What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Foodie news: Southern restaurant moving into old Motto space

Posted August 4

Motto Chef Garret Fleming

— The big news of the past week was the surprise closing of Motto in Durham. But that bit of sad news quickly turned to the news that Pete Susca is coming into that space with a concept called It’s a Southern Thing: Kitchen and Bar. Pete was Motto’s bar manager and previously ran LaRussa’s in Chapel Hill’s Meadowmont. Matt Kulp will be the chef – he had stints with McCormick & Schmick’s, Garland in downtown Raleigh and the former Zely & Ritz on Glenwood Avenue. Look for them to open in six to eight weeks with a Southern-focused menu.

Wake County Restaurant News

Bill King tweeted last week that Tulum Mexican Restaurante & Bar is now open in the former La Volta space at 411 Fayetteville Street in City Plaza. Looks like they opened on July 25.

Also in downtown Raleigh, this weekend is the official “Grand Opening” celebration for MOFU Shoppe in City Market. Stop by anytime (check their hours on their website), but they will also be debuting their late night menu (served 11 p.m. til 2 a.m.). Will be a fun weekend to stop by and check out the latest in downtown dining.

Over in Cary, a Yelp message board posting noted that it looks like the restaurant being built on Walnut Street in Cary (in front of the Harris Teeter) is going to be an Outback Steakhouse. Still being built, but they just put the Outback signs up this past week. Stay tuned.

Got word from one of our readers that a Texas Roadhouse has opened in Holly Springs at 201 Grand Hill Place. Get directions and all the details here.

And over in Fuquay-Varina reader Kimberli Holton was the first to notify us that a Dan Sushi Hibachi Japanese Restaurant was coming soon. This week we got word from David McCreary that it has in fact opened at 1313 N. Main St.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

Learned from friend Rebecca Richard that there is a new dining option on Chapel Hill’s W. Franklin Street (and it is not pizza!). The Purple Bowl, at 306 W. Franklin St., features acai bowls and toast. And did we mention healthy and oh so yummy! Can’t wait to get by and check it out!

Over in Durham, got word from Bites of Bull City’s Amber Watson that the latest location of Joe Van Gogh has opened (soft opening again today with regular hours beginning on Saturday) on W. Chapel Hill Street. They are sharing the renovated gas station with Local Yogurt. Get the latest on their Facebook page here.

Also in Durham, Indy Week reported this week that the third location of the popular coffee hangout Cocoa Cinnamon will open in mid-August. It will be located at 2013 Chapel Hill Road.


So, if a restaurant never existed, and we report that it closed….does that mean it still never existed? OK, I misread one of our reader emails last week. There was never a Golden Corral in Holly Springs, but there was a Highway 55 Burger. But it closed. Sorry about the error (it was so cool to see how many people emailed/tweeted me – you folks rock!).

Got word from reader Samantha Leach that Raleigh’s Tasca Brava was not renewing their lease. It was confirmed this week on their Facebook page, simply posting, “With great sorrow, after sixteen years, Tasca Brava lost.”

And over in Durham, TGI Fridays on Erwin Road has closed. The fun part is that they are liquidating all their furniture, fixtures and equipment in an online auction here. Browse (and bid) here.

Food Trucks

Art Sheppard notified me that Chapel Hill is bringing back the Rodeo on Rosemary. It will be held on November 5th from 12-4 (also same day as the Durham Rodeo…decisions, decisions). Get all the details on Facebook here.

And the food truck rodeos in Durham and Raleigh are back in full swing. The next Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo is Sunday and Durham’s next one will be in early September. Check out the Durham dates here and the Raleigh dates here.


Chef John May is partnering 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. The last one is August 10 with the theme Lost Dishes of the Midatlantic and Punches. The cost is $40 for four courses and an additional $15 for beverage pairings.

The 6th annual 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.

Join North Carolina brewers at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for their fourth annual Natural Selections event on Aug. 18. Enjoy this one-of-a-kind evening of beer and science among the museum’s dioramas. Sample unique creations fitting the museum’s natural science focus from more than 20 North Carolina breweries. Enjoy hands-on science of beer activities, a panel discussion, games and live music by Handsome Al and the Lookers. Price includes beer samples, activities, tasting guide, and collectible Natural Selections tasting glass.

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 Chef of the Year and the Pastry Chef of the Year.

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.

Also on Aug.10, Raleigh Nightlife Media, Paragon Wine Group and Bulleit Bourbon are presenting a Whiskey & Wine Walk (think of it as grown up Hillsborough Street Hike) where attendees (50 max) will enjoy a 2 oz. wine and 2 oz. whiskey pour at Dram & Draught, Players’ Retreat, Aloft Raleigh and Mitch’s Tavern. Tickets are $25, but you can enter coupon code TFG at checkout to save yourself $5.

Food Bank Corner

Go ahead and mark your calendar for Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week August 21-27. 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.


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

Oldest First
View all