— Traditionally it is just the weekdays when RTP is buzzing and full of life. That is about to change this weekend with the opening of the much-anticipated Boxyard RTP this Saturday, June 5th. The new dining spots debuting this weekend are Lawrence Barbecue and Buzzy Bakes (bake shop) along with retailers Medicine Mama’s Farmacy and Thirteen West. The doors officially open at 11 a.m. It has been a long time coming. Look for Beyu Caffe, Bulkogi, Carrburritos, Fullsteam Brewery, Lagoon Bar, Meat & Graze, RTP Uncorked and Wonderpuff to be added in the coming months. Follow Boxyard RTP on Instagram here.

Wake County Restaurant News

A local Raleigh legend returns later this month. WRAL reported that Players Retreat will reopen on Wednesday, June 23 after more than a year of being closed. While the restaurant will reopen with indoor and outdoor dining, only fully-vaccinated individuals will be able to dine inside. Check out more of the changes at the PR on their website here.

Players Retreat

Over in Cary, Raleigh Convergence noted that Bulkogi, the Korean BBQ truck, now has a permanent location at Bond Brothers’ new Eastside location. They noted that the menu is also unique to this location. Follow them on Instagram here for additional details.

Up in north Raleigh, reader Katie Flanagan Page notified us that she spotted a sign at 13100 Falls of Neuse Road (same shopping center as Town Hall Burger & Beer and Barrel Culture Brewing) for a spot called Poblano’s. At this point we don’t know much more, and whether it is connected to the Poblanos food truck. Stay tuned. Let us know if you find out more Katie!

And on Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street, Michael DePersia of DePersia & Associates informed us that Hibachi & Co. is now open in the former Jimmy Johns spot (2316 Hillsborough St.). They have locations in Chapel Hill and Fuquay-Varina. Get to know them here.

A shout-out to my friend Rick Perales and his team at Seaboard Cafe in downtown Raleigh (this weekend would be a great time to visit Logan’s for your landscaping and gardening needs and a great meal at Seaboard) as they celebrate 30 years in business! This is a tribute to their great food, atmosphere and hospitality. Congrats Rick! Visit Seaboard Cafe here.

Looking for all the outdoor dining options in Downtown Raleigh? 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

Thanks to a Facebook post by Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook founder Carrie Brogren, we learned that Mosaic Cafe & Bistro will begin taking reservations next week for their opening on June 16. As you will remember, Mosaic is the reopening of the former Provence on Weaver Street in Carrboro. Brogren shared that during the day, it will be a café and pastry shop specializing in baked treats and in the evenings it will transform into a modern, casual tapas-style bistro. Follow them on Facebook for any additional announcements and/or changes.

My Twitter friend @BurgeoningBaker notified us that a Popeyes is coming to the parking lot in front of the former ToysRUs at South Square in Durham. This will only be the second Durham location (Guess Road). Nothing else to report at this time. You know what to do. Visit Popeyes here.

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

I’m sad to share the news that the 7th Annual Dinner in the Meadow to benefit small farms has been postponed until 2022. However, you can still contribute to their small farm fund here.

Food Trucks

Durham Central Park will host a Taste of Soul NC Food Truck event on Saturday, June 5th from 2-7 p.m. Look for 5-6 food trucks to participate. Get all the details here.

Here are a couple of sites to find and stalk your favorite food trucks here and here.


Today, Friday, June 4, from 7-10 p.m., The Raleigh Times and The Morning Times (on Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh) will host a special First Friday Market featuring live music, local beer, pizza (free slice if you are vaccinated) and vaccines available for those that want/need one (Moderna & J&J). Get by tonight! Visit them here.

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance is bringing back their extremely successful Dine Out Downtown program that they began last year. This Saturday (June 5) from 5-9 p.m. This weekend’s focus will be on Glenwood South. Complimentary parking is available throughout downtown. Get all the details and see which restaurants will be participating here.

You may remember that in 2018 Cary started the Pimento Cheese Festival and expanded it in 2019. And we all know what happened with the entire year of 2020. Well, 2021 will see its return, but with a twist. Taste of Pimento Cheese will run from Friday, June 4 through Sunday, June 13 with participating restaurants creating new dishes that feature pimento cheese and adding them to their menu. People who order the pimento cheese dishes will not only get some great food but also receive a Taste of Pimento Cheese collectors pin. In addition to the restaurants, Grazin Gals is creating special Charcuterie boxes that feature two types of pimento cheese and many other great items. These boxes will be available to order and picked up at one of the Cary breweries (Bond Brothers, Fortnight, Cotton House, Brueprint Cary location) or the Downtown Cary Farmers Market on June 12. Get all the information on the individual dishes to come here.

Triangle Restaurant Week returns June 7-13 where over 40 participating restaurants will offer special 3-course menu options at a fixed price ($15-$35). No tickets required. See participating restaurants and get all the details here.


Downtown Durham Inc. announced that The Streetery will return on June 12 at Brightleaf 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 and they will announce the location for each Saturday. Get all the details here.

Created on the North Carolina Food and Beverage Podcast, ‘Bubbles and Brisket’ is a collaboration of chefs, pit-masters, wine producers and sommeliers, pairing sparkling wine with a variety of cooking techniques and side dishes that feature everyone’s favorite: brisket. The event will take place on June 26 from 2-6 p.m. at V Pizza on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. The event will feature brisket by: Toriano Fredricks of Boricua Soul; Carrie Schleiffer of Alley 26 and Crooks Corner; James Johnson of Skippers; Marc Russell of Longleaf Swine BBQ; Kyle Sutton of Butts for Babies; Anthony Rapillo of V Pizza; and Derek Wilkins of the Butcher’s Market. And bubbles by: Triangle Wine Company; Vintage 59; Broadbent Selections; and WineSellers. Tickets are $65 and you can get those and all the details here.

Jennifer Martin over at Shop Local Raleigh/Greater Raleigh Merchants Association reached out to me to let us know that they are holding NC Hops Festival on June 12 and 13 at the NC State Fairgrounds where they will have live music, food trucks, local vendors, and of course, unlimited sampling of NC beer, cider and hard seltzer. The event will be indoors and out. Get tickets and all the details here.

Durham Summer, a 4-day wine and food festival will debut this year July 1 through July 4. The event will showcase the contemporary cuisine, music, and independent arts in Durham. Tickets grant you 20% off participating restaurants, access to exclusive tasting and pairing events and all the entertainment. Visit their website to see a list of participating restaurants and other activities 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.

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. And Brewgaloo scheduled for Sept. 17-18 in downtown Raleigh.

Food Bank corner

When 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!

Sean Lennard, a Raleigh native, has been around the Triangle food scene for…well, a long time, but professionally since 2002 with the the Triangle Food Blog, formerly known as Friday Fun Food Facts, in 2008. You can find his blog here. And you don’t have to wait until Friday for updates as you can follow Sean throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter.