Foodie News: Popular Raleigh restaurant opens second location

The Sesame Soba Noodle Salad at Buku.

By Sean Lennard, Triangle Food Guy

Raleigh, N.C. — Up in Wake Forest, John Huisman, aka Triangle Explorer, notified us via Twitter that the Bu.ku in Wake Forest opens today, April 20th. This first weekend of service will be via reservation only. Bu.ku’s original location is in downtown Raleigh and they have a sister restaurant, So.Ca, in Raleigh’s Cameron Village.

Wake County Restaurant News

Last week we told you that Buffalo Brothers Pizza & Wing Co. is moving into the former Outback Steakhouse location in Saltbox Village. This week we learned that they are looking at an opening as early as next month, with a soft opening on April 27.

In downtown Raleigh, at 222 Glenwood Avenue, the folks over at NC Triangle Dining noted via Twitter that Tapworks, a 50-tap, self pour joint is scheduled to open this summer. Don’t know about food, but…50 taps….Love their tag line – life is too short to wait on a bartender!

Out in Brier Creek, got word from reader Jeanette Hauser that Panera Bread is moving from their current location, across Glenwood into the former Johnny Carino’s spot. A drive-thru will be added.

Also in Brier Creek, a quick update that it is looking like early May for the opening of the latest location of Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken.

Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries opened their 94th location in North Carolina (8th in the Triangle area) this past week at 8440 Louisburg Road in Raleigh.

Up in North Raleigh, got word from reader Brian Hammill that Taziki’s Mediterranean Grill is opening in the old Pickled Onion space in Bent Tree Plaza at 7901 Falls of Neuse Road. This will be their third Triangle location (two in Cary) and first in Raleigh.

Over in Cary, things just got a lot sweeter. Mithai Indian Cafe, a dessert bar and cafe in Cary’s Chatham Square shopping center recently changed ownership and they are known for their locally made, artisan Indian confection. They pride themselves on the fact that they craft and sell Indian confections made the old-school way, with integrity and quality ingredients. Get familiar with them here, and then swing by the shop at 744 E. Chatham St.

Durham, Orange and Chatham Restaurant News

Carrboro’s YesterYear Brewery truly lived up to its name and is now a distant memory. The owners brought in new partners, a new experience, added a kitchen and reopened under a new name – Vecino Brewing Co. Celebrating their grand opening May 4-6 (they are already open), they will brew and serve award-winning craft beer and offer elevated taproom fare using local ingredients. They are located at 300 East Main St. next to Cat’s Cradle. Get familiar with the newness here.

Over in Chapel Hill, got a quick update from the folks at MidiCi Neopolitan Pizza that they are looking at June opening at the corner of Franklin Street and Columbia Street.

Last week we told you about the closing of Finch’s in Durham. We got a little more information on the shop coming into that space thanks to founder Brad Bankos. It will be called EastCut Sandwich Shop and they are targeting a mid-July soft opening. You can sign up for their latest news as well as find links to their Instagram and Facebook pages here.

Got word from reader Jeanette Hauser that O’Charley’s in Brier Creek will close on July 1.

​Food Trucks

The Knightdale Food Truck Thursdays went back in full swing last week. Trucks will be on hand for lunch and dinner each Thursday at the Knightdale Station Park. Get a full schedule and truck listing on their website here. Thanks to Mark Ginsberg for the heads up.

Two food truck rodeo’s in Chapel Hill on the same weekend! Saturday, April 21 will be Table’s Food Truck Rodeo at Orange United Methodist Church on MLK Blvd. from 3-7 p.m. And on Sunday, April 22 at noon is the Rodeo on Rosemary featuring 15 of the best trucks in the Triangle.

Two great sites to keep up with your favorite food trucks. Street Food Finder is one, and another, aptly named, is Roaming Hunger.


