With diners still watching their pocketbooks closely, the cheap, cheesy appeal of pizza continues to be strong. Several pizza chains are expanding locally:
Ohio chain Marco's Pizza currently has one location on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh but will soon open at 1141 Falls River Ave. in Raleigh and 1015 Davis Drive in Apex. Both stores will open in April.
Michigan chain Jet's Pizza just opened at 8365 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh and plans to open at 6014 Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh and 1253 NW Maynard Road in Cary by the end of the year.
And the new Mellow Mushroom in Cary at High House Road and Cary Parkway will open in mid-June.
In Cary, I have a small update on Waverly Place at Kildaire Farm and Tryon roads. The center has signed leases with New World Pizzeria Bistro and Signature Nail Spa, both of which will be opening this summer.
Waverly is also in the midst of construction on a 50,000-square-foot park in the middle of the center called The Promenade. It will feature a children's play area, dancing water fountains, built-in fire pits and a stage for events. Construction is scheduled to be done in late April or early May.
As for the center's Whole Foods store, plans to build a new store in the center's parking lot have been scrapped. For now, Whole Foods will stay where it is.
... And speaking of Whole Foods, the new North Raleigh store will open 9 a.m. March 16, following a free breakfast in the parking lot starting at 7:30 and the company's traditional "bread breaking" (i.e., ribbon cutting) ceremony.
In Apex, a wine shop is fighting the economy with creativity. Tirzas, which was originally located on Chatham Street, has relocated to 112 N. Salem St. It has added gift items from artists and artisans and just last month obtained all of the county licenses necessary to open a wine bar. It's now called Tirzas Wine & Artisan Gift Shop.
Other items: In Cary, Buck's Billiards & Sports Bar is open at 1102 Buck Jones Road. ... In Garner, Vanity Salon and Color Bar is open at 1401 Aversboro Road. ... Yarn Tree Studio, the crafting store I previewed a few months ago, has opened at 8801 Lead Mine Road. ... At Durham's Streets at Southpoint mall, the Marble Slab Creamery has closed, and Crate & Barrel completed its relocation from Raleigh's Crabtree Valley Mall this week, opening at Southpoint on Thursday.
And finally, following up on last week's item about the Lighting Inc. store that is closing in Raleigh, I have a clarification. Toby Holding and the Montague family that currently owns the shop were among the co-founders of the business. In 2001, Holding retired as president and sold his controlling interest in the company to the Montagues.