Foodie news: Durham restaurant serves sushi on conveyor belt

September 8, 2017

It is getting closer and now (before it is too late) is the time to get your tickets for Terra Vita Food and Drink Festival held over four days October 18-21. Celebrating their eighth year, TerraVita has grown into a multi-day celebration that brings together top chefs, food artisans, sommeliers, baristas, brewers, educators, distillers, cookbook authors and industry luminaries from across the Southeast to celebrate culinary excellence and sustainability in food and drink. Their truly is something for everyone - seven different events over four days. Go. To something. To everything! Thank me later.

Saw on the Food Cary blog that Kale Me Crazy has opened its first location outside of Georgia at Waverly Place in Cary. Congrats to owner Jeff Hutto. If you are not familiar with the concept, it is a superfood café offering juices, smoothies, salads and wraps in a sleek, upscale environment. Check them out on Facebook here.

Also on the Food Cary blog they noted that Lenny’s Grill and Subs, formerly known as Lenny’s Sub Shop, is opening its first stores in the Triangle with an expansion into Cary, Raleigh and other surrounding cities. They haven’t identified their Cary location yet, but they already have locations in Asheville and Charlotte.

A quick update on last week’s news down in Holly Springs where the former Ricci’s space became Springs Pizza & Wings, which closed to become Sunset Lake Bistro which never happened. Well, Derek Wilkins (of The Butcher’s Market) informed me that it will be Cristo’s Pizza, which has a location in Raleigh’s Quail Corners shopping center. No word on a timeline.

In the ITB Insider Update this week they noted that work is now underway in north Raleigh’s Brennan Station on Creedmoor Road on a deep-dish pizza chain called Nancy’s Pizza (no relation, I don’t think, to Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane). We don’t have a firm opening date yet.

Good friend Aziz Carrell told me about a new sushi place in Durham called Rockin’ Rolls Sushi Express located just off 15-501 on Hillsborough Road (the shopping center with Chick-fil-A) that just opened. Basically it is an all-you-can-eat conveyor belt sushi experience featuring 50 different sushi offerings. If you see something you like, you can take it directly from the belt. The cost? $10.99 per person (less for children)! In addition, they offer salad and dessert. It’s not a new concept, but it is definitely new to our area.

Got word from Mike DePersia that Blackfinn Ameripub in Morrisville’s Park West Village closed on Sept. 3.

Food Truck Thursdays are back in Knightdale. Every Thursday from September through November, Knightdale hosts a new truck at Knightdale Station Park for lunch and dinner. Just look for it from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm near the amphitheater (rain or shine - shelters are covered). Thanks to Mark Ginsburg for the heads up.

Art Sheppard notified me that Chapel Hill is bringing back the Rodeo on Rosemary. It will be held on Nov. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. (also same day as the Durham Rodeo…decisions, decisions).

And the food truck rodeos in Durham and Raleigh are back in full swing. The next Durham rodeo is Sunday, Sept. 3. Check out the Durham dates here and the Raleigh dates here.

Beericana Craft Beer and Music Festival is tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 9) and will feature 70 breweries, 16 food trucks and thousands of beer lovers.

Join host chef Teddy Diggs of Il Palio at the Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill on September 14 for Festa Italiana, a Friends of the James Beard Benefit Dinner. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. on the terrace with hors d’oeuvres, games of bocce and a silent auction. Dinner begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Il Palio dining room and is followed by a live auction. Tickets are $185.

Pittsboro’s annual PepperFest will be held on September 24 at the Great Meadow in Briar Chapel. PepperFest is a celebration of local food made by local chefs and food artisans featuring 40 different kinds of locally grown peppers prepared in hundreds of creative ways.

On Oct. 12, the local chapter of the March of Dimes will bring back their Signature Chefs Auction. The gathering of talented chefs from around the Triangle will be held at The Garden on Millbrook beginning at 6:30 p.m. A full list of chefs will be released soon. Get all the details on their website here.

The Underground Kitchen hosts its second pop up dinner in Raleigh on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. Attendees will experience the great outdoors and a deliciously rustic, multi-course dinner in a wilderness-within- the-city locale. Virginia-based celebrity chef J. Ponder will pull out all the stops with a flavorsome exploration of aged meats, time-tested techniques, and truffle wine pairings!

