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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Don't Tell Ashley Christensen What to Do with Her Bathrooms

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 2:52 PM

Yesterday, a customer at Chuck's—the cheeseburger portion of Ashley Christensen's three-eatery empire at the corner of Wilmington and Martin streets—decided she did not like the restaurant's new bathroom signs. After House Bill 2 passed, Christensen's team added "People Room" signs in all of its spots, from the coffee shop Joule to the flagship Poole's. Perhaps in town for yesterday's HB 2 rallies, or perhaps simply not familiar with Christensen's general approach, someone took offense and, through a Facebook message, told Chuck's and Christensen to take them down. "Return it to the way things were before," the customer wrote, "or you...

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UNC's Beloved Daily Grind Coffee Shop to Close at the End of June

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 1:36 PM

Daily Grind, on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, fueled many of my nights while I crammed for finals during my undergraduate years. Open since 1993, it was the place I first tried an Americano and learned to wait before I topped coffee with a lid, instead sipping on the crema while it swirled in odd shapes on top. More than ten years later, as I finished my graduate degree this week on the same campus, those short Americanos and single-origin cups du jour kickstarted mornings of theory-based archive hunting and oral history transcriptions. DJ Pez was my campus barista back...

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Slingshot Coffee Co.'s Weekend Won't Open This Year

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Raleigh's Slingshot Coffee Co. will not open Weekend, its seasonal outdoor coffee shop, this year. But the news isn't totally bad: the decision has come from owners Jenny and Jonathan Bonchak just as Slingshot has seen a serious uptick in business during the past year. "We've just been growing like mad, which is a great thing," says Jenny Bonchak. "From this point in time last year to now, we are looking at about 250 percent growth. We're at a point where we have to focus so much attention on being able to service our current customers and our new customers coming...

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Long Road of Counter Culture's Lem Butler to the United States Barista Victory

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 11:07 AM

In 2003, after graduating from UNC, Lem Butler started a band. The band broke up, and he needed a job. So Butler responded to an advertisement in the Daily Tar Heel for a job as a barista at the on-campus shop, Daily Grind. He wasn’t a coffee drinker, didn’t even know what a barista was, and almost went home after first going to the wrong coffeeshop. But this past weekend, Butler, who works in customer support at Durham's Counter Culture, won the 2016 United States Barista Championship. He will represent the United States in the World Barista Championship in Dublin, June 23–25....

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bye Bye, Triangle Brewing Company, Which Is Closing Its Doors After Nearly a Decade

Posted By on Sat, Apr 16, 2016 at 9:46 AM

In two weeks, Durham’s first microbrewery will pour its last pint. Yesterday afternoon, the owners of Triangle Brewing Company announced their plans to close, via Facebook. “It is with deepest sadness that we announce today that on Monday, May 2nd, after nearly nine years of calling the Bull City home, Triangle Brewing Company will close its doors for good,"longtime friends Rick Tufts and Andy Miller wrote. They moved to Durham and set up their brewery in 2007, making Triangle Brewing Company the first microbrewery to make its home in the Bull City. TBC quickly became an institution in a...

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Players' Retreat Offering Special LGBT Sandwich, All Proceeds Go To Equality NC

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 3:16 PM

A venerable Raleigh restaurant is using a simple sandwich to fight back against HB 2. Players' Retreat alongside Hillsborough Street is offering a special "LGBT sandwich"—a BLT with guacamole on local multi-grain bread—for $10, with all proceeds donated to Equality NC.  "We decided we wanted to support the fight for equality for everyone," says owner Gus Gusler. "Hopefully, the state legislators will come back and do something about this, but I doubt they will." Gusler says the sandwich went on sale yesterday and it's "selling great"; at lunch yesterday, he says they sold about twenty-five, and last night, friends were sending...

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Monday, April 11, 2016

"Don't Be Mean to People: A Golden Rule Saison" is the Official Beer Against HB 2

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 6:34 PM

Good friends Keil Jansen and Erik Lars Myers are master brewers—beer nerds, if you'd like, which means every ingredient in their creations has been carefully considered.  So when the respective bosses of Durham's Ponysaurus and Hillsborough's Mystery Brewing decided to collaborate on a beer to support North Carolina's LGBTQ community in the fight against HB 2, they went with a style that makes a big-tent statement. Jansen says the forthcoming "Don't Be Mean to People: A Golden Rule Saison" is "the best beer we could make by using North Carolina ingredients. Literally. We looked at what we had available, and thought this beer...

