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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Alternative lender Merchant Cash USA names Raleigh as America's top food-truck spot. LOL.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 9:54 AM

Merchant Cash USA—an alternative lender with 1,234 Facebook "likes" as of this morning and, as best I can  tell, no credentials in the food-and-beverage industry at all—has named Raleigh, North Carolina, as the top spot for food trucks in America, just ahead of Portland, San Antonio, Washington, D.C. and, well, everywhere else in the country. The list is getting some media attention, too, with Time Warner Cable News even airing a segment about it.  Slow clap, everyone. While the Triangle's food-truck scene has certainly exploded in recent years, and while Raleigh's downtown food truck rodeos are crowded enough to look like...

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Triangle Restaurant Week, Night One: Making the most of Mez

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 4:26 PM

I must confess: I have avoided Triangle Restaurant Week since I first heard of it several years ago. To me, the entire affair smacked of an amateur-hour prix fixe circuit, appealing to those who might visit a new or expensive restaurant only for Thanksgiving or Valentine's Day. Like New Year's Eve and Halloween, it's a time for infrequent revelers, not discerning imbibers.  But this week, I decided to approach the event with a different, refreshed attitude. With almost 100 restaurants participating across the Triangle, I have the opportunity to explore restaurants I've been meaning to try or that weren't even...

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Talking Triangle Restaurant Week, which starts Monday, with Kelly Stewart

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 6:02 PM

For more than a decade, Triangle Restaurant Week has aimed to give area eaters access to a plethora of local restaurants for a reasonable prix fixe rate. For the ninth anniversary, which begins today and runs through Sunday, a record-setting 97 eateries are set to participate, with hopes of passing the 100 mark next year. I spoke with Kelly Stewart of the marketing agency Triangle Blvd, the organization that produces the event, to talk about participation, return on investment and quality control for Triangle Restaurant Week.  The INDY is also sending a food writer to Triangle Restaurant Week each day, so...

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Carrboro's Southern Rail to reopen with barbecue restaurant CrossTies, The Station to remain a music venue

Posted By on Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 5:36 PM

At the end of December, Carrboro's Southern Rail closed hastily after many months of money troubles. Community members  mourned the loss of its Station, especially, a hub for free music and rowdy, low-frills fun. Today, Andrew Moore, owner of the nearby restaurant Venable, announced his plans for the spaces that The Station, Southern Rail and The Tiger Room all called home. Moore's new establishment will be the barbecue-focused CrossTies. (A train joke!) Moore, who owns both Venable and B-Side Lounge in Carr Mill Mall, says a lack of Carrboro barbecue and the space's history inspired the new direction. "We saw a need,"...

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Poole's Diner named in Eater's National Top 38 restaurant list

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 1:58 PM

Poole's Diner has joined another elite cast: Esteemed critic Bill Addison named chef Ashley Christensen's Raleigh flagship to Eater's second-ever National Top 38 restaurant list. It is the only North Carolina restaurant to earn the honor, which aspires to answer the question that drives Addison's work: "'What is essential dining?" "Poole's is one of the South's great modern restaurants," Addison told the INDY. "The restaurant's macaroni au gratin may be its most famous dish (every time I'm there I spot people ordering only it for dinner), but beyond that decadent icon, the menu revolves with the seasons in precise, always-appealing ways." Christensen...

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Picking up the Picnic: On the road with Wyatt Dickson, as he buys the cookers for his new barbecue joint

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 9:04 AM

Barbecue man Wyatt Dickson stands in an aisle at Tractor Supply in Hillsborough. He’s searching for the right pintle hitch so that he can haul a 12,000-pound trailer to Elm City, a little hamlet outside of Wilson. There, he will retrieve the two 2,500-pound BBQ smokers of which he’s dreamed. His highly anticipated new Durham barbecue joint, Picnic, opens at the beginning of February, and it's time to install the centerpieces. First, he has to get them. Today, Dickson is behind schedule and not even sure the store has the hitch—the first small snafu of the day's many. “Turkey nuts!”...