On Sunday, Sept. 10 from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Raleigh’s Mandolin Restaurant will hold their second annual BBQ Fundraiser to benefit the Interfaith Food Shuttle. It will be held across the street from Mandolin at the corner of Fairview and Oberlin Road. They will have live music and lots of great food and drink prepared by chef Sean Fowler which has been donated by Cheney Bros. food distributors, Topo distillery, Locals Seafood, Videri Chocolate, Neuse River Brewing, Lynnwood Brewing and Mandolin Sauces.

Relish Craft Kichen & Bourbon Bar will host their 2nd Annual Mac & Cheese Throwdown for Hope on Sunday, Sept. 17 from 6-9 p.m. Benefiting the Hope Center at Pullen, the event features chefs from around the Triangle showing off their “mac and cheese” talent. They will have a bartender competition as well. Tickets in advance are $25.

Mix 101.5 will host their Savor the Triangle event on Wednesday, Sept. 20 to benefit the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. It will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Kerr Scott Building at the NC State Fairgrounds. Over 20 restaurants (so far) are participating.

Also on Sept. 10, the Leonard-Mobley Small Farm Fund will host their 4th Annual Dinner in the Meadow benefit hosted by WUNC’s Frank Stasio and featuring dishes prepared by Triangle area and regional chefs. Held in Franklin County, the dinner is $100 per person.

Celebrate all things pork at The Root Cellar’s 6th annual Porkapalooza on Friday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. From country-fried to country ham and everything in between, this evening will be sure to invigorate your taste buds. Tickets are $50-$55.

The owners of Al’s Burger Shack, Mel’s Commissary & Luncheonette and Italian Pizzeria III are teaming up to host a special vegetarian Italian wine dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. Dubbed Caffe Marrone, the six course meal will feature Italian favorites paired with wine for $50 (not including gratuity). The dinner will be at Mel’s at 109 West Main Street in Downtown Carrboro.

On Oct. 8 from 1-4 p.m., TROSA will hold their BBQ & Friends fundraiser. Co-presented by Nana’s Scott Howell and Sysco Raleigh, this fun, family-friendly event will feature music, games, make-and-take crafts with The Scrap Exchange, and an amazing sampling of food from the Triangle’s most beloved chefs from Nana’s, Nanataco, Rise, Foster’s Market, The Original Q-Shack, Saltbox Seafood Joint, Mateo, Piedmont Restaurant, The Lakewood, Sage & Swift, Watt’s Grocery, J. Betski’s, Rue Cler, and more.

Sip and Savor will take place on Oct. 15. At the event all three levels of the Durham Performing Arts Center will be filled with dishes by renowned chefs from across North Carolina, paired with world-famous wineries from across the globe. Sip and Savor is brought to you by the producers of Bull City Food & Beer Experience and TASTE events to benefit Keep Durham Beautiful.

Also on Oct. 15 from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., TABLE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to feeding local hungry kids, will host their annual fundraising Empty Bowls dinner at Carrboro’s Weaver Street Market, featuring live music along with a hearty meal of soup, bread and dessert. Guests who purchase a $30 ticket will also take home a locally made pottery bowl. Tickets: $15-$50.

Looking ahead to November, there are two events of note and both are on Nov. 5. First up is the 27th annual A Tasteful Affair at The Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium where 500 guests will enjoy delicious samples from more than two-dozen of the area’s best restaurants, catering companies, beverage purveyors and food trucks - all to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. Details and tickets here.

On Nov. 4, it is one of my favorite events of the year - the 5th annual Salt & Smoke Festival, where chef Kevin Callaghan and his team from Acme capture a perfect autumn day in the South with bluegrass, whole hog barbecue, oysters on the half shell and local drinks - so many rich traditions rolled into one singular and spectacular celebration at Rock Quarry Farm. This is a “don’t miss” event.

Our friends at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina will be holding a Students Against Hunger food drive from October through December for schools in the area. Participants in the Students Against Hunger campaign collect food and funds from October 2 through December 2. Competing schools must deliver their donations to our warehouse by noon on Saturday, December 2. There are lots of creative ways for your child’s school to participate. Register your school and get all the details here.

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