Out and About

Foodie news: Fair food, tacos and a new food hall

Sean Lennard, the Triangle Food Guy, has the scoop on openings, closings and foodie events.

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Chubby's Tacos
Sean Lennard
, Triangle Food Guy
Lots of big news coming out of Chapel Hill this week, but none bigger than the news that Brandon Sharp, chef and owner of the restaurant Hawthorne & Wood, will open a second establishment, called Bluebird, in Chapel Hill’s Meadowmont Village (former Cafe Carolina space). Bluebird will be a French bistro in true Gallic style as the menu will feature French classics (including obviously very good bread, and very good butter) as well as a beverage program focusing on French wines, ciders, and cocktails. Look for them to open in the spring of 2022. In the meantime, visit Sharp and his crew across the street in East 54 at Hawthorne & Wood here.

Wake County Restaurant News

Fair Food! Need I say more? The N.C. State Fair returns Oct. 14-24 to the fairgrounds and they are doing their Weekday Lunch Pass Program again this year. Here’s how it works. Go to Gate 1 or Gate 9 after 11:30 a.m. Pay $10 cash. Gain access to all the food vendors ($10 does NOT include food). Leave before 1:30 p.m. and you are refunded your $10. Want to see what is new at the Fair this year? Check it out here.
Here they grow again! Chubby’s Tacos will be opening a second Raleigh location, this on in north Raleigh in the Sutton Square shopping center next to Metro Diner. No word as of yet on an open date. Follow along on their site here.
Raleigh Convergence shared that Botanical Lounge opened last week in Glenwood South. The new concept from Hibernian Hospitality Group renovated the former Solas location at 419 Glenwood Ave., transforming it to a multilevel indoor and outdoor bar with a rooftop. They are open 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Check them out here.
WRAL shared a look inside West Street Dog which is now open in the Smoky Hollow development in downtown Raleigh. They offer full-service grooming and boarding for canines while (most importantly) their owners can grab a drink while the dogs also enjoy an indoor dog park. And the best part, dogs get a (non-alcoholic) cocktail, too. Check it out now.
Over in Cary, friend David McCreary shared that Bee BanhMi, a new Vietnamese restaurant, is now open at 1871 Lake Pine Drive in Cary. The eatery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Discover more on their Facebook page here.
Also in Cary, Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican cuisine franchise, is now in soft-open mode at their location at Parkside Town Commons at 1151 Parkside Main St. in Cary. They will hold their grand opening celebration on Oct. 23. The fast-casual restaurant serves healthy options in the form of customizable burritos, bowls, tacos and more. They have another location in Durham (University Hill), and plan to open more in the Triangle (the Raleigh location closed during the pandemic). They’re offering some great deals, including a Free Bowls or Burritos for a Year drawing during the soft opening (from Sept. 29 through Oct. 13) and 1,000 free burritos and bowls for the first 1,000 customers during grand opening weekend. Visit them here.
Over in Garner, Facebook page Garner Biz shared the news that a permit has been issued for a new Chick-fil-A at Ten-Ten and Fayetteville roads in the new Costco shopping center. No word yet on a timeline.
Up in Wake Forest the Triangle Business Journal reported that the former Golden Corral location has been sold and is set to be transformed into Flavor District, a food hall of sorts featuring 14 private suites and kitchens for various restaurants and established businesses to lease and offer delivery and takeout. David Foye plans to open Flavor District by March 2022. Foye also owns The Kitchen Archive, two commissary kitchens that house food trucks and caterers, which opened in Durham in 2017 and in Raleigh in 2019.
This is kind of fun. Visit Raleigh put together a list of restaurant “Icons and Institutions” in and around Raleigh/Wake County. It is a fun list of restaurants and bars that have been around since, well, even before me! How many have you been to? Have fun checking out the list here.
Looking for all the outdoor dining options in Downtown Raleigh? The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has put together a great list of those options, and they even divided it up by district. Check out that list here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

Carrie Brogren (founder of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook group) shared the news this week that Mike Benson has opened his beer garden and gastropub Franklin Motors on the west end of Franklin Street. This is a very cool spot (601 W. Franklin Street to be exact) that features local beers, wines and craft cocktails in a mostly outdoor venue. And also cool, the courtyard/beer garden has a “permanent” food truck called Roquette, operated by chef John Smith, originally from Austin, Texas. The menu features sliders, ceviche, bratwurst, mac & cheese and hand pies…to name a few. Look for most menu items to be locally sourced. Visit them here.
Tamara Lackey shared this week on Facebook that they are VERY CLOSE to opening Coco, their new coffee shop, restaurant, and bar which will be located at The Gwendolyn in the historic Glen Lennox area of Chapel Hill at 101 Glen Lennox Dr. You’ll remember they closed Coco Bean at East 54 a few months back to make this move. They will begin as a coffee shop serving espresso drinks, coffee, tea and specialty drinks along with baked goods and pastries. Once they have finalized all the details in their new kitchen, they will announce their breakfast and lunch plant-based menu. Stay tuned for a pending open date. In the meantime, visit their site here.
Scott Hodgson shared that Nando’s Donuts, run by three current UNC students who last year operated a pop up donut shop out of their house, now has a permanent location and is now operating out of Imbibe (108 Henderson Street) Saturday and Sunday mornings. Keep up with them on their Instagram page here.
Lauren Call is getting closer to opening that newest location of Crumbl Cookies at 8128 Renaissance Parkway in Durham. While they are shooting to open in October, an exact date hasn’t been set just yet as they are awaiting final permitting. Stay tuned. In the meantime, let your mouth water here.
Jennifer Buchholz shared that First Watch is opening another location in Durham at 5419 Page Rd. Looks as if it is almost directly across the street from Lulu Bang Bang, and just down from Page Road Grill and Mez. No word on a timeline. Visit First Watch here.
Retired lawyer turned developer Greg Stafford has been busy in dowtown Pittsoboro, but this time outside the courtroom, or more specifically, just outside the town-centered courthouse. SoCo at 39 West Street will be a new entertainment district that stretches from the former Pittsboro Roadhouse space to Mod Pizza. The stretch will feature 5 concepts – Mod (already open), a bar called The Other Side, a live music venue (slated to host its first show as soon as next spring), a sushi restaurant and a brewery. The 30,000 square-foot entertainment district is expected to be fully up and running by spring or summer 2022. Thanks to the Triangle Business Journal for the lead on this development. Learn more about the development here.
Staying in Pittsboro, Facebook group Pittsboro Eats! shared that Red Moose Brewing Company is coming to the downtown area. They will be located at 90 East Street between Hardees and the courthouse. They are a family and pet-friendly, locally-owned brewery. Keep up with their progress and opening announcement on their Facebook page 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.

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.


Nominations for the WRAL Voters’ Choice Awards are closing this Sunday, Oct. 10! Nominate your favorite local businesses and help them make it to the voting round in October. Each year, your nominations and votes help WRAL recognize local favorites. Get all the details here.
Downtown Durham Inc. announced that The Streetery scheduled for Saturday, October 9 at Geer Street has been rescheduled for Oct. 23 due to rain in the forecast. The Streetery happens on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Get all the details here.
WRAL reminded us that Beericana Craft Beer and Music Festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 9, again at Sugg Farm Park in Holly Springs! This year’s festival will feature more than 70 breweries, nearly 20 food trucks and live music from N.C.-based bands Plus, they’ll have another great selection of beer-centric vendors for you to check out. Get all the details here.
Also on Oct. 9, Durham will be one of three cities globally (joining Soweto, South Africa and Los Angeles) in hosting Blacktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 9 from 2-10 p.m. Blacktoberfest is a festival spanning two continents with over 100 Black-owned establishments coming together to showcase their talents in this second year display of craft beer and culinary excellence. Get tickets and all the details at their website here.
580 Craft Beer in Pittsboro will host the first ever Chatham County Beer Festival on Sunday, Oct. 24 from 3 – 6 p.m. at their location at 354 East St. They will be hosting 15+ beer vendors as well as food trucks and live music. Preorder and get all the details on their Facebook event page here.
Our friends over at RalToday reminded us that Raleigh Veg Fest 2021 originally scheduled for April 4 has moved to Oct. 31 in downtown Raleigh’s Moore Square. Details here.
After to cancel the 2019 and 2020 events, the Town of Cary will hold Fest in the West on November 6th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex and will feature food and beer vendors, entertainment, a kids’ zone as well as arts and crafts. Get all the details here.
And there is a new event in the works for the Triangle – our first Triangle Vegan Restaurant Week which is scheduled for Nov. 1-7 this year. Organizer Karen Pullen has lined up 16 participating restaurants so far and is looking for more. So if your restaurant is interested in participating (a special menu for that week–at least two creative vegan options, or a three-course fixed price meal) reach out to her at karen@triangleveganrestaurantweek.com or visit the site here for more details.

Food Bank Corner

Students Against Hunger — If your school community came together to raise meals for our food-insecure neighbors, how many people could you feed? Find out! In the last year, the Food Bank distributed food to almost 500,000 children facing hunger in the 34 counties we serve, and unfortunately, the number of children in need is increasing. With COVID-19 closing schools and school systems struggling to make the adjustments required to serve children, we saw the devastating impact. No child should have to worry when he or she will eat again, and no parent should have to skip a meal, water down drinks or risk not paying a bill so they can put food on the table for their children. Since its inception, Students Against Hunger has provided hundreds of thousands of meals to families with the support of local schools. Now your school can join the mission to nourish, build, and empower our community! Get the details here.
Sean Lennard, a Raleigh native, 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.

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