Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Fun Food Facts - May 25, 2012

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler. 
  • So the big news of the week is the moving target that is next week's opening of Durham's version of Lilly's Pizza (the menu will be the same as Raleigh). If you follow my blog, you know what a huge fan I am of Lilly's Pizza (in fact, my daughter's name is Lilly, but it has nothing to do with the pizza joint...seriously). Anyway, it is set to open next week in Durham in the Brightleaf District next to Morgan Imports. The only question is what day? Rumors peg it with a Monday opening, but you are best to follow them on Twitter or Facebook to get the exact timing of their opening.    
  • Venable Rotisserie Bistro held its grand opening this week in Carrboro's Carr Mill Mall. Located in the former Fleet Feet space, Venable will serve contemporary comfort food and feature fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Open for lunch and dinner and Sunday brunch. Check them out on Facebook here.  
  • And speaking of Carr Mill Mall, the Herald Sun is reporting that another pizzeria is making its way into the historic building, this time in the former Rita's Italian Ice space. And it will be a familiar face to pizza lovers in Chapel Hill & Carrboro. Craig Samuels, who just sold his Franklin Street Pizza & Pasta to Tomato Jake's, will open Carrboro Pizza Oven. Look for them to open sometime this fall.  
  •  If you like Chef Tom Ferguson and you like Durham Catering Company, you are going to love his next concept - Rise. Simply, it will be a doughnut and biscuit joint. The only hang-up at this point is that he hasn't settled on a location. But we'll continue to watch it and let you know once we hear anything. 
  • Got word from the News & Observer this morning that the location that most recently housed Bistro 155 in Apex is getting a new tenant. Located at the intersection of US 1 and Hwy. 55, Chevy's Ale House is projected to open in mid-July at 1402 E. Williams Street.
  • And speaking of the News & Observer, they are getting into the food business...well sort of. The News & Observer and are hosting a Food Truck Friday event on Friday, June 1st. Head over to the N&O headquarters at 215 S. McDowell Street from 11:30 until 1 and hit up Chirba Chirba Dumpling, KoKyuBBQ and Sympathy for the Deli. Stay tuned for more "First Friday" events from the N&O. Heck, you might even get your picture in the paper!
  • There is a new frozen yogurt place in North Raleigh called Citizen Yogurt. It is at the intersection of Lynn and Creedmoor, near the Kroger grocery store. And hurry over today (Friday, May 25th) where they'll be giving away free yogurt to the first 561 guests. Here is their website for more details.
  • Here's one for the rumor mill. On a recent Facebook posting, my buddy over at Triangle Explorer noted that he had heard there is going to be a second location of Dame's Chicken & Waffles. That's it. We'll keep an eye (and mouth) on this one for you. As soon as we hear something more definitive, we'll let you know. In the meantime, visit the "original" Dame's at 317 W. Main Street in downtown Durham.
  • And speaking of waffles, here is something we know for sure, thanks to our friends over at the Herald Sun. Durham will soon be home to another Waffle House (seems kinda wrong to be listing this after the posting about Dame's). Anyway, it will be located next to the Sheetz station at the intersection of T.W. Alexander Drive and Miami Blvd. It is still awaiting final approval from the city. 
  • We're getting word that an opening of Zinda, a Pan-Asian restaurant, is drawing near. The source? The restaurant itself. Both their Twitter account and Facebook page broadcast their hiring efforts, which can only mean their opening will closely follow last week's opening of Oro, also in the PNC building in downtown Raleigh. Stay up-to-date by checking their site for opening announcements.
  • And over in Chapel Hill, in Timberlyne Shopping Center, the beloved Cup A Joe is now Joe Van Gogh. Although the longstanding coffeehouse may always be known as Cup A Joe, they are in the process of renaming it Joe Van Gogh, integrating it with the rest of the shops under the roastery name. Despite the name change, it remains the same great-tasting coffee and the same special spot to Chapel Hill coffee drinkers. As part of that, they are making some changes with all renovations expected to be completed by the end of the summer. Get all the details here.
