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Foodie News: Smash burgers, pies, tea houses and more

Get the latest Triangle foodie news -- restaurant openings and closings, food trucks, events for foodies and more.

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Welcome to QueenBurger! @kingfisherdurm’s socially distant, safe, and delicious backyard burger party! Check here for updates! See you mid-August!
Sean Lennard
, Triangle Food Guy
RALEIGH, N.C.Sean Umstead and Michelle Vanderwalker, owners of Durham’s Kingfisher Cocktail Bar, are flipping the concept inside out and introducing QueenBurger in Kingfisher’s backyard in mid-August.
QueenBurger will serve “smash burgers” two ways – double stacked beef patties and house-made veggie (vegan) burgers with griddled onions, hoop cheese, Duke’s mayo and pickles — seared to perfection on an outdoor flattop alongside Umstead’s award-winning cocktails: pre-bottled, plus wine and beer.

Wake County Restaurant News

  • Looking for 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.
  • On a recent drive around Raleigh, the lovely and talented Lori Lennard noticed signage for Perry’s Steakhouse & Grill coming to Crabtree Terrace across from Crabtree Valley Mall. This will be their first North Carolina location. No word on an open date.
  • The folks over at RalToday shared that Durham-based record store and taproom Hunky Dory will open its Raleigh location at Seaboard Station on Saturday. According to the new spot’s Facebook page, hours will be Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
  • Thanks to reader Jeanette Hauser we now know that the former Earth Fare location in Brier Creek will become the next location of Fresh International Market. It will be their seventh location in the United States, which originated in Lansing, Michigan.
  • Blogger EatRaleigh shared the news (and I confirmed on a recent drive-by) that Cutie Pies on Hillsborough Street is now open. The took over the old Raleigh French Bakery space at 1213 Hillsborough Street.
  • And over in Cary, reader Kris Shuford shared with us that we are getting another Cha House. The Asian-inspired tea house is coming to the Shoppes of Kildaire on Killdaire Farm Road. They already have locations on Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street and Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street.
  • This weekend (Aug. 1) is the grand opening of The Lodge, located inside Cypress Manor at 1040 Buck Jones Road. The Lodge will be Raleigh’s newest cocktail and music lounge where you can enjoy a constantly changing schedule of local and regional musicians while enjoying craft cocktails and draft beverages and a signature cast iron cuisine. They will be offering partial-capacity indoor dining, as well as a full to-go menu for pick-up or partnered delivery service.
  • And over in Apex, Mike DePersia with DePersia & Associates tipped me off to a couple of new concepts. First up, Bonafide Bakeshop & Cafe has opened in the former Belgian Cafe spot at 1232 W. Williams Street. He also noted that Peak City Hots is under new ownership at 841 Perry Road.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

  • Thanks to Amber Watson at Bites of Bull City, we learned that Bull City Solera and Taproom, located in the former Chick-fil-A on University Drive, officially opened Monday. The opening menu features Tex Mex-style burritos, rotisserie chicken, a few sides, beer (without the taps) and soft serve ice cream. Bull City Solera and Taproom is the sister restaurant to downtown’s beloved Bull City Burger and Brewery and Pompieri Pizza.
  • Over in Carrboro, we saw on their Facebook page that Akai Hana will reopen next Wednesday, Aug. 5 for curbside pick-up and patio dining. They just completed a project that leveled and renovated the patio, updated electrical work, and installed new flooring.
  • Some great news coming out of Chapel Hill. After numerous pop-ups and their announcement that they were moving into the space at 505 W. Rosemary Street, Brandwein’s Bagels is very, very close to swinging open their doors as a permanent brick and mortar location. Follow them on Instagram for their pending announcement.
  • In Chatham County, the Chatham Food Hub will begin operations Aug. 5. It will be a drive-through food court allowing you to safely buy food from multiple local businesses that you know and love. You will be able to buy special family-size meals and local produce through the Food Hub once a week. Your purchases will support the local economy and create jobs for Chatham County residents. CORA Food Pantry will also offer free food boxes through the Food Hub. Participants include: Rojo Canela, CORA Food Pantry, Ever Reach Farm, Root Cellar Cafe and Catering, Green Panda Farms, Compadres Siler City and Bestfood Cafeteria. Get all the details here.

