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May
18

IKEA Confirms Cary Town Center Plan

Today IKEA confirmed plans to bring a store to the Cary Town Center property. Back on November 7, gogoraleigh posted thoughts on how the building could sit after demolishing parts of the failing mall. Today’s announcement shows a conservative mallotomy, placing the building on the axis of Cary Town Boulevard.

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The entrance will be in the upper left bleb of the long face, just above the “I” in the IKEA label. The building’s proximity to the mall is fairly interesting, though. While it will be adjacent to the ball, most certainly there won’t be an access point from the mall into the store. Some reports also are mentioning a 2-level parking garage in front of IKEA.

The store is slated to open in the Summer of 2020. The only interesting question remaining is whether or not Cary Towne Boulevard will be renamed IKEA Boulevard since the store would have no interstate frontage.

Apr
22

Take an Amtrak Getaway to…Durham

20150925-448Looking for an adventurous weekend getaway? One option many haven’t considered is right under our noses: taking Amtrak to Durham. My wife and I did this urban excursion back in the Fall and had a fantastic experience. Not only were we able to take an unfamiliar mode of transportation and avoid heavy traffic, but we were able to explore a culinary playground for what felt like the first time. Our one-night excursion included a night at the incredible 21c Hotel, drinks in the 21c’s bar, dinner at Mateo, and late-night drinks on the roof of The Durham Hotel.

So packing your rolling suitcase! Here’s how to do make it fun and easy:

Amtrak

Taking the train to Durham made the trip really feel like we were getting away from it all. Had we driven, it would have felt like just another trip to Durham. Amtrak is scheduled to leave Raleigh each day at 4:50pm and the fare is $9 per person.

Parking is less than ideal at the Raleigh train depot. Though it is free, the lot is very small, and overflow means parking on the street. The alternative is departing from Cary where the terminal is spotless, parking is outstanding. The train leaves at 5:03pm each day from Cary, and fare is $6.50 per person.

The problem with departing from Cary, though, is that you skip the great experience of leaving from downtown Raleigh. You definitely want to sit on the right side of the train, because the views as you depart downtown Raleigh, passing by the new train depot construction site, through NCSU, by the backs of Hillsborough street businesses, and by the NC State Fairgrounds, is superior to that on the left side of the train.

It should be noted that Amtrak runs late the majority of the time. Thankfully they have an outstanding phone app which accurately reports the train’s status. It is a must when traveling on Amtrak.

Usually this train doesn’t sell out, so you can buy a ticket at the depot upon arriving. Seating on the train is general admission, though, so it does help to be first in line at the designated steps when the train is loading. All seat rows have a standard pair of electrical outlets under the window, and the seating dimensions are similar to those in First Class on a large airplane. Baggage is loosely stored overhead, not checked.

if the train is running late, you can walk across the tracks to visit Videri Chocolate Factory or Boxcar Bar + Arcade. CAM is also an option on some days, as they are open until 6:30pm on Wed-Fri. If you are in Cary and the train is late, consider visiting the shops in the Ashworth Drugs block.

Hotels

20150925-464Durham has three outstanding hotels: The Aloft, The Durham, and the incredible 21c Hotel. The latter two hotels are just two blocks from the Amtrak station, while the aloft is adjacent to the DPAC, essentially 4 blocks away. The scheduled arrival is 5:24pm, so you should have plenty of time to check in and prepare for dinner.

The Aloft– As with most Aloft hotels, the rooms are modern, certainly adequate, but not high end. This location just opened 6 months ago, and I’ve heard a good first hand report about the couple’s stay. Rooms are usually $160 per night.

The Durham Hotel – Set in an old office building that looks like it came out of 1960s Miami, The Durham delivers a high end experience in incredibly minimalist rooms. Nightly rates begin at $290.

20150925-454The 21C Museum Hotel – Named as one of the best new hotels in the nation in 2015, the 21c is set in the 1930s era Hill Building, Durham’s tallest. The public areas of the building have been converted to a restaurant, a bar, and several rooms of museum space. The front desk area is tucked away on the second floor, but that only ads to the intrigue of the place. The rooms are large, and terrazzo floors and rugs, modern furniture, and neat lighting. The bathrooms look like something from a Stanley Kubrick movie, glowing fuchsia backlighting around the edges of the mirror. Very sexy. Rooms at the 21C begin at $240. Note: the hotel has a construction site across the street, so request a room on the west side of the building if you can.

Make no mistake, these are three high fashion hotels. The 21C has a spa and workout room. The Aloft is the only one with a pool, but it is very small. The Durham has no similar amenities. This is the area where these three hotels are sorely lacking, honestly.

Dining

20150925-470There are some outstanding dining options within a four block walk of these hotels. We walked 2 blocks to Mateo, the creation of James Beard award-nominated chef Matt Kelly. The dinner was impressive, which comes as no surprise given the reputation of the restaurant. Last week Alton Brown gave high praise on Facebook, calling Mateo America’s best tapas restaurant. As of now, you can still have a decent choice of times on Open Table one week in advance.

20150925-467Over at The Durham, James Beard award-winning chef Andrea Reusing’s new lobby-filling The Restaurant has received high praise from the highest of area food snobs.

The 21c’s Counting House restaurant, Pizzeria Toro, Rue Cler, Piedmont, Dashi, Bull City Burger and Brewery, and Dos Perros are all excellent dining choices as well.

Bars

Our “pregame” events included cocktails at the excellent bar in the 21c. We were able to peruse the art gallery; a wonderful experience. After the meal at Mateo we made our way two blocks to The Durham’s rooftop bar. Views here are very good, and it gave us a chance to experience the neat, quirky aspects of this hotel project. The atmosphere at the top was certainly the most Glenwood South-like experience of the evening, however.

20150925-478Some other good bar options inside the Durham Loop are Alley Twenty Six, Bar Virgile, and Arcana Bar and Lounge.

Entertainment

Admittedly, our trip was a food-based one, however there are some great entertainment options in downtown Durham including a DPAC or Carolina Theater event, a Durham Bulls game, or even a public event at the American Tobacco complex. While these are great options, the Amtrak factor must not be forgotten. Many of these events begin before 8pm and given Amtrak’s history, it could put a squeeze on dinner plans or even jeopardize seeing a ticketed event. If you anticipate dinner and one of these events, prepare to compromise by abandoning the Amtrak option in the afternoon and just drive it.

Safety

One of the reasons this getaway is an adventure is that Durham is not the safest place on the planet. In fact Durham County is one of North Carolina’s three counties with a higher violent crime rate than any county in New Jersey. Its rate is 2.5X higher than Wake County’s.

I have had no problems, however my sister and her date did have a scary incident. On a warm night this winter, between the 21c and Mateo, they approached an oncoming group of about 20 young black males who, from across the street, yelled at them, mocking them as racists and making lewd suggestions. There were no other people around to help had the group decided to cross the street and be violent.

The streets are dark in downtown Durham, and sometimes are quiet. In 4 nights of going out inside the Durham Loop, I have never seen a police officer. While the crime rate inside the Loop is probably not nearly as high as the county’s rate, the people creating that rate are not far away. This needs to change, now. Downtown Durham is poised to be the next Big Thing in the nation, as long as people feel safe. The population on the street is changing this spring, however, as the general population walking around patronizing businesses on a given weekend night is steadily increasing during warm weather nights.

Return Trip

There are two options for your return trip on Amtrak; 9:42am and 2:42pm. The early train is good for those who need to get on back to Raleigh, but the afternoon train is the way to go. Regardless, check the Amtrak app upon waking and see how the trains are running. (we made the mistake of hurrying to the station only to learn that the early train was delayed 2 hours).

Lunch

There are some great lunch spots in downtown Durham. The most popular is Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, reported to be “the real deal”. Another great option, however, is Parker & Otis, which is 2 blocks west of the Amtrak station. P&O is a great café and gift shop like none in Raleigh.

