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


Durham’s County Fare Has Closed

After less than a year in business, food truck rodeo County Fare has closed (as initially reported by the Herald Sun). When it opened last April, owner Steve Frasher told the INDY that he was inspired to open the venue out of his own love of food truck rodeos, a popular foodie event where multiple trucks gather together, and to create a hub for the Triangle’s food truck scene. County Fare also offered tables and seating for up to two hundred, cornhole and bocce ball, an extensive assortment of beer, and tap takeovers with breweries such as Wicked Weed.

Frasher told the INDY by email that the co-owners on the operations and management side left to pursue other endeavors at the end of last year, and with the remaining owners tied up in other businesses and lacking the bar and restaurant operations experience, they decided to close County Fare until they make a decision on what to do moving forward—which might include selling the venue.

Gonza Tacos Y Tequila Owners to Open Macondo Latin Cuisine

This fall, Gonza Tacos y Tequila founders Gonza Salamanca and Carlos Rodriguez will open Macondo Latin Cuisine in Sojourn Glenwood Place Apartments in Raleigh. After finding success with Gonza Tacos (there are now five locations across the Triangle, plus a Durham Bulls Athletic Park outpost), the pair wanted to open a restaurant serving seasonal small plates and cocktails showcasing Latin American flavors and South American ingredients.

“This was an opportunity for us to go back to our Colombian roots and the food we grew up on,” says co-founder Gonza Salamanca. “Latin food is so much more than tacos, and by bringing the unique ingredients of South America to the Triangle, we hope to showcase the incredible foods Latin America has to offer.”

The Sunday Supper’s Come Together for the Coast Fund Is Awarding Grants

Come Together for the Coast, organized by The Sunday Supper and chefs Scott Crawford of Crawford and Son and Jake Wood of Plates Neighborhood Kitchen, raised $400,000 during last year’s two-event fundraiser for Hurricane Florence relief efforts. It is now is now accepting grant applications to help small business owners in the hospitality, farming, and fishing industries get back to work. Businesses located in one of the thirteen counties under federal major disaster declaration are invited to apply to receive up to $10,000 in grants, which are intended to provide immediate cash assistance to food and hospitality small businesses and non-profits. Applications will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis. For more information or to apply, click here

“It’s incredible to know that what began as outreach on social media in those first hours of Hurricane Florence has resulted in us coming together as a community to raise over four hundred thousand dollars for our friends in food and beverage whose businesses were devastated,” Crawford says. “I’m so grateful to The Sunday Supper organization for joining me in this cause and including me in the grant process. The strength of this community continues to amaze me.”

Kaiju Bowl and Bao is Closing

Downtown Raleigh restaurant Kaiju Bowl and Bao announced on Instagram that it will be closing for a few weeks while it re-conceptualizes. Kaiju opened last year with a menu of bao, steamed buns stuffed with fillings such as Korean fried chicken or pork belly, and rice bowls such as bibimbap or poke. All Kaiju staff have been offered positions with Oak City Meatball. Stay tuned to Oak City Meatball Shoppe’s social media channels for menu and event updates.


Celebrate Women with The GALentine’s Project Pop-Up at Videri Chocolate

The GALentine’s Project, a local Instagram account that celebrates women by posting images of kind anonymous notes, is teaming up with Videri Chocolate Factory on A Makers Pop Up for Gals by Gals event on Saturday. Drop by between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to write your own empowering, anonymous message on the Love Wall, sip rosé, peruse Videri’s bean-to-bar chocolates, and shop flowers and local handmade goods from vendors such as  Peppertrain, Beautiful Edge Designs, Craven Color, Yellow Treehouse Handcrafts, and LSW Pottery.

Meet French Winemaker Jo Landron at Kitchen’s Wine Pairing Dinner

Kitchen, a French bistro in Chapel Hill, will host winemaker Jo Landron from Domaines Landron for a wine dinner on February 25 at 6:30 p.m. Each of the five courses—think wild mushroom risotto, N.C. flounder, and roast loin of lamb—will be paired with Landron’s French wines. Landron will guide diners through tasting notes and discuss his commitment to natural winemaking practices. The cost is $75 per person (not including tax and gratuity); call the restaurant at 919-537-8167 to reserve.

Sip Jacques Tar, Jack Tar’s Signature French Wine (Especially on Tuesdays)

Durham’s Jack Tar & The Colonel’s Daughter has added its own signature French wine, Jacques Tar, to its menu. The Languedoc-style of red wine blends Cabernet and Syrah and boasts notes of plum, cranberry, and red currant. The wine was created exclusively for Jack Tar by French winemaker Domaine Aubai Mema and designed to pair with Jack Tar’s modern diner menu—we can see a glass of it going nicely with the steak frites with marrow butter, especially on Tuesday nights when all bottles of wine are half-price.


Last Sunday, the Vietnamese American Association of Raleigh held its annual Tết New Year Festival to celebrate the lunar new year. This is the year of the pig, but the Tết festival had its own theme too: go big or go home. As far as I’m concerned, they delivered on the food front, with vendors slinging bowls of pho, noodle dishes, congee, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, and one of my favorite Vietnamese foods, banh mi, a baguette sub-style sandwich that’s typically filled with pork, pate, fresh and pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs.

It was hard not to be drawn to Bánh Mì Chị Trinh’s table, outfitted with a glass partition and a mise-en-place, where festival goers watched owner Trinh and her husband, Dan, assemble the sandwiches, which they’ve been making in the Triangle for more than twenty years. A sturdy baguette-style bun slathered with a homemade buttery spread gets stacked with Vietnamese ham, sausage, and pâté, topped with lightly pickled julienned carrots and daikon (I could seriously eat these on every sandwich), then scattered with fresh jalapeno and cilantro before being slid into a wax paper sheath printed with festive new year wishes.

Look for Bánh Mì Chị Trinh at special events throughout the year, such as Vietnamese New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival, and TACAS Chinese New Year, but you can also place individual and catering orders directly from Banh Mi Chi Trinh via Facebook messenger.