Celebrate National Fried Chicken Day on July 6th at Metro Diner!


Chicken & Waffles

This Friday, July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day and if you haven’t been to the Metro Diner yet this is the perfect excuse to check them out and try one of their special fried chicken dishes. I stopped by their North Raleigh location earlier this week to give their famous Chicken & Waffles a try. It was really good and a HUGE portion! So much so I had leftovers for lunch the next day so it has sort of been a National Fried Chicken Week for me at this point.

The Chicken & Waffles are made with half a chicken that is brined to ensure juicy flavor in each bite and then double-fried so the skin has the perfect crunch. The chicken is served with a light, fluffy Belgian waffle topped with homemade strawberry butter. My waiter suggested I put a few drops of Louisiana Hot Sauce in my warm maple syrup to make a perfect sweet & spicy dipping sauce – it was a great suggestion!

Dining Room at North Raleigh’s Metro Diner

Another crowd favorite is at Metro is the fried chicken plate that also comes with half a fried chicken, mashed red-skinned potatoes and brown gravy, veggies, and a fresh baguette. Both the plate or the chicken and waffles are perfect choices if you are looking to celebrate Nation Fried Chicken Day in Style this Friday!

But don’t worry, there are plenty of other great items on the menu if fried chicken isn’t your thing. Metro offers everything you would hope for from a diner – from breakfast all-day, to awesome sandwiches and salads, daily special specials and classics like “The Meatloaf Plate” and “Big Bern’s Fried Pork Sandwich”. You’re sure to find something you will love!

Breakfast at Metro

Metro Diner first started in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1992 by chef and owner Mark Davoli and his father, John. There are now more than 50 locations across the US. The North Raleigh spot has only been open for a little under two years now, and I am really happy we have one in the Triangle and recommend you check them out.

The Metro Diner – North Raleigh

Try to go early if you go on a weekend. It can get quite busy for breakfast, but it is totally worth the wait!

Metro Diner
6325 Falls of Neuse Road (In the shopping center with Fresh Market)
Raleigh, NC 27615


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Burger Mondays at Mandolin in Raleigh

burger 3

Last Monday I visited Mandolin in Raleigh where Chef Sean Fowler introduced customers gathered around the bar to his special “Blueprint Burger”. This is no ordinary burger – the Blueprint Burger is Chef Fowler’s entry into the Blended Burger Project, an initiative of the James Beard Foundation to re-imagine the iconic burger to have a lighter footprint on the environment, and they’ll be serving it from now until the very end of July.

Chef Fowler’s creation is a sustainable take on the American classic that’s made with the perfect blend of 50% grass-fed chuck, 25% Heritage Farms bacon, and 25% Fox Farm trumpet and shiitake mushrooms. The burger is finished off with blue cheese, pickled Mandolin Farm ramp aioli and a La Farm Bakery brioche bun.

The result is burger that’s incredibly delicious, healthier to eat, and more sustainable for the planet. Best of all, each Monday in July you can order this special burger at the bar bar for just $9 (usually $15).

Did I mention the fries? The fries are dusted with a duck fat and malt vinegar powder that adds the perfect burst of flavor! You can pair this gourmet burger and fries with one of the many NC beers and wine by the glass at the bar for a fun Monday date night at Mandolin.

After you’ve given this special burger a try I’m sure you will want to cast your vote for Chef Sean in the #BlendedBurgerProject.  This year’s winner will be invited to cook their burger at the Beard House in NYC! To learn more about the Blended Burger Project, and to VOTE, visit jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject/vote.

Mandolin Raleigh
2519 Fairview Road
Raleigh, NC 27068


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Triangle Fourth of July Fireworks 2018

Chapel Hill

Kenan Stadium – Chapel Hill
(Photo courtesy Town of Chapel Hill)

Below is my annual list of places to see Fourth of July Fireworks around the Triangle this year. Please note the actual date for each event as some towns celebrate before/after the fourth of July. There is also a link next to each event listed that will take you to the event website for additional information about parking. Wherever you go to celebrate I hope you have a Happy & Safe 4th of July!

Fireworks in the Triangle 2018 (in alphabetical order)

Brier Creek (Raleigh) Info
Brier Creek is holding a “Show us your Stripes” Block Party on Wednesday, July 4th from 7-10pm. Set up your lawn chair early at the Brier Creek Commons (Clock Tower Plaza between Brasa and Blo).There will be games, bounce houses, prizes, face painting, FREE balloons. Fireworks after dusk.

Cary Info
Celebrate at Koka Booth Ampitheatre 3-10pm Wednesday, July 4 with music & fireworks. There will be kids activities, a ferris wheel, a watermelon eating contest and more. Music by the NC Symphony capped off with an incredibly spectacular fireworks display. Tarps, blankets & chairs allowed within venue gates; staking and tents are not permitted. Concert is FREE and open to the public.

Chapel Hill Kenan Stadium Info
Fireworks at Kenan Stadium. The gates open at 7pm Wednesday, July 4th. Family friendly activities including live music by The Matt Stratford Band and watermelon eating contest. Fireworks begin at 9:30pm.

The Clayton Parks & Recreation is hosting their annual July 4th Celebration on Wednesday, July 4th at the Municipal Park (325 McCullers Drive). Activities begin at 4pm with family field events, Free Ice Cream and Watermelon, a Cornhole Tournament and live music. Get sprayed down by the Clayton Fire Department (a kid favorite!) with Fireworks at dusk. The live music, inflatables and rides will run another half hour after the show. Check out this short video with highlights from last year’s festivities.

