Ashley Christensen, who won the “Outstanding Chef” award in 2019 by the James Beard Foundation, is rolling out a fried chicken chain aptly named BB's Crispy Chicken.
First stop: Midtown East in Raleigh, where across the street you can find North Carolina's first outpost of Austin, Texas' acclaimed Torchy's Tacos. After much success of his first brick and mortar bakery, Andrew Ullom opened Union Special's second location on downtown Raleigh's iconic on Fayetteville St. where you can experience his devotion to flaky, pastry goodness. In Cary, world-famous Brooklyn pizzeria Di Fara Pizza Tavern is a fast new favorite. Also pop into Hank's Downtown Dive, which is anything but a dive, and offers dialed-up seasonal Southern and Mexican fare. Finally, downtown Raleigh is now home to Element Gastropub, the latest vegan gastropub.
An eclectic nightlife scene:
A slew of new breweries and bars opened last year including The Merchant (a speakeasy behind a hidden door), HighGarden (a rooftop lounge and events space), Botanical Lounge, The Ark Royal (an “exotic” cocktail lounge and tiki bar), Teets (owned by former Carolina Hurricanes player Bates Battaglia), Sidequest Game Lounge + Bar, Peace & Saint (a hookah bar), PinkBoot (a mini modern honky tonk) and Bond Brothers Eastside (a second location and music venue to compliment Cary's award-winning brewery), to name a few.
Old favorites to watch in 2022…
- Raleigh's sought-after food truck Gym Tacos opened its first brick and mortar, Gym Tacos & Tequila Bar, in North Raleigh, with a second location coming later this year on collegiate Hillsborough St.
- Fine Folk, the team behind Gov't Cheeseburger (a pandemic pivot from a fine dining restaurant) will officially open for dine-in at Gateway Plaza later this year. Until then, enjoy their infamous smash burger and other bites at Union Special (right next door) Wednesday-Saturday nights.
Raleigh : Art and outdoor:
Dorothea Dix Park offers unobstructed views of Raleigh's skyline and serves as a transformative public space for community, wellness, play and celebration. Through March 2022, view Mexican artist Jorge Marín's exhibition Wings of the City. In summer, the Instagrammable sunflower field is the main attraction, as well as organizing a proper picnic with Picnic Raleigh.
In 2022, North Carolina Freedom Park, located on State Government Grounds on the corner of Lane and Wilmington streets is projected to open. The park will honor the African American experience and struggle for freedom in North Carolina, featuring award-winning design by internationally recognized architect Phil Freelon.
Raleigh is home to many biking trails and one to check out in 2022 is The Art to Heart Corridor, starting at the North Carolina Museum of Art and ending in downtown Raleigh. The route goes through the museum's beautiful 164-acre park, behind Meredith College, a quick jaunt through campus at North Carolina State University, a zip by Pullen Park and finishing in the heart of the city, just outside of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
Speaking of the North Carolina Museum of Art, the East Building's art galleries closed on January 3, which kicked off an extensive renovation during its 75th anniversary year. The building will fully reopen in October 2022. During this time, several special exhibitions will go on view