Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - May 27, 2011

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.
  •  There is a lot of "moving and shaking" going on this week in the Triangle restaurant scene, so let's jump right into it with the week's biggest news.
  • First, pitmaster and living legend Ed Mitchell has left The Pit in downtown Raleigh. He announced that he would be opening his own restaurant "somewhere in the Triangle" and it appears to involve a partnership of sorts with Butterball making turkey bbq. You can follow what Ed is up to here.   
  • Meanwhile, Greg Hatem announced that everything would remain the same at The Pit - and that he has plans to open a second location over in downtown Durham later this year, or early next year. Stay tuned as announcements regarding that shake out in the next month or so.  
  • In other late breaking news, Jonathan Munsell (Jumpin' Jonny's) and Niall Hanley (Hibernian, Solas & The Diner) have announced that they will be bringing all of Jumpin' Jonny's cheese-steaks, full catering lineup and delivery to the already amazing dining options at The Diner. Stay tuned as more announcements come out of this dynamic partnership. 
  • The other big news of the week from the N&O's Andrea Weigl is that Chef Todd Whitney has left J. Betski's in Raleigh and has joined the staff over at Durham's Vin Rouge.  
  • And with that move, came word that Vin Rouge's owner and chef, Matt Kelly, will be opening a new Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Durham this fall. No set date, nor do we know the location just yet. We'll keep an eye on it. 
  • Also over in Durham, the Triangle's latest rendition of Five Guys opened this past Monday at Patterson Place in Durham. That location is conveniently located at the intersection of 15-501 and I40, next to the new Moe's location. 
  • Over in Morrisville, we're getting close to the grand opening next month of the Triangle's very first Sir Pizza - which will be at the corner of Davis Drive and McCrimmon Parkway. Sir Pizza has quite a following and has locations in High Point, Thomasville, Troy, Siler City, Asheboro, Randleman, Burlington and Aberdeen. 
  • Rumors of Chubby Tacos moving out of their cramped space in the Lake Boone Shopping Center and into the former Second City Grill space were squashed this week with a sign appearing with the announcement that the space would become the Barking Cow Pub.  
  • Perhaps the biggest holiday of the year is just around the corner. Yep, National Doughnut Day is coming up next Friday, June 3rd! And Krispy Kreme will be offering up one FREE doughnut of any variety to those that visit. Go here to find a participating Krispy Kreme location near you. I love this country!
  • Teaming up with Kathleen Purvis, the N&O has put together a pretty cool list of "food festivals" across North & South Carolina. Check out the interactive map here
  • We've got the perfect Father's Day outing for you, although all the details aren't finalized just yet. But, word on the street is that there will be a huge food truck rodeo on June 19th in Durham. So, scrap your plans to buy dad a tie this year, and take him to the food truck rodeo instead! Stay tuned for more details as they unfold. 
  • Now in its 4th year, Triangle Restaurant Week returns to the area with three-course prix-fixe meals at $15 for lunch and $20 or $30 for dinner. The event will take place during the week of June 6th - 12th, 2011. For more details and a list of participating restaurants, go here.   
  • Here's a fun event to put on your calendar. Cackalacky will celebrate its 10th anniversary next week at The Cackalacky Cookout. It will be held from 11 until 4 p.m. on June 4th in front of A Southern Season (University Mall in Chapel Hill) where Cackalacky secured its first wholesales account 10 years ago. Proceeds will benefit the Diabetes Bus Initiative. In addition, The Guilty Pleasures will play bluegrass and Duck-Rabbit Brewery will sell its brews.
  • This Saturday, The Saturday Market continues at Rebus Works in the Boylan Heights district in downtown Raleigh from 9 am until 2 pm - an event that combines farmers, crafters and food & beverage trucks. This week will feature the Bulkogi Korean BBQ food truck, and a whole slew of food and craft vendors. More information here. 
  • If you love Moe's and the thought of four nights in Aruba, listen up. Stop by any Triangle area location of Moe's to sign-up for the Burrito Lovers Getaway and you could win. Registration ends on June 6th, with a winner chosen on June 9th (I'm going to win, so you are really wasting your time!)