Some other excellent lunch options include Toast, Old Havana Sandwich Shop, Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas, Pizzeria Toro, Dashi, Bull City Burger and Brewery, and Dos Perros .

* * *

Sometimes we all need a getaway. Unfortunately we find ourselves turning to the same old options, many of which involve multiple-night stays and a considerable amount of difficult driving. However random adventures can be just as exhilarating. Consider a great option that is right in our backyard; the Amtrak Getaway to Durham.

20150925-481

Apr
18

Publix Coming to Downtown Raleigh

According to trusted sources it appears that Publix will be the major tenant to the Kane Realty project coming to N. West St. in downtown Raleigh. The site, currently occupied by the ThemeWorks and Southland Ballroom, is zoned for 12 stories. So, perhaps, a mixed use project with a ground or second-level grocery is planned.

The site is in an area of NW downtown set to see some major changes. With the NCDOT bridge project set to offload Capital Blvd to eastbound Peace Street traffic via Johnson Street (pdf plan), we are set to see a major amount of redevelopment happen between Capital Blvd and the railroad tracks. Publix will be a perfect fit for this project.

Map picture

Oct
01

Oktoberfest Coming to Booth Amphitheatre This Weekend

oktoberfestOne of Cameron Village and North Hills’ great traditions from yesterday was Oktoberfest. Hark! the event lives on now at Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre. The event begins Saturday and will feature entertainment, a variety of German foods, biergarten, football-viewing tent with TVs, sanctioned beer-judging competition and more. The schedule for the two-day event is as follows:

Saturday, October 4

  • Noon – Gates open with Chuck Piercy as emcee; Kinder Platz Kid Zone open
  • 1 p.m. – Opening Ceremony, including keg tapping with Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and other dignitaries
  • Live Music and dancing from the Little German Band throughout the day
  • 1:30 p.m. – Stein Hoist I Contest
  • 2 p.m. – Ladies’ Hammerschlagen (nail-driving competition) I Contest, followed by Men’s Hammerschlagen I Contest
  • 3 p.m. – Stein Hoist II Contest
  • 4 p.m. – Wiener Dog Races, Best Dressed Dog Contest
  • 5 p.m. – Best Dressed of the Day Contest (Ladies, Men and Children); Egg Race; Fräulein Beer Challenge Contest
  • 6 p.m. – Stein Hoist III Contest
  • 7 p.m. – Kinder Platz Kid Zone closes; Alpine Horn, Tuba Challenge or Yodeling Contest
  • 8 p.m. – Stein Hoist IV Contest
  • 9 p.m. – Fräulein Beer Challenge; Beer Obstacle Course
  • 10 p.m. – Festivities end for the day

Sunday, October 5

  • Noon – Gates Open with Chuck Piercy and Ernie McAllister as emcees; Kinder Platz Kid Zone Open; Egg Race and Chicken Dance Contests; Fräulein Beer Challenge
  • 1 p.m. – Live music and dancing throughout the day; Beer Obstacle Course; Ladies’ Hammerschlagen II Contest; Men’s Hammerschlagen II Contest
  • 2 p.m. – Stein Hoist V Contest
  • 3 p.m. – Beer Awards Announced; Best Dressed of the Day (Ladies, Men and Children)
  • 4 p.m. – Wiener Dog Races; Best Dressed Dog Contest
  • 5 p.m. – Stein Hoist VI Contest
  • 6 p.m. – Closing Remarks; Oktoberfest ends

Tickets for Saturday are $20 for 16 and up, $5 for ages 6 to 15, free for 5 and under.Sunday tickets are $15 for 16 and up, $5 for ages 6 to 15, free for 5 and under. Two-day tickets for 16 and up are also available for $30.  Beer Judge Tickets (including commemorative glass and unlimited beer sampling for the day) available for $45. Discounts available for seniors, as well as active and retired military. To purchase tickets, visit the Booth Amphitheatre Box Office, call 1-800-514-3849 or visit http://triangleoktoberfest.org/buy-tickets/

