Upscale restaurant J.Alexander's will open a new location in Raleigh's Crabtree Commons.

Raleigh and Durham restaurants to get hyped about in 2016

2016 will bring a host of new restaurants to the Raleigh and Durham dining scene. Here’s a look ahead to a few of the places set to open later this year:

In the Crabtree Valley Mall vicinity, J. Alexander’s will open sometime later this year. Known for its wood-fired cuisine and upscale ambiance, the Nashville-based contemporary restaurant will open its first North Carolina location behind the Raleigh mall in Crabtree Commons. J.Alexander’s serves what they call upscale versions of American classics (i.e. lots of steak and seafood entrees). Undoubtedly, when it opens, J.Alexander’s will serve as a good spot to take the in-laws when they’re in town.

And, speaking of upscale, The Capital Grille, a well-regarded steakhouse chain, is slated to open in the North Hills shopping center. According to the Triangle Business Journal, The Capital Grille (owned by Darden Restaurants) plans to open its Raleigh location inside the Bank of America Tower at North Hills sometime in the summer. The chain currently operates one other North Carolina location in Charlotte.

North Hills is also home to a location of b.good, a fast casual, farm-to-table eatery that will also open another location in downtown Raleigh later this March. The second Raleigh location will be located inside the new Charter Square building at 555 Fayetteville Street. B.good is known for its selection of burgers, salads, quinoa bowls and smoothies made from locally-sourced ingredients.

Raleigh continues to be flooded with more gourmet burger restaurants. Burger 21, soon to open in the North Ridge shopping center in Raleigh, will join the ever growing population of burger restaurants in the area. The Tampa-based burger chain is known for its quirky selection of 100% Angus beef, chicken and seafood burgers. The Raleigh location will take the place of the space previously occupied by Cafe Tiramisu and the North Ridge Pub, which have both moved to the other side of the shopping center.

In downtown Raleigh, Martin Street will soon be home to a new coal-fired pizza restaurant named Pizza Guerra as reported by The News and Observer earlier this year. The former owners of Cary’s Bella Mia, Rick and Anthony Guerra, will be at the helm of the new pizzeria.

Over in Durham, Matt Kelly and Josh Decarolis, the folks behind Mateo Tapas, will open a new trattoria next door called Mothers & Sons. The new Italian eatery is currently shooting for a spring opening date.

Chef Matt Kelly has also partnered with Piedmont’s Drew Brown to open a new delicatessen in Durham called Lucky’s Deli.  The forthcoming deli, located alongside Mothers and Sons, will serve Italian and Jewish-inspired sandwiches made using housemade and imported meats and cheeses. The new deli plans to open later this spring.

And, last but not least, Hibernian Pub and Raleigh Beer Garden proprietor Niall Hanley has announced plans to open a food hall and market inside the space that used to house Jillian’s in downtown Raleigh’s Warehouse district.  Hanley told WRAL news that he foresees the 21,000 square-foot space as a home to a place where up-and-coming artisan local food entrepreneurs can get a jump start on their businesses. Hanley’s latest project sounds cool, but perhaps not nearly as rad as Anthony Bourdain’s internationally-inspired food hall Bourdain Market in New York City’s Pier 57, but Raleigh will take what it can get. Hanley’s food hall project is currently unnamed and is planned for a 2017 opening.

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