Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fun Food Facts - January 27, 2012

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.
  • Cary just welcomed its newest addition to the area's food scene. Last night Rockwell's American Grill swung open their doors and joins the growing family of restaurants at Rocky Top Hospitality. Rockwell's is located at 1080 Darrington Drive in Cary and features a modern American grill with family style portions. Rockwell's serves breakfast all day and has an outdoor patio with seating for 100. Get this restaurant into your rotation quickly (serving dinner only for now; they'll add lunch in short order). Check them out here.   
  • And right next door in Morrisville, the Park West Village Shopping Center (think Target and Buy Buy Baby) is starting to pop with dining options. YoLo Frozen Yogurt is already open. Looking very close to opening is Hibachi Blue and it looks like that will be followed by Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits. No open dates on those two yet, but they are getting close. And you might remember, back in October, 2010 we reported these other establishments would be coming to that development: Travinia Italian Kitchen, New Japan Express, Qdoba Mexican Grill, and Zoe's Kitchen.
  • Over in Chapel Hill, there is a new pizza joint in town - The Standard, located at 403 W. Rosemary Street. The Standard serves up not just pizza, but a pretty extensive "bistro" menu as well as beer and spirits. Here is a link to their Facebook page.
  • And if that is not enough pizza for Chapel Hill, there are two more pizza joints "Coming Soon." Over near Eastgate Shopping Center, in the space next to Blockbuster Video (and behind Staples), there is a sign up for Camos Brothers Pizza. It will be located in the former Quizno's location. Thanks to Jason for the heads up on this one. We'll keep an eye on it.  
  • Also in Chapel Hill, up in Timberlyne Shopping Center, there is a "Coming Soon" sign for Pizza Vito, real New York pizza.  No word on an open date, but it looks to be sooner, rather than later.  
  • Durham's Golden Belt finally has a permanent spot to grab a cup of coffee, breakfast and lunch munchies as well as yogurt! Blend opened at the end of last week and will be serving Counter Culture coffee and Yogen Fruz yogurt. In addition, Courtney and Camryn Smith of Sudie's Fresh Baked Goods are managing the day-to-day cooking where you can expect soups, sandwiches and other grab 'n' go options. Blend is located at 807 East Main Street and is open 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday and 9 am to 3 pm Saturday. 
  • Sweet Frog in Chapel Hill, the area's newest yogurt shop, will be holding a multi-day grand opening today and tomorrow (January 28). They'll be giving away prizes every hour from 8 pm to 12 midnight today; and all day on Saturday. Sweet Frog is located at 105 East Franklin. I'd send you to the website, but it doesn't even list Chapel Hill yet. Go figure.  
  • The Q Shack at North Hills in Raleigh is now serving breakfast seven days a week. They are smoking their own thick-cut bacon, making their own sausage and are using farm fresh local eggs for breakfast. The menu also includes sweet potato tots and slow-cooked stone ground grits with Ashe County hoop cheese. Prices range from $2.99 to $5.99 for breakfast sandwiches to entrees. Breakfast is served from 7-10 am Mondays to Saturdays and 11 am to 2 pm on Sundays. Stop in and say hello to Tom!
  • And speaking of breakfast/brunch, The Twisted Fork Restaurant & Bakery has added a Sunday brunch buffet as well as special deals for its soups, salads and grilled cheese sandwiches, and combinations of any or all three items, at lunch and dinner. For a full list of items and their individual costs, visit them here .
  • If you like to dine in downtown Raleigh and are looking for new options for dinner, Spize Cafe just extended their hours to accommodate you. Beginning February 1st, Spize will be open until 8:30 pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Check them out.  
  • And it is with great sadness that we inform you that last Wednesday, downtown Pittsboro's legendary General Store Cafe closed their doors. I had the pleasure of working with Vance and his staff for the past two or three years and can't say enough great things about him. This will leave a huge gap in the culture of Pittsboro, but I can't help but think that the space will be filled up quickly. We'll keep an eye on it. Thanks to Vance for everything he did for the community (and will continue to do I'm sure). 