Durham Info
Durham Bulls Baseball game Tuesday, July 3rd and Wednesday, July 4th will be followed by their annual Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza. Tickets are required for the game, but gates will open for general admission at the end of the 7th inning.

Franklin County Info
Fourth of July Celebration at Louisburg High School Tuesday, July 3rd. Games, inflatables, music, food, and fireworks. Free admission.

Fuquay Varina Info
Music, kid’s games, splash pad and fireworks at Fuquay Varina’s South Park – 820 N. Main Street. Tuesday, July 3rd. Gates open at 6pm

Garner Info
The town of Garner has their fireworks on Tuesday, July 3rd at the beautiful Lake Benson Park (921 Buffalo Road). The NC Symphony & The Embers will perform. There will be a kidzone and arts and crafts as well. Gates open at 5pm with fireworks launching after dark following the NC Symphony performance.

Holly SpringsInfo
Thursday, July 5th Independence Day celebration at Jefferson L. Snugg Farm at Bass Lake Park 5-9:30pm. Musical entertainment, Food vendors, Inflatables and games, Fireworks, Face Painting and Other Games, Cornhole Tournament. The fireworks show is slated to begin at 9:15 p.m.

This is Knightdale’s Fourth Annual July 4th Celebration at Knightdale Station Park. Featuring fireworks, family activities, food trucks and music from The Embers. The event will begin at 5pm and conclude with the fireworks at 9:15pm.

Kick off your Independence Day celebration with a fireworks display in Morrisville Community Park Tuesday, July 3rd. Bring your blankets, chairs and snacks to enjoy the spectacular show. Music and activities will begin at 6:00pm; the Fireworks display will begin at dark, approximately 9:30pm.

Mebane – Info
Family Music Festival and Fireworks on Tuesday, July 4th at the Mebane Arts & Community Center. Music with Beach & Top 40 favorites beginning at 7:00pm until 9:30pm with fireworks following at 9:40. Bring your own seating to this fun-filled family event.

Raleigh Info
Raleigh’s Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza returns to the PNC Arena this year on Wednesday, July 4th. Free parking to view the fireworks will be available within PNC Arena lots, Carter-Finley Stadium lots and the NC Fairgrounds Bunn Field lots along Trinity Rd. Gates open at 6pm, and fireworks launch at 9:30pm.

Rolesville will celebrate with a parade on Wednesday, July 4th at 4:30PM followed by live music, great food, games, face painters, magicians, fireworks and more. Free admission but donations are greatly appreciated and will be accepted at the gates!

Smithfield – Info
Smithfield’s Independence Day Celebration is Sunday, July 1 from 6:30pm until 9:00pm on South Third Street in the heart of downtown. Enjoy food trucks, games and activities, and live music from UBU The Band. Fireworks start at 9pm.

Wake ForestInfo
Fireworks Spectacular on Tuesday, July 3, at Wake Forest High School, 420 W. Stadium Drive. Gates open at 5:30. Beach music by CRUSH at 6:30. Admission is FREE. Fireworks at dusk (typically between 8:30-9pm).

Zebulon Info
The Carolina Mudcats will hold fireworks displays on Tuesday, July 3rd & Wednesday July 4th at Five County Stadium. Gates will open at 5:30pm for the 7pm games with fireworks and patriotic music to follow the games’ conclusion.

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Runologie Pride Run – June 21st @6pm


NC Pride Mural – Trophy Brewing – 827 W. Morgan Street
(Photo by Runologie)

My top pick this week is a visit to Runologie for their weekly Thursday night group run. The run is open to runners of all levels and starts from their shop on Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh at 6pm. In advance of the run there is a free 15 minute core exercise class held inside the shop. After the run you can cool down with a cold beer and meet some new running friends at State of Beer next door.

June is Pride Month and Runologie is celebrating with a special run route for the group run on this week. They are also planning to have some limited edition tees for sale to mark the occasion and $5 from every sale will go to the LGBT Center of Raleigh.

Runologie 2

Runologie Run Club – Meets every Thursday
(Photo by Runologie)

Runologie is the only independently owned and operated running store in Raleigh. They have a great staff with a ton of experience and a focus on community and developing one-on-one relationships with customers. They offer a wide selection of running shoes, apparel, and running gear as well as training programs for runners of all levels. If you are new to running or a seasoned runner looking for a great place to buy your next pair of running shoes I highly recommend you check them out.

By the way, if you are looking for a short distance race this summer Runologie is organizing the 2nd Annual “Keep Raleigh Independent” 4-miler race at Dix Park in Raleigh on July 4th. Registration is now open. You can sign up and get more details here.

401 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
website: https://runologieraleigh.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/runologie
twitter: @Runologie
instagram: @runologie

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Durham Central Park Concert Series Kicks Off Friday June 8th!


Grab your lawn chair and picnic blanket and get ready for Friday nights filled with great music, local beers, food trucks and a welcoming community vibe.

Durham Central Park kicks off their awesome 10 week summer concert series this week on June 8th. The outdoor “Playlist” series will feature performances every Friday night 6-8pm through August 10th. These shows are rain or shine.

The lineup covers a broad range of musical styles and features local and national acts. And each show will have a great mix of local craft beer vendors and food trucks.

While you are visiting Durham Central Park I also recommend stops by nearby Fullsteam Brewery and the Cocoa Cinnamon Coffee Shop. Both are must visits when spending an evening in the Bull City!

For more information about the Playlist concert series visit the event website here.


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