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Looking for a Good Coffee Shop? Our CurEaters Have You Covered.

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If you’re looking for a good coffee shop to shake up your morning routine, quench your caffeine thirst or take an overhead shot of your hand and a latte, we’ve got you covered. We scrolled through our CurEaters’ lists to profile some exceptional coffee and drink experts. With the holiday season upon us, we know how chaotic life can be. That’s why these 5 CurEaters will guide you to caffeine this weekend. 

Jenny Bonchak

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Founder and CEO of Raleigh based cold brew coffee company, SlingShot Coffee, Jenny Bonchak knows a thing or two when it comes to a good coffee shop. Jenny, an award-winning barista, realized the iced coffees that were available at coffee bars were nothing more than subpar, so she did something about it. She started brewing her own coffee from her house and found it to be far superior than anything store bought. Naturally, each one of her CurEat lists highlight her favorite coffee shops. So if you are in NYC, Raleigh, Charleston or Atlanta this weekend, check out Jenny’s lists.

Sean Lilly Wilson

coffee shops, good coffee, speciality coffee, best coffee shops, good coffee shop
Image via Triangle Business Journal

Sean Lilly Wilson is the owner and Chief Executive Optimist at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC. Sean was a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist in both 2012 and 2013 in the category of “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional”. We think it’s pretty safe to assume Sean knows his drinks, coffee included. Although he’s a beverage expert in North Carolina, his “Coffee Snob” list isn’t limited to just one state.

Tim Hussey

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Image via Charleston City Paper

Contemporary painter from Charleston, Tim Hussey, obviously has an eye when it comes to the “least pretentious restaurants with the best lighting”. If you don’t believe us, check out is CurEat bio. Tim has lived in Paris, New York, LA and Santa Fe, so we trust Tim to help us find the coolest spots that just so happen to have the best coffee. “His Worthy Coffee Shops” list is not only about the coffee, but also about the aesthetic (because we all know they’re equally important).

Katie Button

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Image via Mountain Xpress

Spending some time in Asheville, NC this weekend? CurEater and Chef Katie Button, owner of Cúrate Tapas Bar and Nightbell Restaurant, has a “Waking Up in Asheville” list. If we were there, we would stop by High Five Coffee for our first cup of coffee then head over to Vortex Doughnuts for one of their seasonal doughnuts and our second cup of coffee. When in the mountains, you have to visit a good coffee shop, right?

Johnny Belflower

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Image via Mountain Xpress

Johnny Belflower opened up Tasty Beverage Company in Raleigh in 2011 and stocked it full with about 1,200 packaged beers from across the country and the world. In addition to the store being stocked with thousands of American craft and Belgian beer, there’s also a small bar in the back. Who doesn’t like to shop for beer while drinking beer? Johnny Belflower is a go-to when it comes to, you guessed it, tasty beverages, so check out his “Raleigh Coffee” list and his “Asheville Coffee” list if you’re looking for something tasty this weekend.

CurEat a Vegan or Vegetarian Night Out

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With November being National Vegan Month, we figured we’d peruse our CurEaters’ lists for some restaurants that serve up some vegan and vegetarian dishes. For those of you interested in ditching the meat for at least one night, we compiled a list of five restaurants from five CurEaters that will fulfill your vegan or vegetarian dreams. Whether you’re down for some vegan or vegetarian dishes, or want to try something new, our CurEaters have you covered.

Taïm Restaurant in NYC

If you’re looking for somewhere fast and casual in NYC, CurEater Sam Ross recommends Taïm. The menu at Taïm is strictly vegetarian and mostly vegan, not to mention gluten free and fried to order. They have everything from sandwiches to salads to platters and mezzes. There’s also a smoothie bar and baklava for dessert. We see why Taïm is on Sam’s “NYC Favorite Foods” list.


Butcher & Bee in Charleston, SC

Charleston CurEater and co-founder of the Charleston Art Festival, Terry Fox, has Butcher & Bee on his “Best Locals…” list. With locations in Charleston and Nashville, each menu differs based on seasonal ingredients in the area and offers at least one vegan option every day. If you find yourself in either city and are vegan or vegetarian, swing by this trendy, little shop for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.  

Fern, Flavors from the Garden in Charlotte

CurEater and The Charlotte Observer  Food Editor, Kathleen Purvis,  has great taste when it comes to Charlotte restaurants. Taking a look at her “Charlotte” list, we found Fern, Flavors From the Garden. Fern’s chef, Matt Martin, reinvents classic dishes to cater to vegan or vegetarian taste buds.


