Last month the City of Raleigh passed a new sign ordinance, leading to some unexpected results. Under the new law small businesses are forbidden from placing any form of signage in their windows (including lit signs, chalkboards, manikins, or any other means of conveying the what products the business sells), but allows large corporations to place billboards on the tops of their buildings.
In downtown Raleigh the new ordinance began an explosion of tower-top billboards. Duke Energy spokesman Maximillian Thompson said,”After Red Hat showed us that a tower-top sign can be tastefully executed, we began discussions with Raleigh City Council members. They unanimously agreed with us about Red Hat’s sign, and agreed that if every business placed a similar sign on their building, there shouldn’t be any problem.”
The results from the new ordinance have been mixed. A local realtor said,”a city councilor said publicly that my sign was tacky? This is an abomination. The new signs downtown are so ugly that it is causing people to not just wreck their cars, the cars are spontaneously bursting into flames. It’s even worse than a snow day around here.”
Only one Raleigh City Council member would speak to gogoraleigh about the issue, only offering,”Hey, it’s not like our mayor was rigging land values to get light rail funds from Washington and taking bribes on multiple occasions. All I got was a free home renovation…. Oh, wait. Aren’t we talking about the Charlotte mayor thing?”
Today the UNC officials announced that it will erect a bronze sculpture to honor the work of its student athletes. The bronze sculpture, name “Statue of Limitations”, will depict a football player embracing his female tutor. The artist said the athlete’s head will be on the left shoulder of the tutor while the tutor’s hands will be busy writing a paper for the athlete. “I think it perfectly depicts the win-win relationship our athletes and academic support staff share,” said one assistant sports information director.
Officials said the statue will replace the university’s historic “Silent Sam” sculpture which depicts a student who has been sent to fight in the Civil War. “We are tired of the racist imagery presented by Silent Sam. The Statue of Limitations is a far more accurate depiction of campus life in the Modern Era. Plus, there is no racism at all with the student athlete experience, so it’s really a win-win”, said one assistant athletic director.
In order to avoid any media coverage of the situation, the statue will be unveiled at 4:45pm on Thursday, July 3.
Today Duke University announced that it will change the name of its historic Wallace Wade Stadium in an effort to offer clarity to visitors. The new name will be “Wallace Wade Outdoor Stadium”. An assistant athletic director told gogoraleigh,”We had a real problem with visitors showing up to the basketball arena, Cameron Indoor Stadium, in their search for our tiny, outdated football stadium.”
The move should be a boon to tourism and visitor dollars for Durham, as the only people who can navigate Duke’s wooded campus safely are Duke’s typical athletic supporters.
Eager to jump aboard the trend of culinary eating taking over Raleigh, the legendary Angus Barn announced today that it will, effective immediately, be known as the Guacangus Barn. The menu will change slightly, as well, to reflect the restaurant’s new direction. In addition to timeless classics on the menu, all dishes will be served with a side of tortilla chips. However the most mouth-watering addition is the restaurant’s new condiment, Guacangus Sauce, an avocado paste made from onion, lime, serrano peppers, and steak and rib drippings. Yum!
Changes are coming upstairs in the restaurant as well. The bar will be converted into the new Pavo Salvaje Cantina, home of the Triangle’s most impressive tequila selection.
Additionally the Barn will introduce a new celebration for diners on their birthday. The restaurant staff will sing the new Angus Nino/Nina song throughout the restaurant, converting the dining room into a rustic fiesta!
So go west, my friends, and enjoy the Triangle’s newest dining experience!
In recent years NC State University has made a concerted effort to bring more public art to its campus. The Talley Arts Center today announced that a donor who prefers to be only known as “W.M.” has donated the funds to commission an artist for a large mural at the PNC Arena. The mural will be placed as a salute to the historic basketball program as a whole, but will specifically salute the 2014 Men’s Basketball Team.
Entitled “Ball in the Ocean”, the mural will depict an NCSU player standing at a makeshift free throw line on a beach scattered with basketballs. “In the image, the player, no matter how hard he tries, cannot throw any of the balls in the ocean”, said the assistant AD. Also depicted in the image will be Navy ships in their search for parts of an airplane presumed to have crashed in the area.
The Carolina Hurricanes will finish the 2014 NHL season missing the playoffs for the 5th straight season. to nobody’s surprise trade rumors are swirling, and the focus of much talk appears to be on Nashville Predators Assistant Captain Mike Fisher. A deal is said to be in the works to trade Hurricanes Captain Eric Staal to the Predators for the 33 year old Fisher.
The most interesting aspect of the negotiations, however, comes in an offer from the Town of Cary, which has offered to change its spelling to “Carrie” in order to make the trade more attractive to Mike Fisher. Fisher, the husband of 2005 American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, could not be reached for comment.
