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List: Places offering State Fair-inspired dishes

With the N.C. State Fair canceled this year, many restaurants are planning to offer fair-inspired dishes this month.

Posted Updated
State Fair Preview Day 2014
Kathy Hanrahan, Out
About editor
RALEIGH, N.C. — With the N.C. State Fair canceled this year due to coronavirus concerns, many people are missing their favorite fair food.

There will be 22 vendors serving at the N.C. State Fairgrounds Oct. 15-25, and local restaurants are also planning to offer fair-inspired specials.

Here's a roundup:
N.C. State Fair vendors - During Oct. 15 to 25, the original dates for this year's fair, there will be 22 local fair vendors offering take-out food. Fair officials say that no gathering will be allowed and social distancing and face coverings will be required. Vendors will be serving from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. People should enter the fairgrounds at Gate 9 off of Trinity Road and park in the midway area. There will be a collection of vendors visible as you walk up the hill towards Dorton Arena. Most vendors will be cash-only, while some may accept credit cards. Dorton Arena has an ATM available.
Alley Twenty Six (320 E Chapel Hill St, Durham) - The cocktail bar is hosting a weekly outdoor pop-up event called Alley Twenty Six Midway Oct. 7 through Oct. 18. The event will be held Wednesday through Sunday, weather permitting from noon to 8 p.m. The pop-up will be offering corn dogs, turkey legs and some fried treats. There will be some festival fall cocktails for sale from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. There will be outdoor seating available. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be practiced.
Andia's Homemade Ice Cream (10120 Green Level Church Road and 1008 Ryan Road in Cary) - From Oct. 17 through the end of the month, this WRAL Voters' Choice Award winner will be featuring special fair food along with its award-winning ice cream. The specials will be available at both of their Cary locations. Follow them on social media to find out which items are being served.
Virtual Biscuit Class - First United Methodist Church of Cary is offering an on-demand class that will give viewers step-by-step instructions on how to make their famous State Fair biscuits. Access to the class is just $7, and proceeds also will support the church's missions. Orders must be placed by Oct. 9.
Asali Desserts & Cafe (107 Edinburgh S Dr., Cary) - This cafe is offering Roasted Chickpeas and Asafeer (pancakes stuffed with custard cream and topped with crushed pistachios, coconut, and cinnamon) from Oct. 15-25, 2020.
Robinson Ferry (111 Bragg St, Warrenton) - This restaurant is offering a variety of State Fair-inspired specials from Oct. 15-25. They will be serving Smoke Brisket Cheddar Fries, Cheerwine Funnel Cake and the Deep-Fried Elvis (Fried Banana, bacon, chocolate egg roll served with peanut dipping sauce). They have two cocktails as well ($10 each): Monkey Business (Creme de Banana, Godiva Chocolate, Half & Half, chocolate syrup rim. Served with fried banana cubes) and Candy Apple Dream (Vanilla Vodka, Apple Pucker Schnapps, Buttershots Schnapps, cranberry juice, caramel rim. Served with cotton candy and candy apple slices dipped in caramel and nuts (optional for allergies))
Chilly Chicken Creamery (127 S Main St, Warrenton) - This shop will be selling Churro Ice Cream from Oct. 15-25.
Hardware Cafe (110 S Main St, Warrenton) - This restaurant is serving fair foods on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month. They have candied and caramel apples, soft pretzels, cotton candy, cotton candy cracklins and quarter-pound hot dogs during all hours of operation. On Fridays starting at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays starting at 11:30 a.m., turkey legs, roasted corn, funnel cakes and fried Oreos are available.
La Farm Bakery (Three Cary locations) - This bakery has been a staple of the State Fair, serving pastries and sandwiches from its bread truck. This year, they are offering some of their State Fair favorites including S'mores and Beignets.
Tonbo Ramen (211 S Wilmington St, Raleigh) - This restaurant will be offering Fried Chicken and Ramen Mac and Cheese (Japanese fried chicken quarter served with panko-coated deep-fried ramen mac & cheese, Asian slaw and shishito tartar sauce). The special runs Oct. 15-25.
Kanki (All Triangle locations) - Their State Fair-inspired special available from Oct. 15-25 is Fried Sushi on a Stick (Spicy tuna and avocado, tempura batter fried with spicy mayo and sweet soy sauce, served on a stick).
STIR (4242 Six Forks Rd #100, Raleigh) - This North Hills' restaurant will be serving a Dole Whip Cocktail from Oct. 15-25. The cocktail is described as "a refreshing, plantation pineapple rum-based cocktail with John D Taylor's Velvet Falernum Liqueur (which adds some spice, sweetness and almond), pineapple juice, served over shaved ice with grated nutmeg on top, and a pineapple wedge garnish."
Il Palio (1505 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill) - For the entire month of October, this restaurant will be offering Fried arancini with house-made pimento cheese and house-made North Carolina pepper jelly, Fried house-made tiramisu, and the Poutine alla Amatriciana (crispy French fries, braised guancali, tomato gravy, red chili flake, mozzarella cheese curds, grana Padano)
Rookie's (11200 Capital Blvd., Wake Forest) - This restaurant will be serving two fair-inspired dishes Oct. 15-25: The Sicilian Roll (pepperoni, salami, bacon, cheese blend, feta, and spices rolled in house-made dough and baked, served with marinara sauce) and Cinnamon Rolls (cinnamon, sugar, and butter rolled in house-made dough and baked, served with your choice of icing or chocolate).
Sassool (North Raleigh and Cary) - The restaurant will be serving the Crispy Garlic Chicken Sandwich (Crispy Garlic Chicken, Sassool's Cabbage Slaw, Sliced Roasted Potatoes and Whipped Garlic Aioli, hugged between a locally made Potato Bun) Oct. 15-25.
Coronato Pizza (101 Two Hills Rd, Carrboro) - This restaurant will be serving Roman Carnival Doughnuts (pillowy soft dough balls, reminiscent of the American doughnut holes, are dusted with cinnamon sugar or dunked in a bath of royal icing) from Oct. 15 to 25.
Koan (2800 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary) - This restaurant will be serving a few fair-inspired dishes Oct. 15-25: Zipper Roll (crab salad, cucumber, avocado, cream cheese, spicy mayo, wasabi mayo, eel sauce, tempura fried) Ko.rn dog (house made hot dogs, gochu-chup, nc honey mustard, pickled onion) and Fried ice cream.
Whiskey Kitchen (201 W Martin St, Raleigh) - This restaurant will be serving Smoked Turkey Legs with a spiced Cheerwine and bourbon glaze and Fried Strawberries topped with powered sugar. The specials run Oct. 15-25.
Mama Bird's Ice Cream (300 N Main St, Holly Springs) - This ice cream shop is selling fair-inspired flavors including Kettle Korn, Cotton Candy, Fried Oreo and Chocolate Covered Bacon available through Oct. 11.
Catering Works - On Saturday, Oct. 17, Catering Works in Raleigh is blending its love for the State Fair with Halloween! They are hosting a drive-thru experience for deep fried treats. Costumes are encouraged. Get the details and sign up for a pick-up time.


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