This Saturday, April 21st from noon until 6 p.m. is the 10th annual ‘Cuegrass Festival in downtown Raleigh in the Warehouse District (Harrington & Davie Streets) near The Pit. The event features the region’s finest pitmasters gathering for this daylong event where Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue is king. In addition to the delicious eats, guests can sample from a selection of local beers and enjoy toe-tappin’ bluegrass music.

The Third Annual Big Biscuit Showdown will be held Thursday, April 26 from 6-9pm at The Rickhouse in Downtown Durham. This unique food competition features teams comprised of Rise Biscuits & Donuts chefs and a local brewery or beverage company. Each Rise chef will prepare a special biscuit and donut with inventive toppings and fillings that will be paired with a local craft-made beverage. Tickets are $50 and available in advance.

North Carolina’s largest craft beer festival, Brewgaloo Beer Festival, returns to downtown Raleigh April 27 and 28. The weekend kicks off with the Friday Night Block Party from 6-10 p.m. Tickets to the block party are $45 (all you can sample!), but my readers can get them for $35 using the code "IKnowTheBrewer."

May 5th is the date for West Cary’s very own Fest in the West, a festival featuring food, beer, crafts, music and a kids’ zone. It will take place from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the USA Baseball Training Complex at 7445 Green Hope School Road.

This will be a cool experience. Chef/owner Sean Fowler of Mandolin in Raleigh will host a dinner on his family’s farm (truly farm to table) on May 6 at 5:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a farm-guided tour during cocktail hour, with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a wine-paired family-style meal featuring eggs and produce from his chicken coops and surrounding gardens at his childhood home at Mandolin Farm.

Want to enjoy food perfectly paired with some of the areas best brews among lions and tigers and bears…oh my? Well, maybe not bears, but lynxes and lemurs? Get tickets to the Conservators Center’s Lions, Tigers and Beer event to be held on May 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The event will feature six food and beer pairings from local chefs and breweries, as well as a walking tour. All proceeds from the event go to the Animal Care Fund at the Conservators Center. But hurry, only 80 tickets will be sold – $100 each or two for $180.

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Preview upcoming food festival Thrive NC

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Tickets have gone on sale for Thrive NC set to take place at downtown Raleigh’s City Market on May 10-11. The two-day event, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina will highlight the fact that 1.5 million people in the state struggle to buy affordable and fresh foods. A highlight of the event will be a two-day food festival featuring top chefs from 50 North Carolina restaurants serving food and drink samples against a backdrop of live music each night. All ticket sale proceeds will be donated to North Carolina nonprofits that address issues related to food insecurity.

Beer and Bacon Fest is May 19. Cary. Not much else needs to be said.

And the 2018 version of Farm to Fork expanded to three events over several seasons and tickets to all three just went on sale. The fun begins with the first event on June 3, the perennial favorite Farm to Fork Picnic, where the area’s best farmers and chefs are paired. Then on Sept. 16 they’ll host a pop-up dinner featuring Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea Underground & Catering. And the series will conclude on Dec. 6 with John T. Edge and a celebration of Southern food on Chapel Hill’s Lavender Oak Farm. You can buy ticket to each individual event, or all three.

The 2018 version of Chefs for Change, a fundraising dinner series that pairs the burgeoning Durham food scene with the needs of families experiencing homelessness, is well underway. The first two events (featuring Charlie Deal on March 12 and Scott Howell on May 14) have sold out. And if last year is any indication, the next two dinners will sell out quickly. The July 9th event features Phoebe Lawless (The Lakewood and Scratch) and the Sept. 10 event features Gocciolina’s Aaron Benjamin. Each night the chef will serve three or more courses at a ticketed dinner with the proceeds benefiting Families Moving Forward. The dinners are held at the Rickhouse and limited to 125 people.

Double Your Impact! Right now, you can make twice the difference for children and families facing hunger. Friends of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina will match every gift – up to $66,000 – until April 30. For every $10 you give, the Food Bank can provide 100 meals! Donate now!

Sean Lennard covers the Triangle food scene on his site Triangle Food Blog.

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