Following the new trend of shunning thru-traffic, neighbors of Raleigh’s Saint Mary’s Street/Lassiter Mill Road have petitioned the City of Raleigh requesting installation of speed mitigation items. Naturally the city’s transportation engineers have elected speed bumps for the 4-mile residential street.
The street, which has carried a 35 mph speed limit since the automobile was invented, will now carry a 25 mph speed limit and will feature speed bumps placed every 300 feet along the entire 4 miles of road. As per city regulations, the speed bumps will carry signage indicating safe travel at 20 mph, however will be constructed to pop tires, ruin alignments, and scrape bottoms of cars in an effort to surprise drivers if they dare cross going faster than 15 mph.
Drivers of Raleigh’s CAT bus Route 8 have requested transfers to Durham’s bus service, citing they’d rather be around a bunch of gun-toting pre-criminals in East Durham than deal with Raleigh’s ridiculous speed bump initiative. Because they will need to wait an extra 5 minutes in emergencies, residents along the route have been advised by the Raleigh police and fire departments to by automatic electronic defibrillators for their own use.
An anonymous transportation planner said about the project,”Our goal is to remove traffic from all neighborhoods and put it on overloaded arteries. That’s what Atlanta did, and it worked really well for them. Our next target will be putting 20mph speed bumps on Glenwood and Wade Avenues, too, as they contain large residential stretches.
Komado cooking dates back over 3000 years ago in China. The egg-shaped ceramic cookers cook meats evenly without drying out the meat. Because of their design, temperatures in these cookers can be controlled quite well, allowing for low-and-slow cooking.
Tomorrow the Town and Country store in Wake Forest will be hosting a Big Green Egg demo. The event will feature free samples including pizza, stuffed mushrooms, cookies, shrimp poppers, and smoked pork butt. Expoerts will be on hand to answer questions about the different products available, and will offer a 10% discount on eggs.
The event runs from 10am-3pm.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the latest Cirque du Soleil production, “Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL”, comes to PNC Arena. The production is a rock concert format, and combines the legendary Cirque du Soleil theatrics with and a big dose of dance. If the production is as good as last year’s mind-blowing Quidam, Raleigh is in for a treat.
Tickets are available thru Ticketmaster, with special pricing for groups of 12 or more. The arena club restaurant will be open each night serving a buffet.
Caution: Loud audio introduction
Visiting Raleigh for NCAA Tournament action on Sunday and looking for good food? You came to the right place. While some of Raleigh’s best options for tournament-centric eats are not open, there are still a ton of great locally-owned places.
The PNC Arena is in West Raleigh, however all of these places are within 15 minutes of the arena traffic plume. (more on that at the bottom. Depending on your route in, some places are better choices than others if timing is tight)
Armadillo Grill – Quickie SW food. I still love this place – DT
- Mami Nora’s – Rotisserie chicken done with Peruvian flair – NR
- Guasaca – Columbian arepa outlet is NC’s best – WR
- Chuck’s – Gourmet burgers by Ashley Christensen, finalist for James Beard Awards’ 2014 Best Chef in the Southeast – DT
- Torii Noodle Bar – Great little Japanese noodle/sushi place. One of the best bargains in Raleigh. (WR, at the Crabtree Mall entrance)
- BurgerFi – small national chain with burgers that are a step above Five Guys – (off 40 near arena and NR)
- Raleigh Times Bar – Gritty beer bar (family friendly, though) with fantastic food. Started the downtown renaissance, and always mentioned in any short blurb bits about Raleigh in magazines – DT
- Buku – Fantastic urban street food place, in a contemporary, NYC feeling atmosphere – DT
- Busy Bee – Good beer hall place with sneaky-good food.
- Sitti – Lebanese.
- The Pit – NC BBQ place that is always written up in magazines, on DD&D
- Humble Pie – (Brunch only on Sundays) Great tapas place – DT
- Poole’s Diner (opens at 5:30) – Ashley Christensen’s flagship – DT
- Gonza Tacos – (opens at 5) Best Mexican restaurant in NC. – NR
- Mez – Southwestern in RTP – Near 40/540
- An – One of the best Asian restaurants in NC (off 40 near arena).
- Heron’s – (Brunch only) One of the finest restaurants in one of the finest hotels in the country (off 40 near arena). – (off 40 near arena)
DT = Downtown
NR = North Raleigh
WR = West Raleigh
("Off 40" – these locations are found on the way to the arena from Charlottesville).