  • Saffron of Chapel Hill is now hosting wine dinners with their first one scheduled for Wednesday, June 1st. A four-course meal will be paired with wines chosen by Thomas and Drew of Hope Valley Bottle Shop. The cost is $45 per person. Call 919.240.7490 to reserve your spot. 
  • Over in Chapel Hill, The Weathervane in Southern Season will host a Highland Beer Dinner on June 15th at 7 pm. The dinner will feature 5 courses and 5 beers. Call 919.929.9466 to make your reservation.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - May 20, 2011

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.
  •  Do you love the Q? Who doesn't? The Q Shack (located in Raleigh's North Hills) will be opening a new location in June in the food court at Crabtree Valley Mall. What is unique about this location is that this new Q Shack (which sources its meat from local Carolina farms) will be owned by one of the Q's hog and cattle farmers - talk about vertically integrating the 'farm to table' concept! Kudos to Tom Meyer and his team.
  • Coffee or beer? It won't matter at downtown Raleigh's newest spot - Spy Raleigh Cafe which officially opens tomorrow (Saturday, May 21). This new venue, located at 330 West Davie Street beside The Pit BBQ, will offer two distinct businesses: a club in the evenings and a coffee shop in the daytime. Check them out here.  
  • Chef Cliff Vogelsberg has moved from Solas in Glenwood South to Winston's Grille in North Raleigh. Before opening Solas, Vogelsberg previously worked at Sullivan's Steakhouse.  
  • According to the N&O's Sue Stock, the former Pao Lim restaurant at 2505 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd. in Durham is under new ownership and will become a sushi bar and restaurant called Happy China. This is the same family that owns The Asia Cafe on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. They are targeting mid-June for their opening.
  • Shane Ingram's latest venture, G2B, has a set opening date of May 26th (that's next Thursday). To get more information on his latest venture, check out their website (pretty cool website by the way). Ingram also owns the Four Square restaurant in Durham, and ONE in Chapel Hill.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, University Mall has a new dining option with last week's opening of Red Bowl Asian Bistro. It is located in the former Bear Rock Café location directly across from Spice Street.
  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries is days away from opening its newest location - this time in Durham at Patterson Place near the intersection of 15-501 and Interstate 40 - where the new Moe's is. No information on an exact date, but they have been inspected and their site lists them as "coming soon." Stay tuned.
  • The Raleigh Wine Shop will be having a grand opening celebration from 11 am -7 pm this Saturday, May 21. The wine shop is opening at 126 Glenwood Ave., across from 518 West. The owners are familiar faces for those who shopped at Raleigh's Seaboard Wine - Seth Hoffman was a manager at Seaboard for seven years and Jeff Bramwell was a manager there for two years. They have teamed up with Ryan Fulkerson, who used to work on the wholesale side of the wine business. Visit them here.  
  • Speaking of drinking/drinks in downtown Raleigh, Tasty Beverage Co. is coming to downtown Raleigh's warehouse district this summer. The store will open in the Raleigh Depot between Jibarra and Tuscan Blu. The store will be modeled after Bruisin' Ales in Asheville but with a larger tasting bar with 4 to 6 draft beers and will offer local meats and cheeses from such producers as Chapel Hill Creamery and Giacomo's Italian Market. We'll keep an eye on it for you.
  • Cinelli's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, formerly located on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary, has reopened at a new, larger location in MacGregor Village Shopping Center at 107-119 Edinburgh Drive also in Cary. That's the space formerly occupied by Rio Churrascaria. Visit them here.  
  • This isn't exactly a closing, but the closing of a "chapter." Sue Stock, the N&O's couponing and retail guru, is leaving the N&O today. A lot of Sue's work will continue (so they say), but I'll be the first to say it simply won't be the same. Sue, you are the best and will be missed! Best to you. (By the way, it looks like I owe you a lunch so next time you are in town...) 
