New triangle restaurants

RALEIGH, N.C. — There is a cool new spot to enjoy coffee in north Raleigh. Located in the 5401 North Neighborhood (think intersection of 540 and 401), Smooth Joe Coffee is now open at 5321 Tin Roof Way where they are serving up great coffee, pastries and more as they have brought on a chef to whip up new offerings of yumminess (including gluten-free options). The space is warm and inviting and a great place to hang out with friends. It is just a few doors down from Heyday Brewing. Get to know them on Instagram here and Facebook here.

Wake County Restaurant News

Giorgios Bakatsias has a busy 2023 planned with three new restaurants coming on line in January alone…and we have opening dates for two of those, both located in North Hills. First up, Giorgio Pizza Bar will open on Tuesday, Jan. 10. This Italian pizzeria and bar will serve chef Jefe Lubiano’s sourdough pizzas, handmade pastas, and local meat and seafood dishes. Next up will be Spanish eatery Las Ramblas opening a week later on Jan. 17. The tapas restaurant will pair North Carolina seafood and pork with authentic old-world Spanish ingredients under the direction of Rosewater executive chef Brian Jenzer and partner Laszlo Lukacsi. Get to know Giorgio Pizza here. And Las Ramblas here.
Up in north Raleigh, reader Burke Williams pointed out that Raleigh is getting a KPOT Korean BBQ and Hot Pot at 3105 Capital Blvd. If you are not familiar with them, KPOT is a unique, hands-on, all-you-can-eat experience that merges traditional Asian hot pot with Korean BBQ flavors. No word on an open date. This will be the first Triangle-area location. Get to know them here.
There is a new watering hole over in Cary. The folks over at NC Triangle Dining brought it to our attention that Graffiti, featuring a street art-inspired cocktail bar, sports on 19 TVs and six axe-throwing lanes, has opened on Cedar Street (158 E. Cedar Street to be exact). Get by and check them out!
Also in Cary, NC Triangle Dining pointed out that La Victoria Cocina Mexicana, an offshoot of Sanford’s Fonda Lupita, has opened at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Weston Parkway in The Arboretum. They are serving lunch and dinner seven days a week. Get familiar with them here.

One final note in Cary, reader Andy Siouville tipped us off to the fact that the former First Citizens Bank on Kildare Farm Road in Cary in the Millpond Shopping Center is going to become a Chipotle with a drive-thru. Andy saw the “news” of the plans on the Cary permitting site, and he noted that renovations look to be in the early stages. Thanks for the tip Andy!

While in Morrisville on New Year’s Eve, my “man around town” Glenn Gillen was dining at Mekong (2121 T.W. Alexander Drive in the Alexander Village shopping center) and noticed a vinyl sign hanging in front of the building indicating that they are rebranding from Mekong to Bonjour Banh Mi and Tea. He said the owner noted that they make everything in house including baking their own bread. It was unclear when the transition would be completed, but Glenn noticed the receipt already had Bonjour on it. Visit them here.
At Raleigh’s NC Museum of Art, the newly remodeled NCMA Café in the West Building will have their grand opening on Saturday, January 14th. The Winter menu will feature some intriguing small bites and Southern inspired entrées incorporating beef, seafood, poultry and vegan/gluten free selections. Sustainably grown family estate wines will also be available, primarily Old-World selections. Enjoy chef Rick Sloan’s rotating culinary collection featuring signature dishes like – Cider Glazed Chicken or Carolina Classics Catfish Farro Bowl. The coffee lounge will feature barista-crafted beverages for a quick pick me up. Visit them here.

Durham, Orange & Chatham Restaurant News

The B-Side Lounge, located just behind Venable Bistro in Carrboro’s Carr Mill Mall, posted this week that they have re-opened, having closed temporarily in March, 2020 due to Covid. The lounge features craft beers, inspired cocktails, curated wines and shared plates in a cozy space. Get familiar with them again here.
Last week we shared that Vivian Howard had planted one of her Viv’s Fridges in Raleigh outside Wine Authorities. We learned shortly after that that she has also placed one in Durham at 2501 University Drive, outside of Wine Authorities‘ Durham location. We apologize for missing that last week. Get all the details here.
Also in Durham, Twitter buddy BurgeoningBaker shared the news Isaac’s Bagels is opening a brick and mortar in the summer/fall 2023 at 1003 West Chapel Hill Street in Durham’s West End. They say that you can expect: bagels (duh!), bagel sandwiches (hot and cold!), sweets (more than ever!), coffee (locally roasted!), and many more things they haven’t figured out yet. Follow their progress on Instagram here
Thanks to a tip from my friends over at Bites of Bull City, we learned that we are getting close to the opening of The Waiting Room in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus. This week they had two nights of test runs. What is The Waiting Room? It is a crafted cocktail and small plates concept slated to open in January where you can hang out before or after you dinner reservations at nearby restaurants. When they open they will be open five days a week Tues.-Thur. 5pm-12am and Fri.-Sat. 5pm-2am, moving to seven days eventually. Learn more about them and keep up with opening announcements on their Instagram page here.

Closing / Cancelations

Neha Shah shared that Copeland Springs Farm & Kitchen has closed their kitchen doors. The farm continues to thrive, and look for the future to hold catering, special events and pop-ups.

Food Trucks

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 is the January, 2023 edition of First Friday in Downtown Raleigh. First Friday is celebrated on the first Friday of each month where art galleries and studios are open late with rotating exhibits and artist talks. Exhibitors feature artists, music, and special offers. Retailers and restaurants can offer discounts and specials. There’s something and somewhere for everyone. First Friday is free and open to all. Get all the details here.
And looking to continue dining outside even as the temperatures start to drop? No problem. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has compiled a list of restaurants in downtown Raleigh keeping you warm all-year long! Check out that list here.
Cooking for the Kids (formerly Cooking for a Classic) is back and is accepting applications from local chefs to join in this fun, friendly chef competition to help raise money for food insecurity. The event is held at 1705 East in Raleigh, and chefs prepare three, small-plate courses using secret ingredients. Guests and culinary judges decide who advances to the next round for a chance to win $10,000! If interested, please reach out to Brooke here. Visit here for all the details.

Food Bank Corner

Looking for an easy way for you and/or your office to make a HUGE DIFFERENCE in people’s lives this Holiday season? Host a VIRTUAL Food Drive! Forget the hassle of a trip to the grocery store for your next food drive… create a food drive without the heavy lifting using our Virtual Food Drive, and maximize your donation times five! For every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide FIVE meals! You can make a difference in your community by hosting a Virtual Food Drive for your friends, family members, or coworkers. It is easy! Start here. #noonegoeshungry

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