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New tapas in Durham from Mateo and Taberna; possible Larry's Beans coffee shop in Cary; bikeCOFFEE readies brick-and-mortar Cocoa Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham

Mateo and Taberna; Lawrence Coffee Bar; Cocoa Cinnamon 

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Durham's tapas thoroughfare is taking shape. Mateo (mateotapas.com)—a forthcoming project from Matt Kelly and the folks at Vin Rouge—has installed a striped awning on the front of the former Book Exchange building at 109 W. Chapel Hill St. And around the corner at 325 W. Main St., Taberna (tabernatapas.com) is now in its fourth week of business.

The narrow space that used to house Guajillos has been stripped down inside to create what owner Chris Estrada calls a "comfortable and casual [space] with a bit of elegance." A row of tables lines a brick wall where booths once stood, and a small black bar in one corner of the restaurant promises a solid list of Spanish wines, sangria and local craft beers as soon as Taberna receives its license to sell alcohol.

The restaurant is open seven days a week serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch: Monday–Thursday 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–10 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

"We'd like to be open later, and we'll adjust once we get our permit here," Estrada says.

Estrada choose to focus on tapas because he is attracted to the way in which small plates provide a "great opportunity for a feeling of community and sharing." Still, the restaurant offers a number of individualized items great for a quick lunch downtown—from pulled pork and grilled shrimp sandwiches to chorizo flat breads and roasted chicken wraps.

Plans now under way could create two more coffee shops in the Triangle. At its meeting on July 26, Cary Town Council will consider an option to lease the historic Jones-Foy House at 324 S. Academy St. to Larry's Beans (larrysbeans.com).

Built in 1896 and now part of Cary's historic district, the house was purchased by the town approximately six months ago. It will undergo renovations beginning this fall. Larry's Beans is being considered to lease the building from a number of business proposals submitted to the town earlier this year.

"I think it's a good addition to the downtown and will complement the [nearby] Cary Arts Center," says Ed Gawf, the downtown development manager for Cary. If approved by the Town Council, the coffee shop—slated as Lawrence Coffee Bar—would provide the first retail outlet for Raleigh-based Larry's Beans.

In Durham, Leon Grodski de Barrera and Areli Barrera de Grodski of bikeCOFFEE are working to complete their brick-and-mortar coffee shop: Cocoa Cinnamon (cocoacinnamon.com). With assistance from friends and local artisans, the shop is receiving final touches so that it may open in late August or the beginning of September.

"Next week, we're building tables," says de Barrera. "That's how we're getting this done. The good part is that it will be cool. The hard part is that it will take a little longer."

Cocoa Cinnamon plans to sell coffee, chocolate and tea at 420 W. Geer St.

Know of a restaurant happening or food event? Email food@indyweek.com.

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