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New butcher shop and bakery opens in Durham

This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:

Nose-to-tail butcher and artisanal pastry baker - it’s an unusual combination, to be sure. But if anyone can deliver on the double-barreled promise of Rose’s Meat Market & Sweet Shop (121 N. Gregson St.; 919-797-2233; rosesmeatandsweets.com), it’s owners Justin & Katie Meddis.

The young couple’s already-impressive resumes are larded with notable restaurants in San Francisco (including Chez Panisse, where Katie was pastry chef, and Ame in the St. Regis Hotel, where Justin was executive sous chef) and Charleston, SC. For the past year or so, they’ve been building a local following by hosting dinners and butchery classes across the Triangle.

The Meddises opened Rose’s in late June, where they’re showcasing their versatile talents with an assortment of humanely raised local meats, house-made sausages and charcuterie, as well as a rotating selection of sweet temptations ranging from blueberry-peach cobbler to caramels made with lard.

The shop also offers a daily-changing menu of savory pastries and other lunch temptations for takeout, with recent options including puff pastry-wrapped sausage roll, pork-and-beef meatloaf sandwich, and a BLT made with house-cured bacon.

As long as you’re there, might as well pick up dinner, too. How does smoked beef shank with 12 Bones Sweet Tomato BBQ sauce, cucumber salad and sourdough toast sound?

Rose’s Meat Market & Sweet Shop is open Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Send restaurant news to Greg at ggcox@bellsouth.net. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.

Gregoria’s Kitchen owner looking for a new location

This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:

Fares Hanna, owner of Gregoria’s Kitchen in Durham, had initially hoped to rebuild after the Cuban restaurant was closed by a fire in January. Now he’s looking for a new location.

Hanna would like to find a building similar to the restored 1920s vintage house that was home to the original Gregoria’s. “That place had a lot of charm,” he says, “and it was big enough that I even ran my catering out of there for a while.”

He’s referring to Three Seasons Catering (threeseasonscatering.com), which he had fortunately moved out of the building before the fire in order to make room for Gregoria’s growing need for private dining space.

So far, Hanna hasn’t been successful in his search.

“It’s hard to find a place like that that’s suitable for a restaurant,” he says. If he doesn’t, Hanna isn’t certain whether he’ll reopen the restaurant. But he hasn’t given up yet.

In the meantime, fans of Gregoria’s erstwhile chef, Dania Gonzales, will find her at Radius Pizza in Hillsborough.

Send restaurant news to Greg at ggcox@bellsouth.net. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.

Catching up on a few of Greg Cox's restaurant reviews

Greg Cox has one of his mini-reviews today about Back in the Day Cafe in Cary and MoonRunners Saloon in Garner. Go HEREto read that review.

I forgot to post a link to Greg's review last week where he gave 3 1/2 stars to Durham's Page Road Grill - the latest restaurant from Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, which also owns Mez, 518 West and other restaurants. Go HERE to read that review.

One Blue Hill opens in Chapel Hill Sheraton

This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:

People who took their dads to Shula’s 347 in the Sheraton Chapel Hill for a Father’s Day steak dinner on Sunday were in for a big surprise. The night before, hotel management had converted the restaurant into One Blue Hill (One Europa Drive; 919-969-2157), a contemporary Southern concept.

The fact that it’s a hotel restaurant obliged to serve its guests necessitated the overnight conversion, and the dining room makeover is still a work in progress. I’m guessing a lot of memorabilia from NFL coaching legend Don Shula, the previous restaurant’s namesake, will have to come down.

But chef Ches McLane, a veteran of more than 30 years in hotel kitchens from Santa Fe to Knoxville, already has his menu in place. The chef’s preference for sourcing locally is reflected in an inaugural offering that includes pecan-crusted Ashley Farms chicken, Heritage Farms pork chop, and local sweet potato cheesecake.

Other temptations include black-eyed pea hummus with icebox pickles, chicken and potato gnocchi “dumplings,” and an open face grilled pimento cheese sandwich topped with arugula salad.

And, of course, the obligatory shrimp and grits. McLane amps his version up with smoked kielbasa and bacon.

One Blue Hill serves lunch and dinner daily. Breakfast which had formerly been served in the hotel lobby, will move to the One Blue Hill dining room this weekend. The restaurant doesn’t have a website yet, but you can follow them on Twitter: @OneBlueHillNC

Send restaurant news to Greg at ggcox@bellsouth.net. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.

Greg Cox gives 2 1/2 stars to India Gate in Durham

Go HERE to read Greg's review.

Garland -- your new late-night munchies destination

Here's some welcome news for club-crawling gourmands who spend a lot of after-dark hours prowling downtown Raleigh's nightclub district. Opening this week is Garland, the long-awaited street-level restaurant component of the Kings Barcade complex on Martin Street -- although its initial incarnation will be as a night-time takeout window specializing in food to be eaten on the go.

The restaurant's full dining room should be open with expanded hours by this fall, under the direction of Kings co-owner (and Birds of Avalon guitarist) Cheetie Kumar, a longtime veteran of The Rockford. See N&O restaurant columnist Greg Cox's blog for more details about Garland's menu offerings.

