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Foodie News: Food truck rodeo venue opens next week

County Fare (Facebook)

By Sean Lennard, Triangle Food Guy

Raleigh, N.C. — It was announced last week via Facebook that Chapel Hill’s Roots Bakery, Bistro and Bar on Franklin Street will open a second location in the former Hope Valley Bar and Grill space (before that, Hope Valley Brewing Company and before that, City Beverage) at 4810 Hope Valley Road in Hope Valley Pointe. They will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The transition/opening could happen as soon as the end of this month, according to Triangle Business Journal.

It is official. County Fare, Durham’s rotating mini-food truck venue with a full service beer garden (30 beers on tap) and a place to enjoy it all (indoor and outdoor), opens next week on Wednesday, April 18, missing my birthday by one day! County Fare will be located at 1920 Chapel Hill Road.

Wake County Restaurant News

Saying that Ken Yowell is a busy man is an understatement. Following on last week’s announcement that Calavera Empanadas will re-emerge (moving into the Tasty 8s spot) came word that his latest venture, Kaiju Bowl and Bao, is simply waiting on equipment and their final inspection before opening at 170 East Davie St.

WRAL reported last week that eighteen months after reopening, Standard Foods has closed again. Apparently they will reopen once a new head chef is found. The grocery portion of the store at 205 E. Franklin in Raleigh remained open through last Sunday, but has closed for at least a week according to the News & Observer. No confirmation on the timing of either’s future. Stay tuned. There is literally nothing (other than a logo) on their website.

Also in downtown Raleigh, in the Glenwood South district, the ITB Insider reported this week that site plans have been filed for the Tin Roof Restaurant and Bar, which will be located at 300 Glenwood Ave. at the intersection with West Lane. The plans were filed by the owners of Tin Roof, a popular live-music bar in Nashville with about 15 other locations around the country. The Tin Roof in Nashville offers a lunch and dinner menu in addition to serving as a bar/nightlife hotspot with live country music.

And before leaving downtown Raleigh, there was a bit of a scare this week as news circulated that the property that Krispy Kreme donuts sits on had sold to a New York developer. Fearing the donut mecca would be cleared for more apartments, rumors began to swell. But relief came with the discovery that KK has a 20-year lease on their building, with the option to renew it beyond that. So, for the immediate future, the “Hot Now” light remains aglow. Whew! And it also means the Krispy Kreme Challenge will continue to be held.

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Runners toe the line at 2018 Krispy Kreme Challenge

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Just outside of downtown just off Wake Forest Road, the ITB Insider reported this week that Funguys Brewery announced a grand opening date of Saturday, April 14. The so-called “start-up microbrewery” will be located off Wake Forest Road near Biscuitville at 2408 Paula St.

Over in Cary, reader Jessica Amato brought it to our attention that there is a sign for a Buffalo Brothers Pizza & Wing Co. in the former Outback Steakhouse location in Saltbox Village shopping center on Kildaire Farm Road. No word on the timing of their opening. This will be their 5th Triangle area location.

Also in Cary, reader Paul Dettorre informed us that Chengdu 7 Sichuan Cuisine has opened in the former Korean Garden Korean Steakhouse spot at 748 E. Chatham Street. Unfortunately we can’t find a web presence, but the initial Yelp reviews are strong.

Durham, Orange and Chatham Restaurant News

The News & Observer reported this week that cousins Jimmy and Julian Kim from South Korea will open Cucciolo Osteria this summer at 601 W. Main St. in the West Village development. The restaurant is devoted to their childhood comfort food of Italian cuisine (they lived in Europe for a decade while growing up). Jimmy went to Duke University and opened the Mixed Korean Bistro and food truck. Julian started the first Cucciolo Osteria as a 20-seat restaurant in Seoul. Look for a June opening.

Friend Glenn Gillen notified me that New Tokyo, a fast service Japanese restaurant, opened on March 29 at 3822 S. Roxboro St. in Durham. Couldn’t find an online presence, but the initial Yelp reviews are pretty strong.


WRAL reported this week that after leaving its Raleigh location and moving to Durham, Finch’s is “retiring” and their last day is this Sunday, April 15. Apparently a gig called East Cut, serving gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads, beer, and wine, will move into that spot.

A reader/viewer over at WRAL brought it to our attention that both the Moe’s Southwest Grill and McDonald’s at Triangle Town Center have closed.

​Food Trucks

Down in Knightdale, the RDU Mobile Food Association is hosting the BBQ & Beer Fest Food Truck Rodeo on Sunday, April 15 from 12-4 p.m. at the Knightdale Park Station. In addition to the trucks and beer, they will have a BBQ contest with you as the judge. Get all the details on their Facebook events page here.

The Knightdale Food Truck Thursdays will be back in full swing come April 19. Trucks will be on hand for lunch and dinner each Thursday at the Knightdale Station Park. Get a full schedule and truck listing on their website here. Thanks to Mark Ginsberg for the heads up.

