Out and About at WRAL.com

— One of the hardest hit sectors due to the pandemic is the catering industry. But like everyone, caterers have adjusted, reinvented, shifted and pivoted. Two of our local major players have completely reinvented part of what they do. First up, Catering Works in Raleigh has a division now called Fig’s Market where you can get chef crafted heat and eat meals for contactless curbside pickup and delivery. You can customize your menu by choosing your side and salad. Meals are ready 48 hours after ordering. They have everything from featured specials, market delicatessen to plant-based, gluten-free, and pastries. You can even add beer and wine to your order! Check out Fig’s Market here.

And in Chapel Hill, The Catering Company of Chapel Hill launched a new business, Ghost Kitchen Eats. They are Chapel Hill’s first delivery-only restaurant group currently offering two “virtual restaurants” – Bistro 501 and The BBQ Co. of Chapel Hill. They opened this past Thursday, and are open for delivery Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Get all the details, including how to order, here.

Wake County Restaurant News

Raleigh Magazine and Raleigh Convergence brought it to our attention that A Place at the Table needs your support. For Raleigh’s pay-what-you-can downtown cafe to work, it needs the help of those who can purchase their meals. Before the pandemic, 70% of diners paid for their meals, now 20% do, and the demand is rising. So, if you were waiting for an excuse for one of their delicious cheddar biscuit breakfast sandwiches, you’ll be helping a neighbor, too! Vegan, GF options available. Visit them today.

Maggie Kane, founder of A Place At The Table has now moved operations outside during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are looking for a true New York deli and bakery you should head up to Wake Forest and see how Joe Leli and his team have gone back to Leli’s roots in New York. Leli’s Diner, now Leli’s Italian Eatery and Leli’s Market & Bakery, are two great New York classics in one spot – half a classic Italian restaurant with a wood burning oven, and half an Italian market and bakery. And all this just in time for Leli to celebrate 6 years in Wake Forest today (Sept. 4)! Go in and tell Joe that Triangle Food Guy sent you – and congratulate him on his anniversary! Look for things like “Skinny Italian Sausage,” breads baked fresh every morning, homemade pastries, and packaged fresh pasta options to take home with you. Take a peek at some of the pictures on Instagram here.

Love seeing partnerships between our local restaurateurs. Such is the case with Capital Club 16 and neighbor Lucettegrace in downtown Raleigh. Capital went live this week with their curbside pickup (Wednesday through Friday 11:30 til 7) and have partnered with Lucettegrace to provide some of their dessert options. Follow them on Instagram here.

And speaking of partnerships, the folks over at Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing are teaming up with Jake Wood and his team at Lawrence Barbecue to bring you Pop Up on the Patio on Mondays and Tuesdays. Jake and his team will be slingin’ some mouth watering ‘cue starting at 5pm. First come, first served! And don’t worry, the brews will be a-flowin! Check out their Instagram for details.

There is a new way to wake up in Raleigh as of this week! Idle Hour Coffee on Oberlin (around the corner from Mandolin) officially opened this past Monday, August 31st. They have specialty coffees, teas, baked goods as well as Vietnamese cuisine. Stop in and check them out! Follow them on Instagram here.

And if that isn’t enough great Java news, Eat Raleigh shared the news this week that Iris Coffee Lab in Glenwood South has announced they are opening Sept. 12 at 725 Tucker Street. Follow them on Instagram here.

We are just over a week away from the Burrito Shak swinging open their doors on Saturday, September 12th at 2982 Kildaire Farm Road (near the intersection with Penny Road) in the ACE Hardware Plaza. Get to know them here.

Also in Cary, David McCreary notified us that Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, a Delaware-based fast-casual restaurant chain, will open a new location in Cary’s Waverly Place soon. The sign is on the building. Until then, get familiar with them here.

Looking for 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

Big news coming out of Hillsborough thanks to a tip from our friends over at Taste Carolina. Apparently the folks at Panciuto have been working behind the scenes during all this on a new project called the Hillsborough Bake Shop that they are launching on September 8th. It will be a tiny neighborhood bakeshop, offering pastries, tarts, and pies for weekly pickup. Check out the pics on their Instagram feed to get your mouth watering.

And equally eye-opening news coming out of Chapel Hill – Caffe Driade is officially reopening on Tuesday, September 8th at 8 a.m. Their new hours are Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Curbside pickup and outdoor seating will be available. Visit them here.

And in Durham, RalToday shared that the taproom at Flying Bull Brewery is now open with outdoor seating. They are located at 752 Ninth Street in Durham and offers “community focused” crowlers and beer packages to-go. Visit them on Facebook here.

And great news for gluten-free diets thanks to the folks over at Makus Empanadas. They announced this week that they are now offering frozen gluten-free empanadas and chipa bread to take home, bake and enjoy. Order through their website or app where they are available for next day pick up Monday through Friday.

