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North Carolina Scores Big in Beard Semifinalist List

Salad at MateoWith Duke/UNC coming up, you know it’s also time for the biggie in food, the James Beard Award Semifinalist announcement (pdf). The biggie for the area is Raleigh’s Ashley Christensen who got one of the 20 nomination for “Best Chef: US”. Christensen’s “Death and Taxes” got one of the 25 national nominations for Best New Restaurant.

North Carolina recently been a regular in the nominations list for Best Chef: Southeast, but this year was incredibly strong with NC chefs getting 8 of the 20 nominations for a 6-state region that includes Charleston and Atlanta. (NC, SC, GA, WV, TN, KY)

Best Chef: Southeast

  • Nate Allen, Knife and Fork, Spruce Pine, NC
  • Billy Allin, Cakes & Ale, Decatur, GA
  • Jeremiah Bacon, The Macintosh, Charleston, SC
  • Brian Canipelli, Cucina 24, Asheville, NC
  • Kathy Cary, Lilly’s, Louisville, KY
  • Scott Crawford, Standard Foods, Raleigh, NC
  • Steven Devereaux Greene, Herons in the Umstead Hotel, Cary, NC
  • Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow, Atlanta
  • Damian Heath, Lot 12 Public House, Berkeley Springs, WV
  • Vivian Howard, Chef & the Farmer, Kinston, NC
  • Kevin Johnson, The Grocery, Charleston, SC
  • Matthew Kelly, Mateo, Durham, NC
  • Joe Kindred, Kindred, Davidson, NC
  • Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY
  • Erik Niel, Easy Bistro, Chattanooga, TN
  • Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta
  • Ryan Smith, Staplehouse, Atlanta
  • Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis
  • Aaron Vandemark, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC
  • Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville

NC wasn’t empty-handed when it came to specialty awards, either. There were 20 Outstanding Baker nominations and Phoebe Lawless (Scratch Bakery, Durham) and Lionel Vatinet (La Farm, Cary) were nominated. Finally Cynthia Wong (Rhubarb, Asheville) picked up one of the Outstanding Pastry Chef nominations. No NC nominations came for Restaurant, Restaurateur, Service, Bar Program, Wine Program, Wine Sprits or Beer Professional, or Rising Star Chef.

The Talley

Here is how the Triangle area fared against other cities:

  • Triangle Area: 8
  • Atlanta: 12
  • Austin, TX: 5
  • Boston: 8
  • Charleston, SC: 4
  • Charlotte: 0
  • Chicago: 27
  • Dallas: 6
  • Denver: 5
  • Houston: 8
  • Los Angeles: 14
  • Madison: 4
  • Miami: 6
  • Nashville: 4
  • New Orleans: 14
  • New York: 16 (plus 20 in special category)
  • Philadelphia: 14
  • Phoenix: 3
  • Portland, OR: 15
  • Richmond: 1
  • San Antonio: 1
  • San Francisco: 26
  • Seattle: 17
  • Tampa: 2
  • Washington, DC: 16

The James Beard Foundation will pare down the list and announce their list of Finalists on Tue, March 15.


2015: A Year of Openings and Closings

As with any year, 2015 brought some exciting new restaurants and stores to Raleigh, but painfully took its share, too.Here’s a look at the high-impact openings and closings for the year:


  • Standard foods
  • Death and Taxes
  • Taverna Agora
  • Raleigh Beer Garden
  • Tropical Pickin Chicken
  • Kamado Grill
  • Gonza Tacos (Hillsborough St location)
  • Cantina 18 (renovation)
  • Big Ed’s (North Raleigh location)
  • Rise Biscuits
  • Jade Garden (reopen)
  • P.G. Werth’s
  • More
  • Carolina Ale House
  • Wicked Taco
  • Chick-Fil-A (Lake Boone location)


  • Crowleys
  • Tir na Nog
  • 518 West
  • Battistella’s
  • BigBoom
  • Firewurst
  • Pie Bird
  • Person Street Pharmacy
  • Tyler’s Taproom
  • Mantra
  • Natty Greene’s
  • Zinda (converted to private dining)
  • Ciago’s
  • Brewmasters
  • Filippos the Belgian
  • Swad
  • Colony Theater
  • Marsh Woodwinds
  • North American Video

Certainly 2016 will bring its surprises, too. Stay tuned for Gogoraleigh’s predictions for 2016, coming later this week.


Raleigh’s Top 30 Stories for 2015

2015 was another great one for Raleigh. Whether it was much love on cable networks, a slew of new downtown apartments, or great new restaurants, there was a big story almost every week that had an impact on the future of Raleigh. With big changes coming in key decision-making positions, 2016 promises to be a key year for the upcoming decade.

