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Farm-to-Cocktail Bar Opening in Durham

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Michelle Vanderwalker picking cherries for Kingfisher.
Kingfisher Durham

ASHEVILLE — RendezVous, the sister concept of French comfort food restaurant Bouchon, has a summer 2018 opening set for 184 New Haw Creek Rd. in east Asheville. The locations will share the same food and wine menu, which boasts steak tartare, a cheese plate, moules frites, and more. As a bonus, RendezVous will be outfitted with eight pétanque courts — pétanque is a game in the same sports family as bocce. A laid-back way to work up that appetite, yes?

DURHAM — A new cocktail bar, Kingfisher, is coming later this year to downtown Durham courtesy of Sean Umstead and his wife and business partner Michelle Vanderwalker. The bar, adjacent to The Durham Hotel at 321 East Chapel Hill St., will craft cocktails and small plates that spotlight fresh and preserved fruits and produce that have been sourced from North Carolina farms. The decor will feature lounge seating, semi-private booths and a custom-tiled bar. As for what to taste first? Expect something with strawberries, for some summer-inspired sweetness. A purchase of 75 pounds of strawberries from Lil’ Farm has already been made, according to a press release.

WAKE FOREST — With cuisine inspired by the push carts of street vendors around the world, bu•ku of Raleigh is opening a second location in Wake Forest (at 1228 Heritage Links Dr.), with a ribbon cutting on June 28. Meanwhile, bu•ku Raleigh will continue service at 110 East Davie St. this year, before the restaurant moves to Cary to reopen in January 2019. For the uninitiated, the dinner menu carries an array of small plates like citrus-poached lobster larb, harissa-spiced eggplant, Korean deviled eggs and more.

RALEIGHKaiju Bowl and Bao made its way onto the dining scene at the inaugural Thrive NC food festival headlined by award-winning chefs Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard in May. The eatery will finally open its brick and mortar at 170 E. Davie St. for lunch Friday, July 6. It will only be open for lunch for the entirety of the month, according to the website. Brought to Raleigh by Ken Yowell, who owns Oak City Meatball Shoppe, Kaiju will feature bao and a rotation of Asian noodle bowls.

WILMINGTONSkytown Beer + BBQ set an opening date of Saturday, June 30, to start service as a brewery and smokehouse pouring 12 house drafts. The new space (at 4712 New Centre Dr.) is orchestrated by owners Stephen Durley, a chef with award-winning barbecue sauces, and his beer-sommelier wife Haley Jensen. Expect sandwich-focused barbecue to complement the brews.

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