Closings / Cancellations

  • For the first time since World War II, and only the third time ever, the N.C. State Fair, originally planned for October 15-25 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, will not be held due to coronavirus.
  • Jacqueline Atlas shared with the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Group that Lula’s, on Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street in the former Spanky’s spot, shared on Facebook that they have decided to close. That also now means that all three food establishments on Chapel Hill’s most famous corner (intersection of Franklin and Columbia Streets) are now closed.
  • And after moving their event twice, the 5th Annual Raleigh International Food Festival will not take place this year. Look for their return on June 5.
  • Several members of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Group confirmed that McAlister’s Deli in Durham off 15-501 (near intersection with I-40) has closed. They also confirmed that the Jimmy John’s across 15-501 next to Chipotle has also closed.

Food Trucks

  • Triangle on the Cheap shared the news that Food Truck Flix is a recurring event that combines drive-in movies with food trucks, for a safer entertainment experience just announced their schedule for the upcoming weekends (Friday and Saturday nights). The events will be taking place at Frontier RTP, 800 Park Offices, Durham, and at Focus Church, 7000 Destiny Drive, Raleigh. You can purchase tickets in advance for any of the drive-in movies. The price is $25 per car. Of course, you’ll also want to bring money for the food trucks.
  • Up in Hillsborough, Eno River Farm (2127 St Marys Rd, Hillsborough) begins their bi-weekly food truck rodeos called Food Trucks on the Farm. The first was on July 22. You can stop by and grab a bite to eat, throw a blanket on the lawn, and top it off with their homemade ice cream!
  • These sites will help you find and stalk your favorite food trucks: here and here.


  • If there is any good to be found in the pandemic (there really isn’t!) it might be the resurgence of drive-in and outdoor movies! Some are your traditional drive-in/car venues, while others are outdoor spaces in the grass with market off “spaces” maintaining safe physical distancing and some even involve watching a movie with baby goats! (I’m serious) Our friends over at Triangle On The Cheap have a great list of drive-in and outdoor movie options for you and your family. Of course, bringing food or ordering food on site makes it that much better! Check out their complete listing of options here.
  • Raleigh’s Angus Barn continues the celebration of their 60th Anniversary with their Wine Cellar Dinner Part II August 7 to 9 in their Wine Cellar. The five-course offering allows you to feast on the cuisine that made the Angus Barn legendary featuring the most iconic dishes from the Eures, Chef Walter, Ms. Betty and wines specially selected by their sommelier, Henk. The cost is $150 plus tax (inclusive of wine pairings and gratuity) and seating is limited. To purchase tickets call Nicole at 919-987-1270 or Tiffany at 919-987-1260.
  • We learned from RalToday and Triangle on the Cheap that The Honeysuckle Tea House in Chapel Hill will be hosting Conversations in Philosophy each Thursday at 6 p.m., now through August 27. The free events will include discussions in philosophy plus farm-based beverages! Social distancing and masks are required AND dogs are allowed! If you’ve never been, this is a great reason to check them out.
  • The Fest in the West is back for its fifth year on Saturday, November 7 from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. 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!

Food Bank Corner

A quick COVID-19 update from the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. In the last fiscal year, which includes 4 months of crisis response, the Food Bank distributed nearly 92 million pounds of food, a Food Bank record. This equates to more than 75 million meals. It took an incredible amount of resources, support, and partnership to get this done.

Thank you for being part of this monumental effort! In 4 months (March, April, May, June) the Food Bank had to spend $2.3 million to buy food in order to keep food going out to the community. That is more than twice our typical annual food purchase budget. #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. 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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