Feb
04

City Lays Markings for Currituck Obstacle Course

20150204_140922The City of Raleigh is planning for major traffic changes on Currituck Drive. The residential street is slated for curb bumps, surprise medians, and the city’s first residential mini-roundabouts. The street will also gain a sidewalk on the north curb to match the existing one on the south curb. According to plans, the project’s goal is to slow traffic to around 30mph. This will be accomplished by placing an irregular feature every 5th house in order to establish a culture of “speed calming”, but will contain no vertical elements (speed bumps).

Projects such as those on Rainwater Drive and Mourning Dove Road were the first to integrate lateral interruptions to traffic in Raleigh, however the Currituck project will be the first to implement the mini-roundabout. Two such designs will be used at the street’s intersections with Macon Place and Tyrrell Road. The island at Tyrrell, a perpendicular cross intersection will be a pure circle and will not require any additional streetscape to support the feature.

The feature at Macon, however, is oval, biased against Currituck traffic. This crossing, pictured, occurs during a steep hill, and visibility is not very good (looking uphill). Likely this will be the surprise element that will cause the most accidents (on a street with very few accidents in its 50 year history).

The City Council will review the plan and welcome public comment in their December 3 meeting. If the plan is accepted construction will occur during the coming Summer, if Fall of 2014 leaves are picked up.

Dec
01

Tupelo Honey Sets New Casual Standard

Tupelo (7)The long-awaited opening of Tupelo Honey Café is finally here. The much hyped, Asheville-based restaurant opens its 8th store in the new residential building at 425 Oberlin Road (across from where Balentine’s was).

Fans of the restaurant’s other locations will be familiar with the menu, a Southern take on breakfast, casual dinner entrees, and excellent side veggies, all scratch-made. Dinner entrees are mainly priced in the teens, however a couple of nicer entrees exist in the twenties.

We had a chance to sample some items at the original Asheville location as well as the new Raleigh location, and the experience is well-conveyed, with much more elbow room in Raleigh. One of the can’t-miss items for breakfast is the Sweet Potato Pancake. Sweet potatoes are the one food that make me gag, which is why I was so surprised to have my socks knocked off by this cinnamon, peach butter, and spiced pecan-enriched creation. The pancake is about the size of a personal pizza, and is one of the best breakfast foods I’ve ever had.

Tupelo Honey has a nice selection of sandwiches, yes, but creative twists separate this restaurant from others. The BLT with a fried egg was excellent, however the bread is what really made the sandwich. Also worth seeking are the BBQ Egg Rolls, a delicious fusion of Far East and Deep South.

Tupelo (5)It is rare to see a restaurant that excels at breakfast do the same for dinner, and Tupelo doesn’t disappoint. We tried the fried chicken, which easily glides in as Raleigh’s best. Also excellent was the Pork Chop with Braised Figs. While the meat was slightly overcooked (probably taken to 175 degrees by training cooks), the fig/red wine sauce was truly delicious. This preparation of figs danced a delicate line of bitter and sweet in each bite.

Tupelo (4)Finally we tried the Shrimp and Grits, which was only a mild success. The goat cheese grits in this dish are smooth and creamy without knocking the palate over with fat (an Achilles heel in so many restaurants). The “spicy roasted red pepper sauce” over delivered on spice, being hotter than anything in Chipotle’s salsa lineup. That coupled with the over abundance of red peppers might have some diners disappointed. We felt the dish needed just another layer of flavor, whether from a touch of parsley, spinach, or even scallions. (For an $8 premium, the dish can be made to Cheesecake Factory-levels of huge with more shrimp, and the addition of onions, mushrooms, spinach, and bacon – definitely rounding out the dish for flavor but pushing it into the “dish for two” realm.)