  • Well that didn't take long. The Daily Tar Heel reported this week that He's Not Here has come to terms with a new owner. All we know at this point is that the "winning bid" came from a UNC alum who played football at the University during the 1980s and his long-time friend (who's wife attended UNC-CH). Apparently, and not surprising, the level of interest was off the charts. Long live He's Not Here. I'll raise a Blue Cup for that!
  • In an effort to keep up with the rumors swirling around Chip Smith's (formerly with Bonne Soiree) return to the area, we do know for sure that he will be holding a cooking class this Sunday from 2-4 pm at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill. The class is all about sweets and you'll learn some excellent dessert recipes to add to your repertoire. The cost to enroll is $35; reserve your seat online here. And if you go, ask him when he's coming back and let me know!
  • Next Tuesday's (Jan. 31) opening night of Green Day's "American Idiot" at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium will feature a food truck rodeo from 5-7:30 p.m. The rodeo will feature six trucks that will gather in front of Memorial Auditorium -- Klausie's Pizza, Only Burger, KoKyu BBQ, Baguettaboutit, Lo Yo On The Go and Chick-N-Que. Oh yeah. And if you are interested in going to the show, there is a special ticket offer for the opening performance: $32 for seats in the orchestra section, $22 for seats in the mezzanine section. That's a $10 discount. Use the code ROCK when ordering.
  • The Triangle's newest Tyler's Restaurant & Taproom, now open in downtown Raleigh's Seaboard Station, will host a tasting of rare and vintage beers from 2 to 6 pm on Saturday, Feb. 4. Forty craft breweries will be represented at the tasting. Tickets are $65 and include unlimited tastings, a commemorative stemmed glass, a tasting notebook, light appetizers and bottled water. Designated driver tickets are available for $15. To purchase tickets, click here.
  • Speaking of beer, North Carolina has developed quite a list of breweries and now there is a very cool interactive map that gives you all the information you want on each of them. Check out this great NC Brewery Map  showing all of the local breweries throughout the state!
  • Cafe Helios, located in the Glenwood South District in Raleigh, will host a brunch titled Blend on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 10 am. Chef Justin Johnson will prepare a five-course brunch, including crab and sweet corn chowder, and roasted heirloom beets with Raleigh's Videri brand chocolate served with homemade ricotta and micro greens. Five Counter Culture coffees will be brewed using five methods (they'll go into detail on each method and be available to answer any questions). Tickets to Helios' Blend brunch are $30 and available at the restaurant.
  • If you or someone you love requires a gluten-free diet, you might want to sign up for this. Lucky 32 in Cary will be hosting a Gluten Free Cooking Class (over lunch) on Saturday, February 4 from 11 to 1. You'll learn 5 great recipes that you'd never know are gluten free. He'll also talk about good ways to convert existing recipes to gluten-free alternatives. And in addition to lunch and a cocktail, you'll receive souvenir recipe cards and chances at give away door prizes. The cost is $39 per person (includes tax and gratuity). For reservations, please call Lara Yerges at Lucky 32 in Cary at 919.233.1632 or email her.  Get more information here.  
  • This looks like fun. According to Tim Moore and Carolina Business Connection, seven local star chefs from renowned restaurants will compete for the title and bragging rights of Shrimp and Grits Champion in the inaugural Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chefs' Throwdown on Saturday, February 25 from 1-4 pm at The Carolina Inn. The competing chefs (as of now) feature Jeremy Blankenship, chef at Tyler's Tap Room; Trey Cleveland, executive chef of Top of the Hill; Adam Cobb, executive chef of Glasshalfull; Bret Jennings, executive chef and owner of Elaine's on Franklin; Vimala Rajendran, executive chef and owner of Vimala's Curry Blossom Cafe; Jimmy Reale, executive chef of Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar; and Adam Rose, executive chef of Il Palio.Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased online here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Fun Food Facts - January 20, 2012

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.
  • So we'll kick off this week with some exciting news out of Chapel Hill. Well, one is a pretty strong rumor and the other is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity (and not really food related, but I couldn't resist).