Parking for the main lots at the arena will have traffic spilling out to Edwards Mill Road and Wade Ave/I-40 East (between the airport and the arena) causing significant delays. My recommendation is to skirt these areas and see what you can do to get to the intersection of Hillsborough St. and Youth Center Drive in Raleigh. YCD ends at the NCSU football stadium entrance, where there is ample parking with better traffic flow than the main lots. In a sense, you are approaching the complex from the South instead of from the Northwest. map it
PNC Arena Parking Fee: $20
Game Times: Tennessee-Mercer, 6:10 , Virginia/Memphis, ~8:40
Last night we saw NC State display one of the biggest collapses in NCAA Tournament history. With a second-half lead of 16 points with 8:13 remaining, the Pack was in the driver’s seat. Over the next 3 minutes, though, St. Louis didn’t go away, instead trimming the lead to 10 by 5:00 remaining. From that point on, St. Louis applied the Jimmy V strategy of fouling and full court pressure, and the Pack didn’t respond well, making only 9 of 21 free throws from that point forward.
Everyone was to blame for the collapse. The players who made the best plays made some of the dumbest plays, too. However there were three main factors that explain this collapse:
- Fatigue – The Wolfpack played 3 games in the ACC Tournament over 3 days, learned of their seed the following day, left at 5am to Dayton, had a walk-through, played a game the next day, traveled the next day, then played the next day. That’s 5 games in 8 days, and the team was both physically and mentally exhausted when they attained that 16-point lead.
- Free Throws – The only shot you can practice? NCSU made 9 of 21 for that stretch (up to that point they were an acceptable 11-16). While free throws are where fatigue rears its ugly head, the players are still to blame for this one
- Coaching – After the debacle where they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at #1 Syracuse, I though this team would have worked on attacking full court pressure. It should have been deeply engrained in these players at a young age, for heaven’s sake. It was evident, though, the team had not, which leads me to the point of this article.
Attacking a good full-court press involves good spacing and decisive action. The main idea is that you want to advance the ball up the center of the court with passes, if possible. Once the ball is inbounded, you send your slow big man long for a long pass. This pulls a defender away and reduces the attack to 4-on-4. The other three players form an umbrella for the ball handler. The center of the umbrella is the preferred pass, however if he is covered, there are two other options.
As the diagram shows once the ball gets to the center of that umbrella, the weakside umbrella man sprints down the middle for the pass. The other two adjust to create a new umbrella for the new ballhandler. Once the ball beats the pressure, you advance hard down the court. In order to do this, the receiver catches the ball, he quickly pivots and looks to attack. When executed correctly, there is never a back-pass option for the receiver.
Headed to the PNC Arena for NCAA Tournament action this weekend? You’ll likely find yourself hungry. Thankfully the arena has good food to reward that hard work pulling your team through!
- Sausage Cart – The options of three Italian-style sausages with onions and peppers stands as an option rivaling any at the state fair. (Concourse, Sections 106, 121)
- Chicken Wrap – (The Deck, Section 111)
- House Chips – (The Deck, Section 111)
- French Fries – Vinegar available at condiments stand. (Section 107 concession stand in West Priority Lounge).
- Tacos – Dos Banditos (Concourse, Section 111)
- Mucho Nachos – Dos Banditos (Concourse, Section 111)
- Fresh Popcorn – (Concourse, Sections 119 & 130)
- Ice Cream – Fresh waffle cones! (Concourse, Section 115)
- Steak & Cheese Cart – Usually has a moderate/long/slow line (Concourse, Section 121)
- Carvery Cart (turkey, roast beef) – (Concourse, Section 121)
- Cheap Hamburger – (Concourse, Section 129) – fast-food burger that isn’t bad. Probably a better value than the hamburgers in The Deck. The fries from this stand are not good, however.
- There are “healthy” options, such as wraps, at the concession stand near Section 126 (Front entrance)
Options to avoid
- Any pizza product – ugh!
- Chicken tenders at The Deck
- Chicken sandwiches from most concession stands
- Nachos from any place but Dos Banditos
- Barbecue – (especially noted for you people from Memphis). Greasy and fatty.
- Hot Dogs – Better used as cornhole projectiles.
- Popcorn where the popper isn’t clearly visible (can be stale)
Tomorrow is the day NCAA tournament action returns to Raleigh. The city will open up to fans from Charlottesville, Myrtle Beach, Memphis, Washington (DC), Boston, Knoxville, and Macon (GA). Friday’s action features four games in two sessions.
The afternoon doubleheader session begins at Noon and the evening doubleheader session begins at 6:55pm. With the afternoon session ending at approximately 5pm, this gives visitors almost two hours to find dinner, and while there aren’t many items within a walkable distance from PNC Arena, some of the best food in North Carolina can be found a short drive from the arena. Let’s explore these by distance.
