The new spot will be in the former Straw Valley Food + Drink space in Durham, which closed in March 2015. The space at 5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., off U.S. 15-501, could be ready as early as mid-May, said Joe Choi, who owns Bulkogi with his wife, Sinae Lee.
The restaurant will serve coffee, Korean tea, Korean fare and beer, Choi said.
Bo’s Kitchen is owned by Bo Kwon. His wife is Kyuri Kwon.
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“We both do Korean barbeque,” Choi said. “We’ve been talking about collaborating. We saw this place and fell in love with the feel of the place.”
“Namu” means tree in Korean. The name is fitting, Choi said. The space “looks like a treehouse,” he said. And then the two truck owners are growing their business.
Choi and Kwon met a few years ago when they were both invited to a food truck rodeo. They were told six trucks would be present. They were the only two to show up and found it puzzling since both serve Korean food.
But since then, the two have become friendly and exchange ideas about their businesses. Both of their wives became friends, too.
They had talked about collaborating but figured it might be a fundraiser, or a popup kitchen. Once they saw the available restaurant space earlier this year, they became excited about the idea of a brick-and-mortar location, which more food trucks in the Triangle are doing as they find success.
Choi said while they both serve Korean barbeque, they approach it differently.
Bulkogi is more fusion with Southwestern influences, Choi said. Think Korean barbeque tacos with Asian slaw, a Korean BBQ burrito bowl, short ribs and spicy pork.
Bo’s Kitchen is more traditional Korean food with thinly sliced meat over a bed of rice. His meat is a little sweeter, Choi said.
Both, naturally, serve kimchi, the traditional fermented cabbage with a kick.
All of that could appear on the menu at Namu Durham. The larger space also will allow them to prepare items not served on the trucks. Korean pancakes, homemade dumplings and small plates are being discussed. In turn, those dishes could make their way to the trucks as the restaurant will be used as a commissary.
“We don’t want to do something formal,” Choi said. “We want to do something casual, a food truck kind of feel.”
They plan to serve local beers, along with a few Korean beers.
Adjacent event space could be used as commissary space for other food trucks, he said.
The restaurant has seating for 40, plus outdoor seating.
Bulkogi, launched in 2009, was one of the Triangle’s original food trucks. When the original owners no longer could operate it nor a brick-and-mortar spot, Choi took over the truck in 2014.
FRESH. Local Ice Cream opens in Cary
FRESH. Local Ice Cream, which has made a name for itself with its unique flavors and local ingredients, is opening its new downtown Cary location this weekend.
The ice cream shop is at 138 E. Chatham St., in a spot occupied for years by a barber shop. It’s owned by Jason and Casey Hillman. Jason’s parents, Brett and Ellen, opened the Glenwood Avenue location north of Crabtree Valley Mall in 2011. The company emphasizes that the ice cream is free of artificial hormones, antibiotics and pesticides.
Jason, an Apex High graduate, and Casey Hillman left their corporate office jobs about a year and a half ago to launch FRESH. Local Ice Cream Truck. The truck’s success led to the decision to open a second brick-and-mortar location in downtown Cary, between Crosstown Pub and Johnson’s Jewelers.
While the Raleigh location only has a walk-up window, the Cary store will have some seats inside as well as patio seating.
“The store is great,” Jason Hillman said. “The store has an open window where you can sit at a bar area and talk to people on the sidewalk.”
He said he hopes customers will buy a scoop and then wander to other shops and enjoy the community.
“We’re trying to make downtown Cary a walking town,” he said.
With 16 flavors, it has fewer flavors the Raleigh location. They include traditional flavors, but also cookies and cream, Carolina Crunch, key lime pie and banana pudding. It also includes two non-dairy flavors: vanilla and chocolate made with almond milk.
Hillman said his wife is the ice cream maker in Cary. “She’s a vital part of this,” he said.
Otherwise, he adds, “Exact same recipes. Exact same feel, cow, family.”
The cow refers to the company’s logo, not a cow that could produce enough milk to create multiple tubs of ice cream.
They can be served in scoops, sundaes, floats, banana splits and brownie sundaes.
The truck will still be used to complement the brick-and-mortar location. It may carry flavors not served in the store, though it carries the store’s menu of floats and sundaes. It has been seen around downtown in recent months to promote the FRESH brand.
Friday, the ice cream truck will be across the street for a pre-opening event.
On Saturday, the shop will be open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. It’s the same day as the Mid-Town Square Spring Fest across the street. FRESH is a sponsor and is parking its truck at Bond Brothers Beer Company off Cedar Street. The first 50 people who come to the truck Saturday will get free ice cream.