  • Looks like there is a new food truck on the scene...sweet! Seriously, very sweet. From the creators of Sweet Stacy Cakes, makers of custom cake creations and specialty cupcakes, we now have "Smiles," their cupcake truck making its way around the Triangle. Get all the details on their website here. Also, be sure to "Like" them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
  • And speaking of food trucks and great father's day presents (hint, hint), plan on taking your father over to Durham for the next Food Truck Rodeo which will be held on June 17 from 12:30 to 4:30 at Durham Central Park. Look for 30-35 food trucks, carts and vendors. Visit their site for more information.
  • Here's a cool "freebie" for you thanks to a tip from a childhood friend of mine, Julie Liddle. The Chick-fil-A in North Raleigh's Falls Village is having their "Free Order Friday" today (Friday, May 25th). Whatever you buy today, you bring back your receipt and get the same item free on a future visit! Get all the details here
  • And speaking of Julie and her husband Bob Liddle, they own a company called Kustom Koozies and offer custom designed koozies for any event you might have coming up over the summer - think 4th of July, company picnics, graduation parties, get the idea. And when you order, tell Julie that Triangle Food Guy sent you and she'll give you a little bit of a discount. Check them out.
  • Heard from my friends over at Triangle Localista this week that there is a new farmers' market coming to the area - Waverly Place Farmers' Market in Cary's Waverly Place. Looks like they'll open the first weekend in June! Get the details here.
  • Got word last week from a reader that Jim's Famous BBQ on Elliot Road in Chapel Hill has closed and the building is now for lease. Any ideas on what should go in there now? How about Nana Taco Two? Or how about a Chapel Hill version of Tribeca
  • On May 31st, Café Helios will celebrate it's 10th anniversary and will combine the event with Counter Culture Coffee's Thursday Night Throwdown. Think music, coffee and foodtrucks. Get all the details on Café Helios' Facebook page here. Oh, and congrats to Café Helios on 10 years!
  • So this is kinda cool. Each year the Independent Weekly puts out a dining guide called Eats (which is really nice, you need to get your hands on one). But in the event you can't find a copy, don't fret. Here is the electronic version - truly a great resource.  
  • Here is an extremely unique dining experience/cooking contest. Called Fire in the Triangle (there are also 3 others going on simultaneously in North Carolina), the contest pits two restaurants/chefs (16 total in the "iron-chef style competition) against each other working around a unique North Carolina ingredient. And here's the best part, you can attend any of the dinners/competitions and be one of the judges (well, you and 99 others)! The two-month long competition (15 total events) runs through June and July and will feature a star-studded cast of chefs from across the Triangle. Get all the details here.    
  • And speaking of cool dining events, don't forget that June 4 through June 10th is Triangle Restaurant Week. What is it? Basically it is a great excuse to get out and try some new restaurants. Over 80 restaurants will feature special menus at special prices all week. So, jump on over to their site and check out all the details.
  • Thanks to a tip from one of my most loyal followers, Sara Jane Morris, she told me that she read that Chapel Hill's Buns restaurant made it on Southern Living's list of top ten NC burgers. I do have to admit, that is one of the best burgers I've ever had. Check them out here.
  • And speaking of reading, are you looking for a good book for the summer? Well, our very own Andrew Weigl at the N&O served on the James Beard Foundation's book awards committee and they released their "14 Great Reads for Food Lovers" and she shares it with you here.  (Editor's note: There are 14 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day, thus 14 books). Happy summertime reading! 
  • And kudos this week to Rocky Top Hospitality and its local restaurants and catering services for being awarded the Triangle Business Journal's A Better World Award for the company's ongoing support, service and contributions to local community charities and nonprofit organizations across the Triangle. Well done Dean Ogan!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Fun Food Facts - May 18, 2012

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler. 
  • Downtown Raleigh is ushering in casual chic, global cuisine this Sunday night with the opening of Oro Restaurant and Lounge, a new tapas place in the PNC Plaza building. Oro is owned by Chris and Cara Zalcberg Hylton. Chris worked most recently at The Mint restaurant and is joined in the kitchen by Lauren Smaxwell, who most recently worked at The Pit. Check it out here.   
  • But that's not the only downtown Raleigh restaurant news this week. Tonight begins a "soft launch" for a new restaurant called Krave, which takes over the former Red Room location at 510 Glenwood Avenue. According to Michael Rattenni, chairman of the management group behind this concept, the restaurant will feature the technology of iPads as menus. After the soft launch, look for a grand opening on June 2.  