  • First, word on the street is that the Mellow Mushroom is making a return to Chapel Hill. For those that have been around a while, you'll remember MM's first attempt in the old Shoney's building across from The Siena Hotel (and Il Palio). Well, word has it that they will be moving into the old Ham's location on West Franklin Street. And the highlight of this location (much like their counterparts in Raleigh, Cary, Durham & Wake Forest) will be the outdoor patio. No date yet, but we'll keep you posted.
  • And just up Franklin Street The Independent noted that a local icon is up for sale - for a cool $165k. Chapel Hill's infamous He's Not Here is being sold. The original post on Craig's List has been pulled down, but it is now listed on Biz Quest (see it here). It notes annual revenue of $400k (that's about 7,000 blue cups!). Anyway, its been around since the mid 70's and the owner is retiring (again). The only catch, it is being sold "as is."
  • Cary is getting a new wing joint. Renovations are in full swing for North Carolina's first Hurricane Grill & Wings which will be in the Shoppes of Kildaire (same shopping center as Staples and Trader Joe's). Originally scheduled to open at the end of January, they are now looking at the end of February. We'll keep you posted. Get a sneak peek at their operation here
  • Tyler's Taproom opened last month in Raleigh's Seaboard Station, and now Tyler's Bottle Shop, a small craft beer store, has opened right next door according to the N&O's Andrea Weigl.  They will carry 400 different types of craft beer, but don't go there for the stuff you normally get at the grocery store. They'll be carrying select beers that aren't readily available. They'll also sell wine, brewery merchandise, barbecue sauces and NC peanuts. Future plans call for them to carry packages of Farmhand Foods sausage and possibly dedicate part of the space to serving coffee and espresso. The shop is open 10 to 10 everyday except Sunday when it is open noon - 8 pm. Check them out here.    
  • And speaking of new, there is a new food truck on the way - The Humble Pig. The husband & wife team will serve up locally sourced organic bbq featuring smoked pork, chicken and beef along with other goodies like sweet potato fries (in brown sugar crumble and Rosemary Maple butter dip) and desserts like good ol' banana pudding and peanut butter pie. There is no date yet on when they'll start rolling around the Triangle, but we'll keep you posted or you can keep up with them on Facebook.    
  • Raleigh recently landed the latest Papa Murphy's location, bringing the Triangle's total to 5. The newest location is in The Shops at Oberlin Court near Gigi's Cupcakes and Zoe's Kitchen. The other locations are in Cary (2), Wake Forest and Apex. Get more information here.   
  • A couple of tidbits from Cameron Village. The first is the open date has been set for the country's first two-story Chick-fil-A. It will open on March 1 - which is a Thursday. We'll keep an eye on it and let you know more about their grand opening celebrations and such.   
  • And we've got an open date for Sugarland's move into Raleigh, and more specifically, Cameron Village. Sugarland is re-creating the look and feel of its Franklin Street shop/bakery/bar in the old Lavender & Lace spot and the plan is to open April 1 (no kidding). Get ready for cupcakes and martinis Raleigh!   
  • And speaking of new, the folks over at The Twisted Fork at Triangle Town Center have rolled out a new Sunday brunch menu, including $3 Bloody Marys and Mimosas! Check out their new menu here.    
  • Four local food trucks are joining forces for Durham's first "Food Truck Mash-Up," at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 at Motorco in Durham. The trucks include Chirba Chirba, Pie Pushers, Farmhand Foods and KoKyu BBQ trucks. The "mash-up" angle means each truck will make dishes using ingredients from the other trucks. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door. (Get your tickets sooner rather than later because they will go fast.) To buy tickets, go here.   
  • Triangle Restaurant Week returns to the Triangle next week and boasts nearly 90 participating restaurants. TRW gives restaurants the opportunity to feature a special fixed price, 3-course meal each and every day they are open during the event. We recommend making reservations all next week to ensure you can get in - this week has grown greatly in popularity. Get all the details here.   
  • And after you've filled up on Restaurant Week, don't let the fun stop. Go ahead and make plans on February 2nd to attend a  beer dinner at G2B Gastropub in Durham. They will be featuring a four-course meal paired with four Lonerider brews all for $32. There are only 40 seats so call 919.251.9451 now for your reservation! See the menu and get more details here.   
