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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dillard's Bar-B-Q: Back in Moderation

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 at 8:17 PM

There is a way back into Dillard's Bar-B-Q: host an event. The Durham restaurant, which closed in March after nearly 60 years in business, recently announced that it will open its doors for special occasions. "If someone wants to hold an event in the restaurant, we'll rent the restaurant out," says Wilma Dillard, who ran her family's business until it closed last month due to an uncertain economy. As for the new use of the former dining space, Dillard explains, "The building is still ours and it felt wrong to put someone else in it. I don't know how...

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Essential Outsider: More about Berenbaum's bakery in the season of Passover

Posted By on Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Not long ago I profiled the fledgling Berenbaum's bakery, which sets up a table across the street from the Durham Farmers' Market on Saturdays and is now offering what proprietor Ari Berenbaum calls a "CSB"—a community-supported bakery in the well-established CSA tradition. Berenbaum's is unusual for multiple reasons. The first of them is quite obvious. To refresh the memory: The first provocation comes when you fish out your money to pay and are told that your bread, donut, granola, etc. (there’s also coffee) costs whatever you feel like paying. The proprietor, Ari Berenbaum, says that "people like the gambit,” as...

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Friday, April 15, 2011

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomorrow: produce in peril at the farmers market

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 11:07 AM

photo: Jeremy M. LangeSara Broadwell at the Durham Farmers' Market, November 2010Nine years running, I've marked the arrival of spring by Sara Broadwell's return to the Durham Farmers Market with her perennial crop of asparagus. Sara's husband, Graham, used to come along with her, adorned in his trademark khaki coveralls, but these days Sara handles the retail side of their business, Catbriar Farm, up in Caswell County. She's right there at the east entrance to the pavilion, and I always visit her first, promptly at 8:00 a.m. These days, I have to: Last Saturday, bringing her first asparagus of the...

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Dillard's Bar-B-Q Closes Its Doors

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 8:40 PM

On the serving line at Dillard’s Bar-B-Q this evening, a hand scrawled sign hung in sad irony: “New Item . . . Diced Potatoes.” The Durham restaurant, a staple since 1953, served its final customers today—or, at least it tried. Twenty minutes after the restaurant was scheduled to close at 5:30 p.m., Kim Walker, a longtime customer who volunteered to help on the final day, called a winding line of customers’ to attention. “We don’t think we’re going to have enough food for everyone left in line,” she told the crowd. “But that’s just a testament that you’ve been...

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Berenbaum's bakery: how much dough for dough?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

(berenbaums.blogspot.com)Berenbaum's (Ari Berenbaum, center)Berenbaum’s Bakery, which has been setting up its modest table catty-corner to the Durham Farmers' Market for about two months now, is up to something a little more provocative than just making tasty edibles out of flour and selling them. The first provocation comes when you fish out your money to pay and are told that your bread, donut, granola, etc. (there’s also coffee) costs whatever you feel like paying. The proprietor, Ari Berenbaum, says that "people like the gambit,” as he calls his fair-price practice. But it's more than a mere gambit, and not everyone likes...

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Au Revoir, Bonne Soiree! Chapel Hill fine dining restaurant to close at the end of April

Posted By on Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 7:47 AM

Let's get one thing out of the way: Yes, Bonne Soiree is expensive. It isn't a place to dine once a week, or probably even once a month, unless you're of means. Even if you have the money to go there often, Bonne Soiree isn't the kind of place one's senses are likely to be able to patronize frequently. Unlike its nearby price-range competitors like Elaine's and Cypress on the Hill—Bonne Soiree is actually a tad more expensive than either—the atmosphere inside speaks to special occasions. The tiny dining room, elegantly done in light blue and deep purple, with antique...

