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.


The Lakewood Nominated for Bon Appétit’s Hot 10 List
This week, Bon Appétit magazine revealed the fifty nominees in contention for its annual Hot 10, a list of the ten best new restaurants in America, according to Bon Appétit‘s editor at large, Andrew Knowlton. Brewery Bhavana made the Hot 10 last year, but even being named to the top fifty is a big deal for a restaurant. That’s why it’s simultaneously thrilling and heartbreaking to see The Lakewood—which abruptly closed last weekend—on that list.

Though the The Lakewood’s closing takes it out of the running, it’s worth acknowledging and celebrating chef-owner Phoebe Lawless’s recognition. Locals know what made The Lakewood and Scratch special—many visited and Instagrammed their last brunch or slice of pie as they bid their farewells—but I wondered what Knowlton, who dines at hundreds of restaurants across the country every year, thought. I reached out via email to alert him to the closing (though he had no doubt already heard), and ask him about his impressions of The Lakewood.

“Well, it’s a real bummer. The restaurant business is a tough one and sometimes even great places don’t make it for whatever reason. I’ve long admired and followed Lawless’s career—from her time selling pies at the farmer’s market near Southern Season to her CSP to Scratch Bakery and finally to The Lakewood,” Knowlton said. “Why did it make the list? Well, I dug the communal vibe, especially in the bar area. The night I was there it was buzzing with locals. As for the the food, it was reflective of a community dedicated to the local and organic. I loved the tomato tart, ricotta gnudi, and, of course, the desserts. I usually finish a meal with whiskey but at Lakewood I didn’t consider the bottle for a second. I’m sad to see Lakewood go but look forward to seeing (and eating) what Lawless does next. Did I see something in Lakewood that others didn’t? I can’t say for sure; but my gut told me it was worthy to be on this year’s list.”

Durham Distillery Launches Canned Cocktails
Durham Distillery, known for their award-winning Conniption American Dry Gin, announced the launch of two ready-to-drink cocktails in a can, a gin and tonic made with Conniption American Dry Gin, house-made tonic, and a blend of Meyer lemon, orange, and lime, as well as a vodka-soda made with Durham Distillery’s Cold Distilled Cucumber Vodka and club soda. The twelve-ounce cans will be sold in four-packs and will be available at ABC stores this month.

Locals Seafood Confirms Plan to Open Oyster Bar in Transfer Co. Food Hall
One of the tenants in the forthcoming Transfer Co. Food Hall (one of four Triangle food halls slated to open this year) was officially confirmed this week. Locals Seafood announced plans to open Locals Oyster Bar and an adjacent fish market inside the hall, where they’ll specialize in serving the North Carolina oysters and seafood on which they’ve built their business and reputation. The kitchen will be helmed by Eric Montagne, formerly the executive chef of Standard Foods.


Fullsteam Brewery Releases Batalager in Support of Batalá Durham
On Friday, August 10, celebrate the release of Fullsteam Brewery’s newest beer collaboration, Batalager, a hazy, fruit-forward beer that was inspired by samba reggae group Batalá Durham. Fullsteam brewed the beer for the group’s upcoming Brazilian Day NC Festival on September 15, which, along with their musical performances, supports Batalá’s mission to help promote Afro-Brazilian culture. For more details on the beer release event, which also includes music from Batalá Durham, click here.

“We thought an easy-drinking beer with North Carolina blueberries and Brazilian açaí would be a perfect celebration of local and global ingredients,” says Fullsteam founder Sean Lily Wilson. “The hardest part of the whole process was sourcing the açaí! And waiting for the beer to lager.”

Take Me Out to the (Vintage) Ball Game at DAP
Duke Homestead Education & History Corporation will host a vintage baseball game on August 11 at the historic Durham Athletic Park, complete with an old-fashioned concession stand with prices to match. Items such as Cracker Jacks, roasted peanuts, pretzels, and sunflower seeds will all be sold for $1. There will also be a few food trucks on hand (at least one will serve hot dogs) as well as suds from Bull Durham Beer Company. For more information or to purchase tickets ($5; free for kids four and under), click here. All proceeds from the event will benefit the nonprofit friends of Duke Homestead, the Duke Homestead Education, and History Corporation.

Breaking Bread: Learn to Bake with Master Baker Lionel Vatinet
La Farm Bakery‘s owner and master baker Lionel Vatinet announced his fall line-up of hands-on bread baking classes, which includes workshops on sourdough, flatbreads, and croissants. Bonus: along with learning to craft, mix, and shape breads and pastries, attendees will get to sample a line-up of breads and desserts in every class. For more details or to register, check out the class schedule here.


East Durham Bake Shop‘s peach-and-blackberry pie is my newest summer crush. You can’t go wrong with the pie here—owner-baker Ali Rudel built her reputation on it—and the hand-hewn, small batch crust shines in every pie: flaky, with a toasty, slightly chewy crumb, and enough heft to just contain its filling. But as much as I love that crust, I’m crazy about the peach-and-blackberry filling in the nameksake seasonal fruit pie: it’s tangy, it’s sweet, bursting with juicy, ripe fruit flavor, achieved by cooking the fruit (locally sourced, natch) just to the point of collapsing, so the peach slices retain their shape and the blackberries impart a luscious jamminess along with a striking ruby-pink hue.

“We love doing creative flavor combinations but I think when we get into peak summer we try to bring our pies down to their simplest elements and really feature ingredients without too much flair,” Rudel says. “We love the sweet-tart combination of peaches and blackberries, which is especially nice with a lattice-topped pie.”

But hurry, summer romance is fleeting.