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. 


Chef Ashley Christensen Raises $124,000 for Food Bank and Hurricane Relief

During a fundraising dinner and auction held at her home, chef Ashley Christensen raised $124,000—or the equivalent of 620,000 meals—to support the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina‘s ongoing efforts to provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Florence. Christensen, along with her friend and famed New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse, collaborated with a host of local chefs, individuals, and businesses to prepare an intimate dinner event. Collaborators and donors included Tito’s Vodka, Chapel Hill’s Gary Crunkleton, local musician Dave Wright, Raleigh’s Boulted Bread, Max Kast of Fearrington House, Jim Stock of Haw River Wine Man, Todd & Lisa McGowan, Themeworks, CE Rentals, and Party Reflections.

Wilson’s Eatery Will Open Its Doors on Monday

Wilson’s Eatery, a new restaurant from the Lynwood Grill and Brewing Concern team, will open this Monday, October 8 at Dock 1053 in Raleigh. The menu is available at lunch and dinner and features dishes such as pimento cheese and pork cracklins, carnitas tortas, and flatbreads, alongside beers from Lynwood Brewing Concern. The beer also finds its way into some of the dishes, such as in the beer-cheese-topped pork nachos and in a side of beer mac cheese. The menu also states that Wilson’s will donate 5 percent of all food sales to local animal charities.

Cary’s Chocolat GRACE Takes Home the Academy of Chocolate’s Golden BonBon Award

At this year’s Academy of Chocolate competition in London, twelve-hundred entries from more than forty-five countries vied for eleven gold awards and one Golden BonBon Award, the most prestigious and coveted award of the night. Cary-based Master Chocolatier Grace Stocker of Chocolat GRACE took home both the Golden BonBon Award and a gold award for her Maracaibo and Cranberry Caramel, as well as golds for her Assam Tea and Wildflower Caramel and Coffee and Almond Praliné confections.

Lonerider Spirits Releases its First Whiskey

Lonerider Spirits, the sister distillery to Raleigh’s Lonerider Brewing Company, has released its Sherry Cask Finish Whiskey, now available at ABC stores and restaurants and bars in all one hundred counties in North Carolina. The limited-edition Sherry Cask Finish Whiskey is a high rye bourbon with a mash bill of 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and 4 percent malted barley, and is high-proof, clocking in at ninety proof versus the standard eighty proof.

N.C. State Fair Supports Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts

The N.C. State Fair has activated a donation button through Etix for Hurricane Florence Relief, so if you purchase your State Fair tickets online, consider donating to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (donations are not subject to fees). You can also support the Food Bank’s efforts by attending the State Fair on Thursday, October 18 and participating in Food Lion Hunger Relief Day. Bring five cans of Food Lion brand canned food to receive free admission to the fair.


Chef Scott Crawford and The Sunday Supper Host Two “Come Together for the Coast” Events

Raleigh chef Scott Crawford and The Sunday Supper, a non-profit established in 2016 after the wake of Hurricane Matthew, will host two Hurricane Florence relief benefit events. A gala dinner will be held on October 7 at The Dillon, with signature dishes prepared by celebrated chefs such as Crawford, Ashley Christensen, and Vivian Howard, and a one thousand seat, two-block long table will be set up for lunch on Fayetteville Street on November 11, featuring a meal curated by Crawford. All proceeds from both events will benefit Hurricane Florence victims. Visit The Sunday Supper to purchase tickets for both events, or to access information on volunteer sign up and donations.

Whiskey Kitchen and Imurj to Host Nashbash on October 7  

This Sunday, October 7, Whiskey Kitchen and Imurj will host Nashbash, an all-day block party (12:00 to 9:00 p.m.) that celebrates the growth and development of the Nash Square Park-centric neighborhood. Martin Street, on the south side of Nash Square Park (between McDowell and Dawson), will be blocked off and taken over by a stage, local artists, vendors, charities, a dunk-a-chef booth, as well as food and beer vendors. Food vendors include Mama’s Sugar Shack, Lumpy’s Ice Cream, Benny T’s Vesta Dry Hot Sauce, and Kandy Apples by K; Whiskey Kitchen will offer lamb pita, chicken skewers, cheese fries, and grilled corn. Nashbash will also raise money and awareness for charities such as the Foundation of Hope, NextStep Raleigh, and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

Sandra Gutierrez Joins Piedmont Restaurant’s Cook the Book Dinner Series

Piedmont Restaurant’s popular Cook the Book dinner series’ next dinner will feature local chef and cookbook author Sandra Gutierrez. The dinner will be held on October 10 at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a menu of dishes inspired by four of Gutierrez’s cookbooks, including Latin American Street Food, Savor the South: Bean & Filed Peas, Empanadas: the Hand-Held Pies of Latin America, and The New Southern-Latino Table. The menu will include dishes such as crab croquetas, Latin fried chicken, pork tenderloin with cocoa, chile, and bourbon mole, and corn ice cream with warm praline sauce and churros. Click here to reserve online or call Piedmont at 919-683-1213.

The Underground Kitchen Pops Up in Raleigh with Ruffled by Truffles Dinner

Experiential supper club The Underground Kitchen is popping up in Raleigh on October 13 with a secret Ruffled by Truffles dinner. The dinner is limited to sixty guests and the location, menu, and event details are not disclosed until the day of the dinner. Tickets to the truffle-themed dinner are $150 and include a welcome cocktail, a six-course dinner with wine pairings, taxes, and gratuity. Click here to purchase tickets (fair warning, these events typically sell out quickly).

Tickets are Now on Sale for Salt & Smoke Festival

We said it once, and we’ll say it again. Acme Food and Beverage Company’s chef-owner Kevin Callaghan knows how to throw a party. Now in its sixth year, Salt & Smoke is a celebration of Southern food, music, and good old-fashioned fun on Rock Quarry Farm. On November 3, you’ll feast on fresh-from-the-coast oysters and clams, slow-cooked whole hog barbecue, and Southern sides such as cornbread and bourbon sweet potatoes, all washed down with beer, wine, and cocktails from the likes of Topo Organic Spirits, Foothills Brewing, and DeMaison Selections. In addition to live music, this year’s entertainment will also include a magician and a DJ dance party. Tickets sell out every year; click here to purchase.


We usually restrain ourselves to one Bite of the Week, but because Saint James Seafood has half-price oysters and bar food for happy hour (5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), we’re indulging in two for the price of one. The Cornmeal Dusted N.C. Shrimp is surprisingly light and dill-fresh, given its raucous ingredient list, which includes peanuts, crispy rice, pickles, benne seeds, cabbage, hot sauce, honey, and … Duke’s mayo? What a time to be alive. Each bite offers a distinct blend of textures and flavors that never clash. Our other bar-food fave is the Geechie Boy Cornmeal Hushpuppies, four round, perfect pups paddling in a puddle of sweet red pepper jelly, with a smear of house pimento cheese on the side. Half-price or not, we cheated by not making this our sole Bite of the Week, because we had two orders. But you’ve got to try that shrimp.—Brian Howe