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Durham's Fish Shack Closes

Posted By on Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Sadly, Big Mouth Billy Basses—the plastic, singing fish that were popular 10 years ago and thrust back into the light of day on the walls at Durham's Fish Shack (2512 University Drive)—will soon return to their dusty spots in local attics. According to Dan Ferguson, who owns the Fish Shack and its neighbor, the Original Q Shack, the fried-fish eatery officially closed its doors last Sunday due to low sales. "I really loved the concept and thought it would work," Ferguson says of his business. But after a mere nine months, the Fish Shack couldn't survive. "It was just like...

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to Bake Up a Damn Good Party

Posted By on Sun, Jan 23, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Should you drive up North Duke Street tonight between 8 and 10 p.m., you may catch a faint whiff of buttery crust or the aroma of warm spiced fruit. It’s National Pie Day today—not to be confused with National π Day, celebrated on March 14 (think about it)—and thus, it seems a good and right and joyful thing to spend this Sunday night eating 3.14 slices of pie. Personally, I’ll be assembling my allotment from a great variety of pies (say, 1/3 of a slice from each of 10 pies), because this evening heralds my longtime friends’ Annual Pie Party...

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Durham's food scene earns New York Times mention, again

Posted By on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Photo with permission by Justin Valas Our 2011 diet resolution? Consume as many calories as possible in the Bull City. The New York Times recently listed Durham among the top 41 Places to Go in 2011. Sandwiched between Kurdistan and Kosovo, and listed among some of the world's most exotic, surreal landscapes and wild cosmopolitan cities, Durham stands her ground at #35. (And one of only four domestic locations.) She's found her cool, all right, exuding from the increasingly famous and vibrant food scene. The story praises restaurants Scratch Bakery, Revolution, Rue Cler and Parker and Otis, as well as...

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh, the heartache: Behind the shortage of Two-Hearted Ale

Posted By on Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Ninety-nine barrels of Two-Hearted Ale on the wall, 99 barrels of beer ... Hey, we'd be grateful to could find even a single bottle of Two-Hearted Ale in stores, but we've finally gotten to the bottom of the shortage of the popular beer. Demand for the India Pale Ale has outstripped the brewing capacity at Bell's Brewery, according to Marketing Director Laura Bell. Distributors are apportioning the supply to stores—Peace Street Market in Raleigh had none in stock, nor did Sam's Quik Shop in Durham—and Whole Foods in Durham is out for the season. (A reasonable substitute is the Hopsecutioner...

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Only Burger Celebrates Grand Opening Today

Posted By on Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 6:34 AM

Only Burger, Durham's mobile burger eatery, has a new place to park and call home. Approximately three weeks ago, the food truck opened a brick and mortar location at Hope Valley Square shopping center (3710 Shannon Road, Suite 118, Durham, http://durhamcatering.com/onlyburger, 919-724-9377). At the new location, the menu is basically the same—$4.75 for single burgers and $7.25 for doubles—except that it has expanded to include beer (and seating). Only Burger will celebrate its grand opening at 11 a.m. today with half priced burgers....

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Efland-Cheeks Throwdown Competition

Posted By on Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 5:33 PM

At noon this Saturday at Efland-Cheeks Elementary School (4401 Fuller Road, Efland), Mildred Council of Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill and Robert Campbell, a local minister, environmental activist, and chef, will evaluate entries by two Orange County residents competing to create an interesting take on a traditional southern vegetable recipe. The contestants—Chrisean Fuller of Efland-Cheeks and D’Jenna Crayton of Chapel Hill—are finalists from an earlier cook-off held in conjunction with the Efland Food Project, which aims to document African American foodways in the Efland-Cheeks area. For both the previous and upcoming competitions, foods are judged according to their health benefits,...

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: Choplin's Hot Dogs

Posted By on Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 11:43 PM

Garret Macario, Willard Andrews, and Mike Elledge at Choplin's Hot Dogs.In just a few minutes, the lights will turn off at the North Carolina State Fair, marking the close of Choplin's Hot Dog's 40th year in operation there. Willard Andrews, who now runs the small hot dog stand across from Gate 9, wasn't there to see the booth's first ten years in business, but he's been at the stand for the past 30 years, running the show since his friend, Elton Choplin, retired seven years ago. Andrews, like many other fair food vendors, doesn't spend his year in the food...