  • And according to the Triangle Business Journal, Rattenni is teaming up with Dave Lovenheim to open a brewpub across the street called Cornerstone. It will feature a huge outdoor patio and will serve beers from all around the globe. They are looking at a June/July opening. We'll keep an eye on it.  
  •  It is official. Oakleaf, a new upscale restaurant housed in the historic Chatham Mill in Pittsboro, will open its doors on May 21. Oakleaf is a progressive American restaurant with a focus on locally-sourced and sustainably raised/harvested ingredients. Get all the details on their Facebook page here.
  • According to the N&O, Sun D Ko and Unah Bae, a mother and daughter team, have opened Wings Cafe in Cary's South Hills Mall Plaza serving American and Korean dishes. They make their own sauce for all 11 wing flavors, and serve two traditional Korean dishes. Also, the restaurant will offer smoothies and a specialty dessert called "bingsoo" (shaved ice).  
  • While they actually opened back in March (just in time for St. Patrick's Day), Doolin's Irish Pub and Café over in Durham will celebrate their grand opening this Saturday with festivities planned throughout the day. If you haven't stopped by already, this would be the time to do it with the entire family. Get all the details here.   
  • Chapel Hillians now have another option for their java fix thanks to the recent addition of a Coffee & Tea Bar at A Southern Season in University Mall. It features over 25 different coffees and teas where you can experience everything from a perfectly poured latté to a handcrafted coffee made from locally roasted coffee beans. The bar opens at 8 am Monday through Saturday, and 10 am on Sunday. Get all the details here.   
  • The biggest news this week in the catering world, was that Empire Eats (think Sitti, Gravy, The Pit, The Raleigh Times Bar, The Morning Times), owned by Greg Hatem, purchased the former Baxley's catering kitchen on Hillsborough Street across from Meredith College. The kitchen will serve as the hub for all Empire Eats' catering operations. 
  • And while we are talking about Hatem, according to the N&O he is planning renovations to The Raleigh Times Bar that will add to their kitchen and expand their seating area by taking over the space formerly occupied by The Brass Grill. He also plans a rooftop bar atop the adjacent retail store Stitch. Kudos to Hatem for all he has done, and continues to do, for downtown Raleigh. 
  • And speaking of renovations, we got word this week that the Mellow Mushroom at the corner of Peace & Glenwood in downtown Raleigh is currently undergoing some renovations. In typical "mellow" fashion, they are a little slow with the details, but there was a hint at a new bar as well as some other new features. Stop by for a slice, beer and a peek and what they are up to. Keep up with it here.  
  • Back in early March, we told you about the first Triangle location of BurgerFi coming to Cary's Arboretum at Westin. But now we have learned that there is a second Triangle location "coming soon" which will be in Raleigh on Wake Forest Road near Trader Joe's. Neither location has opened yet, but we'll keep an eye on them. Check them out here.  
  • Just after midnight this past Tuesday, Raleigh's Bahama Breeze on Wake Forest Road suffered a small fire (mostly contained on the roof). We are pleased to announce that the restaurant reopened this past Wednesday. Kudos to Bahama Breeze for turning things around so quickly.  
  • And sadly, after a 44-year run, the Circus Restaurant on Chatham Street in Cary has announced that they are closing. There is a little discrepancy on the exact last day, but it is widely believed to be this weekend - whether it is today or tomorrow, we are not certain. 
  • This is a great weekend for outdoor festivals featuring food! The first is the Got To Be NC Festival taking place this weekend over at the fairgrounds in Raleigh. The event, which begins today at noon, features music, entertainment, rides and of course...lots of North Carolina food and beverages. Well worth the visit. Get all the details here
  • And if that is not enough outdoor entertainment, fun and food for you, head on over to Hillsborough this weekend for the 30th Annual Hillsborough Hog Day. The fun begins on Friday night (6-10 pm) and runs all day on Saturday (9 am - 6 pm) in the River Park behind the courthouse. Get all the skinny here
  • And kudos to downtown Raleigh's The Wine Feed that will be celebrating its one year anniversary this Saturday with a block party in the parking lot adjacent to its location at 18 Glenwood Avenue. The event is scheduled for 3-9 pm and will feature wine tastings, music, food, chocolate and more. Get all the details here.