  • The food truck scene in the Triangle will get a lot "cooler" this weekend as the much anticipated The Parlour will debut. It is looking like the mobile ice cream parlour will make its first appearance in the parking lot at Accent Hardwood, adjacent to the Durham Farmer's Market on Saturday. Keep up with the latest on their Facebook page or by following them on Twitter.
  • If you are in downtown Durham today, here is something cool to take in. Ninth Street Bakery will have a farm stand from noon until 4 pm including veggies, artisan bread and a Ninth Street Bakery special for lunch. Check them out here.  
  • Bring an empty stomach to Hillsborough Hog Day - pig cooking teams come from all over the state will compete in a barbecue cooking contest, andt there will be plenty of extra barbecue for festival-goers. Games, vendors, music and the area's largest auto show will also take place, and admission is free. Friday (6-10pm) and Sautday (9am - 6pm). Visit their site for more information.  
  • On Saturday from noon until 2pm, Chef Sara Foster of Foster's Market will be signing copies of her new cookbook, Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen, at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill.
  • The Angus Barn will host a complimentary Argentinian Wine Tasting this Sunday, May 22nd from 3:30 until 5 pm. Reservations are not required and complimentary wine cellar tours will be given as part of the event. Please call 919.787.3505 or visit their events page.  
  • The Pit Restaurant in Raleigh will be hosting a series of heritage barbecue dinners starting in July which will feature guest barbecue pit masters for a special dinner. The first one will feature barbecue historian Bob Garner and the Pit's chef, Darrell Brown, on July 12. The next two dinners will be the second Tuesdays in July and August featuring Wayne Monk of Lexington Barbecue and Bum Dennis of Bum's Restaurant in Ayden, N.C. Reservations will be available starting June 1. Call 890-4500.
  • Apex's Peak City Grill is getting in on the "Farm to Table" movement with a Market Dinner every Thursday. Chef Brendan will put together a three to four course meal prepared completely from locally sourced meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. For more information, visit their site.   
  • If you are missing Durham's Dillard's Bar-B-Q (which closed back in March), there is a glimmer of hope for you. Host an event. Apparently they will "re-open" the Durham institution for special occasions. If interested, give them a ring at 919.544.1587.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, The Weathervane in Southern Season will host a Highland Beer Dinner on June 15th at 7 pm. The dinner will feature 5 courses and 5 beers. Call 919.929.9466 to make your reservation.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - May 13, 2011

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.
  •  We got word this week from a reader that an Indian restaurant, Mantra, will be opening in downtown Raleigh in the old Blue Martini/Old Vintage location at 116 N. West Street. They are shooting for a mid-June opening.
  • Speaking of opening soon, the much-anticipated Mellow Mushroom over in Cary (corner of High House & Cary Parkway) is looking to open in July. As we get closer, we'll get you a more definitive date.
  • West Raleigh and NC State's campus are getting an alternative to pizza. A calzone shop, DP Dough, has opened in Mission Valley Shopping Center. This marks the franchise's first North Carolina location. Visit their site here
  • We mentioned last week that Jet's Pizza had just opened on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. We just learned that they are planning to open two more - one on Falls of the Neuse Road in Raleigh and the other on Maynard Road in Cary - both by the end of the year.
  • Downtown Raleigh finally gets to enjoy the "now open" Ruben's Downtown at the corner of Person and Edenton Street. This breakfast and lunch joint will be serving country-style breakfast and lunch featuring burgers, fries, turkey burgers, sweet potato fries, BBQ and turkey nuggets. Check them out.  
  • It was with much sadness that I tweeted last Monday that Restaurant Savoy had closed their doors following their Mother's Day brunch last Sunday. I know many of the people involved in that venture and know that they consistently put forth a gallant effort. My best to all of them in what is sure to be a great next venture!
  • Huge, huge kudos this week go out to Chef Andrea Reusing of Chapel Hill's Lantern Restaurant who was named the Best Chef of the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation (think Oscars of the restaurant world). She is only the third chef in North Carolina to win that award. (A $10 Starbucks gift card to anyone that can name the other two chefs and their restaurant on our Facebook Page. Post your answer on our wall. 
