What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Foodie news: Summer brings many new ways for Triangle foodies to dig in

Posted June 16

Smash Waffles (Facebook)

— This week Morgan Street Food Hall & Market, which will be opening in late August in downtown Raleigh, announced seven new tenants including popular food truck and “Shark Tank” winner, Cousins Maine Lobster. Joining Cousins will be Carroll’s Kitchen (a Raleigh-based non-profit emphasizing culinary job skills for women), Makus Empanadas (true Argentinian empanadas based in Durham’s Hope Valley Commons); Raleigh Rolls (Thai ice cream rolls); Wicked Taco (popular with NC State students); Bella’s Wood Fired Pizza; and Morgan Street Java and Creperie. Previously announced tenants include: Raleigh Raw (fresh-pressed juices); Sasool (Lebanese and Mediterranean); Oak City Fish & Chips (local seafood); Cow Bar (specialty hamburgers); Ginger + Soy (Asian); Boba Brew (bubble teas) and City Sushi (inventive sushi). Morgan Street Food Hall & Market is a 22,000-sq. ft. culinary incubator in the heart of downtown Raleigh’s Warehouse District and will feature 60+ dining and retail stalls offering high-quality, chef-driven specialty foods with a wide range of diversity.

Triangle Food Guy

Wake County Restaurant News

In Cary, the big news this week was the announcement that Missy and Lionel Vatinet, owners of La Farm Bakery, opened the doors to their new production facility in downtown Cary at 220 West Chatham St. I’m sure the sweet aroma of freshly baked bread is already filling the air in downtown Cary! Stop by today and pick up some of their fresh-out-of-the-oven offerings!

Bocci Trattoria and Pizzeria, with locations already in Durham and Cary, will swing open their doors to their Hillsborough Street location in Raleigh on Monday, June 19. Located at 2412 Hillsborough Street, right in the heart of the street across from campus. The restaurant features a “Valvano Room” - a nice nod to the former legendary NC State men’s basketball coach.

Also on Hillsborough Street, Smash Waffles, the popular Greenville-based waffle delivery service, has announced its first brick-and-mortar location in the Triangle will be across from NC State’s campus at 2304 Hillsborough St. They are looking to open this fall on the first floor of a new six-story building, a few doors down from Insomnia Cookies and Bruegger’s Bagels.

And it is official now. The Cortez Seafood & Cocktail is now open at 413 Glenwood Avenue in the former Helio’s spot. Congratulations to Charlie Ibarra and his team (including chef Oscar Diaz) on their latest venture.

And just got word from one of our readers that Nancy's Chicago Style Pizza is coming to the Brennan Station shopping center in North Raleigh in the spot formerly occupied by Oliver Twist and more recently Sardi's Den.

Probably the most common “opening soon” question I get while I’m out and about is regarding the pending Wahlburger’s slated to open in downtown Raleigh. I reached out to them last week via Facebook and didn’t learn much other than they are “still coming” - but no hint as to a timeline. Best thing I can tell you is to follow them for any updates on their Facebook page.

Best bakeries

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

Got word, saw signs and it was confirmed by the lovely and talented Lori Lennard that the Dunkin’ Donuts on East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill is now open. It is located next to the Siena Hotel. And in true Chapel Hill fashion, it is without a drive-thru.

And just down from that in Eastgate Crossing things continue to progress. Noticed this week that the signs were up on the new Zoe’s Kitchen location (a complete remodel of the former Boston Market building). Also, saw a sign for a Clean Juice coming into the former TCBY spot. And Babalu Tapas & Tacos had “now hiring” signs up throughout the center - so not too long. And still waiting on the opening date for Guglhupf.

And over at University Place (formerly University Mall) we are within weeks of the opening of BarTaco. And let me be one of the first to say, this is going to be one cool hangout. I poked my head in yesterday and not only is the outdoor dining/drinking space incredibly welcoming, the inside is equally stunning. I might as well go ahead and open a pretty hefty tab there for me and Mayor CoyneSmith.