Here’s a look back a the 30 stories that shaped us and moved us in 2015, The stories are presented in no particular order.


16 Podcasts To Save You from Sports Radio

If you’ve turned on the radio to listen to local sports talk, you know how frustrating it can be to hear hosts’ inability to stay focused, rude behavior toward callers, poor working knowledge of basic grammar, and scant analysis of the actual play on the field or court. At times it is as if they care more about the feelings of the players and the clothes their coaches wear than what transpires in the game.

Suffer no more! With the growing popularity of podcasts, a few minutes of setup can free you from the shackles of local sports talk. iPhone users can use the great Overcast app (with its sound leveling and gap removing features) or just stick with the stock Apple Podcast app. Android users should download the BeyondPod app; all free of charge.

Simply add the feeds for the below podcasts and you are finally off to an informative, entertaining, and efficient sports talk experience!


N.C. State




Carolina Hurricanes


Public Meeting on Fairview Fire Station Coming Monday

On Wednesday, October 7 at 7pm, the City of Raleigh Fire Department will hold a public meeting on the rebuild of Fire Station Six (Fairview and Oberlin Roads). The meeting will take place at the fire station.


Parade of Homes Begins Tomorrow

For the next three weekends the Triangle Homebuilders Association will be celebrating the Parade of Homes. The county-wide series of nearly 400 new open houses runs through the next three weekends (October 3-4, 9-11, 16-18). The houses will be open from Noon to 5pm each day.

There are 3 good sources of information about the tour:

  • In Print – stop by the homebuilder’s association’s office (near Crossroads) at:
    5580 Centerview Drive, Suite 115
    Raleigh, NC 27606
  • OnlineThe association website, a searchable directory, and an online map are all available on the web.
  • Apps – probably not the best-designed app ever, but the best way to go is to use the Android app and the iOS app . The house listing is scrollable, there is a filter search, a map with pins, and the ability to star your favorites.

The most interesting house on the tour is the one at Yadkin and Alleghany, a 5,961 square foot Modern English house by Dixon-Kirby. Their work is always top notch, but there is always, too, some element of bizarre in their houses.

The largest house on the tour is The Cove, a 7,600 square food house on Brinleys Cove Court (out Six Forks past Durant Rd).

Restrooms are not available in the houses, so please plan accordingly. Also be sure to wear socks and shoes you can easily remove before entering each house. Finally, each house’s parking is curbside in existing neighborhoods, so please be courteous to keep driveways, hydrants, and intersections clear, and be on the lookout for children.


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/


Traffic Circles Removed from Currituck Design

neighborhoodRoundaboutThe Raleigh City Council recently approved a traffic calming project slated for Currituck Drive in the North Hills subdivision. The project design, intended to engineer cars into keeping speeds in the 20s, includes curb extensions and medians. The intent is to convey a sense of traffic calming by including an element every 5th house along the street.

Original plans called for two neighborhood traffic circles (one oblong and one circular) as well as bumped out corners of an existing 4-way stop intersection. The approved design, however removes all of those options. The oblong circle has been replaced with a median on both sides of the intersection and the true circle will likely be replaced with a 4-way stop.

The project is expected to begin this summer in the summer of 2016.


125 Concerts to Rock Your Summer

2014-08-22 21.06.44Summer always brings great concerts to the Triangle, and 2015 may be the best yet. From April to September there are 125 big acts coming to the area’s venues, with more announcements coming! From 1st-tier comedians to one of only 15 North American dates for the Rolling Stones, there is always something to do here this summer. See venue key at the bottom for info links.

Click the “Summer ‘15” tab (at the top) for the updated list.


Cameron Village Planning Parking Decks

Raleigh’s original shopping center, Cameron Village, has seen a renaissance over the past two decades. The renovation began with the removal of several outdated parking structures from the  struggling center. A full complex facelift was then completed, and the general public has responded enthusiastically. With not only the replacement of several surrounding outdated office and retail buildings, but also the addition of many new apartments, Cameron Village finds itself one of the most sought after addresses in Raleigh by young professionals.

While the changes have made Cameron Village wildly popular, the availability of parking at the center has become a deal-breaker for some. To meet the new demand for parking, Cameron Village management has released new renderings of parking structures that will be completed by this time next year.

The first phase, pictured below, will be a one-level deck over the surface parking on Daniels Street, extending from Noodles & Co to the end of the strip where Seagrove Pottery was. The open air parking level will connect to shopping areas with carefully placed staircases. Phase Two continues the parking experience across Daniels Street and will completely wrap the block which houses Outdoor Provision Co., Village Draft House, and the ABC Store.