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ponysaurus named in Food & Wine's list of hot trends for 2016

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 2:48 PM

Food & Wine restaurant editor Kate Krader has included Durham's Ponysaurus Brewing Co. in her 2016 food trend predictions story. Based on a recent visit, she hailed the Hood Street taproom as a "next-level brewpub" that offers creative snacks to complement its craft beer. Krader especially liked the crunchy dried okra, one of about a dozen snacks kept in temptation-inducing glass jars and sold for a buck a scoop. "The dried okra is my favorite, too," says Ponysaurus partner Nick Hawthorne-Johnson. He selects the assortment of nibbles, which currently includes another of his favorites, Bugles, the cone-shaped corn snack. "It's...

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Friday, January 15, 2016

North Carolina wins big at the Good Food Awards

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:00 PM

It’s been a good year for Goat Lady Dairy. In July, the Climax farm's creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chevre and semi-soft Providence brought home awards at the annual American Cheese Society competition. In September, the family institution celebrated its 20th anniversary. By the end of the year, extensive renovations on the 42-acre farm allowed the creamery to increase cheese production by more than 50,000 pounds. And today, Steve Tate and Alexander Kast—lead cheese maker and sales manager at Goat Lady Dairy—claimed two Good Food Awards in San Francisco for their Lindale and Providence cheeses. The Good Food Awards honor outstanding American...

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Help Top of the Hill catch a boozy bandit

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Identify that (presumable) fratty bro, win free beer! Yes, another Triangle culinary caper occurred this weekend, this time at a downtown Chapel Hill staple, while Ashley Christensen's cooker remains on the loose. Just before closing time on Saturday night, a young man in a striped collared shirt yanked three taps from behind the bar of The Great Room, the event space owned by brewery and restaurant Top of the Hill, resulting in damages to the bar and neighboring property. Top of the Hill is one of the state’s first microbreweries, serving “craft beer and justice,” according to its Facebook post about...

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

No, WTVD, restaurants aren't closing because of changing Raleigh ordinances

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 3:17 PM

Last night, Raleigh television station WTVD 11 published a story lamenting the rash of restaurant-and-bar closings in downtown Raleigh of late. Fair enough—I’ll miss The Borough, too. But reporter Anna Laurel—with help from the story’s only quoted source, Shop Local Raleigh director Jennifer Martin—stepped beyond mere eulogy to suggest that these closures stem from new Raleigh DrunkTown-related ordinances concerning noise, parking and public alcohol consumption. And while those issues will require adjustments from current and future downtown bars and restaurants, none of the businesses she’s lamenting closed for any of those reasons at all. Not one! In her fearmongering report,...

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Joule's new family-style series takes you on a geographical dining tour

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 2:41 PM

It may be a long way from high-end pour-overs to red sauce, but Joule's chef de cuisine, Sunny Gerhart, says he is "looking forward to sharing something new each month with the community"—yes, including red sauce for meatballs. This week marks the beginning of a dinner series at Joule, Ashley Christensen's popular coffee shop and brunch spot. The series is Gerhart's pet project. The menu will have a different theme each month. In January, the menu features old-school Caesar salad, meatballs and sausage in red sauce, butternut squash and mushroom lasagna, wilted greens and toasted garlic and garlic bread. Next month's...

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East Durham Pie Company teams up with Ponysaurus for a pop-up pie shop tonight

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 2:23 PM

Ali Rudel continues to take steps toward opening a storefront for East Durham Pie Company—this time, steps down the block from her home to Ponysaurus Brewing Co. "I'm doing a series of Pop-Up Slice Shops to give folks an opportunity to grab a slice at a local business they already visit and love," says Rudel, recently profiled by the INDY. "This is just the first of many. I've reached out to several local Durham businesses to partner with them to sell slices on a single day over the next few months." Rochelle Johnson works at Ponysaurus, which her husband, Nick Hawthorne-Johnson, co-owns....

