What’s on the horizon for the Triangle’s dining scene in 2017? Food halls, and much more

Across the Triangle, 2017 will be the year of the food hall.

Two food halls are slated to open by the spring, and two more are in the works. By early 2018, each of the Triangle’s major cities will be home to a food hall or market.

In downtown Raleigh, Niall Hanley, who owns the Raleigh Beer Garden and Hibernian pubs, hopes to open the Morgan Street Food Hall & Market by late spring in the former Jillian’s space on West Morgan Street.

So far, Hanley said, potential vendors could offer sushi, burgers, poke bowls, coffee, cheese, charcuterie and more. He also noted that they are looking to partner with a local co-op or market to manage a retail area that would offer local and regional food products.

Also in Raleigh, developer Jason Queen is converting the old Stone’s Warehouse on East Davie Street, near Moore Square, into Transfer Co. Olde East. The 42,000-square-foot building will offer production and retail space for local food businesses as well as a test kitchen, grocery store, cafe and urban farms. Queen said the first tenants are to expected to start building their spaces this fall, and the entire space should be open by March 2018.

Chapel Hill’s Blue Dogwood Public Market is closer to opening and will likely open this spring in a part of the old Fowler’s grocery store between Franklin and Rosemary streets.

Kelly Taylor, one of the owners, said the market will be home to several businesses, including her Italian bakery, Pizzelle. Others include former Carolina Inn executive chef James Clark’s seafood stall, Hook & Larder; Left Bank Butchery in Saxapahaw; a juice and smoothie bar from Cold Off the Press owner Amir Sadeghi; Chocolatay Confections, which sell at the Durham and Chapel Hill farmers’ markets; Vegan Flava Cafe, which already has a Durham location; and Soul Cocina, which will sell Latin American vegan foods.

In Durham, the Durham Food Hall will open in the Reuse Arts District at the Shoppes at Lakewood this fall.

New projects

Beyond food halls, 2017 will see expansions or new projects by a trio of established bakery owners.

Most exciting is the news from Phoebe Lawless, owner of Scratch Bakery in downtown Durham. This spring, Lawless will open The Lakewood, a full-service, 90-seat restaurant and bar with a rooftop terrace serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The Durham building, at 2022 Chapel Hill Road, eventually will house a second Scratch Bakery cafe and a wholesale production bakery to supply baked goods to restaurants and retailers.

This new restaurant gives Lawless, a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist, a chance to stretch her culinary muscles in a way that the Scratch kitchen did not allow.

“I wanted to create a neighborhood restaurant that essentially extends what we’ve been trying to do at Scratch, but we haven’t had the space there to do it,” she said. “We’ll take advantage of the proteins and fish that we really can’t do out of the small Scratch kitchen, while being more vegetable-forward and continuing to embrace what we can source locally and regionally.”

Guglhupf’s Claudia Kemmet-Cooper, who has owned the German bakery and restaurant in Durham since 1998, is expanding to Chapel Hill. She hopes to open the 1,250-square-foot retail bakery in the Eastgate Shopping Center by April. This is what Kemmet-Cooper always had envisioned for her business: a main production bakery with satellite retail spots.

“The big thing is we’re finally doing it,” she said last week.

Cary’s La Farm bakery is opening a production facility at 220 W. Chatham St. in downtown Cary this year, which eventually will include a small retail bakery and cafe. Until then, the La Farm Bread Truck will be parked outside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, serving coffee, hot chocolate, pastries, sandwiches, soups and breads.

This is far from a complete list of new restaurants opening in the Triangle in 2017. But here are some highlights on the horizon for the dining scene:

Raleigh, Cary

On Jan. 23, Vidrio, a stunning Mediterranean restaurant owned by Lou Moshakos, the longtime Triangle restaurateur who founded the Carolina Ale House franchise, will open on the first floor of Raleigh’s 500 Glenwood Ave.

By the end of January, the Busy Bee Cafe in downtown will be transformed into Trophy Brewing Tap and Table, which will offer meats cooked on a rotisserie and a selection of tacos. Despite the #savethetots social media campaign, the tater tots will not be on the menu, co-owner Chris Powers said.

Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins, the owners of Raleigh’s bu.ku hope to open Soca, a new Caribbean and Central and South American restaurant, in the former Faire space in Raleigh’s Cameron Village shopping center by early February. The pair also plans to open a second bu.ku restaurant in Wake Forest, near Rogers and Heritage Lake Roads, by June.

