Midtown Raleigh News

The Rockford returns with new look but familiar menu

Jessaca Giglio
Jessaca Giglio No credit

What’s old is new again.

The Rockford, a sandwich and dinner joint that was one of Glenwood South’s original hot spots, reopened Thursday with a fresh look and familiar menu favorites.

The restaurant, which closed July 1 for renovations, hadn’t been painted since it opened in 1994, said Jason Howard, who co-owns the place with Jay Wellons.

“We wanted to try to make it better,” Howard said. “And now we put our own little spin on it.”

In addition to a paint job, the 1,500-square-foot spot got updated bathroom tiles, new tables and chairs, new artwork and refinished floors. The owners also expanded the small 10-foot-by-10-foot kitchen, something that Howard hopes will decrease customers’ wait time for food.

“Now it’s 18-by-14,” Howard said. “Our biggest problem was that we couldn’t get food out in a timely manner. … It was just logistics.”

Chef Jason Tran will continue to create the restaurant’s popular dishes such as the A.B.C., a bacon, apple and cheddar cheese sandwich that boasts the title “Rockford’s Original Famous Sandwich.”

“Our standard classic favorites have not gone away,” said Brandy McDonald, Rockford’s operations director. “The A.B.C. is safe for sure.”

The restaurant also freshened up its wine list and made menu additions, including a risotto that changes daily, pan-seared Scottish salmon and a New York strip with truffle butter that’s made in-house by Tran.

The Rockford closed “for good” in 2010, when Wellons and Howard bought the spot with the goal of reopening it as a different venture.

After customers left handwritten signs on the door proclaiming their love for the eatery’s margaritas, sweet potato quesadillas and staff members, the pair decided they couldn’t let the place die.

“We were going to change it to something else, but the notes on the door made us realize we should save the Rockford, and that’s what we did,” Howard said. “It fits into our other concepts better than we thought, and we love it.”

The Rockford is at 320 ½ Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh.

Crafty Beer Shop, a bar that’s a mix between a lounge and a bottled beer shop, has opened in Raleigh’s Five Points.

Co-owner Brad Deifer aims to create a comfortable space where people can relax, do some work and enjoy a cold beer. It has a bar and coolers filled with to-go bottles that customers can mix to create their own cash-and-carry six-packs.

But don’t expect to find Bud and Miller Lite at Crafty. Deifer’s shop serves only craft beer and “specialty stuff that beer connoisseurs track down.”

“I was looking to do like a Starbucks of craft beer,” said Deifer, who also founded Evo Recordings, a music recordings and management company. “ … It’s got a lounge feel but still has bottles.”

The shop offers a wide range of North Carolina draft, bottled and canned beers, such as Big Boss, Gizmo Brew Works and Mystery Brewing, along with national brands.

“(Every North Carolina brewery) that has bottles and cans, we are already selling,” Deifer said.

There are eight beers on tap, including a stout, porter and Indian pale ale. Four of the draft offerings are local, and the kegs will rotate quickly to keep the selection fresh.

Crafty Beer also sells wine by the glass and hopes to start offering cheese-and-cracker plates next week and growlers after that. Crafty Beer also takes orders for kegs.

The bar has Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, sofas and high tables for about 30 people.

“The goal is to refine this model we are doing and service the neighborhood,” said Deifer. “And get the beer selection where it needs to be.”

Craft Beer Shop is at 2003 Fairview Road, in the old Hayes Barton Furniture shop.

Big Apple Bagels, a franchise that serves everything from muffins and coffee to bagels and bagel sandwiches, has opened in Raleigh.

Sandwiches cost around $6.

Todd Anthony, the restaurant’s owner, is donating 10 percent of the first week’s sales to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, a charitable organization founded in 1993 by Jim Valvano, the late former N.C. State basketball coach, and ESPN.

Big Apple Bagels, North Carolina’s first location, is at 1141 Falls River Ave., in the Falls River Town Center.

Nüvonivo, a children’s clothing store in downtown Raleigh, is holding a grand opening on Aug. 17 to coincide with Marbles Kids Museum’s “Kick-Off to Kindergarten” event.

The celebration will include 30 percent to 50 percent discounts off everything in the store and back-to-school giveaways, said chief operating officer Ray Malouf.

Nüvonivo, which opened Aug. 7, is at 111 E. Hargett St.