Garland opens this week in downtown Raleigh

This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:

After several successful trial runs, Garland (14 W. Martin St.; 919-833-6886; garlandraleigh.com) formally opens its doors this week in downtown Raleigh.

Well, not its doors, exactly. The dining room is still getting a makeover from its previous incarnation as Martin Street Pizza, and is expected to be ready by fall.

In the meantime, the first phase of the concept takes the form of a walkup window, sidewalk tables and a ledge along the storefront where people can grab a quick bite without sitting down.

“I got the idea from northern Spain, where little shops sell food that you eat standing up,” says owner Cheetie Kumar, a noted local musician whose credits also include mixologist for Neptune’s Parlour downstairs.

The versatile Kumar looks to another continent for inspiration for her menu, which covers a lot of territory with fewer than a dozen listings. Contemporary riffs on Asian fare range from bibimbap-inspired rice bowls with kimchee-style pickles to potato croquettes stuffed with shredded fresh coconut, cashew and raisins.

Indian cuisine is particularly well-represented, as are vegetarian options. Roti rolls, a twist on a popular street food that goes by the name of Frankies in India, are offered in both Heritage Farms pork and tofu versions. You can get chicken 65 or its cauliflower cousin. Wash either down with a beer or, if you like, slip downstairs to Neptune’s Parlour for one of Cheetie Kumar’s creations.

Initially, Garland will serve dinner only, Tuesday-Saturday nights. In the coming weeks, Kumar plans to expand hours to include lunch and late night.

Send restaurant news to Greg at ggcox@bellsouth.net. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.

Greg Cox gives 3 stars to Ethiopian restaurant in Cary

Go HERE to read Greg's review of Ashee Ethiopian Cuisine in Cary.

And I forgot to post a link to last Friday's review. Greg gave 3 1/2 stars to Oro in downtown Raleigh. Go HERE to read that review.

New bistro opens in downtown Cary

This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:

Downtown Cary’s appeal as a dining destination got noticeably brighter on Tuesday, when Academy Street Bistro (200 S. Academy St.; 919-377-0509; academystbistro.comacademystbistro.com) opened its doors for the first time. The restaurant is the first venture for owner/chef Brian Fitzgerald, a Culinary Institute of America grad who cut his culinary teeth in New York (including Maxim’s and, most recently, the Harvard Club).

Fitzgerald has given the former Klara’s space a fresh new look (but wisely kept the attractive patio), setting a suitably upscale-casual mood for his French-inflected contemporary menu.

But don’t take “French-inflected” to mean stuffy of tradition-bound. Mixed in among the likes of goujonette of lemon sole, roasted vegetable Napoleon, diver scallops with carrot ginger puree, and grilled sirloin steak with truffled twice-baked potatoes, you’ll also find a cheeseburger.

Granted, the cheese is Vermont white cheddar, and it’s served on a brioche bun with caramelized onions, applewood-smoked bacon and a side of classic fries. But still.

The wine-list is appropriately bistro-sized: a dozen or so by the glass, and a handful by the bottle. The taps that once dispensed Czech beers at Klara’s are now for the most part devoted to local brews.

For now, Academy Street is open for dinner only, Tuesday-Saturday. Chef Fitzgerald plans to add lunch service in two weeks, followed a couple weeks later by Sunday brunch.

Send restaurant news to Greg at ggcox@bellsouth.net. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.

Chicago-style pizza comes to Holly Springs

This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:

J.P. LaRussa and his wife, Gwynne, opened Acme Pizza Co. (204 Village Walk Drive; 919-552-8800; acmepizzaco.org) last week in the former All Aboard Pizza space. They’re still offering the New York style pies that were that restaurant’s calling card, but Acme’s specialty is Chicago-style deep dish stuffed pizzas.

The style fills an underserved niche in the Triangle, and is a natural for Acme’s owners. The LaRussas hail from the San Francisco Bay area, where J.P. worked for more than 20 years for a small chain called Zachary’s Chicago Pizza.

“They brought Chicago-style to the Bay area,” says LaRussa. “It’s like a real pie, baked in a two-inch deep pan with the filling between two layers of thin dough, and sauce on top.”

It’s a lot of filling, too, whether you opt for the Meat Head (pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, sliced meatball, crumbled bacon and mozzarella) or something “lighter.” The Greek, say, with roasted red bell peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, green olives, feta and Monterey Jack. Novices are advised that these hefty pies take 30-35 minutes to bake.

Ordering ahead is encouraged, but you could also profitably fill the half hour wait with a glass of wine or a draft beer from a soon-to-be-expanded selection that already includes local brews from Aviator, Carolina Brewing and Natty Greene’s.

The menu also lists calzones, stromboli, grinders, half-pound grilled-to-order burgers and a modest selection of appetizers and pastas. Given LaRussa’s experience and the paucity of Chicago-style pizzerias in the area, though, it’s a good bet that transplants from the Windy City are already setting their GPS for Holly Springs.

Acme Pizza Co. is open for lunch and dinner daily.

Send restaurant news to Greg at ggcox@bellsouth.net. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.

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