  • Beginning next week, the Wake Forest Farmer's Market will begin offering a midweek market on Wednesdays. It will be open from 4-7 pm and will be in the same location as the Saturday market -150 N. White Street. Check them out here
  • And speaking of Farmers' markets in the area, we now have over 30! And thanks to Andrea Weigl down at the N&O, we have a comprehensive list of the area's markets. Thanks N&O! Check it out here.  
  • Triangle Food Tour announced their next "Dine with Chef" event coming up on May 29th at 6:30 with Chef Subash at Chapel Hill's Cholanad. The event is $35 and includes a 3 course dinner (wine is extra). Reservations are required and can be made here (please do so by May 22). 
  • Another fun event is Triangle Restaurant Week which is just a few weeks away now. Scheduled for June 4-10, the week showcases restaurants that offer special menus all week and special prices. A great opportunity to get out and try some new eats. Get all the details here. 
  • And finally, today is National Pizza Party Day (wait, isn't that every day!?!). Anyway, we're going to celebrate it all summer. To do so, every order placed between now and the end of July from Hot Box Pizza through Triangle Food Guy, will receive a $10 Target gift card for the person that placed the order. Order away here

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Fun Food Facts - May 11, 2012

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler. 
  • If you are a Tropical Smoothie Café fan, we've got great news for you. The Triangle's third location is very close to opening. It will be located at 5311 S. Miami Blvd., in the same shopping center as Randy's Pizza. We don't have an exact date, but it could be any day now. Check our their other locations in Raleigh on Oberlin Road and Creedmoor Road. More details here 
  • I noticed a "Now Open" sign outside Vesuvio's, a casual Italian restaurant in North Raleigh's Peachtree Market in the space formerly occupied by Bear Rock Café (and before that, Atlanta Bread Co.) Get all the details on their website here  
  • I was also on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh this week and saw a "Coming Soon" sign for Oishii Restaurant and Sushi Bar in the former Hannah's location (and before that Charley's). I haven't been able to confirm if it is the same concept as Oishii in Chapel Hill's Timberlyne Shopping Center, but we'll see what I can find out. Stay tuned.
  • Just when you thought Wake Forest couldn't get any sweeter...I learned this week thanks to John over at Triangle Explorer, that the Wake Forest Dairy Depot will be opening soon at 3433 Rogers Road (where Coffee Cargo used to be). Get all the details here
  • Here's a rumor we heard from a very reliable source that you'll want to keep an eye on. We "heard" this week that the spot on Raleigh's Glenwood South that housed The Diner, will soon become the third North Carolina location for Big Daddy's Burger Bar, a concept out of Charlotte. Again, this is not 100% confirmed and we'll keep an eye on it for you. Here's more information on Big Daddy's
  • The popular Saturday Market hosted by Rebus Works in downtown Raleigh is back in full swing for another season. The market opens every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm and is located at 301 Kinsey Street in Boylan Heights next to the Boylan bridge. This week's market features the following food trucks - Captain Poncho's Tacos and The Parlour. Stop by for breakfast, or lunch, or both! Get more details here
  • Looking for something else fun to do this weekend? Look no further than North Raleigh's Lafayette Village as they host their Italian Fest. This little taste of Italy will include a day of food, fashion, music, bocce ball, pony rides and fun for the whole family. Lafayette Village is located at 8450 Honeycutt Road (at the intersection with Falls of the Neuse Road). Get more details on their Facebook page here.  
  • We are less than 10 days away from the popular annual outing - Farm to Fork - which will be held on Sunday, May 20th from 4-7 pm. The event is a "must see" event that celebrates local food and local farms. For more details and a full listing of participating restaurants and farms, visit their website here.  
  • Durham's Watts Grocery is hosting a Venge wine dinner on May 23. The cost is $65 and includes snazzy wine and food. The event is very limited, so if you are interested, either call  at 919-416-5040 or email them. Visit their website here
  • Triangle Food Tours announced their next "Dine with Chef" event coming up on May 29th at 6:30 pm with Chef Subash at Chapel Hill's Cholanad. The event is $35 and includes a 3 course dinner (wine is extra). Reservations are required and can be made here (please do so by May 22).
