Stop talking about dining at all those Raleigh restaurants your friends have been praising and do it.

DOWNTOWN RALEIGH RESTAURANT WEEK, which continues through Sunday, makes it easy, with more than 55 eateries offering bargain-priced, multi-course meals meant to turn you into a regular. There are $5 and $10 lunch options and loads of $20 and $30 dinners.

This year, a handful of newly opened eateries offer tempting menus, like the Italian classics of Bigboom, which opened in May at 510 Glenwood Ave., and savory Greek fare at Taverna Agora, which moved from the Crabtree area to 326 Hillsborough St. in June.

There is a new Progressive Dinner option, too, meant to encourage diners to have a starter at one place, a main course at another and dessert at a third destination. Ashley Melville, who works for Restaurant Week promoter Downtown Raleigh Alliance, says the option should encourage participation by restaurants that cannot support the typical three-course dinner option.

“The breadth and depth of the restaurant community in downtown Raleigh has expanded such that a one-size-fits-all approach to Restaurant Week doesn’t work,” Melville says. The idea came from a brainstorming session with downtown Raleigh restaurateurs last spring. Progressive participants include: Busy Bee and Woody’s for appetizers, Dickey’s BBQ and Sitti for entrées and lucettegrace and Bittersweet for desserts. For details, visit

As far as new dining choices go, most people wait until after they move in to have a housewarming party. But not Scott Crawford. On Sunday, Aug. 30, a few weeks before he is expected to open (at last!) STANDARD FOODS in Raleigh’s North Person neighborhood, the former executive chef at Herons at the Umstead will welcome his old friend HUGH ACHESON to cook a seasonal, vegetable-based feast. The six-course dinner will focus on recipes from Acheson’s new book, The Broad Fork: Recipes for the Wide World of Fruits and Vegetables.

If you’re not familiar with the James Beard Award-winning Achesonchef-owner of acclaimed restaurants in Georgia and South Carolina, and a judge for several seasons on Top Chef get a taste of his razor sharp humor in a recent video in which he makes a nachos recipe from Kris Jenner’s laughable cookbook. Tickets cost $85–$125. For details, visit

While Crawford is almost ready to open Standard, Wyatt Dickson and Ben Adams won’t unveil Picnic in North Durham until this fall. Still, The Daily South, a blog from Southern Living, recently hailed the two as purveyors of “Next Generation ‘Cue.” Their next pop-up event will be FRIED CHICKEN & BUBBLES, a collaboration with master sommelier Fred Dexheimer, at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, at Rx Wine Lab in Golden Belt (807 E. Main St., Durham). The first-come, first-served event includes a fried chicken platter and wine options.

But don’t waste time worrying about which wine to drink with seafood: HAW RIVER FARMHOUSE ALES is partnering with LOCALS SEAFOOD for a four-course beer pairings dinner at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24, at Kitchen in Chapel Hill. Tickets are $55 per person. To reserve your seat, call 919-537-8167.

Speaking of seafood, did your friends go to the beach and forget to bring you a souvenir? Gather your posse Thursday, Aug. 27, and enjoy a CLASSIC SEAFOOD BOIL at Raleigh’s Joule Coffee + Table. The $29 menu starts with a salad topped with avocado-green goddess dressing, while the boil includes blue crabs, shrimp, potatoes, corn and sausage, with the essential sides of drawn butter, cocktail sauce and Creole mustard. They’ll offer summer-ready desserts and beach-tested cocktails. For reservations, call 919-424-7422 or email

And even if vacation season is coming to an end, what would school be without recess? Capital Club 16 and Nick Neptune of Good Times Assurance Co. consider that eternal question by collaborating with Helping Hand Mission to ensure that needy Triangle students have what they need for the return to class. Join them from 3–6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, for RALEIGH RECESS at Robert’s Park (1300 E. Martin St., Raleigh) for a picnic with schoolyard classics like foursquare and basketball and new twists such as spike and kubb. There’s a suggested $40 donation. Help them planand the kids playby reserving your spot: 919-964-3874.

You can help your neighbors in other ways, too. Though college kids tend to eat their weight in fries, students and faculty members of Duke University will gather Saturday, Aug. 29, to bag 40,000 pounds of potatoes for distribution to food relief agencies in the greater Triangle area. The POTATO DROP is sponsored by Duke Chapel and will take place at Smith Warehouse on the Duke campus. Volunteers can register for a shift at

Got great food news? Let us know at And find Jill Warren Lucas on Twitter @jwlucasnc.

This article appeared in print with the headline “Food in play”