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In Durham, a Perfect Day at Ponysaurus With the Salt And Smoke Festival

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 5:34 PM

A bright, cold, windy April afternoon. Ponysaurus Brewing Company. The Salt and Smoke Festival, outside of Carrboro for the first time. And you. The event starts at four and you arrive on the dot, but everyone is already here, or so it seems. Maybe they never left? “Partysaurus!” the invitation promised after all. The air is full of bluegrass, and the wind dances along with it. People flock toward the band and beneath heat lamps, where they sway this way and that, tap their feet, clap their hands. A toddler waddles toward the upright bass, holds it, strums. Anyone who...

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Bee Downtown Is on a Mission to Expand Triangle Bee Populations and Education

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 11:49 AM

On Thursday morning, Leigh-Kathryn Bonner piled a bunch of beehives into her car and drove out to The Hub Farm, a seeming oasis of vegetable gardens, a pond, and crowing roosters off of Durham’s Roxboro Road. Once there, Bonner set up two hives on a patch of grass, donned a beekeeper’s hood, and unsealed the hives for the first time this season. She pulled frames from the hive, each one crawling with thousands of bees. Some of them were already starting to make honey. Bonner sampled it with her finger and let a small group that had gathered do the...

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

After Two Employees Walked Out, Durham's Guglhupf Attempts to Extricate Itself From HB 2 Backlash

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 11:48 AM

Much of the focus on the aftermath of House Bill 2—the anti-LGBTQ, fair-wage, and worker-protection legislation signed into law March 23—has centered around Charlotte and Raleigh until this point. PayPal killed a plan to create four hundred new jobs in Charlotte, and the NBA may move its 2017 All-Star Game out of the city’s Time Warner Cable Arena. Governor Pat McCrory lives in the capital, of course, and it's where the legislature gathered to rush through this mess of a bill. But an April 3 incident at Guglhupf Bakery, Cafe and Restaurant brought some of that attention to Durham. Two Guglhupf...

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A New Organization Awkwardly Honors Raleigh Women in the Kitchen

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 5:33 PM

On a sunny Wednesday evening last week, after the traditional workday had ended, a crowd of about twenty five gathered to honor, as the program put it, the “brightest and most accomplished women” in Raleigh’s culinary community. Presented by the new organization Raleigh Works Here, the event was tied to Women's History Month. It was, well, awkward. They milled about Hadley’s, the dark and vaguely 1920s-themed restaurant and cocktail bar that now occupies the space where The Borough once stood. About a third of the crowd carried shimmering glasses of white wine, and nearly all of the restaurateurs were dressed in navy...

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Feeling Thirsty? Let Local Breweries Help You Through North Carolina Beer Month

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 3:00 PM

North Carolina's annual Beer Month got off to a fun, sudsy start this weekend with events across the state. Of course, the Triangle's brewers represented at bottle shops, breweries and bars. Durham's The Glass Jug couldn't wait for the month to arrive and launched Beer Month Thursday night, hosting an event that featured the tapping of their final keg of a collaboration with Mystery Brewing. On Friday, Raleigh's Crank Arm Brewing hosted the official Wake County kickoff through the third-annual Casks on Fools. Offering roughly two-dozen special casks from local breweries, including a Heavy Weight Imperial Stout from Trophy Brewing,...

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Really, Though: Pie Pushers to Open Brick-and-Mortar Restaurant over The Pinhook in Durham

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 11:00 PM

Durham, your nights at The Pinhook—as well as your lunch hours—just got a whole lot tastier. At Pie Pushers’ fifth birthday party celebration at The Pinhook Friday night, Mike Hacker and Becky Jo Cascio announced that they will soon install a brick-and-mortar version of their food truck in the space above The Pinhook. The spot will be open for lunch and dinner service, with pending plans for late-night service. It could open as early as this fall.  The Pinhook-Pie Pushers relationship goes way back. Hacker and Register have been pals for more than a decade, having met while Hacker was...

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The Pinhook and Pie Pushers Pioneer a New Rooftop Food Truck And Garden Atop the Club

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 9:00 AM

The arms race of local food innovation may have, unfortunately, jumped the shark. The Pinhook has announced that it is partnering with Durham food truck institution Pie Pushers for "Pie in the Sky," a permanent installation that will serve pizza and more from the roof of The Pinhook. A press release issued this morning announced that, in addition to the truck, there will be a rooftop garden that will provide ingredients for Pie Pushers' pizzas. A chicken coop will provide eggs, and, eventually, wings. A selfie station, misting tent, and four-square courts are all set to be a part of the community-vibe-boosting...