Over in Durham, Twitter friend @BurgeoningBaker reports that Big C Waffles is moving into the former Dog House location near the intersection of Hwy. 54 and Hwy. 55 (2110 Allendown Dr) near Kokyu BBQ. No word yet on a timeline.

This is kind of cool. Got word this week that the owner of Benetis Athena Restaurant, located in Greenwood Commons shopping center in Durham, has allowed their waitstaff to open a Mexican pop-up restaurant during the evening hours. They make their own corn and flour tortillas and everything is local and freshly prepared. Tortas, fajitas, tacos, burritos and other items. Mediterranean and Greek for breakfast and lunch, Mexican for dinner!

The latest Chick-fil-A opened in Durham yesterday (June 15) in the former location of Spartacus restaurant. This new location replaces the drive-up only store that was located just behind the new location on University Drive. I’m still missing Spartacus!

Closings

Got word from one of our readers that Springs Pizza & Wings in Holly Springs has closed. The site suggests there is a Sunset Lake Bistro coming in August. Stay tuned.

And just learned from a reader that the Serena's location on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh has closed. They still have a location in RTP, and their site suggests a new location coming soon.

Wake Forest food truck rodeo

Food Trucks

The Triangle Explorer (John Huismann) recently told us about the newest food truck (it is actually a trailer) to hit the streets of the Triangle - Waffles & Kahve. They serve up sweet and savory Turkish waffles and a smooth, rich Turkish coffee to go with. Sign me up!

A dozen food trucks will join the regular Holly Springs Farmers Market June 24 for the Park It in the Market Food Truck Rodeo. The rodeo is 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. across the street from Holly Springs Town Hall, 128 S. Main St., in the East Center Street Public Parking Lot. (The market starts at 8:30 a.m.) There also will be live music and children’s activities. Another food truck rodeo is scheduled Sept. 23.

Cary’s Downtown Chowdown (formerly known as the Chatham Street Chowdown) is leaving its East Chatham Street home and moving to the refurbished Academy Street for its next rodeo from noon to 5:30 p.m. June 25. Head to Academy Street between Chatham Street and Dry Avenue and the new Downtown Park. The Cary rodeo features 30 trucks, beer and wine vendors along with live music and seating areas. Other upcoming rodeos are July 30 and Oct. 1, all from noon to 5:30 p.m.

And the food truck rodeos in Durham and Raleigh are back into full gear (Durham has one this Sunday!).

The Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo returns to town on Sunday, July 23, from 12-4 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.

Events

WRAL reminded us that the sixth annual Bone Suckin' Sauce Peak City Pig Fest will be held this weekend - June 16-17 - in historic downtown Apex. This barbecue competition features a food truck rodeo, samples, demonstrations, pig races, a rib eating contest between the Apex Police Department and the Apex Fire Department and more.

The next Chefs for a Change dinner is coming up on June 19. This dinner will feature chef/owner Seth Gross, chef Cece Lopez and chef Joe LaPorte from Pompieri Pizza and Bull City Burger and Brewery. Tickets are $75 and benefit Families Moving Forward. Get tickets and all the details (including future dinners on August 21, October 16 and December 8).

La Farm's Lionel Vatinet will host his fifth annual Bread Bakers Guild of America Open House at La Farm Bakery in Cary on June 24 from 3pm to 5pm. La Farm will offer behind-the-scene tours of the bakery, followed by a bread shaping demo, and an opportunity to see the bakers scoring and loading breads into and out of the hearth oven. La Farm Bakery is located at 4248 NW Cary Parkway.

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 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 2017 NCRLA Chef of the Year and the 2017 NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year.

Pittsboro's annual PepperFest will be held on Sunday, September 24, this year 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 deadline to submit your application.

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 here. It will sell out. Trust me!

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!

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