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: Apex Lions Club's "Piiiiie"

Posted By on Sat, Oct 23, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Horace Johnson in front of his pie-inspired sign at the Apex Lions Club's fair booth.Horace Johnson has a steady presence at the North Carolina State Fair. Though a resident of Apex, he lives with his wife, Frankie Johnson, in a mobile home on the fairgrounds during the 11-day event, rather than commuting the 20 minutes home. And most of his time, he’s front and center, perched on a stool in front of the Apex Lions Club’s booth. For 27 years, he has taken a seat there to bark the club’s pie to passersby, though in Johnson’s words it’s “piiiiie.” When...

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Friday, October 22, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: Fresh Apple Cider

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Susan and Jouard Lingg. Susan Lingg was exhibiting watercolors at the State Fair’s Village of Yesteryear nearly 30 years ago when she truly happened upon something from the days of old. Her Michigan in-laws, whom she fondly refers to as Ma and Pa Lingg, gifted her their cider mill, which they’d purchased new from New Jersey in 1928. Luckily for Susan Lingg, she had the right resources at her fingertips for the making of a successful cider business: Jouard Lingg, her husband, who is a third generation ciderist; apples, which grow in abundance near her home in Cullowhee, North Carolina;...

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: The Peanut Factory

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Butch Skillman at his stand, The Peanut Factory. Don’t expect typical fair pageantry at The Peanut Factory. The fair booth, which is located near the twinkling lights and twirling rides of the Midway, is as humble and unassuming as the simple roasted nuts that it sells. As Butch Skillman, the factory’s owner, puts it, “Flash doesn’t go with peanuts.” What does, is antiques. The Peanut Factory’s little white trailer with wood panel backing provides shelter to numerous styles of out of date equipment. Take its 85-year-old roasters, for instance. According to Skillman, the A.J. Deer Company that created those machines...

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: MacLleod Farms' Maple Syrup Cotton Candy

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 11:07 PM

Carolyn Broggini, right, spins maple syrup cotton candy at the N.C. State Fair. As a child, my family and I didn’t make it to the State Fair every year from our home in eastern North Carolina. We went enough, however, that I was able to get my hands on a bag or two of MacLeod Farms’ maple syrup cotton candy, something that I’ve never quite forgotten, and with good reason. Like most fair cotton candies, MacLeod’s maple variety is made on the spot, and is thus still warm and airy. What sets it apart is the maple’s earthy flavor and...

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: Mt. Olive Pickles

Posted By on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 at 11:22 PM

Lynn Williams, a spokesperson for the Mt. Olive Pickle Company, stands behind a two-and-a-half gallon jar of tightly packed pickles at her company’s booth at the North Carolina State Fair. A couple of kids wander up and swap guesses with each other over the number of pickles the jar contains. “It’s fun to watch,” says Williams. “You can always tell the engineers. They try to work out an equation.” Behind the pickle puzzle, Williams is one of the few folks near the jar who appears confident. That is, until I ask her how long Mt. Olive has held a spot...

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Monday, October 18, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: Hill's Roasted Corn on the Cob

Posted By on Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Todd Carter shucks corn behind his family's 41-year-old business. Rains pounded the state fair in 1969, turning the then-clay midway into mud. In the middle of a downpour, one corn vendor must have looked like he was drowning. “My uncle ran up on a guy selling corn and offered him $600 right then for his stand,” Todd Carter says of his uncle, Hill Carter. “Then he found his brothers and said, ‘Ya’ll owe me $200 apiece.’” The brothers—Dwight and Larry Carter—paid out. The stand, on the other hand, did not. “The next year was the worst year ever with rain,”...

