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.


Durham’s Namu Expands with Beer Hall

Namu, the Korean-American restaurant and gourmet coffee bar, has added a beer hall to its mix. The four thousand square foot space echoes the restaurant and coffee bar’s wood-centric decor (namu means ‘tree’ in Korean) with a long wooden bar and picnic tables; string lights, dart boards, flat screen TVs, cornhole games, and Xbox game consoles complete the beer hall look and feel.

“When we first walked into this Straw Valley location two years ago, we remembered feeling like we were transported to a whole new world and we couldn’t wait to share this unique space with our beloved community,” Choi says. “Now with the opening of the beer hall, we have the opportunity to share a new face of this amazing location. If the coffee bar and the restaurant have a more tranquil yet sophisticated vibe, the beer hall will have a more fun and relaxed atmosphere where people will be able to hang out.”

There are currently thirty two beers on tap, including local brews from Bond Brothers, Raleigh Brewing, Gizmo Brew Works, Ponysaurus Brewing, and more. There are also more than a hundred beers in cans and bottles from around the world, including Delirium from Belgium. The full Namu food menu is available for order, including favorites such as bibimbap and dumplings, along with beer hall specials such as ramen fried chicken. Owners Joe Choi and Bo Kwon plan to roll out programming soon, including trivia nights, dog meet-ups, monthly art markets, and dart tournaments. Portions of the space will also be available to rent for private events.


Party for a Cause at Unscripted Durham

Sip on holiday cocktails such as the Chocolate Covered Candy Cane and rock around the Christmas tree to beats by DJ Paradime at Unscripted Durham’s holiday party on Friday, December 21 at 9:00 p.m. The event is free and open to all 21 and over; bring three cans of food to donate to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina to receive a complimentary cocktail. Unscripted will also hold an ugly Christmas sweater contest—whomever brings three cans of food to donate and wears the ugliest homemade sweater will win a two-night stay at Unscripted and a $50 dining credit. RSVP via this link.

Shop and Eat at Triangle VegFest’s Holiday Market

Finish your holiday shopping (or start, we’re not here to judge) at Triangle VegFest’s holiday market on Saturday, December 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Durham Armory. More than fifty vendors will sell vegetarian and vegan-friendly wares, including crafts, candles, jewelry, and art. Several veg-friendly eats will be available for purchase, too, including dumplings from Brave Vegan Cuisine, vegan meatballs from Queen Wa Cafe, and cauliflower wings from Earth to Us Vegan Comfort Food. Stock up on sweet treats such as pop tarts from Taylor Street Sweets, cookies from Compassionate Confections, and peanut butter rice crispy treats from Dee’s Kitchen. There is a suggested $5 donation, with funds going toward Triangle VegFest’s programming. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Toast Crook’s Corner’s Past, Present and Future on NYE

On Monday, December 31, Chapel Hill institution Crook’s Corner will ring in 2019 by celebrating its past, present, and future with a special three-course, prix fixe dinner. In October, the restaurant announced big changes: Gary Crunkleton of The Crunkleton and Shannon Healy of Alley Twenty Six are taking over from owner Gene Hamer and executive chef Bill Smith, and chef Justin Burdett, (formerly of Asheville’s Local Provisions and The Admiral) will helm the kitchen. Each course will include three options featuring dishes from Bill Neal (Crook’s original executive chef), Smith, and Burdett. Visit the website for more details or to make a reservation.

Get Your Food Fight on at MOFU Shoppe’s Boodle Fight 2.0

MOFU Shoppe is bringing back its popular Boodle Fight to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Owner Sophia Woo explains that a “boodle fight” is a Filipino military tradition where a feast is placed on a long table lined with bamboo leaves and every participant, regardless of rank or file, stands shoulder to shoulder and eats together as a symbol of camaraderie and equality. It’s called a “fight” because the meal is traditionally eaten with one’s hands and it’s everyone for themselves.

This year’s Boodle Fight menu includes suckling pigs, roasted duck, grilled lamb, octopus, squid, shrimp, and whole fishes. There will also be an assortment of cheese, traditional Asian desserts, fruits, and chocolate, plus Boodles British Gin cocktails and spirit-free drinks (and bibs and disposable gloves to keep your NYE best clean). The dinner starts at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $100 (includes all food and two drinks) and can be purchased here. A portion of each ticket sale will be donated to Haven House, an organization that helps local youth experiencing homelessness or crisis.


‘Tis the season for merriment and gratitude, but it’s hard to feel cheery when it seems like everyone in your office or house has caught “the crud.” I hadn’t heard this expression before living in the South, but even by a different name it was inevitable that I’d catch the cough-cold-runny-nose situation. I’m finally on the mend, but earlier in the week all I craved was soup, specifically tortilla soup. I’m fully crediting Gonza Tacos y Tequila’s sopa de tortilla for soothing my scratchy throat and clearing my nasal passages, and most importantly, reviving my taste buds. The rich, bordering-on-creamy broth is buoyed with the right amount of peppery spice, teeming with tender shredded chicken and corn kernels, and garnished with perfectly ripe avocado slices, queso fresco crumbles, and crispy tortilla strips. Even if you’ve managed to somehow dodge the crud, this is truly chicken soup for the soul.