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Downtown Raleigh Restaurant week starts Aug. 22

About 30 downtown Raleigh restaurants will be offering special prix fixe menus this week as part of the annual Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week, which runs from Aug.22-28.

Restaurants, such as Babylon, bu.ku and Tasca Brava 607, will offer three-course meals for either $20 or $30. And this year, for the first time, many restaurants will offer beer or wine pairings for an additional $10.

For example, 518 West in Glenwood South is offering goat cheese and tomato bruschetta, N.C. seafood over grilled corn and summer squash risotto and housemade vanilla gelato for $20.

Also, there will be a "Taste of Restaurant Week" during the Raleigh Downtown Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24. Nine restaurants will prepare free, bite-sized samples of their restaurant week menu items to hand out at the market.

To see menus and the complete list of restaurants, go to

Babylon restaurant opens in downtown Raleigh

The opening of Babylon restaurant has been a longtime aspiration of Samad Hachby.

Hachby, 39, came to the United States from Morocco in 1998 to attend N.C. State University and study international studies. Always an enthusiastic cook, Hachby served a Moroccan feast to 100 people at Raleigh’s Helios coffee shop in 2003. Then five years ago, he opened Mosaic Wine Lounge in Raleigh’s Glenwood South area. But Mosaic didn’t have a kitchen so Hachby couldn’t serve food.

Two weeks ago, Hachby opened Babylon, which serves the food of his homeland and southern European specialities. Hachby and his sister designed the menu and he supervises the kitchen staff. “It’s come full circle,” Hachby said.

The menu offers grilled lamb brochettes to pizza margharita; prices range from $8 to $24. (For a look at the restaurant’s menu, see document at the bottom of the blog post.)

The restaurant is located at 309 N. Dawson Street in a former yarn mill. It has a walled patio with a Moroccan-tiled pool outside. I must say it is gorgeous and feels so unlike anything else in Raleigh to me. I suspect it will be a popular date-night location.

One note: the restaurant can be hard to find. The best approach is to head south on Capital Boulevard. At the first stoplight at West Lane Street, the restaurant is on your right. There’s a sign by the road directing drivers into the parking lot.

For detailed directions, go to the restaurant’s website: Or you can download the direction card at the bottom of the blog post.

[Photo above of Samad Hachby at a wine tasting at Mosaic Wine Lounge by free-lance photographer Roy Black III.]

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