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Sneak Peek At The Cookery’s Front Room ~ Grand Opening Celebration September 15th!!

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The Cookery ~ Durham, NC

Exciting things are happening at The Cookery in Durham! The Cookery opened a little over a year ago as a state-of-the-art rentable commercial kitchen and has already had a tremendous impact on the Triangle culinary scene.

Now the folks behind this culinary incubator have expanded beyond the kitchen and renovated the remainder of the old Food Co-op building the kitchen is located in along West Chapel Hill Street in Durham to create a unique new event space called the Front Room. The Cookery’s Front Room will be used to host a series of pop-up restaurants, specialty food events, culinary workshops and wine and beer dinners, as well as private dinners and receptions.

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Front Room Grand Opening!

A fundraiser event from noon-3p.m. on Saturday September 15th, featuring live music, food trucks, and local beers and wine will serve as the unveiling of the Front Room. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Durham Crisis Response Center’s emergency shelter, which provides a safe environment for women and children fleeing violent and dangerous situations.

Food truck favorites at the benefit will include Chirba Chirba DumplingMonuts DonutsThe ParlourPie PushersSympathy for the Deli, and Triangle Raw Foods. Each is a member of The Cookery, where they share a state-of-the-art  kitchen to prepare their culinary delights. Other Triangle chefs will participate, as will special musical  guest Justin Robinson and the Mary Annettes. The Clever Vine will host a free  wine tasting local brewers Bull City Burger and Brewery, Fullsteam, Lonerider  Brewing Company and Triangle Brewing Company will offer beer  tastings. Click on the flyer above for all the details about the Grand Opening Event.

My sneak peek inside the Front Room at the Cookery!

Back in late August, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to get a sneak peak at the Front Room during  the ongoing renovations as they prepared the space for the grand opening. It was awesome meeting Rochelle Johnson and Nick Hawthorne-Johnson, the husband and wife team who own and operate the Cookery and learn more about the space and their vision.

Below are a few pictures I took during my “sneak peek” of the Front Room that provide a  glimpses of the interior space during the renovation process. All signs point to this being an incredibly unique event space when all the hard work is completed and look I forward to attending culinary workshops and wedding receptions there in the future!

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Interior features exposed brick walls

The Front Room is both elegant and rustic at the same time.  It captures the perfect blend of a historic space infused with a modern feel that makes for a warm and inviting event space that  retains the character and charm of old Durham. The space can accommodate events with up to 200 guests and features a 20′ foot high ceiling,  exposed brick walls, and original metal work from local metal sculptors in addition to salvaged metal and woodwork rescued from historic Durham landmarks.

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The Bar Area

There Front Room will have full wet bar featuring several North Carolina beers on tap. The bar is constructed with a metal base made from repurposed metal salvaged from an old three legged water tower that use to stand high above Durham. There are plans to add a foot railing along the bottom of the bar made from old trolley ties from trolley tracks that use to run right along the street outside the Cookery back in the day.

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The Bar

The bar top itself is made from old wooden shudders that once belonged to an old tobacco warehouse in Durham.  I am a big fan of wooden bar tops and love that this one is made out of re-purposed wood that came from a source so closely tied with the city’s history.

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Bar-top made from old tobacco warehouse wood shutters

When I visited, Nick was working on applying additional coats of polyurethane top coat to seal the  bar top with a glossy, clear finish that brings out the character in the old wood. I think his hard work has paid off, as the bar looks awesome and I couldn’t resist taking a the close-up picture above to capture rich deep color of the wooden bar top.

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View down on the main area from the mezzanine

My pictures of the main area of the Front Room don’t do it justice becayse my visit was during the hustle and bustle of the renovation. However, I wanted to include the picture above as it shows the perspective looking down on the main area of the room from the mezzanine above. I enjoyed how connected the two spaces are making it easy for guest to flow from one area to the other.

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Metal Railings

As you ascend the stairs to visit the mezzanine you can’t help but admire the intricate metal work along the railings.  These functional works of art that adorn the interior were created by local metal sculptor Al Frega. Al is a large-scale metal sculptor, renowned for his ability to transform salvaged hunks of metal into beautiful pieces of art. Although it wasn’t installed yet when I visited, I was told Mr. Frega is now completing work on sculpting a beautiful metal gate that will be featured along the front entrance of the building.

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Mezzanine Area overlooking room below

The spacious Mezzanine area has loads of potential to be used for different functions at events and provides an unobstructed view of both the seating area and the large retractable doors opening to the outdoor patio.  During my visit a local professional photographer was using the mezzanine area to do a photo shoot.  I’m sure the exposed brick background and beautiful metal work made for fantastic shots!

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Drink railings along walls throughout the Mezzanine

Wooden drink railings will be installed along the walls throughout the mezzanine and on the outdoor patio, limiting the need for cocktail tables and freeing up space for guests to move around and mingle.

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Twenty Foot High Ceilings

The exposed brick walls throughout the space remind you of the building’s long history and are highlighted by the warm lighting and plentiful natural light that spills through the many windows. The high ceilings and ample space really open up the possibilities as to how the space can be utilized. There are plans to add full audio/visual equipment setup including a 15′ retractable projection screen and projector that can be used for presentations at business meetings, seminars, and luncheons.