Info: 138 E. Chatham St., Cary; freshlocalicecream.com/
Seasons 52 at Crabtree
Seasons 52, a new restaurant with a focus on seasonal ingredients, is opening its first North Carolina location Monday, April 3, at Crabtree Valley Mall. It will be on the second floor near Banana Republic and also has a patio.
The seasonal menu features dishes like wood-grilled artichokes and duck wing “lollipops” for appetizers and seafood paella, Asian-glazed Chilean sea bass and Kona-crusted rack of lamb as entrees. There are several salads and sides like truffle mac and cheese and caramelized sea scallops.
The restaurant will also serve Wild Alaskan Halibut for a limited time. Other specials include chef-inspired small plates, flatbreads and 52 wines by the glass. Braised Beef Short Rib Hash and Brick Oven Brioche French Toast are on the Sunday brunch menu.
Bryan Florence, executive chef partner, is a Triangle resident and has worked as a chef and manager at several area restaurants.
The restaurant is supporting during its opening days, including the Raleigh-based Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Make-A-Wish of Eastern North Carolina.
Info: 4325 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh. Reservations can be made at www.seasons52.com/reservations or by calling 919-787-3052. Free valet service is available at certain hours.
▪ Babylon Moroccan restaurant, which announced March 7 that it will be moving, will wrap up its run at the former knitting mill on Dawson Street this weekend.
Reservations will be accepted through Sunday, April 2. It will reopen in a smaller, unidentified space. A location and date haven’t been announced.
Meanwhile, owner Samad Hachby will launch Mulino Italian Kitchen and Bar in the same spot in mid-April. The menu will feature homemade pastas and wood-fired oven pizzas, meat, seafood and an Italian wine selection.
Info: Mulino will be at 309 N. Dawson St. mulinoraleigh.com
▪ One Fish Two Fish, a poke restaurant, opened in Carrboro Thursday. Poké, pronounced “poh-kay,” is a traditional Hawaiian dish with marinated raw fish. Diners move down a line at the counter to complete the bowl. They pick a protein, such as tuna, salmon, spicy tuna, scallops or shrimp.
Add toppings, like green onions, greens, ginger, edamame, cucumbers, mango or avocado and a sauce. Finally, add crunch: roasted seaweed, wasabi peas, wonton crisps, sesame seeds and more.
One Fish Two Fish is owned by Scott and Lauren Kleczkowski. They operate Goose Hospitality, which owns other restaurants on the same block that focus on one concept – Esperanza, which serves empanadas, and The Shoppe Bar and Meatball Kitchen.
“Poké is sushi’s laid-back cousin,” Kleczkowski said, recounting one description he’s heard of poké bowls. “It does incorporate sushi flavors, but it’s not held to that.”
They also will have traditional Hawaiian shaved ice with homemade syrups like pineapple, strawberry, kiwi and guava flavors. There also will be tempura-fried vegetables, for a side.
ZenFish, another restaurant with a mostly exclusive focus on poké, opened on Durham’s Ninth Street, in mid-March.
Info: 370 E Main Street #140, Carrboro, onefishtwofishpoke.com/
▪ Honeysuckle Tea House is ready to emerge from hibernation. Saturday is the Chapel Hill tea house’s re-opening celebration. Starting at 2 p.m., there will be live music along with the menu fo teas, coffee, smoothie bowls, beer and wine and a food truck. Owners note there are “new menu items, new walls and new faces to the same wonderful farmstand, serene landscape and warm community.” Dogs on leashes are welcome. Stick around for a Final Four viewing party at 8:45 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person. It’s at 8871 Conservation Grove Rad, Chapel Hill. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.
Owners Mike Stojic and Maleah Christie have transformed former offices at 222 E. Main St., and give a nod to the town with its name. Clayton’s charter was established in 1869. They previously told The News & Observer that they are calling it a “drinkery” and will serve whiskeys, mixed drinks and craft beer. There also is an upright piano; Thursdays are piano nights.
Stojic was stationed as a Marine at Camp Lejeune. Christie grew up in Cary and graduated from UNC.
Info: 222 E. Main St. facebook.com/revival1869
▪ Brewery Bhavana – a restaurant in downtown Raleigh with craft beer, dim sum, flower shop and bookstore – opened Wednesday. The hours for the Blount Street restaurant are 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The restaurant will be closed Monday.
The bookshop and floral shop inside will operate according to those hours as well and eventually will be open during the day to coincide with the brewery and restaurant’s expanded hours. Limited reservations can be made on Open Table. Walk-ins are welcome.
Info: Brewery Bhavana is at 218 S. Blount St., Raleigh. brewerybhavana.com