The new year has just started and there’s already quite a bit to look forward to in our region of the Old North State, including new ways to eat, play and shop locally right here at home.
Number one on my watch list is the first quarter planned opening of the long awaited, greatly anticipated, and highly needed Durham Co-op Market (formerly known as Durham Central Market), a 10,000 square foot store under construction at the corner of Kent and West Chapel Hill Street near downtown Durham. If you’ve been to the Durham Farmers’ Market any time in the past six years or so you’ve likely stopped by the info table for the co-op market, seen the architectural renderings and maybe you’ve been one of the early adopters and became a member owner. I did! Therefore, my bias may be showing here in making the market’s opening my number one favorite thing for all of 2015.
The Person Street area near downtown Raleigh has been booming over the last year but it seems there’s always room for more. In this case that “more” would be the opening of Standard Foods on East Franklin Street. In this Walter Magazine article, Chef/Owner Scott Crawford (formerly of Herons) describes the grocery/restaurant as “a modern version of a neighborhood market,” that will include a fishmonger, a butcher, local produce (from the adjacent Raleigh City Farm), dry goods, and prepared food. Each time I walk by the papered over windows I want to scan the Standard Foods bar code logo to see if it pops up with an opening date. None announced yet, but I’ll keep scanning.
The Varsity on Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill has big plans, and a big Kickstarter goal to meet so they can transition to a digital format in 2015 and keep the iconic, indie theater open for our “Play Local” needs. As of this writing, they are more than half way to their goal. I’m 100% certain that the Triangle community will contribute in all ways possible towards The Varsity’s continued success. I look forward to seeing more movies in Chapel Hill this year.
What else is coming in 2015? More locally crafted beverages of many persuasions. Just when you think we couldn’t possibly squeeze in another brewery, you read (via the Triangle Business Journal) there’s a new brewery district growing in Raleigh’s Five Points neighborhood. I watch the Facebook pages of two of those soon-to-be breweries with eager anticipation. Neuse River Brewing Company expects to be open this Spring and indicates their selections will concentrate on Belgian style ales and IPAs, with maybe a little something funky once in a while, ya know just to keep it fun. Blackjack Brewing Company is building out a 10,000 square foot space in the old Winn Dixie warehouse on Whitaker Mill Road for their pirate-themed brewery. There’s promise of an outdoor beer garden space too. I can’t wait to see what a pirate beer garden might look like.
But hold on to those beer glasses because Raleigh isn’t the only corner of the Triangle gaining new breweries. Down Carrboro way YesterYears Brewery will become the new microbrewery on the block at 300 East Main, conveniently located next to Cat’s Cradle. The brewery and taproom plans a Spring 2015 opening but if you can’t wait until then you can join their Founder’s Club for a special tasting of WHYBO (a double IPA) coming up January 15th.
Durham will see an expanding beverage selection in 2015 too and there are no less than four projects in the works that have me excited for the new year. Bull City Ciderworks opened this past year and they just keep growing, both in selection and popularity (and it’s really good cider – go taste it – you’ll agree). This N&O article covers the area’s burgeoning cider scene and mentions a new venture for Mattie B’s/Six Plates owner (and founder of last year’s Cider Fest in Durham), Brave Cider. I’ll drink to that! I’ll also be drinking more Ponysaurus brew when the new brewery and taproom open in the Summer.
So Durham has the beer, the cider – what more could you want? Well, a little Durham Distillery gin would be nice this Spring at 711 Washington Street. Perhaps some whiskey or rum from Revival Spirits for cocktail hour too. But for your everyday coffee beverage you probably couldn’t be more excited for the pending opening of Cocoa Cinnamon‘s second location in Old North Durham. Good thing Durham has all that tasty food to pair with all our new beverage options.
Speaking of food, last April Taste, the food event presented by Durham Magazine and Chapel Hill Magazine, debuted at DPAC. This year Taste is expanding the event schedule to include a cooking class this month, an indoor tailgate in February, a BBQ, Beer & Bus tour, cocktail dinners, a burger smashdown at Fullsteam and ultimately the grand Taste event itself in late April 2015. It’s the publication’s way of highlighting the diversity of the Triangle’s culinary scene and for a good cause too. Last year a portion of proceeds from that single Taste event raised enough funds to provide 17,000 meals through the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. This year they hope to do even more. Cheers to you, Taste. You’re my favorite food event for 2015.
Still on the topic of food, but this time the food we make for ourselves, UNC Press continues to roll out new books in their Savor the South series. This March we’ll have three more ingredient-focused cookbooks to add to our bookshelves, featuring Catfish, Gumbo and Shrimp. And hey, did you know that May 2, 2015 is now officially Independent Bookstore Day?! That will be the day I spend browsing the (cookbook) shelves at Quail Ridge Books, The Regulator Bookshop, Flyleaf Books and/or McIntyre Books (and probably maxing out the credit card – I’ve got a lot of cookbooks on my list).
Finally as proof positive that the Triangle region continues to be one of the most dynamic to watch for 2015 I submit into evidence the RTP’s newest Frontier, a free work and meeting space and a cafe inside the largest open innovation center in the nation. It’s called The Frontier and it opens January 15, 2015 at 800 Park Center (same place where they hold the food truck rodeos each Friday). You can read more about the center, and see a sneak peek video of The Frontier, via this Exit Event article.
There’s quite a lot to be excited for in 2015. Aren’t you glad you live here and get to experience it all with a front row seat? Yup, yep & YES!