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Lighting fixtures behind the bar

With a historic building like the one that is home to the Front Room, I think it is important that the fixtures, furniture & decor compliment the character of the historic backdrop.  I loved the attention to detail in the renovation of the Front Room space and how the choices like the metal light fixtures installed behind the bar, the reclaimed wood drink railings, and the acid etched stained concrete floors all go together so well and result in creating a modern space that retains its original character. I can’t wait to visit again once all of the renovations are completed. Don’t miss your chance too see it – Check out the Front Room at their Grand Opening event on September 15th!

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Large skillet & mural featured along the Cookery Building

For more information about The Cookery and the Grand Opening of the Front Room visit their website or follow them on facebook. You can view more of my pictures from my sneak peek at the Front Room in my flickr photo album.

The Cookery
1101 West Chapel Hill Street
Durham, NC 27701 (Map)
website: http://durhamcookery.com/
twitter: @Cookery

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Food Trucks in Raleigh for August “First Friday” & Food Truck Rodeo at North Hills Monday August 6th!

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American Meltdown Food Truck

As many of you know, Raleigh’s restrictions on food trucks are a little stricter than those in Durham. As a result the food truck scene in Raleigh is often a little less active than the Bull City. However, when First Friday rolls around you can count on finding trucks in downtown Raleigh. Below is a quick list of trucks that will be out and about in Raleigh today (Friday 8/3/12) and info about a food truck rodeo going down at North Hills on Monday 8/6. As always, follow your favorite food trucks on twitter to keep tabs on where they will be each week!

Food Trucks in Raleigh Today!

Friday Afternoon
11:30am-1:30pm – News & Observer Food Truck Rodeo
Only Burger
Klausie’s Pizza
The Parlour

Friday Night
Sympathy for the Deli – Lonerider Brewery from 5-9pm
Baguettaboutit – Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) from 6-10pm
American Meltdown – Marbles Museum IMAX Theater from 5-9pm tonight

MondayAfternoon (8/6/12) – North Hills Food Truck Rodeo
North Hills mall (in parking lot behind Bruegger’s) from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. 

Captrust, is hosting a food truck rodeo to benefit the the Payton Wright Foundation. 10% of all sales to be donated to the foundation, which raises money for pediatric brain cancer research.

The trucks scheduled to be there:
Klausie’s Pizza
Chirba Chirba Dumpling
Captain Ponchos Taco Truck
Gussy’s Greek Street Food
Olde North State BBQ
Big City Sandwiches
Big John’s Hot & Spicy
Kona Ice
Lumpy’s Ice Cream

More info on North Hills Food Truck Rodeo on their event facebook page here.

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Food Truck Rodeo at Chatham Hill Winery Friday June 29th!

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Klausie’s Pizza Truck

If you live in Raleigh or Western Wake County and missed the recent food truck rodeo in Durham a few weeks ago you are in luck. The Chatham Hill Winery in Morrisville will be hosting a food truck event this Friday, June 29th from 4-9pm.

Featured Food Trucks
Klausie’s Pizza
American Meltdown
Baguettaboutit
Dang Good Dogs
Chirba Chirba Dumpling
Chick N Que
Old North State BBQ 

Read the event press release below for full details:

“Wine & Food Trucks?  Yes, indeed!  Chatham Hill Winery, the oldest winery in the area, has teamed up with local food trucks for the first-ever Wine & Food Truck Pairing.  The event will be held at Chatham Hill Winery on Friday, June 29th from 4:00 to 9:00 PM at 3800 Gateway Centre Blvd. in Cary/Morrisville.

From its inception, Chatham Hill Winery has been an innovator by being one of the first wineries in the country to mix old world wine tradition and new world wine bravado.  The winery’s grapes are grown offsite in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina.  As an Urban Winery, Chatham Hill’s award-winning European style wines are made right here in the Heart of the Triangle.  In another cutting edge movement, Chatham Hill Winery is blending the latest culinary craze, Food Trucks, with the Urban Winery experience.

The unique twist on this Wine & Food Truck event is that owner and winemaker, Marek Wojciechowski, will be available to make recommendations for wine and food pairings throughout the event.   After seeing the burgeoning food truck scene, Wojciechowski knew what he had to do:  “Food trucks are such an amazing idea.  Why not push the notion that wine can be enjoyed with most any foods?  We just had to figure out a way to bring our wines and food truck offerings together and to the local community.”  

There is no admission fee for the event. The food trucks will be charging their regular prices and the winery will have wine available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle.  The trucks participating are:  Klausie’s Pizza, American Meltdown, Baguettaboutit, Dang Good Dogs, Chirba Chirba Dumpling, Chick N Que and Old North State BBQ.  Music provided by DJ Trav Gales.  In their continuing support of Operation Homefront, the winery will donate a portion of the evening’s sales and encourage participants to donate as well.

About Chatham Hill Winery:

Chatham Hill Winery, established in 1999 as the 14th winery in the state, is a boutique winery hosting wine tasting, winery tours as well as private, corporate functions and team building events. Its mission is to produce distinctive, handcrafted wines of high quality from the best grapes grown in North Carolina and share information and education about wine in a friendly and non-intimidating manner.

The winery currently produces two distinctive brands of wines:

French style wines under the Chatham Hill label and the line of unique, semi-sweet fruit-infused wines under the Sweet Carolina label.  Conveniently located moments from I-40, south of the RDU Airport, Chatham Hill Winery is accessible to all areas of the Triangle.  For additional information, contact Jill Winkler or visit www.chathamhillwine.com

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