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Five Points Charrette Coming Saturday

On Saturday morning the City of Raleigh is hosting a charrette to focus on the strategic vision for the Five Points area. The meeting runs from 9am to 1pm at Our Savior Lutheran Church and will feature an on-site Five Points walk as part of the meeting.

For additional information, contact Carter Pettibone with the Raleigh Department of City Planning at 807-8482. Participants are asked to RSVP to carter.pettibone@ci.raleigh.nc.us by tomorrow (Thursday).


Zoës Kitchen Opens at Oberlin Court

zoeskitchen Zoës Kitchen , a 22-store fast casual chain out of Birmingham opens today in Oberlin Court. The restaurant’s menu (.pdf) features “Mediterranean – Southern Style”, with a mix of dinner entrees, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more.

The restaurant’s space is open, with two sides wrapped by large, south and west-facing windows. So, the restaurant will get a generous dose of sunlight every day. The interior features a hard gray floor with red and yellow coloring on the walls and ceiling. One might expect noise to be an issue, however in a mostly full room, it didn’t seem any noisier than Moe’s at North Hills. The funkiest aspect of the decor is the artwork by local children. The restaurant is supplying local elementary school students with art supplies, and posting their work around the restaurant. Each piece can be purchased for $20, with the proceeds going to the artist’s school. They plan to cycle the collection every quarter, freshening the decor.

zoe1 I settled on the chicken kabobs for lunch, and they did not disappoint. The pair of kabobs included onions, green peppers, and tomatoes, which is especially rare in a casual restaurant. The chicken was good quality, and the marinade, while a bit heavy on the oregano, was nevertheless excellent. The platter was generously heaped with rice, grilled pita, and a side Greek salad. The rice and pita were fine, but the salad really was the star here. The vinaigrette salad dressing was delicious, especially with bites containing feta cheese.

While a better kabob dinner does exist in Raleigh, Zoës offers an extremely good, large plate of food at the $9 price point. As with the addition of Noodles & Co. to the area, it is refreshing to find good food requiring a fork that doesn’t cost $15. It is entirely reasonable to imagine a family of 4 sitting down and having a good, non-greasy meal here below the ever-vanishing $30 price point.

zoe2 An interesting offering from Zoës is the menu’s Dinners For Four section. Aimed at the To-Go crowd, the four hot dinners offered can be ordered ahead and picked up at around the $25 price point. They also offer some of their salads and hummus in pound and half-pound tubs, as well as a full catering menu.

The restaurant’s hours, if I recall correctly, are 10am-9pm, 7 days a week. They are located in Oberlin Court, the mixed-use development on Oberlin Road near Wade Avenue.

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Cameron Village and Wake Forest Road Blockbusters Closing

The Raleigh Downtowner posted today that both the Cameron Village and (beyond horrible) Wake Forest Road Blockbuster locations will be closing on July 12. Somewhere that North American Video guy (who incidentally was charging over $100 for video rental memberships at one point) is laughing uncontrollably.

In other news I just cancelled HBO, TWC’s HDSuite, and got a Netflix subscription yesterday.


TeaGschwendner Coming to Cameron Village

teagschwender TeaGschwendner is coming to Raleigh! The 145-store (mostly in Europe) tea retailing operation will open in the former Peanut Roaster space in Cameron Village in August. There is more information to come, and more was covered in Sue Stock’s Friday column .


Hillsborough Street Final Plan Available

Hst The City of Raleigh has released the final documents outlining the Hillsborough Street renovation plans, and they are posted at hillsboroughstreet.org . The plan calls for eliminating the outer lanes of traffic and converting the space to parallel parking. Only one lane in each direction will remain open, and two roundabouts will anchor the project.