PNC Arena Club– This facility will not be open during the NCAA Tournament events.
- Backyard Bistro – There are only two walkable options from the arena. Backyard Bistro is the good option. A former Damon’s location, the locally-owned Backyard Bistro features a terraced dining room with four giant TVs. I highly recommend the burger, as the meat is brought in from the nationally renowned Angus Barn daily. The other option is Wendy’s. The problem with Backyard Bistro is that if the restaurant is full, there really isn’t time for fans to return to their cars and drive anywhere decent.
Head North on Edwards Mill Road for one long block and you’ll discover Edwards Mill Village.
- Bella Monica – One of the state’s best Italian restaurants. I highly recommend the lasagna. Some patio seating. Casual atmosphere. $$$
- Char Grill – Raleigh’s own a walk-up-only burger joint classic. Outdoor picnic table dining. $
- Stromboli’s – good, fairly quick casual Italian restaurant, across Edwards Mill from the strip center. $$
- Also in this center are the Edwards Mill Bar and Grill, Rudino’s, and a quick Chinese place. These three aren’t bad, but are forgettable.
Heading West down I-40 to Harrison Avenue we find some outstanding dining options. Allow extra return time, as I-40 will offer extreme delays on the return.
- Bella Mia – One of the best pizza restaurants in the state. Coal-burning oven style. $$$
- BurgerFi – Small national chain with excellent burgers. Fast casual, but has a superb patio with two large TVs showing basketball. $$
- Bonefish Grill – National chain that is extremely popular. $$$$
- Herons – If you have a couple of hours and want a Meal of the Year kind of night, Heron’s in The Umstead hotel is one of the best restaurants in America. $$$$$
- An – one of the state’s best Asian restaurants. It is located in the shopping center next to Bass Pro Shops. However An is going to take about an hour and a half, so plan accordingly. $$$$
- Ruth’s Chris – National steakhouse chain in the shopping center next to Bass Pro Shops. $$$$$
- Firewurst – Local hot dog chain. Located to the right of Bass Pro Shops. $
Heading into Raleigh on Wade Avenue
- Neomonde – Tucked behind the Waffle House on Hillsborough Street (across from Meredith) is one of the state’s best Mediterranean offerings. Fast-casual, market atmosphere. $$
- Tripps – 80s fern bar is in the Whole Foods Shopping center. Food is fine, but completely forgettable. $$$
- Whole Foods Market – You can always do the hot food bar at Whole Foods. Some seating is available (half outdoors). Beware, though. This is one of the chain’s most cramped stores. $$$
Lake Boone Trail/440 Area
- Guasaca – The state’s best arepa restaurant. Fast-casual. $
- Sushi-Thai – Good sushi, Japanese, and Thai offerings. Allow an hour. $$$
- Village Deli – Not like a NY deli, but still quite good. Fast-casual. $
- Buffalo Brothers – Sports bar with many TVs and a small patio. Food distributor-level food. $$
Crabtree Valley Mall
- Torii Noodle Bar – Don’t let the traditional trappings of a mall dissuade you from Torii. As I’ve written many times here, it is one of the best bargains in Raleigh. Full-service, but casual. No TVs or outdoor dining. $$
- Taqueria Del Sol – Crossroads is a big-box collection of stores from Anywheresville, USA. However it does feature an outpost of one of America’s top-rated restaurateurs. Taqueria del Sol is a line-out-the-door hit in Atlanta, but its location in Cary remains one of the best-kept secrets in the state. $$
* * *
For fans not returning to the evening session, I recommend heading to downtown Raleigh, one of America’s most vibrant, walkable, and safe downtowns on a Friday or Saturday night. Most of the good restaurant action in the last decade has been in downtown. There are numerous noteworthy offerings, however here are five for starters (alphabetical order):
- Bida Manda – Laotian restaurant is probably my favorite downtown offering. $$$$
- Buku – Excellent collection of street food from around the world. Korean BBQ is fantastic. $$$$
- Humble Pie – Fantastic tapas menu, with one of the best restaurant/bar patios in the state. $$$$
- Poole’s Diner – On Tuesday Chef Ashley Christensen was named a 2014 James Beard Award Finalist for Best Chef in the Southeast. $$$$
- Raleigh Times Bar – The place that really started it all. Gritty urban beerhouse feel, but the food is excellent. $$$
Warning: We’ve had much cold, rainy weather, and people have cabin fever. Adjust your schedule accordingly because the restaurants in Raleigh, especially downtown, are going to be packed this weekend. Wait times well over an hour will be common on Friday and Saturday nights.
We hope that your stay in Raleigh is fantastic, regardless of how your team fares!
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