Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fun Food Facts - February 22, 2013

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

Featured Restaurant News
  •  As you know, Durham and Asheville (and a bunch of other cities) are in the running for Southern Living Magazine’s Tastiest Town in the South competition. Please vote for Durham now! You have until February 28th. Vote NOW!
  • And speaking of voting, each year the Independent Weekly publishes a “Best of the Triangle” listing of everything you can imagine. It truly is a great resource. That said, if you like what you read here, I would be humbled if you would take a moment to vote for us for Best Local Blog in the Triangle (enter Triangle Food Guy). Also, while you are there, you could also vote us Best Person To Follow on Twitter, and if you use us for your catering, Best Caterer. Thanks in advance for your time.
Durham, Orange & Chatham County Restaurant News 
  • The stars continue to line up for Durham’s food scene...almost literally. We got word this week from Durham Magazine that Wilmington’s extremely successful fondue restaurant, The Little Dipper, is getting close to a late-March opening in Durham’s Brightleaf Square. It will occupy the space formerly held by Taverna Nikos. Take a peek at their chocolaty goodness here.
  • An update on the coffee scene in Chapel Hill. So, last week we told you that the Chapel Hill version of Bean Traders was moving down the street into the Lickity Split location. So the update is that they have taken over that space and will now be Market Street Coffee & Ice Cream (they are no longer affiliated with the original Bean Traders in Durham). They have also taken over the 3 Cups on Elliot Road (which closed), and it will open today as Market Street Coffeehouse, with a focus on coffee and tea. Market Street Coffee now has 5 locations in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham.  
  • Also in Chapel Hill, the former Carmine’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Eastgate Shopping Center will open on Monday as Vinny’s Italian Grill and Pizzeria. Vinny’s is based out of Virginia, but has a location in Hillsborough as well. Visit their website here.
  • Down in Chatham County’s Siler City there is an effort underway to open a local-sourced restaurant called Succotashed. Right now they are raising funds through an Indiegogo campaign and they are well on their way to their $9500 goal. Get all the details on their vision and their campaign here.
  • And speaking of Chatham County, Pittsboro’s Al’s Diner is expanding with plans to open Al’s Lunchbox directly across from the diner on West Street according to The Herald Sun. Owners Shannon and Nikki Plummer plan to open the drive-through and walk-up sandwich shop in part of a building that previously housed the coffee and ice cream shop, Circle City Java. Look for a mid-March opening. 
Wake County Restaurant News 
  • This past Wednesday, Raleigh became home to another craft brewery - Trophy Brewing. They opened with six different beer offerings and have plans to expand with an outdoor patio area (under construction) and a full food menu later in 2013. Trophy is located at 827 W. Morgan Street in the former Hamburger Hut location. It is owned by Chris Powers and David Lockwood (think Busy Bee Bar & Restaurant). Get all the details here.
  • And speaking of breweries, the Independent Weekly picked up on all the breweries that are opening up, or have opened up, in the Triangle and has a nice summary of the fact that the Triangle has become “awash” in craft breweries...and no one is complaining! Read the article here. 
  • LM Restaurants’ marketing guru Mindy Stroupe released the words this week that everyone has been waiting to hear...Carolina Ale House will open on Glenwood South in early 2014. The plans have been “on the books” for quite some time, but it was confirmed as part of a release that announced the opening of 6 other Carolina Ale House locations (all the others were outside the Triangle) over the next 18 months. Get more details here
  • According to the N&O, beginning next year folks flying into RDU’s newly renovated Terminal 1 will have little doubt they are in ACC country thanks to the announcement of an officially ACC licensed restaurant called ACC American Café. (I’d love to hear your thoughts on what some of the menu items should be called.) It will be joined by: Char-Grill, Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, La Tapenade Mediterranean Cafe and Starbucks. 
  • It has been a while since we have reported a yogurt shop opening, but this morning the N&O reported that Menchie’s opened at 5613 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. They’ll celebrate their grand opening from March 2 to 8, with giveaways including T-shirts and Menchie’s merchandise and free servings of frozen yogurt. It is owned by Catherine and Bob Meynardie.
  • Thanks to a tip from David McCreary, aka author of the food blog Lunch Boy Says, we learned that the former Chatham Street Café & Catering location in downtown Cary is now Café 121. It looks like Chef Hamm has another location in Sanford. Get more details here.
  • According to the Triangle Business Journal, Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q is planning a north Raleigh restaurant in the Poyner Place shopping center near Triangle Town Center. This will mark Raleigh’s second location, and the Triangle’s 10th, for the chain. No details yet on an opening date.  
Closings (but only temporarily) 
  • We learned last week that the Bryan Center location of Joe Van Gogh over on Duke's campus will temporarily close from March 1st through the first week in June to accommodate ongoing renovations. 
  • Do you dream of cooking like a professional and preparing culinary creations? The Chef’s Academy in Morrisivlle recently announced a new 3-part cooking series that will help you realize that dream. You can take all 3 classes (March 19, March 26 and April 2), or just one. They will be held in the evening (5:30 to 8:30 pm) and will include demonstrations as well as hands-on cooking. Get all the details here.
  • The Morrisville Chamber of Commerce recently announced a food and arts festival that will be held along Town Hall Drive on May 18th from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Called East Meets West, the event will feature Morrisville-area restaurants, music, performances and a variety of visual arts. Get it on your calendar and get all the details here
  •  Durham Foodie Johanna Kramer turned us onto the news that the Fairview Garden Center in Raleigh will host a series of Food Truck Rodeos called “Flora and Food Trucks Series”.  The first will be held on Saturday, March 30, followed by two more on April 20 and May 11. Each event will feature 4-5 food trucks. Fairview is located at 8224 Holly Springs Road in Raleigh. Get all the details here.
  • The seventh annual Empty Bowls event to benefit Urban Ministries of Durham will be held on Thursday, March 7th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Purchase your tickets here.
  • Thanks to a tip in the Herald-Sun, we learned that Durham will have its first Louisiana seafood festival when the Bayou Festival Tour comes to town on April 20. It will be held from noon to 8 p.m. at the CCB Plaza downtown. The festival is slated to include seafood, beer and beer samples. And it will return again, to Raleigh, on October 5th. Get all the details here
  • Hold the date for the annual Wake Tech Culinary Arts Showcase which will be held this year on April 30th from 4-7 p.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center. Get all the initial details here.
Final Thoughts
 I close with a hearty congratulations and a tip...
  • First, congratulations to all the Triangle area restaurants and chefs that were given the prestigious nod by the James Beard Foundation this past week. The list is far too long to list here (see how lucky we truly are!!!), but the N&O’s Andrea Weigl has done (yet again) a fabulous job of giving us a summary. It is well worth the read, and if you haven’t eaten at these places...what are you waiting on!?!? Read the article here.
  • And finally, a tip I’ll share with you that I heard while driving down the road listening to NPR. A new craze in the restaurant world is a thing called “secret menus.” Now, it probably isn’t new, and I’m likely the last one to be "in the know", but now you are "in the know" as well! When you visit your favorite restaurant, take it upon yourself to ask if they have a “secret menu.” A lot of restaurants are doing this and share it with their loyal customers and through social media. Anyway, give it a try. Read (or listen to) the story on NPR here.  

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