What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Foodie news: Oakwood pizza place nears opening

Posted August 25
Updated August 28

— So now we know what is going into the former McAlister's Deli space on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Saw on a Yelp message board that BonChon Chicken, the fast casual Korean fried chicken chain, is opening its first Triangle-area location at the 205 E. Franklin St. address. No word on a timeline.

Wake County Restaurant News

Anthony Guerra, whose family owned Bella Mia, will open Oakwood Pizza Box soon at 610 N. Person St. (a few doors down from Crawford and Son where he works as the general manager).

Also in downtown Raleigh, several people pointed out to me this week that there is a sign in the window for "Kaiju" in the space next to Oak City Meatball on E. Davie Street. Unfortunately, our online search didn't turn up any additional information. We're just going to have to be patient on this one. Stay tuned.

John Huisman, aka Triangle Explorer, alerted me to the news that a Culver's, with their signature ButterBurgers and frozen custard, is now open in Wake Forest at 2819 Rogers Road next to the new Rite Aid drug store near The Factory sports and retail complex on Main Street. This is their Triangle-area debut, but likely won't be their only.

Got word from reader Paul Prause that Pickled Onion Restaurant & Bar will close its current location on Falls of the Neuse Road on Aug. 27 and relocate to 10750 Wakefield Commons in Wakefield. Look for them to open in the new location in mid-September.

And reader Jane Bell noticed construction activity at the former Lone Star Steakhouse location in the Townridge shopping center in Raleigh. No indication as of yet as to what is going in there.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

Johanna Kramer reported this week that after closing Alivia's Durham Bistro in June, owners Fergus Bradley and Jason Sholtz are teaming up with barbecue chef Brian Stinnett to open Maverick's Smokehouse and Taproom on West Main St. in September. Maverick's will offer slow smoked barbecue pork, beef brisket, ribs, chicken, turkey, sausage, fish and more.

And finally (didn’t think they would ever open), we got word from Cherith Andes that Babalu Tapas & Tacos has set Aug. 28 as the opening date for their latest location in Chapel Hill’s Eastgate Crossing shopping center. This is the Triangle’s first location and will feature latin-inspired taco and tapas dishes with a Southern twist. And I’ve heard the drinks are pretty amazing as well.

The Pie Hole in Durham, serving up sweet & savory pies from scratch along with signature coffee & drinks, will hold their grand opening on Labor Day weekend. They will be located at 810 Ninth Street.

The Pie Hole

As if you needed another reason to get to Scott Howell's NanaSteak in downtown Durham, reader Sara Bill informed us that they will begin brunch service this Saturday.

This will make your mouth water. Merritt's Grill in Chapel Hill celebrates this month the 25th anniversary of serving up their (now world famous) BLTs. Hard to believe it has been 25 years! And they will have events and activities all day tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 26) from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Also in Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership reported that Perennial Coffee & Pastries is now open at 403 W. Franklin Street right next to the Cuban Revolution Express. The only online presence we could find was the partnership's posting about it opening. Here it is.


Learned from the folks over at Taste Carolina that after just six months, Wedgies at American Tobacco campus, has closed. You can still visit their original location in Southern Pines.

Was sad to learn from reader Jeanette Hauser that the Morrisville location of Danny's BBQ has closed. That's the bad news. The good news is their Cary and RTP locations remain open.

Art Sheppard, aka The Wandering Sheppard, notified us this week that the brick-and-mortar location of Porchetta (at Streets at Southpoint food court) has closed. But you can still catch the truck all over the Triangle.

Several people, including The Wandering Sheppard himself (Art Sheppard) that the Bruegger's Bagels in Pleasant Valley has closed. Follows closely on the footsteps of the one that closed at North Hills just a few weeks back.

And reader Gloria Waters notified me this week that the Triangle Town Center location of California Pizza Kitchen closed. They still have locations in Durham at Streets at Southpoint as well as at RDU International Airport.