“We are excited to offer super convenient parking for our customers,” said Wynne Lorth, a vice president of the center. “Not only will be adding quantity of parking, the new structures will convert existing surface parking into a premium experience that is always dry and cool; especially needed on those hot summer days.”

Existing Cameron Village parking with rendering of new premium parking.



Let The Madness Begin!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; tourney time. Time to fill out those brackets, because after all, this is one of the necessary forms for living in Raleigh. The best brackets are CBS’, because they show the times of the games. (pdf).

Another format for the games is chronological. While it is too early to post relevant lines, it is time to post the times and networks of the games. The region is denoted with the letter “E”, “W”, etc.

12:15 – Notre Dame(3) / Northeastern(14) (Pittsburgh, M, CBS)
12:40 – Iowa St.(3) / UAB(14) (Louisville, S, TruTV)
1:40 – Baylor(3) / Georgia St.(14) (Jacksonville, W, TBS)
2:10 – Arizona(2) / Texas Southern(15) (Portland, W, TNT)
2:45 – Butler(6) / Texas(11) (Pittsburgh, M, CBS)
3:10 – SMU(6) / UCLA(11) (Louisville, S, TruTV)
4:10 – Xavier(6) / BYU/Ole Miss(11) (Jacksonville, W, TBS)
4:40 – VCU(7) / Ohio St. (10) (Portland, W, TNT)
6:50 – Villanova(1) / Lafayette(16) (Pittsburgh,E, TBS)
7:10 – Cincinnati() / Purdue() (Louisville, M, CBS)
7:20 – UNC(4) / Harvard(13) (Jacksonville, W, TNT)
7:27 – Utah(5) / Stephen F. Austin(12) (Portland, S, TruTV)
9:20 – NCSU(8) / LSU(9) (Pittsburgh, E, TBS)
9:40 – Kentucky(1) / Hampton/Manhattan(16) (Louisville, M, CBS)
9:50 – Arkansas(5) / Wofford(12) (Jacksonville, W, TNT)
9:57 – Georgetown(4) / Eastern Washington(13) (Portland, S, TruTV)

12:15 – Kansas(2) / New Mexico St.(15) (Omaha, M, CBS)
12:40 – Michigan St.(7) / Georgia(10) (Charlotte, E, TruTV)
1:40 – Northern Iowa(5) / Wyoming(12) (Seattle, E, TBS)
2:10 – West Virginia(5) / Buffalo(12) (Columbus, M, TNT)
2:45 – Wichita St.(7) / Indiana(10) (Omaha, M, CBS)
3:10 – Virginia(2) / Belmont(15) (Charlotte, E, TruTV)
4:10 – Louisville(4) / UC Irvine(13) (Seattle, E, TBS)
4:40 – Maryland(4) / Valparaiso(13) (Columbus, M, TNT)
6:50 – Oregon(8) / Oklahoma St.(9) (Omaha, W, TBS)
7:10 – Duke(1) / N. Florida/Robert Morris(16) (Charlotte, S, CBS)
7:20 – Iowa(7) / Davidson(10) (Seattle, S, TNT)

7:27 – Oklahoma(3) / Albany(14) (Columbus, E, TruTV)
9:20 – Wisconsin(1) / Coastal Carolina(16) (Omaha, W, TBS)
9:40 – San Diego St.(8) / St. John’s(9) (Charlotte, S, CBS)
9:50 – Gonzaga(2) / North Dakota St.(15) (Seattle, S, TNT)
9:57 – Providence(6) / Boise St./Dayton winner(11) (Columbus, E, TruTV)

Of local note: Former NCSU guard Archie Miller coaches Dayton. Former NCSU assistant coaches Arizona. Former Duke guard and assistant Tommy Amaker coaches Harvard. Former Duke guard Bobby Hurley coaches Buffalo. Former Duke Assistant Mike Brey coaches Notre Dame. Former UNC assistant Jarod Haase coaches UAB. Raleigh native Dez Wells stars for Maryland.

Former Clemson coach Cliff Ellis coaches Coastal Carolina. Former Clemson coach Larry Shyatt coaches Wyoming.


Fury 325 Test Run POV Hits Internet

Carowinds’ Fury 325 will open this summer as the 5th tallest roller coaster in the world, and will be the most discussed coaster on the continent this year. On Wednesday the track saw its unmanned maiden voyage. A point-of-view camera was mounted and footage is now posted on YouTube.