While the streetscape plans look like a nice improvement, I have grave concerns about traffic flow. The concept behind one lane in each direction works in places where there are only traffic circles at the intersections (because the traffic only comes to a dead stop when there is congestion at the circles). I am not a fan of traffic signals clogging up major arteries, and unfortunately the new plan retains traffic signals at the intersections with Pogue and Horne. This will cause enormous backups and invite dangerous maneuvers by impatient drivers in a highly pedestrian-oriented zone. A better plan would be to close these streets to inbound Hillsborough Street traffic, allowing only right-in or right-out activity. Perhaps a Michigan turn (dedicated U-lane) could have been installed near the Pogue intersection where land is available. map it

The traffic circle at Pullen Drive will be a nice gateway to the area, and will afford the chance to showcase a piece of public art later, as well as invite some interesting redevelopment on the north border (where Steve’s and Zack’s were).

A second, unnecessary circle will be implemented at Oberlin and Groveland Streets (access to Groveland, a one-way street, should be closed and the remaining portion of Oberlin, in front of the Player’s Retreat, should be treated as a parking lot.) Without the roundabout and Groveland access, Oberlin would be a straighter, simpler, and safer street. map it

The project is slated to begin next week (on May 20).


Save The Clock Tower!

Tonight N.C. State went back to the future, as the university’s stately bell tower was struck by lighting. Pieces of the Mt. Airy granite were blown off and the clock stopped working; stuck on precisely 7:55pm.

The bell tower has recently been in the news because of a movement aiming to install real bells. The tower was finished in 1937, but funding has never been in place for the final bell installation.


Goodberry’s Coming to Cameron Village

Goodberry’s frozen custard will be opening this summer in the space once occupied by Hold Your Own. More into is available in Sue Stock’s column today .


Frances King Moving Out of Cameron Village

The Frances King stationery store is closing the Cameron Village location and moving everything to the North Hills (Alexan) location.


Hillsborough Street Festival To Celebrate Revival

For the first time since its original construction in 1972, Hillsborough Street will be closed for an all day eco-friendly arts & music festival on Saturday, March 14th . The Hillsborough Street Renaissance Festival has been created to showcase the construction changes occurring on the street over the next two years, and to revitalize Raleigh’s famed Hillsborough Street. Proceeds from the festival will go to support student and community non-profit organizations focused on renewable energy research, sustainable development, and community improvement projects.  The event will feature a wide variety of activities as well as live music and ton of vendors. Check out live bands, an Eco-Fashion Show, a Fraternity, Sorority & Business BBQ Taste Testing Competition, an Iron Chef Cookoff styled after March Madness Basketball Brackets, and more!


Uncle Fatty’s Drive-In Coming to Cameron Village

The Cameron Village website is showing that "Uncle Fatty’s Drive-In" is coming to Cameron Village in 2009. This is presumably the next project by John White, and the next version of the concept formerly known as " Burger Dawgs ". White is fresh off of opening Raving Brand’s latest Flying Biscuit location, in Cameron Village. UF’s will be located on Woodburn Avenue, next door to Piccola Italia .


New Openings

A couple of long-awaited businesses have reached their opening dates. The Renaissance Hotel at North Hills has officially opened, however not all floors are completed. The restaurant and bar are also open.

In Cameron Village the Flying Biscuit Cafe, the newest offering by Raving Brands will officially open on Monday.


Chick-Fil-A Files Site Plan for Cameron Village

The long-awaited Chick-Fil-A in Cameron Village took a big step forward a few weeks ago as the site plan (.PDF) has been submitted to the city. The plan calls for a 6,285-square foot, two-story restaurant which will replace the former optician and dry cleaners building behind the McDonald’s in Cameron Village.

The site plan’s most interesting aspects involve traffic flow. In order to accommodate a snaking drive-thru queue around the building’s southeast corner, a miniature traffic circle will be formed around the stairway that once went down into Nowell’s. The queue proper can handle 16 cars, none of which cross pedestrians’ paths and parking spaces. The real question remains…how are they going to handle 100 cars? (because this place is going to be so popular it will cause traffic snarls well into Oberlin Road once it is open!)


Foster’s Hosting Double "Booty" Block Party

Fosters American Grille in Cameron Village will be hosting both Sleeping Booty and Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band in their parking lot next Thursday, September 11. The event’s proceeds will go to the Michael J Cawley Firefighter Memorial Foundation . Cawley was one of the responding firefighters who did not survive the World Trade Center’s terrorist attack. Gates open at 6pm.

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