Food Trucks

The Lazy Daze Festival in Cary has expanded to two days, Aug. 26 and 27. In addition to arts and crafts tents, it will feature more than 25 food vendors and trucks! It is not a party until a food truck rolls up! The entire festival is wonderful, but if you want to plan your food strategy before you go, do so here.

37th Annual Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival in Cary, NC on August 24, 2013.

Art Sheppard notified me that Chapel Hill is bringing back the Rodeo on Rosemary. It will be held on Nov. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. (also same day as the Durham Rodeo…decisions, decisions).

And the food truck rodeos in Durham and Raleigh are back in full swing. The next Durham rodeo is Sept. 3. Check out the Durham dates here and the Raleigh dates here.


How does beer and fresh produce sound? Count me in! The Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market at University Place will hold their annual Brewfest on August 26 from 8 a.m. until noon. The event will feature brews from 11 different breweries.


Tickets for Beericana Craft Beer and Music Festival are on sale now. Beericana will take place again in Holly Springs on September 9 and will feature 70 breweries, 16 food trucks and thousands of beer lovers.

Join host chef Teddy Diggs of Il Palio at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill on September 14 for Festa Italiana, a Friends of the James Beard Benefit Dinner. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. on the terrace with hors d’oeuvres, games of bocce and a silent auction. Dinner begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Il Palio dining room and is followed by a live auction. Tickets are $185.

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.

Terra Vita Preview

Tickets to the eighth annual TerraVita Food & Drink Festival (@TerraVitaFest), scheduled for Oct. 18-21 in and around Chapel Hill, are now on sale now. It will sell out. Trust me!

On Oct. 12, the local chapter of the March of Dimes will bring back their Signature Chefs Auction. The gathering of talented chefs from around the Triangle will be held at The Garden on Millbrook beginning at 6:30 p.m. A full list of chefs will be released soon. Get all the details on their website here.

The Underground Kitchen hosts its second pop up dinner in Raleigh on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. Attendees will experience the great outdoors and a deliciously rustic, multi-course dinner in a wilderness-within- the-city locale. Virginia-based celebrity chef J. Ponder will pull out all the stops with a flavorsome exploration of aged meats, time-tested techniques, and truffle wine pairings!

On Sunday, Sept. 10 from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Raleigh's Mandolin Restaurant will hold their second annual BBQ Fundraiser to benefit the Interfaith Food Shuttle. It will be held across the street from Mandolin at the corner of Fairview and Oberlin Road. They will have live music and lots of great food and drink prepared by chef Sean Fowler which has been donated by Cheney Bros. food distributors, Topo distillery, Locals Seafood, Videri Chocolate, Neuse River Brewing, Lynnwood Brewing and Mandolin Sauces.

Relish Craft Kichen & Bourbon Bar will host their 2nd Annual Mac & Cheese Throwdown for Hope on Sunday, Sept. 17 from 6-9 p.m. Benefiting the Hope Center at Pullen, the event features chefs from around the Triangle showing off their "mac and cheese" talent. They will have a bartender competition as well. Tickets in advance are $25.

Mix 101.5 will host their Savor the Triangle event on Wednesday, Sept. 20 to benefit the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. It will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Kerr Scott Building at the NC State Fairgrounds. Over 20 restaurants (so far) are participating. G

Also on Sept. 10, the Leonard-Mobley Small Farm Fund will host their 4th Annual Dinner in the Meadow benefit hosted by WUNC’s Frank Stasio and featuring dishes prepared by Triangle area and regional chefs. Held in Franklin County, the dinner is $100 per person.

Food Bank Corner

This is the last weekend for Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants will offer three-course prix fixe dinners for either $21 or $31 per person, depending on the venue (tax and tip not included).

As a special amenity to downtown employees and other daytime downtown visitors, some restaurants will be offering $5 and $10 lunch specials during Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week only! And new this year, they are partnering with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to donate $1 from each Restaurant Week dinner sold to those in need!

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


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