The 325’ high coaster is 20’ taller than the Statue of Liberty, and will be the highest and fastest for Bolliger & Mabillard. The firm known for engineering the smoothest coasters ever built sees itself well into the 300 foot zone with this coaster. It’s a zone that Intamin has dominated over last decade and a half. Hopefully B&M can bring their brand of well-managed lateral Gs to this class of coasters.

Looks like some track tuning still remains as well as much landscaping. It appears the coaster has a fantastic fine del capo under the pedestrian plaza followed by a splashdown into a lake. This should be a dynamite addition to the NC side of Carowinds, and will attract visitors from around the world to this hidden gem of a park.


North Carolina Loses The Great Teacher

2015-02-08 12.59.14On the evening of Saturday, February 7, UNC lost perhaps its most important family member of the school’s storied history. Coach Dean Smith had suffered from dementia for many years, and his life ended quietly. The irony that such a sharp mind that steered so many storied comebacks would not be able to mount one in his own life is a bitter pill to swallow. That we are not in control of our fates is just one of the lessons Smith taught us.

There are hundreds of great stories being passed around these days about great Smith moments. Mine came after reading his book Multiple Offense and Defense. It is a fantastic, concise X’s and O’s manual for running several of the offensive and defensive sets Smith used in the first half of his coaching career. There are also great lessons about team play, running structured practices, acknowledgment of the groundbreakers that came before us, and the beauty of math in the game we love. That final point led me to corral my own stats for the team, which eventually blossomed into my Tar Heel HOOPla website 20 years ago.

In the book Coach Smith explained his system for evaluating offensive and defensive efficiency, and stated that his team’s goals are to exceed 0.85 points per possession and to keep the opponent below 0.75 points per possession. The book was written before the advent of the 3-point shot, leaving me to wonder about how much that rule changed the stated goals. Woody Durham hosted a weekly call-in show with the coach and I was able to ask him my question on the air. He first stated,”Very good! You’ve done your homework,” then stated his updated goals of 0.95 and 0.85, respectively.

Apparently I’m not alone in being fascinated by the statistics basketball brings us, as evidenced by the popularity of Ken Pomeroy’s work. Pomeroy’s stats differ from Smith’s because Smith considered a possession to end when a field goal is attempted while Pomeroy considers it ending when the other team gets possession of the ball. Pomeroy reaches this figure by subtracting offensive rebounds from field goal attempts, making Total Possessions an irrelevant statistic. Smith’s method, on the other hand, leaves a Total Possessions differential which reflects the true rebounding, making his method much more useful.

When I was in Chapel Hill for college and dental school, I only had a couple of brushes with Dean Smith. One morning my dental class sat in a hallway waiting to take an exam. A hush fell on the group as Dean Smith walked down the hall by us after completing an appointment with one of our professors. It was as if we all wanted to be put into the game. We all got a chuckle at how we responded, but also were impressed that someone like Dean Smith thought that highly of our teacher.

I was lucky enough to get to sit behind the bench in ‘93 to watch the eventual National Champions play Duke on Senior Day. Committed recruits Jerry Stackhouse and Jeff McInnis sat in front of me while uncommitted Rasheed Wallace sat two seats toward midcourt. Wallace, of course, chose UNC over his hometown Temple, and Smith would later proclaim Wallace to be the best player Smith coached. The photo above is from the book Return to the Top, and shows me right behind Stackhouse and McInnis. Jim Valvano sat across the court doing his final full broadcast. Phil Ford, one of the greatest college basketball players of all-time, and Bill Guthridge, one of the best big-man coaches in the history of the game, were 10 feet in front of me. It was an incredible experience to be a spectator around these great masters of their craft. Of course from that angle one gets an appreciation of the vertical elements of basketball, but I was also able to appreciate the level of focus players from each team carried.

We essentially lost Coach Smith several years ago with the onset of dementia. Unlike other coaches, Smith retired and made few public appearances. In one of the many pieces of irony surrounding Smith, he was always proud of his ability to teach, yet could have taught us all so much about the game and life after retiring from coaching. Smith could be ruthless in team practices, slicing giants to pieces with his words. However those were  players (and families) into which he had emotionally invested. He would never have felt comfortable criticizing the play of players he didn’t know, so he never pursued the chance to teach us more.

Smith learned basketball from Phog Allen who learned basketball from the game’s inventor, James Naismith. While Smith may be gone and the building bearing his name may not stand for the remainder of our lives, Smith leaves an indelible mark on both the game and the culture of the State of North Carolina through not only his bountiful coaching tree, but also through the many of us whose lives were enriched by his work.

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