  • Another fun event is Triangle Restaurant Week which is just under a month away now. Scheduled for June 4-10, 2012, the week showcases restaurants that offer special menus all week and special prices. A great opportunity to get out and try some new eats. Get all the details here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Fun Food Facts - May 4, 2012

Triangle Restaurant News
Triangle restaurant news...that not everyone knows. Impress your co-workers at the water cooler. 
  • So, unless you've been under a rock all week, the biggest news of the week was the sudden announcement that Magnolia Grill over on Durham's Ninth Street is closing on May 31. As I said in one of my tweets - sad for us, great for them. Thanks to Karen and Ben Barker and ALL they have done for the Triangle culinary scene. Here is a must read article by the N&O's Andrea Weigl highlighting the impact and reach the Barker's have had on our local dining scene. 
  • According to the N&Os Andrea Weigl, Fresca Cafe and Gelato has opened in Waverly Place in Cary. It is owned by Jim O'Neill and Alen Subasic and serves 18 flavors of gelato, sweet and savory crepes, Belgian waffles, sandwiches, coffee and assorted pastries. Get more details here.
  • The Tilted Kilt in Raleigh opened their doors this past Thursday in North Raleigh. Please note that I have confirmed this, but not with an official visit (I hope my wife is reading this). I have also confirmed that they are a bit skimpy on the outfits for their servers; but I haven't confirmed if there is a kids' menu (somehow I don't think there is...hint, hint). Anyway, it is open. Visit the website here.
  • I may be a little late on this one, but earlier this month, the former Fratellos at 8531 Brier Creek Parkway reopened as San Gennaro, an Italian bistro. It opened on April 9 across from Greek Fiesta
  • Over in Chapel Hill on East Franklin Street, Mei Asian restaurant is heading our way, right next to what was formerly the Chill Bubble Tea location. They are a little way away from opening and no other information (not even a Facebook page or website) is available at this time. We'll continue to keep an eye on it.
  • And this is pretty cool. The Cookery, a culinary incubator and commercial kitchen for rent by the hour located on West Chapel Hill Street in Durham, announced this week that they will be opening up an events space in the front of their building called the Front Room. The space, adjacent to their kitchen facilities, can accommodate up to 200 people and includes a mezzanine and outdoor patio, a full bar with local NC beers on tap and audio/visual equipment. Look for a summer opening of this space. More details here
  • A big congratulations to LoMo Market as they held their first stop last night over at Trinity Park on Watts Street in Durham. Their calendar is now up on their website and you still have an opportunity to lobby the "rolling farmers' market" to come to your neighborhood. Get all the details here
  • Also in Chapel Hill things got interesting this week as The Chapel Hill Magazine reported that The Carolina Inn's executive chef since 1999, Jimmy Reale, is leaving and heading "down the street" to the Chapel Hill Country Club to serve as their executive chef. The move takes place at the end of this month.
  • We got word this week that the Taste of Morrisville event that was scheduled for May 12th has been cancelled this year due to a lack of vendor participation. That is the bad news. The good news is that Jess Fowler, Peppers Market and Sandwich Shop in Morrisville, is taking an active role in seeing what can be done to revive the event for next year. Triangle Food Guy, The Triangle Explorer and others will get involved in the effort and we'll keep you posted. Thanks Jess!
  • Raleigh lost a catering company recently as Premier Catering and Events in Raleigh closed their doors. And according to WRAL's Five On Your Side, it left quite a few people in a pinch. That is not good. Read the full article here.  
  • Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Look no further than the little town of Saxapahaw just 15 miles west of Carrboro in Alamance County for their popular Haw River Festival this Saturday. The event features music, arts, crafts, a silent auction, activities on the river, a farmers' market and the ever-popular food trucks. For more information on the festival, including directions to Saxapahaw, click here
  • I can't get by this issue without listing at least one Cinco de Mayo event. The 15 Triangle area Moe's locations will be hosting their seventh annual event offering free kids' meals with the purchase of an entrée $5 or more. They'll also have games, coloring sheets and piñatas for the kids. Stop by any of the 15 area locations to take part. 
  • Think you know your barbecue sauce. Voting is now open in the Great N.C. Barbecue Sauce contest being held by the News & Observer. You can review the recipes of the 10 finalists and cast one voter per day until May 9. Vote early and vote often.
  • And finally, if you like Quizno's, are on Facebook and like free food, you'll want to "click on over" to obtain your coupon for a free sub (when you purchase another sub and drink). Click here