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: Ham Biscuits from Westover United Methodist Church

Posted By on Sun, Oct 17, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Fairgoers enjoy lunch with Westover United Methodist Church. Tommy Highsmith sees it as part of his church’s mission to provide good and affordable food to fairgoers. That’s why the ham biscuits from Westover United Methodist Church cost a mere $1.50. “I think it’s the cheapest biscuit on the fairgrounds,” says Highsmith. “We’re over here more or less to be a minister to the people and to also provide a decent product at a decent cost.” Highsmith is a charter member of Westover, which first opened its doors less than one mile away from the state fairgrounds in 1945. “My thinking...

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Terra Vita 2010

Posted By on Sun, Oct 17, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Shrimp Pirogis anyone? Fluffy Biscuits Stuffed with Shredded Short Rib Meat, drizzled in full cream horseradish sauce? How about Sliced Smoked Venison on Brioche Topped with Red Onion Cherry Marmalade? Oh, and don't forget the gingered sausage wrapped in collard leaves as in Mediterranean stuffed grape leaves, served with a sauce of butternut squash yogurt. Or, the goat cheese soufflés on a bed of baby greens adorned with golden and Chioggia beets. The list goes on. All images courtesy of Jim White; NCArtists.Com I happen to sit next to a couple from Holden Beach who'd driven up to Chapel Hill...

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: Charlie Barefoot and Sons

Posted By on Sat, Oct 16, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Charlie Barefoot's sons, Billy Barefoot and Joe Barefoot, manage their father's hot dog stand, which began in 1949. To find a good hot dog at the fair, all one used to have to do was listen for the voice of Charlie Barefoot. “People would just walk around the fair until they heard him,” says Barefoot’s son, Joe Barefoot, who now runs his father’s business—Charlie Barefoot and Sons—with his brother, Billy Barefoot. Since his father’s passing, Joe Barefoot says nobody has been able to duplicate Charlie Barefoot, who called quick quips like, “How ‘bout one?” to people who passed the stand....

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Friday, October 15, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: Houston's Peanuts

Posted By on Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 3:47 PM

If you’ve ever stepped foot in the Education Building at the State Fair, you’ve more than likely been offered a peanut by members of the Exchange Club of North Raleigh. “Everybody that comes by our booth gets a peanut,” says Charlie Campbell, one of the club’s original members who first came up with the idea to sell peanuts at the fair as a fundraiser in 1969. “We’ve been at the same location in the Education Building ever since,” Campbell says, adding that the club also began to advertise its products by shouting out its free sample in its very first...

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

State Fair Food Classics: N.C. State's Howling Cow Ice Cream

Posted By on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 6:46 PM

This afternoon marked the beginning of the North Carolina State Fair, which means, among other things, the start of a lot of eating. I’ve got my appetite set for some of the fair’s newest foods. Take the Twinkie Log, for instance: a frozen Twinkie dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut flakes (see related story). But more than likely, I’ll save most of my menu for some of the fair’s classic fare—the peanuts, ham biscuits, hot dogs, cotton candy, and ice cream that have been at the center of my attention every October in North Carolina for as far back...

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Big Food Truck Harvest at Big Boss Brewery

Posted By on Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Thursday evening provides a big night for brews and food in the Triangle. From 5:30 p.m. until midnight, catch five food trucks at Big Boss Brewing's brewery (1249 Wicker Drive, Raleigh, www.bigbossbrewing.com, 919-834-0045) for the Big Food Truck Harvest. Participating trucks will include Klausie's Pizza, Only Burger, Valentino's Italian, Mom's Delicious Dishes, and Indian Food on Wheels. For drinks, in addition to Big Boss' 14 draft beers, the brewery will feature two special cask ales: Harvest Time Spiced Pumpkin and Sack Time Amber Rye. And for tunes, Big Boss will also host five bands, beginning with music from Steadham at...

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