What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Triangle Foodie News: April is full of festivals, events

Posted April 1, 2016

Featured Restaurant News

It is with great shock and sadness that we let you know that earlier this week the Triangle lost a great chef, and an even better person with the sudden passing of TJ Donovan, the talented chef behind Donovan’s Dish. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jill, their three little girls, his entire family and the staff at Donovan’s. Donovan's Dish will continue to carry on his legacy and his passion.

Wake County restaurant news

Five months after opening, chef Scott Crawford has announced that he is leaving Raleigh’s Standard Foods. The search for Crawford’s replacement is underway. As far as Crawford? He will remain at Standard Foods through the first week of May. It is unclear if his next project will keep him here locally. Let’s hope so!

Got word from Derrick Minor that the folks behind Icon Hospitality Group (think The Architect, Linus & Peppers, Virgil's Taqueria, Level Up, etc.) have announced plans for their newest concept, Little City Brewing & Provisions Company which will be located at 400 West North St. No timeline yet on when they will open.

Speaking of Icon Hospitality Group, Virgil’s Original Taqueria, a new taco restaurant and bar, opened yesterday in downtown Raleigh at 126 S. Salisbury St.

Also in downtown Raleigh, if you are around Saturday (April 2) swing by Raleigh Raw, a juice bar and healthy cafe, as they celebrate with grand opening festivities. The celebration begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until they close at 7 p.m.

Triangle Explorer, John Huisman, reported that Baker’s Dozen (with a location in Raleigh/Cary’s South Hills Plaza) has opened a second location in north Raleigh near Triangle Town Center in the Plantation Square shopping center. Get more information on their Facebook page here.

Got word this week that Tribeca Tavern in north Raleigh on Falls of the Neuse Road will close briefly in July for renovations. It is anticipated that it will re-open as a brewery concept, possibly as its sister concept called The Mash House (located in Fayetteville). Stay tuned.

The News & Observer reported the good news that there may actually be an amazing “re-birth” of the Boylan Bridge Brewpub. You’ll remember they closed suddenly after a support wall collapsed back in February, which initially was thought to be a game-ender for the downtown Raleigh hang-out. But now, a plan to rebuild it and make it even better are in place. Stay tuned!

Got word from one of our readers that Tamarind Eatery, featuring Asian classics with a twist, opens today (April 1) in the Brier Creek Shopping Center (former Firewurst location) near the cinema.

Thanks to the keen eyes of a reader on Yelp, it was noted in an article in a Richmond paper that the folks behind Burger Bach (based in Richmond), which opened a location on Durham’s Ninth Street, that there are plans in the works to open another Triangle-area location, this one in Raleigh. Unfortunately, no other details were released, but we’ll keep an eye on it. Stay tuned.

Over in Cary, Randy’s Pizza has opened their 9th Triangle area location. This one is located in the Northwoods Market shopping center at 941 N. Harrison Avenue.

Over in Apex, there is a new restaurant in downtown called The Provincial. Apparently it is in the former Rock Harbor Grill spot at 121 N. Salem Street. A pretty extensive Google search turns up nothing. I’ve seen pictures of it, thanks to a contractor that did some work there, but nothing else. You’ll just have to venture into downtown Apex and check it out!

Things are about to get a lot sweeter in Holly Springs. The News & Observer reported that the folks behind the Mama Bird’s Cookies & Cream vintage mobile carts have leased space on Main Street in downtown Holly Springs with an eye to open later this Spring.

Durham, Orange & Chatham county restaurant news

Partners Matthew Beason and John Eisensmith opened Black Twig Cider House, a cider-focused restaurant featuring the largest variety of cider in the Southeast, at 2812 Erwin Road. It is housed in their former Six Plates location.

Got word from the Burgeoning Baker that a Bruster’s Ice Cream out of Pittsburgh has opened next to Rise over near the Streets at Southpoint in Durham.

The good folks over at Makus Empanadas at Hope Valley Commons in Durham have added American craft beer and Argentine wines to their menu. And soon will be adding outdoor seating. Love to see them grow and expand! Check them out here.


With the decision of Kim Floresca and Daniel Ryan to move on from One Restaurant in Chapel Hill's Meadowmont, the owners have decided to close the highly successful restaurant. Their last night is tomorrow, April 2.

Likewise, Durham’s G2B Restaurant will serve its last meal tomorrow night (April 2) after a five year run.

Got word that the Black Cat Café at North Hills in Raleigh has closed their doors.

The bad news. The Cary location of Z Pizza has closed. The good news. The other two locations, downtown Raleigh and North Raleigh, continue to thrive and grow. We understand there is another pizza place coming in, but can’t announce it at this point.

