Raleigh — Bartaco is gearing up to open its first Raleigh location on North Hills Street this month. North Carolina already has Asheville and Chapel Hill variations of this taco spot, which was originally inspired by Brazil’s beach culture. The menu is rich with creative tacos, from baja fish to falafel, as well as rice bowls topped with choices from roasted duck to cauliflower, fun snack items like fried plantains and blistered shishitos, and more. Not to be overlooked: cocktails ranging from the Hey Miss Dragonfly (with la sueca sangria, elderflower, lemon, fruit and libélula joven) to Smoke on the Water (with banhez mezcal, cappelletti aperitivo, mint, watermelon and lemon). The North Hills Facebook account hinted at a July 9 opening.
Raleigh — Chef Scott Crawford, known for his restaurant Crawford and Son that was honored as the Triangle’s “Restaurant of the Year 2018” by the News & Observer, is opening a French Bistro on Person Street in Raleigh called Jolie in fall 2018. Named for his daughter, according to a press release, this new space will offer a classic French restaurant experience with dishes like steak frites and rabbit cassoulet, as well as innovative options like turnip vichyssoise and foie gras stuffed chicken. As for drinks, an all-French wine and beer list is in the works, alongside an aperitif-driven cocktail program.
Chapel Hill — After longtime restaurant Spanky’s closed on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill in March, it reopened last month as a rebranded fried chicken concept dubbed Lula’s. The menu, created by Chef William D’Auvray (known from Fin’s and bu.ku in Raleigh), features chicken that has been fried in cast iron skillets after a brining, marinating, and air-drying process. Customers can also bite into sandwiches like panko fried pork chop and grilled catch of the day, biscuits, salads like local kale with sweet potato, and sides such as mac and cheese and green beans. Fun fact: The restaurant is named after the chef’s great-grandmother.
Durham — The neighborhood cafe Bull Street Gourmet & Market of Durham on Shannon Road has rebranded as Bull and Bean. Owner Anne Niemann first opened the restaurant in honor of Charleston’s beloved Bull Street Gourmet. The goal: To offer fresh food alongside gourmet retail items sourced locally (think artisan cheeses and dips). The menu ranges from loaded hashbrowns and Brazilian açai bowls on the breakfast list, to vegan hummus and turkey with brie on the sandwich list. The market stated on Facebook, “Only our name is changing — we have the same owners and we will be serving the same delicious fresh food (with some yummy new items we hope you’ll try).”
Asheville — The Famous Toastery’s first Asheville location is due to open July 14 in the Whole Foods plaza near the Asheville Mall. The Toastery is based in Huntersville and burgeoning already with about 30 locations across states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. In 2016, CNBC named the eatery one of the six hot restaurant franchises to watch. Breakfast and brunch is the Toastery’s bread and butter, with breakfast specialties like huevos rancheros, omelets with a smorgasbord of fixings like chorizo and bell peppers, griddle items like stuffed French toast, and, of course, Bbloody marys.