well worth the visit. The first is one that opened a few months ago called Big City Bagels & Café which is on Six Forks Road in the Celebration at Six Forks (7461 Six Forks Road). It has a side street-facing location, so might take a little effort to find.
  • The other "hidden jewel," over on the outskirts of Durham at 5108 Wake Forest Highway, is a little shop called the Ham 'n' Egger Café. They are open for breakfast and lunch and serve up a unique variety of sandwiches.

  • Tyler's Taproom, with locations in Carrboro, Durham and Apex, is now serving up a new menu that is worth the visit. Of particular note are their new burgers. Give them a visit if you haven't been in a while.
  • Speaking of new menus, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches has added two larger sandwich sizes - 10.5 inches and a 14-inch Superwich - to complement the classic 7-inch item. In addition, Which Wich has added a 32-ounce plastic stadium cup. The Triangle is currently home to one location (Lake Boone Trail), but rumor has it that a second location is in the works.
  • Here's a fun family-oriented event to put on your calendar. The 2011 ChillyFest, which is an old-fashioned Chili Cook Off benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Wake County. The event will take place from noon until 5 pm on Saturday, February 26th on the 100 block of Fayetteville Street. More information on their Facebook page.
  • A quick shout-out of congratulations to Dean Ogan, onwer of Rocky Top Hospitality, who was named restaurateur of the year by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. Rocky Top owns Micheal Dean's (which closes next Monday to make room for the 2nd location of Tribeca Tavern), Red Room, Bogart's, High-5, Twisted Fork, Fayetteville's Mash House, Tribeca Tavern and Rocky Top Catering.
  • If you are a big fan of the "daily deal" sites like Groupon, Twongo and LivingSocial, you may want to bookmark Sue Stock's blog at the N&O. Sue is now doing a daily summary of the deals. Find it here.
  • Looking to buy a restaurant? Or maybe 426? Well, according to the Triangle Business Journal, this week the majority stakeholder in Bojangles' is selling its investment. The Charlotte-based fried chicken chain (with 36 of its locations here in the Triangle) could be yours for the right price. Anyone?
  • And in another bit of funny/ironic news this week, Moe's Southwest Grill announced that it is starting its support of Meatless Mondays to support the growing number of vegetarians, part-time vegetarians and others just looking to eat healthier. But across the way, this past Monday Hooters began offering "Burger Mondays" - launching five new specialty burger options. Funny world we live in.
  • And for you do-it-yourselfers out there, there is a workshop scheduled for March 5 at Marbles Kid Museum called Dig In, designed for anyone who wants to build and maintain a community garden or gain expertise for success in a home garden. Register here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - February 4, 2011

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

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Without too much shameless self-promotion, I did want to take this opportunity to let everyoTriangle Food Guy Imagene know that this week I launched the Triangle's only locally-owned online corporate catering website - aptly named Triangle Food Guy.

Please take a moment to visit the site, and by all means, if you have corporate catering needs - order away! There's also
a promotion right now
for $500, $300 and $200 gift cards to Bailey's Fine Jewelry

I've been doing this for seven years and am extremely excited to now have my very own operation and would love the opportunity to work with each of you!

Check out the site!

