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Foodie News: Experimental, experiential bar and Spanish + seafood concept coming to Raleigh in 2023

The big news this week is that Vivian Howard is now in Raleigh! Well, at least her food is here ... well, delivered here.

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Get to know Vivian Howard
Sean Lennard
, Triangle Food Guy
RALEIGH, N.C. — The big news this week is that Vivian Howard is now in Raleigh! Well, at least her food is here ... well, delivered here. She has added a Viv’s Fridge location outside of Wine Authorities at 211 E. Franklin St. The concept is a mix between a vending machine and a refrigerator that serves prepared meals stocked by her Kinston restaurant, Chef & The Farmer. The “smart refrigerators” give consumers 24/7 access to Howard’s family-style prepared meals to take home. The fridges will hold entrees, snacks and desserts ranging from $20 to $65.

Wake County Restaurant News

Giorgio Bakatsias has a busy 2023 planned with three new restaurants coming on line in January alone. And we just got word from Jennifer Noble Kelly that the first of those has announced their opening date. Spanish eatery Las Ramblas will open January 17th in North Hills. The tapas restaurant will pair North Carolina seafood and pork with authentic old-world Spanish ingredients under the direction of Rosewater executive chef Brian Jenzer and partner Laszlo Lukacsi. Start getting familiar with them here.
Thanks to a tip from reader Paige Wiggs, I learned of a very unique new place to drink beer in Raleigh. Called Ancillary* Fermentation, it started in 2018 as a pop-up fermentation experience centered on the idea that beer should be more experimental, more experiential, and way more fun. They would host “pop-ups” in places you would not normally gather to enjoy beer with friends, such as a church, an auto repair shop and a Crossfit gym. Now, they have a permanent location called The Branch located in a defunct bank (1420 Hardimont Road just off Wake Forest Road). But the cool thing is, it still looks and feels like a bank – you can drink at the teller window/bar or in the conference room or in their outdoor space. And they have partnered with Bo’s Kitchen food truck. Stop by soon and make a “withdrawal” – visit them here.

Burke Williams shared that he saw signage for Sushitime Japanese and Thai that is coming to Bent Tree Plaza in North Raleigh at Falls of the Neuse and Strickland roads. They are going into the old Lost Cajun spot.

At Raleigh’s NC Museum of Art, the newly remodeled NCMA Café in the West Building will have their grand opening on Saturday, January 14th. The Winter menu will feature some intriguing small bites and Southern inspired entrées incorporating beef, seafood, poultry and vegan/gluten free selections. Sustainably grown family estate wines will also be available, primarily Old-World selections. Enjoy chef Rick Sloan’s rotating culinary collection featuring signature dishes like – Cider Glazed Chicken or Carolina Classics Catfish Farro Bowl. The coffee lounge will feature barista-crafted beverages for a quick pick me up. Visit them here.
And down in Garner, reader John Tipton reminded me of the recent opening (November) of Amore Mio Pizza in the 40/42 area at 74 Son-Lan Pkwy. Tipton noted that they have absolutely incredible pizza and salads. Check them out here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

The Triangle Business Journal shared this week that Chris Borreson and Sara Abernethy, the husband and wife team behind Wye Hill Brewing and Glasshouse Kitchen, announced this week that they will open a third concept called Twisted Ladder. They are slated to open in the first quarter of 2023 in RTP right across from Glasshouse (at 8 Davis Drive). They will offer breakfast and lunch with counter service. According to chef Bobby McFarland, he’s created a menu featuring smoothies, biscuits, sandwiches, salads and macaroni and cheese. They will offer a full coffee menu, beers on tap and wine. Until then, visit Glasshouse here and Wye Hill here.
WRAL shared the news this week that over in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus, downtown Raleigh’s Five Star Restaurant (301 N. West Street in downtown) has opened a second location in the former Cuban Revolution spot. Congrats to Michelle Bender and her team. Visit Five Star here.
Shake Shack opened their second Triangle-area location this week. The latest edition is located in Eastgate Crossing shopping center in the out-parcel formerly occupied by Zoe’s/Boston Market after undergoing extensive renovations. If you are not familiar with Shack Shack, do so here. Their next Triangle-are location will open in Raleigh’s Village District, a couple of doors down from Cape Fear Seafood and Flying Biscuit.

Dave Sulman shared the news this week that the former MinGa and Sushi Yoshi location at 116 Old Durham Road in Chapel Hill (across from south end of Wegmans parking lot) is being renovated and will be the site of Pocha Korean Restaurant and Barbecue. No word yet on an open date as the building is still undergoing significant renovations. Stay tuned.

Over in Durham, Axios Raleigh shared that Lady Bird Tacos has opened a food cart in front of the Remedy Room bar at 347 W. Main St. The cart is the brainchild of Rob Montemayor, a Texas native and a co-owner of the adjacent Remedy Room and Rubies on Five Points. The tacos come in many flavors, mixing eggs and cheese with ingredients like chorizo, tomatoes, jalapeños and potatoes inside a flour tortilla. They are open for breakfast tacos from 8 – 11 a.m. and lunch from 11-2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visit them on Instagram here.
Down in Chatham County, good friend Neha Shah, director of the Pittsboro-Siler City Convention & Visitors Bureau, shared that there is a new watering hole in Pittsboro. The soft opening for Thirsty Skull Brewing in Pittsboro is TODAY, December 23, from 3 – 9 p.m. They are located at 684 West Street, right next to Phoenix Bakery. Check them out here.

Closing / Cancellations

Got word this week that the Zambrero location in University Hill in Durham has closed. The chain previously had locations in Cary and Raleigh as well.

Food Trucks

Looking to find your favorite food truck (or stalking them and simply don’t want to have to admit it)? We understand. Find them on Street Food Finder here.


WRAL has put together a list of restaurants open and serving Christmas meals this year. Check out that list here.
And looking to continue dining outside even as the temperatures start to drop? No problem. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has compiled a list of restaurants in downtown Raleigh keeping you warm all-year long! Check out that list here.
Cooking for the Kids (formerly Cooking for a Classic) is back and is accepting applications from local chefs to join in this fun, friendly chef competition to help raise money for food insecurity. The event is held at 1705 East in Raleigh, and chefs prepare three, small-plate courses using secret ingredients. Guests and culinary judges decide who advances to the next round for a chance to win $10,000! If interested, please reach out to Brooke here. Visit here for all the details.

Food Bank Corner

Looking for an easy way for you and/or your office to make a HUGE DIFFERENCE in people’s lives this Holiday season? Host a VIRTUAL Food Drive! Forget the hassle of a trip to the grocery store for your next food drive… create a food drive without the heavy lifting using our Virtual Food Drive, and maximize your donation times five! For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide FIVE meals! You can make a difference in your community by hosting a Virtual Food Drive for your friends, family members, or coworkers. It is easy! Start here. #noonegoeshungry


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