What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Foodie News: Soca nears opening in Cameron Village

Posted March 10

Soca in Cameron Village (Facebook)

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

Featured Restaurant News

Samad Hachby announced this week that his Moroccan restaurant, Babylon, will move to a smaller, more intimate location making way for an Italian restaurant called Mulino Italian Kitchen and Bar. Mulino's menu will focus on homemade pastas, pizzas and breads cooked in the woodfired oven, locally sourced meats and seafood as well as traditional Italian fare and an expansive Italian wine selection. The new location for Babylon hasn't been announced, but they did confirm it will remain in Raleigh. You can eat at the current location of Babylon (309 N. Dawson St.) until April 2. Mulino will open mid-April.

Wake County Restaurant News

Seems like we are in the "waiting pattern" on a couple of Wake County eateries. On March 3, Soca announced via Facebook that they were 10 days away from opening...that's next Monday (3/13). But no official word yet. Soca is going into the former Faire spot in Raleigh's Cameron Village and is being brought to us by the owners of the popular eatery Buku, Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins.

And we continue to await the opening of the second location of Abbey Road Tavern & Grill coming to Apex. Their last Facebook post suggested they are just waiting on "final inspections" so it could be any day now. The original location is on W. Chatham Street location. The Apex location will be in the Off Kilter Pub & Grille location at 1700 Center St. Keep up with pending announcements on their Facebook page here.

And the final "holding pattern" seems to almost be over for G.58 in Morrisville on Chapel Hill Road. This past week they invited special guests in for a preview (which, ahem, I was not invited to) prior to their opening later this month. G.58 is the brainchild of Julia Li, and the story behind the name goes that the last two numbers of their address, "58" are auspicious lucky numbers in Chinese culture, with eight being "prosper, wealth, success" and five being "me." They chose to use that along with the "G" for "great." Thanks to the folks over at the FoodCary blog for the update.

The News & Observer reported this week that brothers John and Paul Batista, are bringing their family business from Long Island, N.Y., to North Carolina. They are opening Lume Grill (pronounced Loo-me) to the former Pita Bon spot in a shopping center at 1207 Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. They expect to open early to mid-April. Batista emphasizes that their restaurant is Portuguese cuisine from Portugal. The barbecue steakhouse is known for its whole chicken rotisserie cooked over wood charcoal.

Not sure how I missed this, but Susan Alford brought it to my attention that Istanbul Restaurant has opened in Cary at 914 Kildaire Farm Road directly in front of the Carolina Pottery. Susan tells me the food is excellent and the owner is super nice. Well worth a visit.

Got word from reader Kristy Hwang that the third Triangle-area location of First Watch will open to the public next Monday (March 13) in the Shops at Bradford at the corner of High House and Davis Drive. First Watch is a breakfast- and brunch-focused restaurant chain with locations on Glenwood Avenue and on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh.

And down in Holly Springs, Rise, the popular doughnut and biscuit spot, is continuing to expand its reach into Wake County. Owners announced this week that the eighth Triangle location is scheduled to open in Holly Springs Saturday, March 18. The new store is in the Holly Springs Towne Center, along N.C. 55, at 169 Grand Hill Place.

Durham, Orange and Chatham Restaurant News

Listen up, the dates for TerraVita in Chapel Hill (one of the largest foodie events in the South) have been released. Go ahead and mark your calendars, more details to follow in the coming weeks/months. It will kick off on Wednesday, October 18, and end with the Grand Tasting on The Green on Saturday, October 21, 2017. 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. Tickets will go on sale in May. Keep up with the latest here.

Here is some news that might be of interest to my buddy Tom Meyer (as I know how much he loves Chapel Hill and the Tar Heels!) - got word that the legendary Carolina Coffee Shop on Franklin Street is for sale. The Carolina Coffee Shop has been a staple of the community and serving students, faculty, and staff of UNC Chapel Hill in the same cozy spot on Franklin St. since 1922.

Next door in Carrboro, the Daily Tar Heel reported that One Fish, Two Fish, a poke joint, is bringing Hawaiian cuisine to Carrboro this March, replacing the former Tom+Chee restaurant at 370 E. Main St. Not familiar with poke? It's a traditional Hawaiian dish served with fresh, diced fish on a base of rice or lettuce, topped with your choice of crunchy additions, salty morsels, sweet sauces or spicy kicks.

Over in Durham, got word from Ranbir Bahhshi that Alpaca (Peruvian charcoal chicken) is moving into the former Tijuana Flats space on 9th St. in Durham next to Happy + Hale. This will be Alpaca's 5th location! They look to open in May.

Got the official word that Pine Cone, serving up ice cream, shakes and coffee, is now officially open in Durham's Brightleaf Square. They feature Maple View Farms ice cream and Joe Van Gogh roasted coffee. Yumm!