Tulum, a new Mayan restaurant, will hopefully by late January or early February in downtown Raleigh, on the first floor of the Duke Energy building on Fayetteville Street.

Bida Manda’s owner Van Nolintha will open Bhavana, a combination brewery, florist, bookstore and dim sum restaurant, in the former Tir Na Nog location on South Blount Street by the end of February.

Chef Sunny Gerhart said he hopes to convert the former Joule space on Raleigh’s Wilmington Street to St. Roch Oyster + Bar by early March.

Over on Hillsborough Street, Bob Jewett, owner of Bocci Trattoria and Pizzeria in Cary and Durham, is opening a third location in the former spot for Porter’s Tavern and later McDaids. Jewett, an N.C. State University graduate who got his start in the restaurant industry at the beloved Two Guys Pizza, said he hopes to open by early April.

By May, the owners of Pho Nomenal Dumpling food truck hope to open a brick-and-mortar location: MOFU Shoppe, a 3,000-square-foot space at 321 Blount St. in Raleigh’s City Market.

Coleen Speaks, owner of Posh Nosh Catering, had to move her catering kitchen to the Dock 1053 complex at the corner of Whitaker Mill Road and Atlantic Avenue. Beyond the catering kitchen and an urban event space, Speaks also plans to add a small cafe offering sandwiches and to-go food. In 2018, she hopes to turn a nearby steel building into a bar and restaurant.

In Cary, Pizzeria Faulisi is slated to open by mid- to late February. This project is the work of Zach and Amber Faulisi; Zach most recently worked as chef de cuisine at The Durham Hotel.

Next door, chef Richard Procida is planning to open Pro’s Epicurean Market and Cafe, a market, cafe and wine bar, by mid-April or May at 211 E. Chatham St.

Chef Regan Stachler, who owns Little Hen, a farm-to-table restaurant in Apex, plans to open a fast-casual eatery in downtown Raleigh this spring.


Maybelle, the new barbecue and biscuit restaurant from the folks behind Tyler’s Restaurant & Taprooms, is expected to open by mid-February at the American Tobacco Campus. Co-owner Tyler Huntington said he and business partner, Daniel Kulenic, who put on the annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience at Durham Performing Arts Center, are also considering doing more special food and beverage events in Durham this year.

Over on Chapel Hill Street, Shannon Healy, owner of Alley Twenty Six, expects to open the expanded part of his cocktail bar to add a full kitchen by the end of January. Healy, the longtime bar manager at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill before he opened this Durham cocktail bar more than four years ago, is working with chef Carrie Schleiffer to produce a food menu with cocktail pairings. The expansion also doubles the space of the bar, adds table seating and provides a space for private events and cocktail classes. Previously, bar patrons enjoyed charcuterie, cheese plates and bar snacks that didn’t require a stove, oven or fryer to prepare. Now Schleiffer says she will use that kitchen to produce upscale bar food. Healy said: “We want to offer more things that our customers want.”

Gray Brooks, owner of Durham’s Pizzeria Toro and Littler, is opening a diner, the Jack Tar, named after the former motor lodge that is being transformed into the Unscripted Hotel in downtown Durham. Brooks hopes to open the 75-seat food-focused diner serving breakfast all day, as well as lunch and dinner by late spring.

Chef Matt Kelly, owner of Mateo and a partner in Vin Rouge, is hoping to transform the former Fishmonger’s restaurant into Saint James, a seafood and oyster house, by June.

Chef Michael Lee, who owns M Sushi and M Kokko, has plans to continue his M restaurant franchise. By the end of the year, he is trying to open M Kogi and M Taco. Unlike most Korean restaurants, M Kogi will not have tables with grills; instead it will offer counter seating with a long continuous sandpit on which live wood fire will be used to cook the meats. Beef and pork will be served with traditional Korean sides and pickled vegetables. Meanwhile, M Taco will offer simple tacos – and only tacos – with various meats and fermented vegetables with soft corn tortillas.

Cocoa Cinnamon is adding a third location near the Lakewood shopping center. The 2,900-square-foot building at 2013 Chapel Hill Road be a coffee shop and roastery. Owner Leon Grodski Barrera said they hope to open by the end of the year. One highlight: they will serve made to order churros.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s