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fullsteam Brewery to Withdraw from State Promotional Programs over HB 2

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 6:43 PM

An astounding, reassuring number of companies, both local and global, have spoken out in opposition to HB 2. As of today, Durham's Fullsteam Brewery has joined those ranks and even gone a step beyond denouncing the discriminatory law. Fullsteam is a distinctly local operation; about 40 percent of its ingredients, from persimmon to honey to basil, come from North Carolina or the greater South. As owner of Fullsteam, Sean Lilly Wilson has often assisted with media missions that promote North Carolina travel and tourism, serving as an emissary for North Carolina craft beer. But today, Wilson announced on his personal Facebook page that he won't be doing...

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Timothy Neill Talks Why He's Closing Peccadillo and Bar Lusconi April 9

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 1:11 PM

Bar Lusconi and Peccadillo will both close their doors next weekend. The bars were two of the area’s best-kept secrets: Bar Lusconi was tucked away in downtown Durham with mysterious light bulbs (and, for a long time, no sign) in the windows. Peccadillo was a veritable speakeasy behind an unmarked Carrboro door. But running rather hidden businesses can be a double-edged sword: Both bars will shutter April 9 largely due to low traffic and financial difficulties. Timothy Neill, who owns both bars, says Bar Lusconi never recovered from the road closures of a water main replacement project, which have plagued...

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The New Raleigh Restaurant A Place at the Table Will Offer Pay-What-You-Can Meals

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 6:49 PM

In flash mobs, groups of people assemble, perform an unusual act for a short period of time, and then disperse. At one point, they seemed to be the new normal for the New Millennium. The phrase was coined in 2003, after technology paved the way for quick connection among thousands of strangers. But as the charm of coordinated dance routines wore off, something else, at least, remained: the allure of communities rapidly activated around a common cause. That’s what twenty-five-year-old N.C. State graduate Maggie Kane hopes she can accomplish with a series of pop-up meals meant to drum up excitement—and...

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Friday, March 25, 2016

A Brewery? A Taproom? A Bodega? Local Icon's New Little City Wants to Do It All for Glenwood South

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 3:41 PM

“I think I went underwater in November 2014," Jon Seelbinder says. "It felt like somebody was dunking my head in a pool." He's talking about the feeling of the exponential growth of what is now Local Icon Hospitality, the restaurant group that includes the Architect Bar, Greenlight, relative newcomers Level Up and Linus & Pepper's, and Virgil's Original Taqueria Taco Bar, which opens next week, and Little City, which launches next month. “We went from the Architect Bar and the Greenlight, and then all of a sudden, we've got three buildings and six concepts— seven if you include catering,” Seelbinder...

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Scott Crawford Will Leave Standard Foods in May, Nash Tavern Plans Scrapped

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 10:11 AM

Well that didn’t last long: Less than six months after the long-delayed but since-celebrated Standard Foods opened its doors near Raleigh’s Person Street, chef Scott Crawford is planning not only his exit at the restaurant but also the end of his partnership with developer and Standard owner John Holmes of Hobby Properties, which included a planned second restaurant. Crawford announced the decision to his staff Thursday afternoon. He will prepare his last menus and meals for the new Triangle food institution during the first week of May and plans to begin work on a new restaurant soon. “Every decision...

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Friday, March 18, 2016

All Next Week, Celebrate Escazu's Eighth Birthday in Raleigh

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 12:34 PM

Escazu has made its signature bean-to-bar chocolates, meticulous truffles, and delightful push-pops on Blount Street since March 16, 2010. The chocolatier originally opened February 7, 2008, on Glenwood Avenue, but because that birthday falls in the middle of the Valentine’s Day craze, Escazu instead celebrates its reopening date. For Escazu's eighth birth/reopening day, the chocolatier is going big. The company recently acquired another ice cream machine, more freezer space, and an oven. It’s the recipe for one very great thing: an ice cream sundae "bar," which the company will host from one to five p.m. on Saturday, March 26. Ice cream flavors...