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Guglhupf update: Back in the food donation business

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 3:45 PM

This morning, The INDY reported that Durham's popular Guglhupf restaurant, bakery and cafe was looking for volunteers to deliver day-old baked goods to people in need. As it turns out, on a day when executive chef David Alworth was emotionally  wrecked — as we all are — by the death of David Bowie, there was some good news too. By early afternoon, someone stepped up to fill the void that was created when TROSA stopped making daily surplus food pickups at Guglhupf, after many years. After Monday's blog piece ran, the calls and emails started coming. "I had a dozen...

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Be on the lookout: Ashley Christensen's cherished, charity-contributing cooker stolen from Raleigh lot

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 10:04 AM

This morning, Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen learned that one of her prized cooking possessions was missing from the gated-and-locked lot of Aux, her Raleigh restaurant group's commissary kitchen near Capital Boulevard.  The cooker was a gift from Nick Pihakis, the Birmingham, Alabama-based barbecue master, in celebration of Christensen's James Beard Award win in 2014. Its original design came from Sam Jones, the North Carolinian responsible for Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden and, now, his own Sam Jones BBQ near Greenville. But Christensen says the theft is about far more than a missing piece of property, as she uses the cooker...

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Borough steps out, Hadley's steps in: The owners behind a Raleigh restaurant switch discuss what's next

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 9:11 AM

A pioneer in downtown Raleigh nightlife is shutting its doors, as owner Liz Masnik sells The Borough to pursue a passion for saving animals. The Borough will remain open until the end of January. On Feb. 1, it will begin the transformation into Hadley's, closing for approximately a month of renovations before reopening the first week of March. A sandwich-and-soup shop with cocktails, Hadley's will aim to retain some of The Borough's best traits.  Opened in 2006 at the corner of Morgan and Dawson streets, The Borough has long been a popular hangout, thanks to a casual, familial atmosphere and...

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Crook's Corner Book Prize goes to New Orleans novelist

Posted By on Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 1:41 PM

Tom Cooper of New Orleans has won the 2016 Crook's Corner Book Prize for his debut novel, The Marauders. The third-annual award, which recognizes outstanding first-time novelists whose stories are set in the South, was announced last night by writer Lee Smith during a reception at Crook's Corner, apparently the country's only restaurant with its own book award. Smith selected the book from a short list of four finalists culled by a board of Chapel Hill literati. The Marauders is set in the Louisiana bayou during the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. The compelling tale made Cooper...

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Monday, January 4, 2016

The Hive quits buzzing to make way for the Belgian beer-focused Mash & Lauter

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 4:28 PM

Only a few weeks after opening the second, expanded location of Trophy Brewing Company, Chris Powers and his business partners David Meeker and Woody Lockwood are already feeling restless. Over the weekend, they announced that The Hive, upstairs from the group's Busy Bee Café in downtown Raleigh, would close. (Contrary to a Triangle Business Journal flub, Busy Bee itself isn't closing.) In its place will be Mash & Lauter, a beer-focused restaurant with a menu built around Belgian brews. Mash & Lauter diverges from Trophy and the crew's other beer business, State of Beer, with this regional specialty. Powers estimates Mash &...

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Drink this beer: Aviator's Night Jump Imperial Stout

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 2:28 PM

As the inky blackness slowly filled my glass, my anticipation level rose even faster. Fuquay-Varina's Aviator Brewing announced this week that it would release a limited amount of its barrel-aged Night Jump Imperial Stout to market, and I and countless other stouts lovers immediately began haunting local bottle shops in a desperate search. At last, I had found it. What's the big deal, you ask? There are hundreds of stouts. True, but Night Jump is one of Aviator's rare brews. It isn't in regular rotation, and it isn't even a “seasonal” produced once a year. But it's not just scarce, it's damn...

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Trophy Brewing's larger second location on Maywood Avenue opens Monday

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 11:24 AM

After outgrowing its nanobrewery almost as soon as it opened three years ago, Raleigh’s Trophy Brewing Company is finally unveiling its sprawling new location next week. Located in a 28,700-square-foot warehouse at 656 Maywood Ave., Trophy’s brewery and taproom will open Monday, Dec. 21, at 3 p.m., with 12 beers on tap. The taproom is phase one of a larger project, which will eventually include a restaurant that's connected to the brewery by a beer garden. Construction on the restaurant will start early next year, but for now, food trucks will replace the pizza Trophy’s patrons came to love at...