Tupelo (6)Side dishes at Tupelo Honey are across the board outstanding. We couldn’t get enough of the fried okra, actually surpassing the pan-fried, cormeal-encrusted masterpiece my Brevard grandmother once made. Another eye-opener is the Cheesy Smashed Cauliflower, a fascinating mashup of minced cauliflower, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and garlic (pictured to the left of the BLT sandwich). Not to be missed, as well, are the shoestring fries, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and “BBQ Spice”. The spice is subtle, leaving the parmesan to do the heavy lifting here.Tupelo (3)

The restaurant features two drinks worth trying. The Rosemary-Peach Lemonade is excellent, yet a bit heavy on the rosemary, while the Blueberry Punch is an outstanding, sparkling blend of blueberries, pineapple, apple flavors. These drinks are $3.50 and unfortunately do not come with free refills.

Each meal comes with a complementary course of homemade biscuits. Tupelo puts a welcome twist with accompanying, delicious blueberry jam and honey.

Tupelo (2)Finally for dessert we ordered the excellent Pecan Pie, topped with a light application of perfectly blended caramel sauce. Banana Pudding is the other dessert, rounding out an excellent Southern experience.

The 6,500 square foot restaurant is thoughtfully decorated with works from four Raleigh artists (Matt McConnell, Linda Dallas, Brandon Cordrey, and Jeremy Maronpot), each depicting a part of the area’s flavor using rough, classic, rural materials. The only somewhat modern piece is the magnificent honeycomb light fixture with blown glass “honey drips”, found at the restaurant’s entrance. There are 180 seats, including a large sidewalk dining area that features a comfortable nook with a fire pit and upholstered seating. The bar, located oddly oTupelo (8)n the far end of the dining room, features 22 Stone Brewing brands.

The restaurant’s design is long on capacity and short on lounging space. The restaurant is going to be slammed, and I don’t know where people will wait for tables (We waited 50 minutes for lunch in Asheville, and I anticipate dinner service wait times of at least 1.5 hours for many weeks to come).

Another problem we encountered is the booth seating dimensions. The cushions are probably 3” deeper than common designs, firmly pressing into the back of my knees. Booth seats are so high that my feet barely touched the floor. I am 5’9”, and those shorter than I had dangling feet and sleepy legs by the meal’s end. Luckily the problem is not in the booth’s frame design, but rather the cushion itself.

Tupelo (9)The price point is a smidge high for casual dining. With no alcohol, the dinner bill after tax and tip usually ends up being $25-$30 per person. That said, the portions are very large, so many leave with a doggie bag. (I, on the other hand, chose to make myself miserable by eating everything in sight).

Tupelo Honey’s design brings a real challenge to Raleigh. It is a true urban design in a suburban area of the city. Parking is extremely limited, so the restaurant reportedly will have valet parking. There are few spaces available in surrounding neighborhood streets, and virtually every surrounding business tows for non-customers (USPS, McDonalds). Many will park in Harris Teeter’s lot, and this will present problems for that store’s already limited parking offering. A mediocre restaurant would not make it in this location.

Tupelo (10)The parking issue won’t put a dent in the restaurant’s bottom line, but what it will represent is a huge demarcation between the two cultures in Raleigh. Old Raleigh people want to drive up to a restaurant’s front door, and don’t accept valet services. Hayes Barton Café is a real challenge to this crowd, for example. However the younger, newcomer set will freely accept these challenges as the norm, and won’t allow access to be a factor in determining the success in the new Oberlin corridor. As a Raleigh lifer, I didn’t recognize a soul at the restaurant’s soft opening. We noted that we didn’t “feel like we’re in Raleigh”, and that’s not likely to change.

Tupelo Honey is a fresh welcome as it doesn’t remind me of any other restaurant. It doesn’t have a Pulp Fiction feel to it, doesn’t imitate other modern restaurants with cold, hard decorating and we’re-so-cool electronica music, and doesn’t feel pretentious. Tupelo Honey feels real, and delivers on quality, perfectly representing a new standard for the New Economy, an era that champions casual excellence.

Note: Tupelo Honey will operate with only dinner hours for the first two weeks.

