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.


Il Palio Welcomes Back Executive Chef Adam Rose
Adam Rose, who served as Il Palio‘s executive chef from 2007 to 2013, will once again lead dining operations at the Chapel Hill Italian restaurant beginning July 1. Current executive chef Teddy Diggs plans to open his own restaurant focusing on Roman pizza and fried snacks.

Kaiju Bowl & Bao Will Open July 6
Kaiju Bowl & Bao
announced on Instagram that they will open for lunch on July 6 and July 7. The eatery will specialize in noodle bowls (they served a solid ramen at a recent Thrive N.C. event) and bao, or Chinese steamed buns typically filled with meat or vegetables. Kaiju is located in downtown Raleigh near restaurateur Ken Yowell’s other restaurants, Oak City Meatball Shoppe and Calavera Empanadas.

Morgan Street Food Hall Will Open July 23

The Raleigh-based food hall announced on Instagram last week that the doors will open on July 23. During a sneak peek visit, Morgan Street Food Hall owner Niall Hanley told INDY Week, “Essentially what we’re opening here is the biggest bloody restaurant in Raleigh.” The hall will house sixteen vendors, including a mix of food startups like Cocoa Forte, who specializes in chocolate dipped cheesecake, established favorites like Sassool, and brick-and-mortar locations of popular food trucks such as Oak City Fish & Chips and Cousins Maine Lobster.

buku’s Got Beaucoup News
buku announced last week that the downtown Raleigh location of the global street food restaurant will relocate to Cary early next year, taking over the former AN restaurant space. The team plans to open another concept in downtown Raleigh, but is keeping mum on details for now. buku Wake Forest, the restaurant’s newest location, will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 28, from 4:00 to 5:00pm, which Mayor Vivian Jones plans to attend. More details on that event here.

Craft Cocktail Bar Kingfisher Will Open in Durham This Fall
Kingfisher, a craft cocktail bar from husband-wife team Sean Umstead and Michelle Vanderwalker, will open next-door to The Durham this fall. Umstead, who is currently the general manager at St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar where he also oversees the bar program, plans to build Kingfisher’s signature cocktails around N.C. produce. Vanderwalker, a talented ceramicist, will design the space, including making the bartop’s custom ceramic tile work.


Dine at Lantern, Raise Funds for RAICES
This Saturday, June 23, Lantern will donate 10% of all sales to RAICES, a nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in Texas. If you’re unable to dine-in, you can also make a donation here.

Find Out “Where the Wild Beers May Potentially Be”
On Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23, The Glass Jug will host their fourth annual wild and sour beers event. Sam’s Bottle Shop will do a tap takeover on Friday, featuring twelve wild and sour beers; the beers will also be available on tap on Saturday, accompanied by food from Sarah’s Empanadas and live music. For more details, visit the Facebook event page.

Sip Gabi’s Grounds Iced Coffee
As part of its ongoing fundraising efforts, Gabi’s Grounds, a Raleigh coffee shop with a mission to help employ people with disabilities, will participate in two events this Sunday, June 24, including North Hills’ Mini Food Truck Rodeo & Family Funday and the A.E. Finley YMCA’s Freedom Festival. Gabi’s Grounds will serve plain, vanilla, and chocolate iced coffee made with its namesake, custom Larry’s Beans coffee blend, and bags of the beans and ground coffee will also be sold along with mugs and t-shirts. For more information about founder Gabi Angelini, or to donate, visit her website.

Monday is Burger Night at Mandolin
As part of a James Beard Foundation initiative called the Blended Burger Project, which challenges chefs nationwide to create a more sustainable burger, Mandolin chef-owner Sean Fowler has crafted the Blueprint Burger, which he’ll debut on Monday, June 25 for $9 (regularly $15). Fowler’s sustainable burger features a ground-chuck-bacon-mushroom patty, made with Fox Farm trumpet and shiitake mushrooms, that’s topped with blue cheese and pickled ramp aioli. The winner of the Blended Burger Project gets to cook their burger at the Beard House in NYC. To vote for chef Fowler’s burger, click here.

Locopops has earned its reputation as a purveyor of gourmet popsicles, but don’t sleep on the ice cream sandwiches, featuring cookies baked in house by baker Kendall Vanderslice. At a recent Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau Center media event, I sampled Locopop’s ginger molasses cookie ice cream sandwich, starring two ginger molasses cookies that were chewy and soft with a buttery crumb, sandwiching a just-right ratio of vanilla ice cream.