  • And kudos also to Crook's Corner (just a block from Lantern) which was honored with an American icon award from the James Beard Foundation. The award is given to restaurants with timeless appeal, beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community,
  • On a more local level, kudos to LM Restaurants (think Carolina Ale House) who won two Pinnacle Business Awards presented by the Raleigh Chamber. They were the only company to walk away with an award in each hand. 
  • Listen up food truck junkies...There is a "Mobile Food Crawl" tomorrow (Saturday), but you are going to have to drive a little ways to get to it - it will show your dedication. It will be from 4 Kraken, which is a little road-side bar out on Highway 54 West, between Carrboro and Burlington, on your way to Saxapahaw. Trucks that will be there include: Will and Pop's, Captain Poncho's Tacos, Bulkogi and Old North State BBQ.
  • Over in Carrboro, Panzanella will be hosting a beer dinner with Duck Rabbit Craft Brewery on Monday, May 16th. Tickets are $40 a person, plus tax and gratuity. More details here
  • Carolina Brewery and Triangle Brewing Company are hosting a beer dinner at Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill at 6:30 pm Tuesday, May 17. The four-course dinner will pair beers from both breweries. The cost is $35 per person. To make a reservation, call 942-1800.
  • Next week's All Local Dinner at Martin's Curry Rice in Morrisville will feature guest chef Mark Winston. Come enjoy the best and healthiest dinner in town every Tuesday night at Martin's, featuring local produce from the vendors of the Western Wake Farmers Market. Reservations are encouraged. Get more information here or email them at
  • On Saturday, Morrisville is hosting the Taste of Morrisville event from 12-7 pm where you can try small plates from local restaurants. The event will be on Town Hall Drive near the Indian Creek Greenway Trailhead. Participating restaurants include: Teriyakin, Inchin's Bamboo Garden, Mawa's Taste of Africa, Randy's Pizza, Pepper's Market, Georgina's Pizzeria & Restaurant, Muddy Dog Roasting Company, Martin's Curry Rice, Saffron, Tossed and Rita's Italian Ice. More details here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Fun Food Facts - May 6, 2011

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

Openings / New

  • The newest beer and food joint in the Triangle is now open over in Durham. Just yesterday, the much-anticipated Geer Street Garden officially opened. Geer Street is on the corner of Foster and Geer Streets and is open daily beginning at 11:30. Visit them on Facebook here.
  • Marcos Pizza, which has a location in Raleigh on Hillsborough Street, has immediate plans to open two more Triangle locations. One will be in North Raleigh in the Falls River shopping center (1141 Falls River Ave) and the other will be in Apex at 1015 Davis Drive. Visit their site for more information.   
  • Draft, which was the former Hi-5 on Glenwood South, has opened. It is the latest in the Rocky Top Hospitality line-up. Its full name is Draft Carolina Burgers & Beers, and they tout serving up the three B's - burgers, beer (all from North Carolina) and billiards. Check them out at 510 Glenwood Avenue.
  • Speaking of Rocky Top Hospitality, they have recently appointed Marshall Smith, one of the area's most talented chefs, as their new executive Chef at The Red Room Tapas Lounge on Glenwood South. I can speak from personal experience that Chef Marshall is super talented!
  • The former 101 Lounge in downtown Raleigh has changed ownership and will re-open soon as Calavera, and will specialize in Empanadas and other Latin American tapas, as well as high-end cocktails. Calavera is located on the back end of the new Progress Energy building at the corner of Blount and Davie streets.
  • According to Triangle Business Journal, Shane Ingram (Four Square in Durham & One in Chapel Hill) is opening up a new restaurant called G2B (short for Gastropub to Beer). The restaurant will be in the SouthCourt building at the corner of Shannon Road and University Drive. This same location has housed Restaurant Eden, Restaurant Starlu and Seasoned Ticked Sports Museum.
