By Sean Lennard, Triangle Food Guy
RALEIGH, N.C. — In what I will argue will be the best named restaurant in 2021, Taj Ma Y’all (an Indian and Southern fusion concept) needs your help. What was originally planned as a food truck quickly grew into an opportunity to open a brick and mortar location in RTP, an opportunity too good to turn down. The challenge now is building an entire kitchen from scratch instead of getting a truck already equipped to cook. You can help by donating to their Kickstarter campaign where they are well on their way to raising $40k by February 4th. Read about Andrew and Sam, their vision and consider supporting this really cool and exciting concept here.
Wake County Restaurant News
Raleigh Convergence passed along something to look forward to in 2021…renderings of Longleaf Swine BBQ’s plans for the former Oakwood Cafe spot (300 E. Edenton Street) in downtown Raleigh. Plans call for two outdoor bars, ample seating, and heating/cooling elements for year round use. In the meantime, you can order take-out on Friday evenings (3-7 pm), Saturdays (11 am – 6 pm) and Sundays (11 am – 5 pm). Follow along on their social media here to stay updated on their progress, pre-opening pop-up dinners and special events.
And speaking of BBQ, @EatRaleigh shared the news this week that the upcoming Ed Mitchell and LM Restaurant barbecue restaurant, The Preserve, will soon be launching a takeout/pickup service running out of the Carolina Ale House off Falls of Neuse. Keep up with any more news on this on their Instagram page here.
RalToday reported this week that we are getting closer to the opening of The Rainbow Luncheonette. No definitive date yet, but the closest we can get is early 2021 (looks like they are waiting on restrictions to be lifted before opening). The rainbow-themed, 23-seat diner will serve short order breakfast and lunch menus, with a Friday and Saturday dinner service. The Rainbow Luncheonette is located at 911 N. West St. in downtown Raleigh. Follow along with their progress and any announcements on their Instagram page here.
Reader Jeanette Hauser notified us that she saw a “Coming Soon” banner for Crab De Jour hanging at the former location of Gusto Farm to Street in the Holly Park shopping center on Wake Forest Road (Trader Joe’s). This will be the second Triangle-area location, with the other being in Plantation Plaza shopping center in north Raleigh. No word yet on an open date. Get to know them here.
Over in Morrisville, the Triangle Business Journal reported that two new eateries have joined / will soon be joining the newest section of Park West Village. The newest additions include the restaurant CAVA, which will open later this year, and eatery Crumbl Cookies, which opened late last year. Crumbl has another location in Raleigh. This will be CAVA’s fifth Triangle-area location. Visit Crumbl here and CAVA here.
Raleigh Alliance has put together a great list of those options, and they even divided it up by district. Check out that list here.
And please join us in congratulating Wil O’Neal and Charles Winston Jr. at Winston’s’ Grille, on being named the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association 2021 Restaurateurs of the Year. As well, congrats to Terriann Biagi of The Raleigh Times for being named Restaurant Manager of the Year and Mai Nguyen of Sitti for being named Restaurant Employee of the Year! See all of this year’s winners here.
Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News
WRAL’s Sarah Krueger pointed out that Sweets by Shayda is now open in downtown Durham. She indicated that they are in their soft opening phase right now, but officially opening with extended hours today (Friday, Jan. 15). She is self described as Le Cordon Bleu Paris graduate who aims to bring a taste of France to the Triangle and make NC a little bit sweeter! I’m on board with that! You can find them on the ground level of the new Morgan St parking deck (105 W. Morgan Street), selling coffees and sweets! Visit her website here.
Also in Durham, RalToday reported that Heavenly Buffaloes, a popular wing restaurant with locations already in Durham, Chapel Hill and Greensboro, will open a second Durham location in the former Tamale Factory & Tequila Bar at 2816 Erwin Rd. Owners Dain Phelan and Mark Dundas plan to open before the end of January. Visit them here.
And here are a couple of wonderful resources for those looking to dine in downtown Durham or downtown Chapel Hill – Downtown Durham Inc. has an up-to-date listing of the status of each restaurant in downtown Durham. Check out the list here. And the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership has put together a similar list for Chapel Hill here.
Closings and cancellations
None to report. Keep supporting our local restaurants, folks! Dining in, dining outside, ordering takeout, purchasing gift cards as gifts!
The Triangle Wine & Food Experience, a series of wine- and food-related events benefiting the Frankie Lemmon School and Developmental Center, will look a little different this year due to the pandemic, but will kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 2 and run through Feb. 9. The Triangle Wine & Food Experience festivities will last for a week, and will include an online auction, VIP dinner packages, wine tastings, and a live-streamed celebration. All proceeds from the Triangle Wine & Food Experience go directly to the Frankie Lemmon School, a NAEYC accredited, five-star child developmental center that welcomes children ages two to six of all abilities. Get all the details on how you can participate and support them on their website here.
Anyone up for a little wine and weed? Come on, North Carolina is not quite that liberal just yet. Wine & Weeds (the ‘s’ is very important) is a weekly event where volunteers can drink a complimentary glass of wine while weeding the gardens at the Well Fed Community Garden at 1321 Athens Drive in Raleigh. Get all the details on how you can participate here on their Facebook page.
Simply eating out has become a bit of an event. The creativity, caution and care our restaurants have taken (and added expenses!) is nothing short of impressive. One thing they are not short on is passion! Anyway, blogger Beck Eats World has put together a pretty impressive list of restaurants with outdoor heaters. Check out the list here.
Not exactly an event per se, but rather some things to celebrate. Visit Raleigh put together a list of the best restaurants that opened in 2020 in the greater Raleigh area. Check that list out here. And WRAL’s Out and About put out a broader list of Triangle-wide openings in 2020. Check that list out here.
Food Bank corner
Own a restaurant, food truck or catering company and want to help feed kids this summer? Well, the Food Bank’s Programs Team is gearing up to resume free kids meals across the Food Bank’s service area, and is recruiting meal vendors. Interested folks can sign up for the January information session to learn more about joining our Kids Summer Meals effort this year. Sign up here. #noonegoeshungry
Sean Lennard owns Triangle Food Guy, the only locally owned and operated corporate catering website, TriangleFoodGuy.com. As a native of Raleigh, Sean has been around the Triangle food scene for...well, a long time, but professionally since 2002 with the the Triangle Food Blog, formerly known as Friday Fun Food Facts, in 2008. You can find his blog here. And you don't have to wait until Friday for updates as you can follow Sean throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter.