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Foodie News: North Raleigh restaurant changes concepts

A North Raleigh restaurant changes concepts and Sean Lennard, the Triangle Food Guy, has the latest NC restaurant news.

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Sean Lennard
, Triangle Food Guy
RALEIGH, N.C. — My friends over at 321 Coffee at the State Farmers’ Market have reopened into their expanded/bigger space and have added new seating. And don’t forget the amazing baristas! Get by for their grand re-opening this weekend – the hours are: Friday: 10-2pm, Saturday: 9-3pm and Sunday: 9:30-3pm. For those not familiar, 321 Coffee is a nonprofit coffee shop operated by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and operates at the NC State Farmers Market. Here’s the link to their Facebook re-opening event page.

Wake County Restaurant News

The folks at Raleigh Convergence shared the news that Driftwood Cantina, the new concept from the Driftwood Kitchen + Bar folks, opens today (Friday) in North Raleigh’s Lafayette Village. The Southern food restaurant is reimagined with a coastal Mexican feel and menu that includes ceviche, a Veracruz-style fish, street corn (esquites), eight types of taco fillings and queso fundido. Check out the new concept here.
All three Triangle locations of PDQ – Falls of Neuse in Raleigh, 15-501 in Durham, and just off US 1 in Wake Forest – will re-open on Sunday July 12th with a drive-thru dinner from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. They will donate a meal for every meal purchased to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and customers will have the option to round up their checks to further support the Food Bank. Get by this Sunday, welcome them back, and support the Food Bank! Visit PDQ here.
The folks over at RalToday shared the news that a new Dunkin’ (I guest it is more than just donuts now) opened this week in North Raleigh at 1500 Dunn Road. Visit Dunkin’ here.
Got word from Neal DePersia that Aye! Toro, which has a location in Sanford, will be opening a location in Holly Springs at 303 Matthews Drive. No word on an open date, other than summer 2020. Get familiar with them here.
Neal DePersia also shared the news that Bigfoot Taphouse, a family-owned and operated pour your own taphouse and restaurant (mainly gourmet hot dogs), has opened in Raleigh at 222 Glenwood Ave. Suite 109. Check them out here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

Jennifer Noble Kelly shared the news that Durham Distillery, maker of the award-winning Conniption Gin, is opening an on-site cocktail bar called Corpse Reviver. It will be located at 715 Washington Street. While an exact date has not been shared just yet, the site indicates Summer 2020. While we eagerly await, get to know them here.
Bites of Bull City shared the news that the Vietnamese restaurant called Secrets Pho and Noodle Bar, which has had a sign up visible on the exterior for several months, will swing open their doors this Saturday, July 11 at 11am. They are open daily from 11 am – 9pm. Visit them here.
Da Kine’s Kava is now open! The menu includes cocktails made from kava and other herbal alternatives, coffee, kombucha, and teas.⁠ Kava is a drink made from the roots of a tropical shrub, and when consumed it can naturally help to relieve stress and anxiety. They are located at 1114-B W. Chapel Hill Street and open 12 -8 pm Tuesday-Sunday. Order your drinks in person or online. Check them out.
Got word this week that Bull City Solera and Taproom has made the decision that with the inability to seat a full dining room at this time, they are going to open for to-go orders only. In addition, they will feature their Bull City Burritos menu at the taproom until they can phase in their full menu of Mexican pizzas, Italian tacos, and solera beer. Yep, it’s disappointing to all of us, but we have to ensure our survival and people’s jobs. Until they can seat a full dining room, the math didn’t make sense. They are still shooting for a mid-July opening. It is being brought to us by the people behind Bull City Burger and Brewery and Pompieri Pizza in Durham. Stay tuned for an exact open date. Visit them here. Visit Bull City Burrito here.
Also in Durham, noticed on a recent outing that there is a placed called El Jefecito “opening soon” in the former Libby’s Too spot at 4910 Hillsborough Road. No word on an open date. The sign indicates there is a food truck and that they do catering and special events. You can get to know them by visiting their food truck website here.
Over in Carrboro, Heather Krobatsch Kumnick shared with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Group that there’s a brand new place called Paco’s Tacos that recently opened and operating out of Mel’s in Carrboro. It is run by the Silva sisters and everything is made from scratch. You can see their menu here.
Two Duke faculty are conducting a survey on how COVID-19 has impacted Durham restaurants, especially the effect on revenue and keeping staff employed. The finding will be shared with Durham’s mayor, Durham County commissioners and local philanthropic foundations. They hope that business owners and managers will be able to leverage this information when making requests for better support. The survey is anonymous, takes just 10 minutes, and results will only appear in aggregate.

