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.


Today, chef Phoebe Lawless broke the news on Instagram that both The Lakewood restaurant and Scratch bakery will cease operation after this weekend. The surprise closure of the two establishments, which opened in the Lakewood area last year, follows the closure of the original Scratch downtown earlier this year, removing Lawless’s significant thumbprint from the Triangle food scene entirely.

“It’s with great sadness that I let you know that this Sunday will be our last day open,” Lawless wrote on the @scratchdurham account. “I am forever grateful for all of your support, and for the truly special group of people who chose to get up everyday and come work for me. I am so proud to have been part of this great little food town, and I will miss it dearly. If you have the time, come by this week end for one last slice.”

A similar message appeared on The Lakewood’s Instagram. More on this story as it develops.

Taste of the South Puts Saltbox Seafood Joint on Its Annual Taste 50 List
Now in its third year, Taste of the South magazine’s Taste 50 list covers the places, people, tastes, and trends that make up the South’s distinctive and diverse food scene. The Triangle is well-represented this year, with Durham’s Saltbox Seafood Joint named as a must-visit place; James Beard Award-winning chef Andrea Reusing (of Lantern and The Durham) recognized for her work as founder of Kitchen Patrol Initiative, a nonprofit that improves children’s access to quality food through weekly cooking classes; and Cedar Grove’s Boxcarr Handmade Cheese included as one of sixteen artisan producers on the list.

Italian Restaurant Cucciolo Osteria Opening in Downtown Durham This Weekend
Hat tip to Instagram user @BitesofBullCity for alerting us to the opening of downtown Italian restaurant Cucciolo Osteria. The restaurant opens tonight and will accept only walk-ins during opening weekend, but it will start taking reservations on Monday, July 30. For a menu sneak peek and first impressions, check out Bites of Bull City’s post.

Swirl, Sip, Sniff: bu•ku Restaurant Group’s Got Wine Game
Fourteen of bu•ku Restaurant Group‘s employees, including all three of its executive chefs, have passed the first level of the Court of Master Sommeliers, a course that primes them to become certified sommeliers. Providing staff with the education and training to achieve this has been a company-wide priority, according to co-owner Sean Degnan and wine director Troy Revell.

“Offering thoughtful wine lists and pairings that are both accessible and adventurous is extremely important to us, but none of this would matter if we didn’t have well-trained wine professionals on our team,” Degnan explains.

Lonerider Brewing Company Launches Craft Spirits Company Lonerider Spirits
Raleigh’s Lonerider Brewing Company announced the launch of its sister craft spirits company, Lonerider Spirits. It will debut with a bourbon finished in sherry casks this fall and is currently working on additional whiskies inspired by signature Lonerider beers, such as the bestselling Sweet Josie Brown Ale.


so•ca celebrates Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” with Free Wine Tastings
bu•ku and so•ca have each earned Wine Spectator‘s annual Award of Excellence, which recognizes restaurants with outstanding wine lists and feature “a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style.” To celebrate so•ca’s award, chef Eli Rodriguez and wine director Troy Revell will offer weekly complimentary tastings of select wines from the South-America-focused list on Tuesdays from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. starting July 31.

Pine & Poplar’s First Pop-Up Market Celebrates Local Food Businesses
Pine & Poplar, a downtown Durham performance and event space, will host its first pop-up market on Saturday, August 4 from noon to 5:00 p.m. Shop and sample fare from local vendors such as Ninth Street Bakery, Honeygirl Meadery, Big Spoon Roasters, DaisyCake’s owner’s forthcoming MATTA Pastry Shop and Tasting Room, Bull City Olive Oil, and Royal Cheesecakes & Varieties.

Counting House’s Fork + Bottle Dinner to Benefit the Animal Protection Society of Durham

As part of its Fork + Bottle Dinner series, Counting House at 21c Museum Hotel and executive chef Thomas Card will team up with local distiller Social House Vodka for a four-course dinner with beverage pairings. From every ticket, $10 will benefit the Animal Protection Society of Durham. The dinner will be held on August 16 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Click here to learn more or purchase tickets.

Three-Star Michelin Chef Curtis Duffy Joins Herons for Special Guest Chef Dinner
If you’ve got money to burn (teach us your ways) or have been saving up for a special-occasion dinner (to the tune of $185 a pop), this one’s for you. Chef Curtis Duffy, who earned three Michelin stars at the now shuttered Grace restaurant in Chicago, will join Herons executive chef Steven Devereaux Greene for a guest chef dinner on Friday, August 24. Together, the chefs (and friends) will create a seven-course meal using peak-season ingredients from the restaurant’s sustainable garden at One Oak Farm. To reserve seats, call Herons at 866-877-4141.

Get Out Your Lederhosen for The Glass Jug Beer Lab’s Four-Year Anniversary
Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 15 from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. to celebrate Durham brewery and bottle shop The Glass Jug Beer Lab‘s four-year anniversary. The celebration will take on an Oktoberfest-style theme, with live music, food trucks, games, and commemorative limited-edition brews. This week, The Glass Jug also announced the release of its latest one-off beer, Hazelnut Porter, a 6.1 percent ABV porter that’s described as having big chocolate and roast character with a touch of praline sweetness.

Porkapalooza Heads to Pittsboro on October 6
Chapel Hill’s The Root Cellar Cafe & Catering‘s annual Porkapalooza festival will be held at its new Pittsboro restaurant at Penguin Place on Saturday, October 6. As in years past, the celebration will serve pork-inspired small plates, featuring locally raised pork from Hickory Nut Gap and Sharp Family Farms. The menu is still being finalized, but previous years’ highlights include pepper-jelly-glazed ribs, chorizo-and-cheddar pupusas, and doughnuts drizzled with bacon dulce de leche. The event will also feature beer specials from House of Hops and live music. To purchase tickets visit Porkapalooza’s website.


Our annual Eats issue is proof that there are loads of local dishes worth tucking into right now, including Rose’s Noodles, Dumplings & Sweets‘ ice cream sandwiches. Flavors of the seasonal sweet rotate, but I urge you to run, not walk, to sample baker Katie Meddis’s blueberry-lemon streusel and vanilla ice cream sandwich. It’s not only beautiful to behold, but the pronounced blueberry flavor matches the ice cream’s ultra-saturated hue. Meddis cooks local blueberries from Minka Farm with sugar and lemon, purees them smooth, and then mixes the puree with an ice cream base before folding in lemon streusel bits for a pop of crunch. The ice cream is clasped by house-baked candied lemon-sugar cookies and gingersnaps for a one-two hit of sugar and spice.

“Blueberries and cream is something my mom would often eat in the summertime; this is its ice cream version, in a way,” Meddis says of the inspiration to combine blueberry and vanilla ice creams.