Perly’s in Richmond, VA

Perly’s is a Jewish delicatessen located in downtown Richmond that serves up traditional Jewish fare with a modern spin. According to Refinery 29, Perly’s is one of the best brunch places in the U.S. Most importantly, you’ll find Perly’s on Richmond CurEater Brittanny Anderson’s “Lunch Spots RVA” list.  After your meal at Perly’s, stop by Brittanny’s Metzgar for a Larry David cocktail.

The Fiction Kitchen in Raleigh, NC

Raleigh CurEater and Founder & Board President of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, Nation Hahn, has The Fiction Kitchen on his “JKHF Supporters” list. Want the classic, Southern chicken and waffles experience without the bird? The Fiction Kitchen will take care of you. Nation recommends the restaurant’s Eastern NC BBQ Pulled “Pork” because you can’t come to the South without the taste of BBQ.  

You can use CurEat to find restaurants with the best vegetarian and vegan options in any city. Whether you find a restaurant on one of our CurEaters’ lists or a friend’s lists, let CurEat guide you. If you don’t see a list or two strictly dedicated to vegans or vegetarians, then create one and share!

National Sandwich Day Called and We Answered

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If you’re anything like us, you’ll find any excuse to go out for your favorite sandwich. Because let’s be real, sandwiches are always in season. With that being said, today is National Sandwich Day, so we perused our CurEaters’ lists to highlight five spots for sandwiches across the U.S. If you’re lucky enough to live near the restaurants our CurEaters recommend, then we highly suggest you skip over for a sandwich. Whether you’re in the mood for a pastrami on rye or pimento cheese on a warm croissant, we found a place for you.

La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC

North Carolina CurEater and master baker Lionel Vatinet is your guy when it comes to bakery recommendations, which is why you should take his advice when it comes to sandwiches. We looked through his “NC Bakeries to Know” list to find his very own La Farm Bakery. If you happen to find yourself in Cary today, stop by and snag a signature grilled cheese to celebrate National Sandwich Day because you’re never too old. Tell Lionel “bonjour” for us!

Victory Sandwich Bar in Atlanta, GA

With a name like Victory Sandwich Bar, you’d be crazy not try it. Atlanta CurEater Steven Satterfield has this winning sandwich shop on his “My Hometown Atlanta” list, and we can see why. From beets to kimchi, Victory uses some of the best ingredients to make some pretty unique sandwiches. Oh, and not to mention they have quite the cocktail menu, too.

Turkey and The Wolf in New Orleans, LA

Although New York CurEater and sommelier André Mack has a passion for wine, he also knows what’s up when it comes to sandwiches and traveling. We found Turkey and The Wolf on André’s “New Orleans Favorites” list, and we’re really into it. In addition to sandwiches, this restaurant also has tacos, deviled eggs, and pot pie. Count us in.

Huckleberry Café in Los Angeles, CA

No matter what you’re craving, this café is likely to have it.  Huckleberry Café locally sources their ingredients and most are exclusively organic. The café’s all-day breakfast menu, warm meatball sandwiches and crispy bahn mi’s, are just a few reasons why you should add it to your list of places to try when you are in La-La Land. With a full kids menu, coffees teas and cocktails, this place has something for the whole family. Check out CurEater Tom Gray’s “Los Angeles” list for more of his LA favorites.

 Lucky’s Delicatessen in Durham, NC

When a CurEater has a list called “The authoritative list for the Durham’s best sandwiches”, then you know they mean business. Durham CurEater John May clearly loves a solid sandwich and has mapped out his Durham favorites for us. We are pretty big fans of each restaurant on his list, especially Lucky’s Delicatessen. We aren’t lying when we say that Lucky’s is always packed and their meatball sandwich is the one.


These 5 CurEaters List and Share the Best Cocktail Bars

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The great thing about being an adult is that you not only get to enjoy the extra Halloween candy your co-workers bring to the office, but you can indulge in Halloween cocktails. It truly is a win-win. For  those of you who are looking for a good place to enjoy a solid, festive cocktail this weekend, we’ve rounded up 5 CurEaters (cocktail experts, mixologists and sommeliers) who have lists of the best cocktail bars.  We even took the time to choose a bar from each list and the cocktail we would drink for Halloween weekend. Cheers!