Food trucks

I saw on Art Sheppard’s post on WRAL that Fairview Greenhouses and Garden Center will host its annual Flora and Food Trucks series starting April 2. The series features one savory and one sweet truck from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Cary’s first Chatham Street Chowdown of the year will be held on Sunday, April 17, from noon to 4:30 p.m. in downtown Cary and will feature 19 trucks along with a wine and beer garden and lots of entertainment. Get all the details here.

The Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo has announced its dates for this year: May 1, June 12, Aug. 7 and Oct. 9. VIP early admission wristbands, which let you get in to buy food before the general public, are on sale now. Get all the details here.

For a listing of ALL food truck events, head over to Art’s page, The Wandering Sheppard, on all things food truck related here.


With April upon us, thus begins the 4th Annual Bull City Vegan Chef Challenge taking place the entire month of April at participating restaurants (15 total) throughout Durham. Each restaurant/chef has added a plant-based (vegan) entrée to their menu - with an optional appetizer or dessert. Customers try the dish and vote on the best in several categories.

Tomorrow (April 2) is the 18th annual Lebanese Festival in downtown Raleigh. It is free, open-air event featuring food, music and dance from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at City Plaza.

Also on April 9, the folks over at Ponysaurus Brewing Company will hold a Salt & Smoke Festival on their front lawn. Beer starts flowing at noon, entertainment begins at 2, oysters will be on ice and the party starts at 4. Ticket information and all the details can be found here.

The World Beer Festival returns to Raleigh Saturday, April 2, at the exposition center at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 the day of the show. The VIP Experience tickets are $85. Tickets can be purchased online and at Tasty Beverage and at Bottle Revolution.

The next edition of Glenwood Faire will be held on Sunday, April 17 at Babylon Restaurant (309 N. Dawson Street) from 1 -5 p.m. For $10, you get to sample from 10 different Glenwood South restaurants and a drink.

Tickets to one of my favorite annual events, Farm to Fork, have gone on sale. The event this year will be held on the weekend of June 3 through June 5. Get all the details and tickets here.

The 4th Annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience will be held on April 10, but tickets have already gone on sale. Looks like tickets will be available through DPAC again this year and you can visit the DPAC ticket center to avoid service charges.

Bottoms up, bacon down. Got your interest? The annual Beer & Bacon Fest will be held again this year at Koka Booth Amphitheatre on Saturday, April 9 and will feature 75 craft beers, 15 restaurants and 10 bacons (who knew?) from across the country.

Morrisville's annual East Meets West Festival will be held April 16 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Town Hall Drive again this year. This food and music festival will feature local restaurants that represent the diversity of the dining scene in Morrisville along with lots of kid activities.

Also on April 16, barbecue, beer and bluegrass return to Raleigh's warehouse district at The Pit Authentic Barbecue's 8th annual Cuegrass Festival Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m.

This is pretty cool. Want to head out to a farm and pick a little produce and then return to a restaurant to have it prepared and served up? Talk about farm to fork! Well, that’s exactly what the Fork2Farmer initiative is all about and their first event is on Thursday, April 21 with attendees first visiting Old Milbournie Farm before returning to Centro Restaurant to enjoy some of the freshly picked ingredients.

The annual Hook + Vine seafood and wine festival is scheduled for April 24th from 12 - 4 p.m. in downtown Raleigh at The Wine Feed, and co-hosted by Locals Seafood. The third annual festival will focus on pairing fresh seafood with high-quality wines found from around the world. Featured restaurants include Centro, Capital Club 16, Provenance, Plates Neighborhood Kitchen and Boiler Room Oyster Bar. Purchase tickets and get all the details here.

The folks over at Snap Pea Underground are holding two weekend’s of a Thai street food pop-up dinners at Midway Community Kitchen in Chapel Hill April 28 through May 1 and again May 5 through May 8th. Ticket prices vary and will go on sale today (April 1) at noon. These events will sell out, so act quickly.

Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill Magazine will sponsor the third annual TASTE: A Celebration of Food & Drink, happening from April 21 to 23, 2016. The event will feature more than 30 top local chefs and establishments in Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Raleigh. A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Durham Branch of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

Food Bank Corner

Lots of opportunities to support the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. There are two big events coming up (listed above) that will benefit the Food Bank. The first is The World Beer Festival on Saturday, April 2 - Food Bank volunteers will be there to accept your non-perishable and monetary donations all day. Get all the details here. And April 21-23 at Taste the Event sponsored by Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill Magazine. Tickets to the Family Cookout portion of this three day event on April 23 are still available.

Sean Lennard covers food news on his blog, Triangle Food Blog.


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