Closings / Cancellations

WRAL reported that after less than a year in business, High Horse has closed its doors in downtown Raleigh. “Top Chef” alum Katsuji Tanabe, who moved to Raleigh to open the restaurant in City Market in November, confirmed that his investor decided not to move forward with plans to reopen. He also did not rule out opening another restaurant in Raleigh post-Covid.
National Restaurant Properties’ Michael DePersia confirmed that Burger IM at 11480 Capital Blvd. in Wake Forest has closed.
WRAL reported that two popular North Carolina craft beer festivals will not be happening this year. Brewgaloo, which was scheduled to happen in August, has been scheduled for April 23-24, 2021. There will be a drive-thru event on Aug. 15 – details to follow soon. And Beericana, which is held annually at Sugg Farm in Holly Springs in October has been canceled.

Food Trucks

Here are a couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks with Roaming Hunger and Street Food Finder.


Thanks to the guys over at NC Food & Beverage Podcast for bringing attention to an app called EatOkra that helps you find Black-owned restaurants. It was founded in 2016 by husband-and-wife team Anthony and Janique Edwards in an effort to preserve Black spaces. Now, in light of recent events throughout the country, supporting Black-owned businesses is more important than ever. Download the app to discover Black-owned restaurants and eateries in your area to show your support! Check them out here.
Taste Carolina is offering boxes of favorite restaurant dishes, treats, and artisan goods from local providers. Boxes, which include reusable cooler bags, are available in Raleigh, Durham, and Wilmington, with additional cities coming soon. Weekend boxes are available for pickup or delivery, with bulk orders throughout the week. Advance purchase is required at the company’s new ecommerce website.
Raleigh’s Angus Barn will hold their annual Seafood Celebration Dinner in the Angus Barn Wine Cellar on Saturday, July 18th with a menu inspired by seafood from the North Carolina coast. The social begins at 6 pm, followed by the dinner at 7 pm. The cost is $130 per person plus tax (inclusive of wine pairings and gratuity) and there is limited seating availability. To purchase tickets call Nicole at 919-987-1270 or Tiffany at 919-987-1260.
The 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival has decided to move their event to Saturday, August 8th from noon until 10 p.m. in the 100-200 block of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. While there you will be able to try authentic international food, desserts as well as imported beer and wine! There will also be lots of music and entertainment at this child and pet friendly event. Admission is free and parking on the street is as well. Obviously, keep up with their Facebook event page for any announcements and/or rescheduling.
The Fest in the West is back for its fifth year on Saturday, November 7 from 11 am- 5 pm at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. The event features food & beer, music, arts & crafts, a KidZone, contests and a petting zoo. A great way to spend time with 7,000 of your closest friends. Admission is free!
Thanks to Triangle On The Cheap, here are some updates on event cancellations and rescheduling: PeakFest in Apex was rescheduled to September 19; Meet in the Street Festival in Wake Forest was rescheduled to September 5; Artsplosure in downtown Raleigh was rescheduled to October 10 and 11; and the Pimento Cheese Festival in Cary has been canceled.

Food Bank Corner

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina saw their April distribution record blown out of the water by their distribution in May! For the second straight month the Food Bank distributed a record-breaking amount of food to the community: May distributed 9.14 million pounds of food compared shattering April’s record breaking 7.9 million pounds (typical month is about 7 million pounds). While they wish the need were not so high in the community, they are grateful to have the support and resources to rise to the occasion and help as many families as possible. Make a donation today 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.


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