Two food truck rodeo’s in Chapel Hill on the same weekend! Saturday, April 21 will be Table’s Food Truck Rodeo at Orange United Methodist Church on MLK Blvd. from 3-7 p.m. And on Sunday, April 22 at noon is the Rodeo on Rosemary featuring 15 of the best trucks in the Triangle.

Two great sites to keep up with your favorite food trucks. Street Food Finder is one, and another, aptly named, is Roaming Hunger.


The Indy brought it to our attention that the Bull City Vegan Challenge will return to Durham for the fifth time in April (kicks off April 1), with chefs at ten downtown meat-centric restaurants creating specialty plant-based dishes that their menus will carry throughout the month, culminating in a competition decided by diners’ votes. This year’s participants, all full-service restaurants, are: Dos Perros, Parizade, Pompieri, M Kokko, Juju, Guglhupf, Counting House, Jack Tar Diner, Unscripted, and Grub.

The 20th annual Lebanese Festival is this Saturday, April 14 in Raleigh City Plaza in downtown Raleigh from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. The event will feature authentic Lebanese food, cooking demos, performances and more.

Durham Magazine, Chapel Hill Magazine and Chatham Magazine return with their popular culinary event, Taste, to take place April 18-22 highlighting culinary talents. The event will feature over 30 of the area’s top chefs at four unique events throughout the week.

On Saturday, April 14 the Animal Protection Society of Durham will host a Pints for Paws Craft Beverage Festival from 12-4 p.m. at Northgate Plaza. More than a dozen Durham craft beverage makers including beer, cider, mead, spirits, sodas, and tea purveyors will be on hand along with local food trucks and doggie wading pools at this all-Durham family/dog-friendly festival. Get details and ticket information here.

The Third Annual Big Biscuit Showdown will be held Thursday, April 26 from 6-9pm at The Rickhouse in Downtown Durham. This unique food competition features teams comprised of Rise Biscuits & Donuts chefs and a local brewery or beverage company. Each Rise chef will prepare a special biscuit and donut with inventive toppings and fillings that will be paired with a local craft-made beverage. Tickets are $50 and available in advance.

May 5th is the date for West Cary’s very own Fest in the West, a festival featuring food, beer, crafts, music and a kids’ zone. It will take place from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the USA Baseball Training Complex at 7445 Green Hope School Road.

Want to enjoy food perfectly paired with some of the areas best brews among lions and tigers and bears…oh my? Well, maybe not bears, but lynxes and lemurs? Get tickets to the Conservators Center’s Lions, Tigers and Beer event to be held on May 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The event will feature six food and beer pairings from local chefs and breweries, as well as a walking tour. All proceeds from the event go to the Animal Care Fund at the Conservators Center. But hurry, only 80 tickets will be sold – $100 each or two for $180.

Tickets have gone on sale for Thrive NC set to take place at downtown Raleigh’s City Market on May 10-11. The two-day event, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina will highlight the fact that 1.5 million people in the state struggle to buy affordable and fresh foods. A highlight of the event will be a two-day food festival featuring top chefs from 50 North Carolina restaurants serving food and drink samples against a backdrop of live music each night. All ticket sale proceeds will be donated to North Carolina nonprofits that address issues related to food insecurity.

Beer and Bacon Fest is May 19. Cary. Not much else needs to be said.

And the 2018 version of Farm to Fork expanded to three events over several seasons and tickets to all three just went on sale. The fun begins with the first event on June 3, the perennial favorite Farm to Fork Picnic, where the area’s best farmers and chefs are paired. Then on Sept. 16 they’ll host a pop-up dinner featuring Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea Underground & Catering. And the series will conclude on Dec. 6 with John T. Edge and a celebration of Southern food on Chapel Hill’s Lavender Oak Farm. You can buy ticket to each individual event, or all three.

The 2018 version of Chefs for Change, a fundraising dinner series that pairs the burgeoning Durham food scene with the needs of families experiencing homelessness, is well underway. The first two events (featuring Charlie Deal on March 12 and Scott Howell on May 14) have sold out. And if last year is any indication, the next two dinners will sell out quickly. The July 9th event features Phoebe Lawless (The Lakewood and Scratch) and the Sept. 10 event features Gocciolina’s Aaron Benjamin. Each night the chef will serve three or more courses at a ticketed dinner with the proceeds benefiting Families Moving Forward. The dinners are held at the Rickhouse and limited to 125 people.

Sadly, this article by Matt Kupac is one of the best reminders of what many folks in our community are faced with every day – having to put food on the table with just $4.70. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a federal program providing support to low-income, low asset people facing extreme food insecurity. Matt took the challenge to eat on $4.70 per day and here is what he experienced. Please support the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and their efforts right here in our community.

Sean Lennard covers the Triangle food scene on his site Triangle Food Blog.

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