  • Listen up coupon clippers - here's one you'll enjoy. Quizno's is offering $2 off purchases over $10. But hurry, the coupon expires on January 25, 2012. Get it here.   
  • And we'll close with an amazing deal that is truly too good to pass up. Check out downtown Raleigh's Market Restaurant and their "Five Dollar Fridays!" Yes, you read that right - $5 for a great lunch every Friday. And better yet, there are always two choices, including a vegan option. So, what are you doing for lunch today? Market Restaurant is located in the historic Mordecai neighborhood at 938 N. Blount St. Check out their Facebook page here or their website here for more details. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Fun Food Facts - January 13, 2012

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.
  • Lots of grand openings today (Friday the 13th)! We start with Videri Chocolate Factory in downtown Raleigh. Their festivities run from 11 -7 pm today and tomorrow. They will be offering tours of the chocolate factory, free tastings and a "buy four bars, get one free" special for all those who visit. The factory and retail store are located at 327 W. Davie St. For more information about their chocolate made with fair trade cacao beans, check them out here.   
  • Also in Raleigh, World of Beer Raleigh is celebrating its grand opening starting at noon today (let the boss know you'll be taking a long lunch!). The celebration includes live music, free food, giveaways and raffle items. The store is located at 4208-150 Six Forks Road in the Cap Trust Building, across from North Hills Plaza. For more information, go here. 
  • Yogurt fans delight - a new yogurt shop opens today in North Raleigh. Moonlight Swirl is located in the Falls Village Shopping Center next to NY Pizza. Lots of giveaways, buy-one-get-one deals and an iPad giveaway! Check them out here.   
  • Also, we told you about this last month, but Joe Van Loco, the joint venture between Joe Van Gogh Coffee and Locopops, has opened its store in North Raleigh. It features a menu of freshly roasted coffee and classic espresso drinks, along with the signature flavor combinations of Locopops handcrafted ice pops and pints. Swing by the Towne North Shopping Center at 8369 Creedmoor Rd, for those wanting a morning cappuccino or afternoon frozen treat!
  • So last week we talked briefly about Village Burger opening up soon in University Mall in Chapel Hill. After snooping around, we found out a little bit more. Also in that location will be Scout & Molly's (their grand opening is February 4th). Turns out Village Burger is the latest concept from GHG Restaurant Group (think Spice Street, Parizade, Vin Rouge, Bin 54, Nasher Cafe, etc.). So, what happens to Spice Street? Will it remain? Will it become a new concept? We will find out in February. Stay tuned.    
  • Ben & Jerry's in Chapel Hill just "re-opened" after renovations since this fall to accommodate the installation of an Auntie Anne's Pretzels within the space. Free ice cream and pretzels were certainly attractions, as was an appearance by Ben and Jerry's co-founder Jerry Greenfield. He and Ben Cohen launched the business in Burlington, Vt., in 1978.   
  • Durham is about to get a little bit perkier. A specialty coffee and tea shop, Respite Café, is moving closer to reality and will soon open on Duke Street. Courtney Brown, owner of the future new business, hopes to open very soon after completing renovations at 115 N. Duke St. Brown is a graduate of the Duke University School of Law. She plans to offer loose-leaf teas, coffee from the Carrboro Coffee Co. as well as pastries, soups and possibly small sandwiches. Keep up with her progress on their Facebook page here.      
  • Weinberg Deli in North Raleigh just announced new extended hours and that they will begin this Monday serving breakfast all day long! That is great news. Get more information on Facebook here or on their home page.      
  • Four local food trucks are joining forces for Durham's first "Food Truck Mash-Up" at 6 pm Saturday, Jan. 21 at Motorco in Durham. The trucks include Chirba Chirba, Pie Pushers, Farmhand Foods and KoKyu BBQ. The "mash-up" angle means each truck will make dishes using ingredients from the other trucks. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door. (Tickets will go fast.) To buy tickets, go here.  