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  • Rocky Top Hospitality Group this week announced that their 13-year-old, flagship restaurant Michael Dean's would close after Valentine's Day. The good news is that it will quickly become the newest location for Rocky Top's hottest new concept - Tribeca Tavern (the original location is over in Cary). Look for a mid-March opening of Tribeca in that Falls of the Neuse Road location. And take note that there are already plans for a third and fourth location! Stay tuned.
  • I think this was the most anticipated, most talked about opening in recent history, but it is official now - Streets Restaurant Deli & Market in Chapel Hill is NOW OPEN! And let me tell you from experience (the wife and I ate there on Wednesday), it is good. Listen up New Yorkers, get over there and let me know what you think! They are located in the 54 East complex heading into Chapel Hill (right behind the Aloft Hotel).
  • Downtown Raleigh is in line to get a new restaurant with a Mediterranean focus according to the N&O's Greg Cox. Babylon is slated to open at 309 N. Dawson Street in March. The menu will be Mediterranean in focus, with Moroccan and Southern European influences.
  • I noted this back in my January 21st edition, but it is certainly worth another mention - if you are looking for a truly authentic Cuban sandwich, look no further than downtown Durham (301 E. Main Street) where Old Havana Sandwich Shop has opened. The reviews coming in are that this is the real deal!
  • Last week we noted that Il Forno Italian Grill in Holly Springs had closed. Well, Sue Stock at the N&O is reporting this morning that Fiesta Mexicana will take over that spot with their fifth Triangle location. No word yet on the timing.
  • In the "This is Completely Rumor" file this week, we are hearing rumors that the Lake Boone location of Chubby Taco will move down the strip into the recently vacated 2nd City Grill location. We haven't been able to get confirmation on that, but we can certainly see why the extremely popular taco joint needs more room!
  • Chapel Hill has a new food truck - well, I guess it depends on if you consider donuts as "food" (I know I certainly do). Anyway, @DoughnetteTruck (for you Twitter people) is making its premier this Friday at Wootini, an arts gallery located in the heart of Carrboro on Lloyd Street (right across from the Cats Cradle). Looks like they'll be frying up come raised apple cider donuts beginning at 7 p.m.
  • And keeping with the donut theme, tomorrow morning is the 7th annual Krispy Kreme Challenge. If you are not familiar with it - "runners" begin at the NC State Bell Tower, run 2 miles to the Krispy Kreme on Peace Street, eat a dozen donuts, and "run" back - in under an hour. This is a great spectator event - don't forget your camera.
  • And the final "donut" mention of this issue is that February is "Chocolate Lovers Month" at Dunkin Donuts and they are rolling out a new line of donuts just for the month - Cocoa Confetti, Reverse Boston Kreme and Cocoa Kreme Puff - all for $.89.
  • Fish-eaters in Durham take note. The Fish Shack in Durham has closed. The fish version of the Shack, was a concept crated by Dan Ferguson, owner of The Original Q Shack - which remains alive and kicking as usual. The Fish Shack was located on University Drive right next to The Original Q Shack.
  • We got word this week due to an observant passerby, that the Edelweiss Café in City Market Square (317 Blake Street) in downtown Raleigh has closed. In addition to this observation, the number is disconnected and the website is down. Edelweiss opened in 2007 in Selma - and moved to Raleigh two years later.
  • Have you made Valentine's Day plans yet? Well, the N&O's Andrea Weigl has put together a very nice list of both Valentine's Day dinners as well as cooking classes (for those opting for the at-home romantic evening). Check it out here.
  • And here are a few more Valentine's dinner options put together for you by the N&O's Greg Cox - a list of "romantic" spots for the big holiday. Check it out here.
  • And of special note, Ashley Christensen, owner/chef of Poole's Downtown Diner, has announced that she will donate 100% of the profits from her restaurant's Valentine's Day dinner service to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. That Ashley sure has a big heart!
  • And on the Valentine's theme, Cary's Matthews House will have a dinner and dance on Saturday, February 12 beginning at 6:30 p.m. with a champagne toast and candlelit dinner. Reservations are only $50 per person, so call 919.467.1944 to make your reservations. Even better, overnight stay packages are available!
  • The Q Shack in Raleigh has some good news rolling out. The first is that their bread is now being handmade by the infamous Neomonde Bakery in Morrisville. Just when you thought their barbecue couldn't get any better. They've also got some great catering options for the Super Bowl as well as $1 ribs all day on Valentine's Day. The Q Shack is the perfect place to take your honey on Valentine's! See more on their site.
  • Bruegger's is having a birthday and you get the "gifts" - 3 free bagels on February 8th. But here's the catch (although it is not really a catch because you wouldn't go to someone's birthday party unless you were friends with them, right?), but you have to "friend" them on Facebook or join their e-mail list to get this coupon - go here.
  • If you're looking for a place to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, you might try one of the area's Carolina Ale House locations. Not only is the food great, and the atmosphere perfect for watching the biggest football game of the year, but they'll also be giving away 42-inch HDTVs at all their locations at half-time. Find a location near you here.
  • Blu Seafood and Bar in Durham is offering two special dinners this month: an "Oyster Extravaganza" on February 9th and a wine dinner featuring Spanish cuisine on February 16th. To make a reservation for either night, call 286.9777. More details on their website.
  • Do you want to own an ice-cream shop? Well, the owners of Goodberry's (Raleigh's very own) want to talk to you. The makers of Goodberry's are beginning to offer the brand's first franchising opportunities to area developers and franchisee operators. This process will begin in April. Visit their site for more information.
  • T.G.I. Friday's announced a new menu featuring 14 new items. Everything from appetizers, to entrees, to beverages to their dessert menu. Check out their new menu items here.
  • This is a little out of our area, but worth noting for any trips west. Durham-based Local Yogurt will be opening up its fourth location near Elon University in March (116 W. Lebanon Ave.). The other three locations are in Durham, Raleigh and Greenville.
  • And for you do-it-yourselfers out there, there is a workshop scheduled for March 5 at Marbles Kid Museum called Dig In, designed for anyone who wants to build and maintain a community garden or gain expertise for success in a home garden. Register here.
  • Looking for a unique Valentine's dinner for two? PoshNosh Catering is doing a dinner show, cocktails and dinner on Monday, February 14th at Flanders Gallery at 302 S. West Street in Raleigh. It begins at 6:30 and the cost is $150 per person. Contact Coleen at 919.839.6004 to get your reservation.