Out and About at WRAL.com

Out and About at WRAL.com

The News & Observer’s Drew Jackson shared the news this week that the team behind Benchwarmers Bagels and Jubala Coffee will open Bright Spot Donuts at The Junction at Five Points located at the corner of Carson Street and Sunrise Avenue (1501 Sunrise Avenue). The building was originally built in 1954, but just enjoyed a complete renovation. Look for them to open by the end of the year. While there is not much up on their website just yet, might be best to follow their Instagram for coming announcements. You can also check out The Junction at Five Points site to see the completed renovations.

Wake County Restaurant News

RalToday shared this morning that MidTown Pho, an authentic Vietnamese restaurant and bar, has opened at 424 E. Six Forks Rd (near the intersection with Wake Forest Road). The restaurant combines family recipes with options for everyone, including an entire vegetarian section. The owners are also behind Glenwood Avenue restaurant Sushi O Bistro & Bar. Visit them here.

A quick update. Got word from Alice Golas that Woody’s Sports Tavern & Grill is supposed to open this month at their third location in Grace Park in Morrisville (former Trali space). Not sure if they will hit that target, but we are definitely getting closer. Their other locations are in Cary and Raleigh’s City Market. Keep up with any announcements here.

Originally founded in Durham, Makus Empanadas shared the news this week that they are opening a second location in Raleigh (the other location in Raleigh is inside the Morgan Street Food Hall). This second Raleigh location will be on NC State’s campus beginning Aug 16 where you will be able to order on Grubhub and pick up within the Brickyard Pizza venue. Read about the addition here. They still have their original location in Durham’s Hope Valley Commons at a second Durham location at Duke Hospital. Visit Makus here.

Looking for all the outdoor dining options in Downtown Raleigh? The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has put together a great list of those options, and they even divided it up by district. Check out that list here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

Press, the European-inspired coffeehouse, creperie, and cocktail bar in downtown Graham, will open a second location, this one in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus, on Wednesday, July 28th. Press will be open for weekday breakfast and lunch and weekend brunch where they will be serving coffees, crepes, salads, sandwiches and craft cocktails, all inspired by Europe while highlighting local ingredients. Best to follow them on Instagram here.

Over in Carrboro, the Triangle Business Journal shared the updated news that Grata Cafe will be opening next month (August) in the old Elmo’s location at Carr Mill Mall. The Italian fast-casual eatery will be serving up Italian classics and inspired dishes cooked from scratch. Visit their website to keep up with the latest and any pending announcements.

And here are a couple of wonderful resources for those looking to dine in downtown Durham or downtown Chapel Hill – Downtown Durham Inc. has an up-to-date listing of the status of each restaurant in downtown Durham. Check out the list here. And the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership has put together a similar list for Chapel Hill here.

Closings / Cancellations

Not really a closing, but rather a “not coming” — the News & Observer (which I saw over on RalToday) reported that the highly anticipated Wyatt’s Barbecue is no longer coming to Gateway Plaza shopping center (think Union Special). While a bummer for Raleigh, a trek to Durham is not asking too much. Check out Picnic here.

And David McCreary shared that Peruvian restaurant Marco Pollo at 1871 Lake Pine Drive in Cary has closed. A sign on the door today read as follows: “Unfortunately Marco Pollo is now permanently closed due to a health condition of the owner.” On a positive note, another sign on the same door indicated that a Vietnamese eatery called Bee BanhMi is coming soon to the location. Check out more info here.

Food Trucks

They are back! The Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo returns with their evening event on Sunday, August 1st from 3 to 9 p.m. (subsequent ones are on Sunday – September 26th, 12-6pm and Sunday – November 7th 12-6pm). Get a list of the trucks and all the details here. And the Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo will make its return on Sunday, September 5th (Labor Day weekend) from 12 noon until 4 p.m. Find out which trucks will be there and all the details here.

Looking to find your favorite food truck (or stalking them and simply don’t want to have to admit it)? We understand. Find them on Street Food Finder here.


This Friday and Saturday (July 23 & 24) Apex Sunrise Rotary is proud to present the 9th Annual Bone Suckin’ Sauce Peak City Pig Fest, which is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), the nation’s leading BBQ sanctioning body. 42 cook teams will compete for more than $12,000 in prize money cooking chicken, ribs, beef brisket and pork. The Bone Suckin’ Sauce Peak City Pig Fest is the one of the top KCBS-sanctioned event in North Carolina. Get all the details here.