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Raleigh's Tir Na Nog Makes a Comeback, Kind of, for a Final Hurrah Tonight

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 8:56 AM

We're still about a week and a half away from Easter, but there's already a resurrection ready for Raleigh. Tonight, Tir Na Nog will return to downtown in spirit, through a "pop-up pub" in Market Hall, just across Moore Square from the bar's original home on Blount Street. Beginning at 3 p.m., Tir Na Nog will be alive in spirit for a seasonal celebration. A clutch of artists who regularly appeared on the pub's stage—The Tan and Sober Gentlemen, Gerry McCrudden, and James Olin Oden—will perform, as will Wake and District Pipes and Drums and dancers from Inis Cairde Irish...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Raleigh's Death & Taxes N.C.'s Only James Beard Award Finalist

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 2:21 PM

A month ago, we were excited that a strong lot of Triangle-based chefs and restaurants had made it into the semifinal round of the 2016 James Beard Award nominations. But as of this afternoon, just one of the dozen or so North Carolina semifinalists made the cut to be an actual nominee. Ashley Christensen's Death & Taxes, which opened in downtown Raleigh last June, is still in the running for Best New Restaurant. It's among five other nominees in New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Austin, and Atlanta. Outside of the main restaurant-related awards, Durham writer and occasional INDY...

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cary's Bond Brothers Beer Is Now Open in Cary (Kind Of), So We Went

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 3:51 PM

The grand opening of Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary arrives April 2, with a performance by Chatham County Line. But if you don't mind a little construction detritus, you can enjoy some of its beer now. Joining the increasingly crowded Triangle beer-making scene, the new brewery has launched with a soft opening. Based on the size of Saturday afternoon's crowd, we've not yet reached the area's brewery tipping point: the stools along the unfinished bar were all taken during my visit, as were most of the tables that had been placed after being covered in tarps and painter's tape. It was...

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Fifteen Durham Restaurants to Participate in April's Bull City Vegan Challenge

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 5:47 PM

The Bull City Vegan Challenge will return to Durham for the fourth time in April. For a month, a record-setting fifteen chefs from around the city serve a vegan specialty that’s an addition to their general menu. Diners then cast votes about which kitchen came up with the most creative, delicious option in categories like best overall dish, best presentation, and best dessert. “Chefs compete.” explains the contest’s motto. “You eat!” This year’s participating cast is as surprising as it is intriguing. The seafood-specializing Saltbox joins the ranks, as do the upscale Italian eatery Gocciolina, the Peruvian-based Luna, and the...

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Friday, March 4, 2016

The Hibernian's Niall Hanley to Open Gigantic Food Court and Local Mall in Downtown Raleigh in 2017

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 5:26 PM

Hibernian and Raleigh Beer Garden owner Niall Hanley (who we profiled in August) is at last preparing to move on what may be his most ambitious project yet. Earlier this week, after a year of negotiations, Hanley signed a long-term lease for the fifteen-thousand square-foot-property at 411 W. Morgan St. in downtown Raleigh. During the course of the next year, Hanley will transform the former Jillian’s nightclub shell (which closed in 2006) into an indoor food court surrounded by a dozen or so separate kitchens and shared by local artisans and vendors. Hanley hopes to open the space in...

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Catherine - it isn't journalistic practice to include an entire interview in a reported piece, nor is it an obligation …

by Victoria Bouloubasis on With Berries in Demand, Local Co-ops Won't Budge to Support Driscoll's Boycott (Food)

I believe the response that would cater to "affluent consumer demand" would be to only stock local or non-Driscoll berries …

by Liz 1 on With Berries in Demand, Local Co-ops Won't Budge to Support Driscoll's Boycott (Food)

Victoria, Why didn't you post the whole letter carolyn wrote? You are not reporting the story fairly or unbiastly. Catherine …

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People who are boycotting Driscoll need to see the bigger issue here. The fact that there are labor laws in …

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Sorry I missed this. I worked 13 years part-time in pastry production at NSB and knew Jacqueline then (1985-1998). I …

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Catherine - it isn't journalistic practice to include an entire interview in a reported piece, nor is it an obligation …

by Victoria Bouloubasis on With Berries in Demand, Local Co-ops Won't Budge to Support Driscoll's Boycott (Food)

I believe the response that would cater to "affluent consumer demand" would be to only stock local or non-Driscoll berries …

by Liz 1 on With Berries in Demand, Local Co-ops Won't Budge to Support Driscoll's Boycott (Food)

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