Welcome to Friday Night Bites, your weekly roundup of local food and drink news and events. Have a tip for us? Email food@indyweek.com.


Members-Only Atlantic Lounge is Now Open on Raleigh’s North Person Street

Atlantic Lounge, a new underground cocktail bar on Raleigh’s North Person Street (beneath Scott Crawford’s forthcoming restaurant Jolie) is now open—though you’ll need a key (and a one-time payment of $40) to get in. Jason Howard, who also owns The Cardinal Bar in Raleigh, opened the bar earlier this month and started membership by giving out invitations to Oakwood locals before conducting an open enrollment period. Howard says that the idea is to give control to the customer and allow them to curate the crowd and experience, with a few caveats.

“Don’t bring uncle Joe. Everyone knows an Uncle Joe, someone who’s really crass and doesn’t have a filter,” Howard says.

Another parameter? Members must be twenty-five years or older. Howard says he while wants to bring a certain level of maturity to the bar, he doesn’t want it to be perceived as pretentious. If you have any doubts, check the “Don’t serious yourself to death” neon sign near the entrance (it’s an Alice Cooper quote) and the oversize black-and-white portrait of Johnny Cash giving the middle finger.

As for the drinks, barman Dug Wheeler riffs on the classics with tipples such as a smoked rosemary Old Fashioned and a Negroni Fizz. Taps feature rotating local brews from the likes of Brewery Bhavana, Trophy Brewing Co., and Crank Arm Brewing.

Members also receive one invitation to give to a friend, so if you don’t know someone who is a member, send inquires to TheAtlanticLounge@gmail.com or @TheAtlanticLounge via Instagram direct message.

2019 Krispy Kreme Challenge Announces Date for Fifteenth Annual Race

The Krispy Kreme Challenge, where participants are challenged to eat twelve doughnuts and run five miles in one hour, announced that its fifteenth annual race will be held on February 2 beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the N.C. State Memorial Bell Tower. The student-run, non-profit charity race has raised more than $1.5 million for UNC Children’s Hospital and the organization has pledged to bring its cumulative donation to $2 million by 2020. More than 5,000 runners are expected to take part, but not everyone has to eat or run to participate; there are four registration categories to accommodate those who just want to run, eat, or participate virtually. For more information or to register, click here.

Thrive NC Returns to Downtown Raleigh in May

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that Thrive NC, a food insecurity summit and food festival, will return to downtown Raleigh May 9-10 at City Market. Last year, the inaugural event brought thousands together to incite conversations about food insecurity in our state and celebrate North Carolina’s culinary roots, and event proceeds totaling nearly $470,000 were donated to North Carolina non-profits such as A Place at the Table, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and Raleigh City Farm. This year’s ticket proceeds will also be donated to area non-profits addressing food insecurity in the Triangle and across the state.

The format will be similar to the inaugural event, with a summit on Thursday, May 9, a day of service on Friday, May 10, and a food festival on both nights featuring dishes from more than sixty local restaurants, chef demonstrations, and live entertainment. Festival tickets are $30 and will go on sale Thursday, February 28. New this year is a Thrive NC Service Series; leading up to May 10, the series will feature community service events with a local, food-focused non-profit organization around the Triangle in March and April. For more information, visit GoThriveNC.com.


Acme Kicks Off Its “Meet the Maker” Dinner Series with Chapel Hill Creamery

Carrboro’s Acme Food & Beverage Company is known for its commitment to local farms and artisans, but chef Kevin Callaghan takes things one step further by bringing them into his kitchen and dining room. The 2019 Meet the Makers dinner series kicks off on January 16 at 6:30 p.m. with Chapel Hill Creamery, where the four-course dinner will highlight four different farmstead cheeses. For a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the maker and the cheeses, follow @acmecarrboro on Instagram. Tickets are $48 and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 919-929-2263.

Make Alaskan Ice Cream with Chef Rob Kinneen

Chef Rob Kinneen calls Durham home—he’s at the helm of The Boot Italian Restaurant and Happy Cardinal Catering—but his Alaskan roots run deep. Last year he memorialized his passion for his home state’s culinary traditions with a collection of recipes and pictures in The Fresh Alaska Cookbook (University of Alaska Press). On January 23, he’ll host a cooking class at Southern Season where he’ll demonstrate how to prepare Alaskan-inspired dishes with native ingredients, such as a harvest salad with pickled beach asparagus, bull kelp pickles, and seared and chilled scallops; Alaskan spot shrimp and barley polenta; and birch syrup crème brûlée with agudak, or Alaskan ice cream. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Cook Lebanese Brunch at Sassool Mediterranean Cafe

In line with Sassool’s commitment to fresh, healthful Lebanese and Mediterranean food, co-owner Simone Saleh will host a Lebanese brunch cooking class at the Cary location on Saturday, January 26 from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m. Saleh will demonstrate how to make traditional Lebanese breakfast dishes such as farmers cheese, a mild, semi-soft cheese; foul mudammas, mashed fava beans with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic; and ajji, a veggie-packed omelet. Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased here.


Our readers are a notoriously opinionated bunch, and we love them for it, which is why I haven’t been able to get KoKyu Na’Mean out of my mind. In last year’s Eats issue, which featured a story on 100 local things to eat from A to Z, one of our readers left an online comment saying that the sandwich spot from the KoKyu BBQ crew never gets any love. Since then, I’ve heard the name uttered by several friends and have seen the sandwiches—Korean fried chicken, short rib bahn mi—steadily creeping into my Instagram feed, and as part of my resolution to dine out at more places across the Triangle this year (finally, a resolution I can stick to), I stopped by for a late lunch.

At the recommendation of a friend I ordered the Pyongyang Hot Chicken, a funky mash-up of Korean fried chicken and Nashville hot chicken dressed in ample (read: dripping) amounts of ssamjang—a funky, tangy, salty sauce with a sweet kicker—that brings a complex, savory oomph to the crispy chicken. There’s also a scrim of gochujang mayo on the squish hoagie-style roll, but the combination isn’t too spicy—just enough to clear your nasal passages. Before things get a little too wild on the savory side, there’s a duo of quick pickled cucumbers and sweet pickled radish (I swear I’d eat here just for the pickled stuff) to mellow things out. Want my opinion? I loved it. Also, grab lots of napkins.