  • Friday's will be a little different at Ashley Christensen's  Beasley's Chicken + Honey. On Friday's, Beasley's will expand their menu of fried chicken and an assortment of vegetable sides to include fish. Christensen says the particular fish featured will change each week. But for $9.50, each Friday plate will include a six-ounce portion of fish dredged in buttermilk and flour and accompanied by fries and roasted tomato malt vinegar slaw. Expect specials each day of the week before long to make it more of a Southern blue plate feature. The Friday fish fry is just the beginning. Get more information here.
  • Over in Cary, executive chef at An restaurant, Michael Choung, sent an email out earlier this week that he was no longer associated with An. Choung started An with the backing of Ann Goodnight (whose husband is the CEO of SAS in Cary). No word yet on who will take over the grill there, but Michael did allude to "his next venture" in his email, but nothing confirmed as of yet. We'll keep you posted.   
  • It appears as if Ballymore Irish Pub in North Raleigh has closed. We got word from a friend that they went by and it was locked up and appeared closed. We attempted to reach Ballymore on numerous occasions during "normal" dining hours - but never got an answer. 
  • On Saturday, the LiveWell Network will showcase Durham's Chirba Chirba dumpling food truck on "My Family Recipe Rocks." The episode designates Durham as one of the "top food truck destinations in America." Duh!
  • Triangle Restaurant Week returns to the Triangle January 23-29. TRW gives restaurants the opportunity to feature a special fixed price, 3-course meal each and every day they are open during the event. Get all the details here.
  • In Chapel Hill, Spanky's Restaurant & Bar is making room for new offerings. Beginning at 5 pm on Jan. 20, the restaurant will host a cellar-clearing event in collaboration with NC Brewing featuring 12 North Carolina draft beers. The cellar clearing is open to the public and is "for beer geeks and regular folks alike." The cost is simply the cost of featured beers purchased. Get more information here.    
  • And if you can't make that beer dinner, check out the one over in Durham at G2B Gastropub on February 2 where they will be featuring a four-course meal paired with four Lonerider brews all for $32. There are only 40 seats so call (919) 251-9451 now for your reservation! See the menu and get more details here.
  • The folks over at Triangle Food Tour just released some new dates for Durham (as well as Cary, Raleigh and Chapel Hill/Carrboro). But if you are interested, you better go ahead and sign-up. These popular tours allow you to walk, talk, taste and sip from some of the area's best dining options. The tours are typically limited to 10 people and cost $35 plus a service fee. If you are looking for a very cool way to spend a Saturday afternoon, check them out here.   
  • And kudos this week goes to Chick-fil-A for making strides toward making "kid's meals" healthier by adding Grilled Chicken Nuggets. The move marks the first time a national fast food chain has offered a grilled entrée as part of a children's menu. Additionally, the chain is enhancing its side choices, adding Buddy Fruits® Pure Blended Fruit To Go applesauce, and its drink choices, by featuring one percent milk, 100 percent apple juice, its signature freshly squeezed lemonade, and water as drink choices. Hats off to Chick-fil-A. Now maybe the other boneheads will follow suit.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Fun Food Facts - January 6, 2012

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler.
  •  We're getting closer and closer to Rocky Top Hospitality's newest venture here in the Triangle. Later this month, January 24th to be exact, Cary will become home to Rockwell's American Grill. It is located in the former Stonewood Grill location off of Cary Parkway. Rockwell's is being described as "polished casual" and family friendly. The menu promises comfort foods inspired by diners and delis, with breakfast served all day. We'll keep you posted on opening day festivities. Check them out here.
  • And speaking of Rocky Top Hospitality, there is a lot of buzz circling around their next move after the opening of Rockwell's. The Triangle Business Journal noted this week that they are looking for the next location of their wildly successful Tribeca Tavern (with Cary and Raleigh locations now). The TBJ reported that they are looking as far away as Greensboro and the Triad. While that is true, I can tell you there is a strong desire to locate one in the Chapel Hill / Durham area. We'll keep an eye on that and let you know something as soon as we do.