Sep
25

Jarrett Bay Store Coming to Crabtree

jarrett-bay-youth-boat-splash-short-sleeve-t-shirtThe latest brand to jump on the wave of nautical-themed clothing comes from yachtmaker Jarrett Bay. The company will open a pop-up store for the holidays on October 3rd in the area of Crabtree Valley Mall’s food court. The store will carry merchandise similar to their popular Beaufort store (shirts, jackets, bags, gifts, and more).

Sep
09

FirstWatch Coming to Glenwood Avenue

firstwatchcafeIn a few months the state’s first location for FirstWatch will open in the former Boston Market location on Glenwood Avenue. The 126-store chain features a fresh selection of breakfast and lunch options including omelets, “Power Bowls”, waffles, eggs, soups, sandwiches.

The “daytime café’s” branding is upscale, somewhat along the lines of Panera Bread and Corner Bakery, so don’t confuse this place with Waffle House. The restaurants’ hours are 7am – 2:30pm, so the help wanted pitch is “No night hours, ever!” The store space is currently gutted so it looks like a project that will likely open late in the Fall, perhaps.

Sep
03

Appearance Commission to Review Residence Inn

residence1The Raleigh Appearance Commission meets tomorrow, and among the items on their agenda is the planned Residence Inn for downtown Raleigh. The 9-story hotel is rumored to feature a “rooftop” bar, but will primary serve as a secondary hotel for those attending events in the adjacent convention center.

The building will use four materials on the surface: EFIS and three tones of brick. The street level tone of brick will be beige while the upper floors will feature brick of red and hulking grey tones. The building only gets EFIS treatments on its crown.

Overall the look is modern, urban, boxy with surfaces broken up by varying textures and materials. There are no vast expanses of a single material. Instead, the architects have presented a very busy looking building that is neither an eyesore nor a beauty nor bland.

I really like that the design continues the dedicated 2-story façade for the first two floors, as we have seen in so many projects in the last decade. The effect is that the streetspace feels wider than it would if the building were the same material from sidewalk to roof. (The rule is that the façade needs to change before it gets to the height that matches the width of the street, btw).

residence3While I appreciate that this building is not a stark, unimaginative box, I do think the designers have gone a bit overboard with the heterogeneity of materials. I am not a fan of brick red and gray together, so obviously I don’t like the material choices. Also, I like the signage at street level, especially the vertically-oriented signs. However whoever designed the “Residence Inn” sign for the building’s crown must have happy-clicked on the kerning settings because it looks like a giant mistake.

We all wanted Greg Hatem’s dream of a skyline-impacting, boutique hotel with a signature rooftop restaurant to get built on this plot of land. However this hotel will be a nice addition to downtown and will help the sorely underserved hotel market for downtown. There are plenty of other sites where we can eventually get that boutique hotel, so until then, lets keep going up!

* * *

The Appearance Commission will discuss this project during their meeting tomorrow, September 4, at 4:30 in the City Council Chambers.

residence2

Jul
15

Edison Office Tower Heads to Appearance Commission

edisonofficeOn Thursday at 4:30pm the Raleigh Appearance Commission will review plans detailing the latest design for the Edison Office building. The building, according to the site plan (pdf) will sit in the northwest quadrant of the block bounded by Wilmington, Martin, Blount, and Davie Streets, across from the side of Beasley’s, replacing the building containing Reliable Loan,

The current plan calls for a 17-story tower that is 301-feet high, about 9% taller than the Progress Energy Tower (former City Plaza building). Plans call for the project to contain 417,000 feet of office space, parking garage space for 328 spaces, and 3 ground-level retail spaces, and an elevator lobby fronting Martin Street. There will be 6 combination parking/office floors sitting atop the street-level retail, capped by 11 full office floors.

The Appearance Commission’s duties will be light with this project, as they will likely deal mostly with streetscape elements of the plan. One such that needs to be addressed is the standard U-shaped bike racks. A more creative design would give this project and downtown much more character. Perhaps a light bulb shape as a nod to Edison’s most popular invention?

