What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Foodie news: Cortez grand opening party is Saturday

Posted June 30

— There is no bigger restaurant news this week than the passage of Senate Bill 155, aka the Brunch Bill, that will allow restaurants to serve alcohol on Sunday mornings. Kudos to Lynn Minges at the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association for her leadership. Now, come on Roy, free the mimosas! It could happen as early as this Sunday! I’ll drink to that!

And, if you need brunch suggestions, Out and About made a list of some of its favorite brunch spots in the Triangle.

Disco brunch at The Durham

Wake County Restaurant News

The News & Observer reported this week that Cary’s newest dining option, Pro’s Epicurean Market & Cafe, opened this past Monday and is having a soft opening this week. They are located in the former Dorry’s Downtown Deli on East Chatham Street in the renovated Mid-Town Square shopping center. The menu features French and Italian influences: crepes, sandwiches and salads as well as fish, pasta, meat and chicken entrees.

The newly opened Cortez Seafood + Cocktail will hold their grand opening party this Saturday with dollar oysters all night, featured ceviches and guest DJ's going until late. They are located on Glenwood South in the former Helio’s spot.

Learned this week that Marco Pollo, a Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant, has opened in Cary at 1871 Lake Pine Drive, just off Highway 64.

Last week we told you about the opening of Caribbean Spice, a Caribbean restaurant that combines traditional island dishes with newer dishes, in Raleigh at 2822 New Birch Drive. WRAL reported this week that they will hold their grand opening celebration on July 8.

The folks over at ITB Insider reported this week that Wayback Burger, a chain out of Delaware which now has six locations in North Carolina (including one in Durham), will open its newest location in Raleigh’s Plantation Square. No word yet on a timeline.

Got a note from reader Hugh Autry that Garner now has a Substation II in Garner Station at 1440 Garner Station Blvd. Substation II has 40 locations over six states.

Reader Evan Foster tipped us off to the fact that there is a Papa Murphy’s take and bake pizza coming into the North Ridge Center off Falls of the Neuse Road. No word yet on an open date.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

Got word this week that Pour Taproom has opened in downtown Durham’s Unscripted Hotel at 202 N. Corcoran St. Pour Taproom is a pay-by-the-ounce taproom where you can pour your own drink from a selection of more than 60 taps of the finest of craft brews, ciders and wines from the Triangle and other awesome beer hubs far and wide.

Johanna Kramer announced this week that Alivia’s Durham Bistro will temporarily close after 10 years, allowing it to re-concept and reopen soon.

Renovation will take place over the summer for a fall unveil.

Alivia's Durham Bistro

WRAL reported this week that after four years of operating as a butcher and sweet shop, Rose's Meats and Sweets will be changing direction. Owners announced Thursday via social media that the shop, located at 121 N Gregson St., will become a restaurant and bakery.

A quick shout-out and congratulations to the staff over at Kitchen in Chapel Hill on MLK Blvd. as they celebrate seven years of service to the local community. It is a great little spot in Chapel Hill, tucked away in the same shopping center at Root Cellar Cafe and Lucha Tigre. Worth a visit.


Reader Mike McKinney brought it to our attention that Golden Palace Dim Sum on Capital Boulevard has closed. No word on what led to their closing.

Got a note this week from reader Patrick Smith that the Bruegger’s location at North Hills has closed. While some are speculating it might become the 4th North Hills-area Starbucks, early rumors suggest it could become a Chipotle. Stay tuned.

Food Trucks

The News & Observer reported this week that The Farmery is moving its Airstream trailer and indoor farm from Research Triangle Park to Durham’s 326 Geer St. in the parking lot of a vacant building. It’s down the street from Motorco Music Hall and around the corner from Fullsteam Brewery. Pending inspection approvals, it is scheduled to open July 7.

Food truck rodeos in Durham and Raleigh are back in full gear (Durham has one this Sunday!). Get a list of participating trucks for Durham here and for Raleigh here.

Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo

The Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo returns to town on July 23 from noon to 4 p.m. at The Renaissance Center in historic downtown Wake Forest. Nearly 20 trucks are already signed up. A beer tent will be provided by Brooks Street Bowl, and the kids can have fun in the Kid's Zone that will include free face painting sponsored by The Learning Experience, a bouncy house, road chalk, hula hoops, ball toss and bubble fun.


This summer, chef John May will partner with local purveyors to create exciting themed evenings at Piedmont. Each dinner will consist of four courses with optional beverage pairings, and chef May will welcome guest distillers, cheesemakers and farmers to the restaurant to educate diners about their products. Upcoming dates and themes include: June 27: Summer Picnic featuring Durham Distillery; July 13: Sweet & Savory Cheese Dinner featuring Boxcarr Handmade Cheese; July 27: Grilled Veggies featuring Fullsteam Brewery; August 10: Lost Dishes of the Midatlantic and Punches. All menus will be $40 for four courses and an additional $15 for beverage pairings.

The Second Annual Big Biscuit Showdown will take place on July 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Rickhouse in downtown Durham. This unique food competition features 12 teams of Rise chefs partnered with a local brewery or beverage company. Each team will prepare a special biscuit and donut that will be paired with a local craft-made beverage.

Rise Biscuits and Donuts in Morrisville

The Raleigh Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event will be held this year at NC State Fairgrounds in the Kerr Scott building on August 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association will hold the second annual NC Chef Showdown on August 21 in Raleigh's historic downtown City Market. Participating chefs will present a dish to a distinguished panel of six judges and will prepare sample-sized offerings for approximately 200 attendees. Attendees will determine the recipients of the "People's' Choice" awards, while the judges will select the Chef of the Year and the Pastry Chef of the Year.

Pittsboro's annual PepperFest will be held on September 24 at the Great Meadow in Briar Chapel. PepperFest is a celebration of local food made by local chefs and food artisans featuring 40 different kinds of locally grown peppers prepared in hundreds of creative ways. Right now they are seeking chefs and food artisans to participate. June 20 is the application deadline.

Terra Vita

Folks, listen up. I try to make it a habit not to tell people what to do (mainly because I don't want them to tell me what to do, but I digress). Here is an exception. Go to this event! Trust me. And get your tickets early! Speaking of which, tickets to the eighth annual TerraVita Food & Drink Festival, scheduled for Oct. 18-21 in and around Chapel Hill, are now on sale. It will sell out.

Food Bank Corner

Nearly 300,000 children in the Food Bank's 34 counties rely on the free and reduced-cost meals at school to get them through the day. For them, summertime doesn't mean a fun-filled vacation. For them, no school means no meals. Stop Summer Hunger is the Food Bank's annual initiative to provide additional food to feed these children and their families during this season of increased need. For example, a donation of $35 will feed a child for two months, a donation of $75 will feed a family of four for one month and a donation of $150 will feed a family of four for two months. Help reach the goal of 3.4 million meals before July 31 and ensure that children will receive the daily, nutritious meals they need to grow healthy and strong!

Sean Lennard covers the Triangle food scene on his site Triangle Food Blog.


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