Closings / Cancellations

Got word from one of our loyal readers that Orange Leaf in Holly Springs closed permanently on Sept. 1.

And it was announced on their Facebook page that Bottle Rev in RDU would close their doors on September 25. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are 4 other locations – Lake Boone and Lead Mine both in Raleigh, as well as in Chapel Hill and Apex. Visit them here.

Food Trucks

Food Truck Flix is a recurring event that combines drive-in movies with food trucks, for a safer entertainment experience just announced their schedule for the upcoming weekends (Friday and Saturday nights). The events will be taking place at Frontier RTP, 800 Park Offices, Durham, and at Focus Church, 7000 Destiny Drive, Raleigh. You can purchase tickets in advance for any of the drive-in movies. The price is $25 per car. Of course, you’ll also want to bring money for the food trucks.

rtp food truck rodeo

Find and stalk your favorite food trucks with Roaming Hunger and Street Food Finder.


It is back! The N.C. State Fair is bringing some deliciousness to the end of your summer with more Drive-Thru Fair Food Days this Saturday, Aug. 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and this Sunday, Aug. 30, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Remember, cash only. Enter the fairgrounds parking area off Trinity Road and order from your car. Please remain in your vehicle. Servers will come to you. Keep up with future dates on their Facebook page here.

Here is a great cause to get behind. The Sola Hot Mini 5k, now in its seventh year, has been converted to a virtual race on Sept. 19! All proceeds raised will be donated to help in the fight to end ALS. Get all the details and register here.

Ashley Christensen Restaurants is now doing Picnic Pop-up at the Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art. You order your picnic ahead of time and pick it up on Saturday and Sunday from noon til 7 pm. Order ahead here and get contactless pick-up at the Blue Ridge Patio at the East Building.

Alley Twenty Six, one of Downtown Durham’s staple businesses, announced a weekly outdoor pop-up event titled “Alley Freezes Over” happening every Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting) from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. It continues throughout the summer and early fall. The pop-up includes new frozen cocktails and the choice of “boozy” or alcohol-free snow cones using their local, all-natural Alley Twenty Six syrups, plus a revamped food menu from chef Carrie Schleiffer. Seating will be available outside, in the namesake alley (26 Alley) located directly adjacent to the cocktail bar and will be following safety guidelines, including mask wearing, practicing social distancing, and sanitizing surfaces between guests. Visit them here.

Harvest Dinner, Raleigh City Farm’s annual fundraising event to celebrate a successful growing season, has a new format this year! Harvest Dinner “At-Home Edition” is a four-week series of take-home Sunday dinners featuring amazing local chefs: Cheetie Kumar of Garland on Oct. 11; Coleen Speaks of Hummingbird on Oct. 18; Caroline Morrison of Fiction Kitchen on Oct. 25; and Andrew Gravens of A Place at the Table on Nov. 1. The event series helps support the farm and local agriculture as well as the local restaurant community. For more information, visit here.

If there is any good to be found in the pandemic (there really isn’t!) it might be the resurgence of drive-in and outdoor movies! Some are your traditional drive-in/car venues, while others are outdoor spaces in the grass with market off “spaces” maintaining safe physical distancing and some even involve watching a movie with baby goats! (I’m serious) Our friends over at Triangle On The Cheap have a great list of drive-in and outdoor movie options for you and your family. Of course, bringing food or ordering food on site makes it that much better! Check out their complete listing of options here.

Drive-in theatre

Food Bank Corner

COVID-19 and the impact will be with us for a long time and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina stands ready for the challenge – but they need your help! Here’s how you can help:

DONATE FUNDS. As we shift our inventory and operations to meet the ever-changing need as well as prepare ourselves for Hurricane Season, funds are the resource we need most. Financial donations allow us to stay nimble, to change our operation as needed, and to reach new people with our efforts.

INVOLVE FRIENDS. Want to mobilize your neighborhood, church group, or other circle of friends? Holding a Virtual Food Drive is a great way to help – while practicing social distancing. We even re-launched our Virtual Food Drive platform. Visit foodbankcenc.org/vfd to set yours up today.

USE YOUR VOICE. Research the policies that impact hunger and speak out! Contact your state, local, and federal representatives to let them know policies like SNAP, TEFAP, and WIC need to be strengthened in order to break the cycle of hunger and help relieve families of the burden of hunger. Visit foodbankcenc.org/advocacy to learn more.

DONATE TIME. The Food Bank greatly relies on our volunteers, especially in times of crisis. If you are a healthy adult and want to volunteer, you can self-schedule a shift here. #noonegoeshungry

Sean Lennard owns Triangle Food Guy, the only locally owned and operated corporate catering website, TriangleFoodGuy.com. As a native of Raleigh, Sean 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.

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