The site plan offers much detail about the ground floor and a typical parking floor, but isn’t clear about parking access. On the floors with parking, this project will neatly abut the existing parking garage originally built for the block’s four corner projects. Perhaps access will simply be from critical access points in the existing structure.

This will be a nice, early century addition to Raleigh, offering some much needed, class A office space to a market that is at capacity. How does the project fall short? Though I really like the Red Hat Tower, this project is a slightly taller duplicate, and will sit one block north of Red Hat. Yes, this project fits the needs of today’s market, however this land is one of the few places where an impact tower could be added to fill out Raleigh’s “money shot”. Given the appearance of this building’s crown, this project will add nothing interesting to that view. So in that sense, it is a lost opportunity.

Jun
03

4-Story Mixed Use Planned For Hillsborough St.

hillsboro_2811Another piece of the residential component for Stanhope Village will be reviewed by the Appearance Commission on Thursday. According to the Preliminary Site Plan (pdf), developers plan to replace the former Red Barn/Swenson’s/SakuraXpress building at 2811 Hillsborough Street and replace it with a 4-story mixed use project.

The building would contain 30 apartments on three floors sitting atop a street-level retail floor, a development style in accordance to the Stanhope Village area plan. Plans also call for 21 vehicle spaces.

The Raleigh Appearance Commission will be discussing this project (more renderings will likely be shown) on Thursday, June 5, at 4:30 pm in the City Council Chambers. The meeting will also be televised and streamed by RTN.

May
19

Crawford Leaves Herons for New Hospitality Group

stdfoodsMore big news from Raleigh’s culinary scene…. Scott Crawford, the chef at Heron’s (in The Umstead) for the last 5 years, has left the restaurant and has joined with John Holmes of Hobby Properties to form the Nash Square Hospitality Group.

The group has two concepts underway, Standard Foods and The Nash Tavern. Standard Foods will be a grocery store/restaurant located in Person Street Plaza (map it) and will open in the Fall. The store will contain an 80-seat restaurant serving casual Southern cuisine (eg. chilled Strawberry Soup with yuzu and jalapeno, Fresh Bacon with Boiled Peanut Chowder, marble potatoes & leeks, Tomato Popsicles with spicy pickled okra, fried Rabbit with succotash, Pork Cheeks with pickled peppers & apricot mustard, puddings, pies and peach-ginger sorbet). The grocery end of the concept is slated to feature a whole animal butchery, brown butter, duck fat, demi-glace, stocks, and a fresh seafood selection.

Nash Tavern will be a full-service restaurant on Nash Square, and is slated to open in 2015. It will feature Modern American fare and will have private event space.

May
14

Maybe the Foxes Are Sending “Triangle” a Message

RTP_DogFor five decades now the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area has been termed “The Triangle”, and for good reason. As three cities/towns hosted the most important academic, medical and business centers, it was only natural to focus on the three entities. While we expected infill in The Triangle, we perhaps didn’t see our grown concentrations morph the area into a different shape; a red fox.

The area’s satellite imagery reveals much growth from Chapel Hill and Carrboro toward Raleigh, but Raleigh’s growth has been along outward spokes to the northeast, southeast, and southwest. According to the figure, Umstead park appears like a saddle on the little fox, and Jordan Lake looks like a long line of droll from Carrboro/Chapel Hill, the mouth of the dog.

While I’m not assigning any character traits to communities based on this morphology, the shape does spur some interesting questions such as:

  • Why hasn’t Creedmoor Road/hwy 50 seen any retail development?
  • Why has the Apex/Garner axis been kept so rural?
  • Why has the Durham/Wake Forest axis been kept so rural?

Maybe these little red foxes that are invading our cities are simply a calling; the new mascots for the area. Instead of “The Triangle”, we could be called “The Fox”. The airport code could be changed to “FOX”. The 10 o’clock news could be the Fox News Hour….oh wait.

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