What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Foodie news: Gonza Tacos opens Cary location

Posted May 5

— The latest on restaurant openings, closings, events, food trucks and more in the Triangle and beyond.

Featured Restaurant News

Got word from general manager Sean Umstead that St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar opened this past Wednesday in the former Joule spot on S. Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh. St. Roch embraces the spirit of their namesake New Orleans’ neighborhood, where chef Sunny Gerhart’s family hails. They offer the finest oysters, clams and Carolina seafood they can find, prepare it with a nod to the crescent city and serve with energy and warmth.

Wake County Restaurant News

​The News & Observer reported that MOFU Shoppe, the brick-and-mortar restaurant from Pho Nomenal Dumpling truck, is getting close to opening its new City Market restaurant in downtown Raleigh. To that end, they will hold a sneak peek Friday, May 12, starting at 5:30 p.m. when you’ll be able to go inside the store to see the progress. Visitors are asked to bring food for a canned food drive to benefit Haven House Services, a Raleigh nonprofit that provides a variety of services to at-risk youth and their families. (Still miss their original truck name – Dump Pho King truck…)

Mama Jee Thai restaurant has opened just off Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street on Friendly Drive (near intersection with Dixie Trail). Mama Jee, Jeerawan Bessinger, was born in Thailand and is the chef and owner. Pay them a visit to truly taste the heart and soul of Thailand!

The folks over at New Raleigh tipped us off to the fact that Dos Taquitos Xoco on Glenwood South is changing its name to simply Xoco Raleigh with Niall Hanley as the sole owner.

Also getting in on the Cinco de Mayo fun, Gonza Tacos y Tequila opened their fifth location this past Wednesday – this location in Cary’s Waverly Place shopping center. Congratulations to Carlos Rodriguez and Gonza Salamanca, founders of the restaurant that creates a twist on the traditional Mexican restaurant with a rich Colombian influence and eclectic Dia de los Muertos theme. Check them out here and for a listing of all their Cinco de Mayo activities.

Saw in the ITB Insider this week Mellow Mushroom will open a second Raleigh location as site plans were filed last week for a new Brier Creek location at 9600 Brier Creek Parkway, near the Meadows at Brier Creek apartments. The restaurant will be housed in a new, 6,435 square-foot building. This will be the Triangle area’s 6th location.

Also in the ITB Insider this week they revealed that north Raleigh residents will soon be able to enjoy the opening of a new kind of pizza delivery/takeout joint called Toppers. It will be on Ronald Drive just off Wake Forest Road. Their website suggests that they set themselves apart through their “more ‘hipster’ type menu offerings and culture.” No word yet on an open date. This will be their second Raleigh location, third in the Triangle. They also have a location on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.

The News & Observer reported this week that a new fast-casual restaurant with wood-grilled chicken and Caribbean-inspired recipes called Papaya Chicken & Grill is set to open this month in Bent Tree Plaza on Falls of Neuse Road, near the intersection with Strickland Road. Owner Michael Burbage describes the restaurant as Caribbean and Latin with flavors inspired by travels to Costa Rica, Mexico, Jamaica and other tropical locales.

Durham, Orange and Chatham Restaurant News

The newest location of Chopt is set to open next Wednesday, May 10 at Eastgate Crossing shopping center in Chapel Hill. Chopt combines seasonal ingredients from local purveyors with authentic flavors from around the world to create delicious salads that people crave. As is custom for each of their new restaurant openings, Chopt will celebrate the opening of the Chapel Hill store by hosting a Chopt Gives Day from 11 am – 1:30 pm & again from 4 pm – 7:30 pm on May 9, where all customers who make a monetary donation to its charitable partners, Kitchen Patrol and Table, will receive a free salad.

Food trucks

The food truck events in Knightdale are cranking back up this month. Every Thursday from April through June and September through November, they will host a new truck at Knightdale Station Park for lunch and dinner. Just look for it from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. near the amphitheater (rain or shine – shelters are covered).

And the food truck rodeos in Durham (just had one) and Raleigh (coming up this Sunday) are swinging back into full gear. Check out the Durham dates here and the Raleigh dates here.


Bites of Bull City’s Amber Watson notified me that Tre Forni’s one year anniversary celebration is Saturday, May 6 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. with pizza samples, raffle prizes, demos & ingredients along with swag and samples from Ballast Point Brewery.

Learned from Bites of Bull City’s Amber Watson that the Durham Blues and Brews Festival is back May 21 at Durham Central Park. Delicious NC craft brews, rockin’ blues, food trucks and fun! Enjoy unlimited 12 oz. pours of 20 of the finest brews that North Carolina has to offer. Advance festival tickets are $40 or $50 on site. Designated driver tickets are $20.

Black Twig Cider House, Mattie B’s Public House and the Rickhouse are bringing back Txakolifest on Sunday May 21st from 12 – 4 p.m. at the Rickhouse. Txakolifest is a celebration of Basque country’s finest white wines combined with Durham’s best food – the list of participating restaurants is impressive. Tickets are $75 ($100 VIP). Get all the details here.

Got word from event organizer Lisa Jeffries that the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival has set their dates for this year as May 18-21.

The restaurant and farm pairings for the 2017 Farm to Fork Picnic were announced this week. The 10th anniversary Farm to Fork Picnic Weekend, June 2-4 at Fearrington Village, will celebrate creative partnerships among Triangle farmers, chefs and culinary artisans. Pairings for the June 4 picnic, which has been dubbed "The Country's Best All-You-Can-Eat Feast" by Bon Appetit, represent more than 70 farms and restaurants.

The Blind Pig Supper Club in partnership with TerraVita Food & Drink Festival brings you an incredible evening on May 7 of amazing cuisine featuring eight chefs from across the state working together to create an eight-course meal. Eve of the Eighth will celebrate 2017 as the eighth year of the TerraVita Food & Drink Festival. Our "8" theme will appear visually on the plate and in ingredient selection and sourcing. To see a list of those amazing 8 chefs and purchase tickets ($88), click here.

The dates for TerraVita in Chapel Hill (one of the largest foodie events in the South) have been released. It will kick off on October 18 and end with the Grand Tasting on The Green on Saturday, Oct. 21. TerraVita has grown from one tasting event into a four-day festival led by James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs, nationally-acclaimed cookbook authors, award-winning journalists and food artisans, winemakers, baristas, craft brewers and distillers.

Food Bank Corner

Go ahead and start planning (get your kids involved) and join the National Association of Letter Carriers for the largest one-day food drive in the nation! Stamp Out Hunger takes place on Saturday, May 13. Look out for a designated donation bag delivered to you by your letter carrier, fill it with your donation, and your letter carrier will pick it up on May 13! Or forget the hassle of a trip to the grocery store and "shop" their virtual food drive and maximize your donation times ten!


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all