  • Downtown Raleigh's newly opened Wilmoore Café will extend its hours until 8 p.m. this evening for First Friday. The will also have beer & wine. Perhaps if the turnout is large enough, it will become a regular thing...??? Right now they close at 5.
Food Truck News
  • This coming Saturday (May 7) there's a Craft-in-a-Can party at Sam's Quik Shop in Carrboro from 12-4 pm. The event will "celebrate" craft beers that are sold in cans. And it just so happens there will be a food truck round-up in conjunction with this. Food trucks will include Bulkogi Korean BBQ, Slip and Sliders, Farmhand Foods, and more. All you need is an appetite and a koozie!
 Tip of the Hat
  • Our tip of the hat this week goes to six Triangle restaurants that are finalists in this year's Best Dish in North Carolina contest sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture. In the casual dining category, those include Mez in Durham, Market in Raleigh and Tribeca Tavern in Raleigh. In the fine dining category, those include Il Palio at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill, McCormicks & Schmicks in Raleigh and Zely & Ritz in Raleigh. The contest is designed to encourage restaurant owners and chefs to use N.C. foods. Judges will visit the finalists over the summer and taste the dishes. The top three winners in each category and in each region will be announced in November.  
  •  Still looking for something to do for mom this Sunday that won't break the piggy bank? How about ice cream for $2. Cold Stone Creamery in Brier Creek, Durham, Apex, Cary, Garner and Smithfield will offer moms $2 Love It Signature Creations.   
  • Hillsborough Wine Company will hold their First Friday wine tasting tonight from 5 -7 pm. Tonight's offerings will be samples of Oregon wines. Check out more information here.   
  • Looking for a local farm where you can go to pick strawberries? The N&O has you covered here. Also, you can contact the state Department of Agriculture at 733-7887, or visit here, or you can contact your local cooperative extension office. The N.C. Strawberry Association also has links to some strawberry farms, plus tips and recipes.
  • Market Restaurant in downtown Raleigh will host brunch on May 8, Mother's Day, from 10 am-3 pm that will feature all local ingredients with proceeds being donated to support Farm It Forward shares for community members in need. Ben's Produce also will sell flowers and bedding plants at Market on May 8 to raise funds for the program.
  • The Saturday Market at Rebus Works continues this weekend with some added extras. The food vendors will include, Locals Seafood, Double T Farms, New Grass Gardens, Veggie Barn, Sweets, Porch Rockin' and Bee Blessed Pure Honey. They will also feature local crafters including Peggy Jones (wire wrapped jewelry), lollipop salior (hand-poured soy wax candles in vintage containers & felted coffee sleeves made from vintage sweaters) Liz Phiz (handmade coloring books). Aviator Brewing Company will also be on hand serving up delicious brew from 11-2, along with live music and kids' crafts.
  • Chatham Street Café & Catering, located at 140 E. Chatham St., will host a Mother's Day brunch from 10 until 2 on Sunday. The special menu features scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, goat cheese, chives and tomato; a spring omelet with asparagus and curry goat cheese; Monte Cristo breakfast casserole; and strawberry spinach salad with hearts of palm, walnuts and poppyseed dressing. To make a reservation, visit here.  
  • Here is something you might want to add to your Tuesday night rotation - All Local Dinner at Martin's Curry Rice in Morrisville. Come enjoy the best and healthiest dinner in town every Tuesday night at Martin's, featuring local produce from the vendors of the Western Wake Farmers Market. Reservations are encouraged. Get more information here or email them at
Freebies (or very inexpensive) 
  • Listen up Starbucks Frappuccino fans, you can get your "Fraps" at half-price now through May 16th during their happy hour every day from 3 to 5 pm. They've even got their own website, so be sure to use the store locator to make sure your corner/neighborhood Starbucks is participating.    
  • The Chick-fil-a at North Hills has a number of "freebies" coming up for Moms and Nurses, as well as a very cute Moms & Daughters Tea Party coming up this Saturday morning (complete with flowers delivered by the cow!). Check out the details here.