  • And before I leave this subject, I can tell you to keep your ear to the ground for a huge announcement from Rocky Top regarding a new venture in downtown Raleigh. I have been sworn to secrecy, but I can tell you this next project is going to be both unique and special - both for Rocky Top and downtown Raleigh. And to squash any early rumors, it is not anything to do with the Glenwood South district. Stay tuned.  
  • And Tyler's Restaurant and Taproom is now open in downtown Raleigh. They are located in Seaboard Station next to Williams Peace University. Enjoy comfort food along with over 80 craft and specialty beers on tap! This newest location boasts a pretty amazing outdoor dining patio. Also, look for a bottle shop to open soon right next door! Tyler's also has locations in Carrboro, Apex and Durham. Check them out here.  
  • My avid readers will remember this past summer, the 6-yr. old building that housed the former Carino's Italian Restaurant on Fayetteville Road near The Streets at Southpoint in Durham was demolished to make way for two more retail operations. Now we know that one of those will be a Buffalo Wild Wings, which plans to open on February 6. This will be the third Triangle location for Buffalo Wild Wings - with locations in Garner and Knightdale. Also of note, their webiste lists Morrisville as "Opening Soon" - we'll keep an eye on it. In the meantime, visit their website here
  • And over in Chapel Hill, on Franklin Street, Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt has opened. It is located adjacent to Starbucks in the space formerly occupied by Kidzu Children's Museum (which has moved into University Square). Sweet Frog has other Triangle locations in Raleigh, Cary and Durham.  Get more information here.  
  • Also in Chapel Hill, Joe Van Gogh (out of Hillsborough) has opened up a kiosk in University Mall on the end near Dillard's and the new Chapel Hill Public Library. Check them out here.  
  • Also in University Mall there is a somewhat subtle sign on the "construction wall" recently erected outside the mall entrance to Spice Street. The sign notes that "Village Burger" is coming soon. Unfortunately, that is all that we know at this point. I don't know much about Village Burger and don't even have a projected open date. But we'll keep an eye on it for you. And don't worry, Spice Street isn't going anywhere. 
  • And in case you missed it. After a seven year run, the Red Room tapas lounge closed last week in the Glenwood South district of Raleigh. Red Room, located at 510 Glenwood Avenue, was owned by Rocky Top Hospitality.
  • Make plans now and don't miss the grand opening of World of Beer North Hills next Friday, January 13. They will have live music, giveaways and a raffle benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina. Get more details here
  • According to the Independent Weekly, there is a new food truck on the horizon - Sympathy for the Deli. The concept features locally cured, smoked meats that will operate as a catering business as well as your "standard" food truck. Jonathan Richelson, formerly of Memphis, Tenn., is the brain child behind the Triangle's latest food truck. He will operate out of The Cookery in Durham. Keep up with his progress here.    
  • Watts Grocery over in Durham is holding a cocktail class on February 22 at 6:30 pm. The cost is $35 and includes drinks, take home ingredients and great snacks! Call to reserve your spot at 919.416.5040. Or you can visit them online here.  
  • How tasty is Raleigh? Southern Living magazine wants to see how Raleigh stacks up. Raleigh has been selected as one of the Top 10 "Tastiest Towns in the South" by Southern Living magazine as announced in the January 2012 issue. They are letting readers ultimately choose the winning town and hope that residents will rally around their hometowns and vote for their favorite through January 31. If you want to vote (we are currently in 9th place), go here.  
  • Congrats to downtown Durham's Old Havana Sandwich Shop as they celebrate their one year anniversary at the end of this month. The festivities will begin on January 20th with a Dominoes tournament! Show up at 6:30 if you'd like lessons, and tournament play begins at 7:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit El Centro Hispano. And on January 21st, they will have live music with Saludos Compay. Check out their Facebook page for the latest information.    
  • StarbucksAnd finally, I end with a selfish plug (it's good to be the king!). This month, all orders through  Triangle Food Guy over $100, earns the person placing the order a $5 gift card to Starbucks! So, place 10 orders in January - receive $50 in free coffee (or mochas, or can get a lot with that!). Also, over the holidays, we added 5 new restaurants to our lineup and added new menus to a half dozen of our restaurants. Check it out now!