Also in Durham, certified cider expert Mattie Beason celebrates the first year anniversary of Black Twig Cider House - a cider-focused restaurant featuring the largest variety of cider in the Southeast - Saturday, April 1st from 11am to 5pm with local cider on draft, bottles and in the txotx, as well as games and food for the entire family!


None to report. Keep eating local, folks!

Food trucks

I never thought I’d see this. Chapel Hill is holding their first food truck rodeo - Rodeo on Rosemary. Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation in collaboration with the Downtown Partnership and the Raleigh Durham Mobile Food Association (RDUMFA) will hold this milestone on March 26 from noon to 5 p.m. on the block of Rosemary Street between Henderson and North Columbia Streets. Looks like about 13 trucks so far.

We have dates for this year's Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeos. Go ahead and mark your calendars for Sunday, May 7, Sunday, June 11, Sunday, Aug. 6 and Sunday, Oct. 8 (only 3 this year compared to 4 in years past).


Families Moving Forward in Durham launched Chefs for Change recently, a fundraising dinner series that will pair the burgeoning Durham food scene with the needs of families experiencing homelessness. The chefs participating in the series are: Ricky Moore (Saltbox), Billy Cotter (Dashi), Seth Gross (Pompieri/Bull City Burger & Brewery) and John May (Piedmont). The series features a dinner every other month (beginning in April) featuring one of the distinguished chefs serving three or more courses. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit Families Moving Forward.

The inaugural Cooking for a Classic series to benefit the Lucy Daniels Center moves into round two this month with local and regional chefs competing head to head to win a beautifully restored 1969 Corvette Stingray. The competition is structured tournament style, with two chefs paired together each night and the winner advancing to the next round until a champion is crowned.

Viceroy Durham will collaborate with Bull McCabes Irish Pub to celebrate the spring festival of Holi on March 11 on the lawn at Bull McCabes. The food will be a preview of the Thali style dishes that will be available when Viceroy opens for lunch service. The color fight will be taking place between noon and 3 p.m. with kid’s activities throughout the day, and DJs will keep the party going until 11 p.m.

DPAC is partnering again with Tyler’s Restaurant & Taproom and Sam’s Quik Shop to host the fifth annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience on March 12. The event features the Harris On stage Experience showcasing additional breweries and local food vendors, unlimited samplings and three floors of food and beverage options, so make sure you visit each level of DPAC’s lobbies for the full experience.

Bites of Bull City and Southern Food and Drink are teaming up to bring you a fun behind-the-scenes "Taste & Sip" tour of historic Brightleaf Square in downtown Durham on Saturday, March 25 from 1-5 p.m. On this easy walking tour, guests will experience several Brightleaf Square/Main Street mainstays as well as get an introduction to several brand new restaurants and shops making a name for themselves in the area! Tickets are $50. Get all the details here.

The North Carolina Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier will host Dames in the Kitchen on April 6 offering a culinary tour through North Carolina by eight Dame cookbook authors and chefs. Benefiting the Interfaith Food Shuttle, it will take place at The Root Cellar in Chapel Hill from 6:30 to 9pm. Tickets can be purchased for $65 ($30 tax deductible).

I’m going to just put this right here for my buddy Tim Coynesmith -- the Beer & Bacon Festival is coming up on April 8. Need I say more?

Also on April 8, the Bull City Homebrew Chili Challenge will take place at Bull City Homebrew on Highway 54 near the intersection with Highway 55. It takes place from noon until 4 p.m. If you’d like to enter your chili, register on their site. The event is free and kid friendly.

April 20-23 are the dates for TASTE, a huge culinary event that includes a series of culinary experiences. Now in its fourth year, TASTE invites and assembles more than 50 of the best chefs, culinary artisans, artists, brewmasters, sommeliers and mixologists in the local area. Enjoy “Grand Taste” signature experiences, where you can sample the area’s best chefs, spirits and craft beers, as well as special dinners and classes.

On April 30 from 5-10 p.m. at the Rickhouse in Durham, guests can sit back and watch the excitement while local, renowned chefs prepare a five course, farm-to-table feast showcasing local ingredients and inventive plate presentation right before your eyes. The Taste for a Cure event will begin with a cocktail hour at 5 p.m. where chefs will prepare the first course right before your eyes. Individual tickets are $225.

I got word from event organizer Lisa Jeffries that the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival has set their dates for this year as May 18-21. Go ahead and mark your calendar.

Food Bank Corner

Now is the time to give to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. During the month of March, there is a special “matching gift” opportunity - the Table2Table Matching Gift Challenge! All donations from March 1 through March 31 will be matched up to $50,000. For this month only, instead of your $1 providing five meals, every dollar will provide 10 meals!


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