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Durham's Loaf helping to launch new bread cookbook

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 4:51 PM

Ron Graff was surprised when he received an email from Zachary Golper, owner of Brooklyn's renowned Bien Cuit bakery. "We knew of them, but I don't think they knew of us before reaching out to the Bread Bakers Guild of America," says Graff, owner of Durham's Loaf bakery. Golper was looking for top artisan bakeries nationwide to help promote the release of his new book, Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread, by baking and selling featured loaves well outside of Brooklyn. Having just received a fresh supply of North-Carolina grown buckwheat from Carolina Ground—and with the blessing of his staff—Graff...

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Slingshot Coffee offers a different sort of big-box relief for December

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 2:39 PM

We all know that winter is coming, but gray skies and dropping temperatures have little impact on consumers who prefer a glassed of chilled coffee to a mug of hot java. Jenny Bonchak of Slingshot Coffee Company is counting on those dedicated fans from Massachusetts to Florida to make the Raleigh's business' seemingly off-season debut—a new, 64-ounce container of cold-brewed coffee, with its own tap—a success. Packaged like boxed wine, Slingshot's new format holds four times as much coffee as their 16-ounce bottle. And at around $15 for the box and $4-5 per bottle, it's value packaging that will a stay...

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Parlour continues its dessert flights series next week with East Durham Pie

Posted By on Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 10:42 AM

There are few certainties in life, but this is sure: A really great slice of pie can improve almost any situation. Combined with an amazing scoop of ice cream? Now that's real power.  The Parlour, Durham's ice cream mecca, will celebrate such a marvel at 6 p.m. Monday in a collaboration with East Durham Pie Company. Tickets for timed seatings are required for the event, which includes a four-part flight of desserts for $12. Ali Rudel launched East Durham Pie Company only in October. She learned her craft a decade ago while working at Four & Twenty Blackbirds, whose owners, Emily and...

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

On North Person Street, the former PieBird space will soon yield two new storefronts

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2015 at 1:49 PM

Renovations will soon get underway at 618 and 620 North Person Street, a divided commercial property in Raleigh that formerly was home to the restaurant PieBird. Having previously designed upgrades of spaces that are now Person Street Bar, Edge of Urge and Lumina, Matt Konar can arguably be called the architect of the new North Person look. He confirms that he is working on plans for the building. Konar declined to name his client, but state records show that the property was sold in 2014 to North Person Street LLC. Alkesh Shah is listed as the sole member of the...

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Daniel Whittaker's big plans for Person Street Pharmacy's cafe

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 2:35 PM

If it wasn't already clear from chef Scott Crawford's opening of the long-awaited Standard Food, the success of Oak City Cycling Project or the existence of So & So Books, last week's announcement by New Raleigh of new ownership of the cafe at Person Street Pharmacy makes it clear: The North Person sector near downtown Raleigh is suddenly one of the city's busiest zones. Daniel Whittaker of Green Planet Catering has taken the reins of the cafe, which was renovated and reopened just a few months ago by Chad McIntrye and Craig Rudewicz. If you don't have your notes handy, Rudewicz...

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Amante Pizza's Michael Villopoto launches a new food show to highlight local restaurants

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 2:07 PM

Michael Villopoto loves food. His life revolves around eating, making and selling it. As the owner of the Amante Pizza franchise, which started in Carrboro almost 15 years ago, Villopoto has long worked in the restaurant business.And now he has a new food-related venture—a weekly YouTube show called 3 Hungry Guys. It aims to highlight local restaurants that are “off the beaten path that people might not know about,” says Villopoto. Villopoto and a crew of five employees began filming the show in July and debuted five episodes at the end of October. “It’s like a local version of Diners, Drive-ins...

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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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