A congratulations to my friends over at Full Bloom Coffee in historic downtown Garner (141 W. Main Street) as they celebrate 4 years this Saturday, July 24 from 5 – 8 p.m. The event will feature food trucks (Fired Up Pizza & BBQ and Mr. Poblanos Tacos), a pop-up market, music and $4 draft beer. If you haven’t been to Main Street in Garner, it is worth the trip to enjoy this beautiful little gem in the Triangle. Get all the details on their Facebook page here.

For the month of July, Capital City Clauses is hosting Give Back Days leading up to their Jingle in July event on July 29th at the Raleigh Beer Garden. During the month of July you can enjoy great specials from the following establishments: Goodberry’s Frozen Custard, PDQ, DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli, Two Roosters, Raleigh Beer Garden, Neuse River Brewing & Brasserie, and Barrel Culture Brewing and Blending. Get all the details on Give Back Days and each establishments deal here. Proceeds from both events go towards Capital City Clauses’ mission of enriching children’s lives with hope, cheer and joy.

Downtown Durham Inc. announced that The Streetery will return Saturday, July 24 at Main & Parrish with added outdoor seating and buskers. Join them from 12 – 9 p.m. to shop, carry out, dine in or dine out. The Streetery happens on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Get all the details here.

You are going to want to put August 5th on your calendar as Chef Tracy and his team at Sitti will host an event called Sitti Soiree. The event will be from 6-9 p.m. in their hidden courtyard (The Jiddi Space & Courtyard) just behind the restaurant — a really cool space if you have never been. There you will be able to experience a unique blend of Lebanese and French culture for a rendez-vous with an array of bubbles, burgundies and bordeauxs. It will feature a five-course Lebanese dinner with an amuse-bouche prepared with a French flair and exclusive French wines, hand-picked by the connoisseurs at Queen of Wines. Get tickets and all the details here.

Over a 24-hour period on August 11th and 12th the folks over at Rocky Top Catering are looking for about 120 volunteers over 4 shifts to help out at meal packing events to partner with Overflowing Hands and Kids Around the World to pack 130,000 meals to feed undernourished families in Nicaragua. This is a great opportunity for families, companies, friends and youth groups. Visit this site for all the details and to sign-up to volunteer.

RalToday shared that Raleigh’s International Food Festival is returning to City Plaza on Sat., August 28 from 12 noon -10 p.m. The festival features a variety of international food, beer and wine, as well as international performers. Admission is free. Get all the details here.

You might want to go ahead and plan on spending your Labor Day weekend in Pinehurst for the inaugural Pinehurst Barbecue Festival – a three-day event, staged in and around the historic Village of Pinehurst from September 3-5, 2021. The event will offer a unique culinary sampling experience of various barbecue meats and traditional sides. Choose to experience the entire three-day festival, or attend just one signature event. A multi-ticket VIP package, as well as individual tickets for each event are available. The pitmaster lineup includes: Ed Mitchell, The Preserve (Raleigh); Christopher Prieto, Prime Barbecue (Knightdale); Adam Hughes, Old Colony Smokehouse (Edenton); Joe Lumbrazo, Backyard Bistro (Raleigh); and Ashley Sheppard, Pik N Pig (Carthage). Get tickets, schedule and all the details here.

Get ready for the seventh-annual WRAL.com Voters’ Choice Awards! Each year, your nominations and votes help WRAL recognize local favorites. Mark your calendars because the nomination period will begin September 13! Get all the details here.

Our friends over at RalToday pointed out a few events you might want to go ahead and get on your calendar. So exciting to think of some of our favorite events actually happening in 2021! First up, Raleigh Veg Fest 2021 originally scheduled for April 4 has moved to October 31 in downtown Raleigh’s Moore Square. Details here. And Brewgaloo is now scheduled for September 17 & 18 in downtown Raleigh. Details here.

Food Bank Corner

While school is out, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina knows families struggle to keep food on the table. Budgets for so many families are already stretched thin from the pandemic, with job losses and hours being cut. Thankfully, our generous corporate and individual donors are matching gifts up to $132,000! Every $10 you give can help provide 100 meals… feeding twice as many kids, teens, and families in need. Can you chip in? Click here if you can!

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