Sam Ross, NYC 

CurEater and owner of  NYC bar Attaboy, Sam Ross, is a cocktail genius, so it’s obvious that he is going to have CurEat lists of the best cocktail bars. Since he is one of our NYC CurEaters, we chose his “NYC Cocktails!” list to highlight. What would we choose from his list and what cocktail would we drink?

Bar: Dirty Precious

Cocktail: The Cathedral

Kevin Barrett, Raleigh, NC 

Raleigh CurEater and owner of whiskey bar, Dram & Draught, is one of the coolest mixologists in Raleigh and mixes up some of the city’s best cocktails. Along with Dram & Draught from his “Raleigh Bars” list, we would choose:

Bar: Bittersweet

Cocktail: Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

Bob Peters, Charlotte, NC 

It goes without saying that if you are looking for the best cocktail bars in Charlotte, NC, Bob Peters, the head mixologist at The Ritz-Carlton’s The Punch Room, is the CurEater to follow. If you’ve ever tried one of his cocktails, you would agree. From Bob’s “Charlotte Cocktails” list, we would visit:

Bar: Soul Gastrolounge

Cocktail: Smoke and Mirrors

Cocktail Bandits, Charleston, SC 

CurEaters Johnny and Taneka, of the Cocktail Bandits, are our craft cocktail advocates. These curly ladies, as they like to call themselves, share their favorite spots for the best cocktails from Kentucky to New Orleans. After perusing their CurEat lists, we decided to land on their “ATL 100” list.

Bar: White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails

Cocktail: Mint’s Mule

Hai Tran, Philadelphia, PA 

We always trust a sommelier when it comes to adult beverages. CurEater Hai Tran, beverage director for The Rittenhouse Hotel, has a hearty line up of CurEat lists. Seeing that Hai Tran is our resident Philadelphia CurEater, we thought it appropriate to choose his “Philadelphia, PA” list.

Bar: The Franklin Bar

Cocktail: The Death of the Duke

Download CurEat (available on iTunes and Google Play) and follow Sam Ross, Kevin Barrett, Bob Peters, the Cocktail Bandits and Hai Tran to see their full lists. While you’re in the app, check out CurEaters like Ryan Casey, beverage director at The Dewberry, and André Mack, sommelier-at-large, for their lists of the best cocktail bars.

For the Best Places to Eat, Follow These 6 CurEaters

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From Boulder to New Orleans or from Nashville to San Francisco, at least one or two of our CurEaters will have a list of the best places to eat in each city. We’ve rounded up the 6 CurEaters who have the most lists on CurEat and who you should 120% follow. Immediately.

Hungry Asian

Roanoke, VA CurEater Hungry Asian, also known as John Park, comes in at number one with 47 lists. The guy LOVES to eat. It says it on his CurEat profile, so we aren’t making it up. Among his 47 lists are his “Korean Restaurants” list and “Ramen” list that we are particularly excited about.

Robert Donovan

Charleston, SC CurEater Robert Donovan is not far behind Hungry Asian with 34 lists on his CurEat profile of the best places to eat. Robert is our resident hot dog expert and has 3 lists dedicated solely to the classic all-American food. One of our favorite things about Robert is his Instagram bio. Check it out. But first, follow him on CurEat to see where this man likes to eat and drink.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

We are endlessly grateful to CurEater Atlanta Food & Wine Festival for their 25 lists. You know when you go to a food or drink fest and you get a pamphlet with a list of all the chefs, etc. participating? By the end of the weekend (or first day), you’ve either left it in your Lyft on the way to a tasting tent or in your hotel room. We’ve been there. Thanks to CurEater Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, you can find all the festival participants in one place!

Chana Lynn

Raleigh, NC CurEater Chana Lynn is the voice behind the RALEIGHWHATSUP blog. She may be an expert when it comes to the best places to eat and drink in Raleigh, but she doesn’t limit her 23 lists to the Triangle. Follow Chana to see what’s up in Asheville, Brooklyn and Key West.

Kenny Gilbert

Jacksonville, FL CurEater and Chef Kenny Gilbert, of Underground Kitchen and Gilbert’s Social, has a solid line up of 21 lists, from Jacksonville to NYC and Los Angeles to Maui. Want to eat bbq in Sea Island, GA? Chef Kenny has a list for that, too. Follow Chef Kenny on CurEat and see if your favorite restaurant and bars match up with his. 

Mattie Beason

Durham CurEater and Cider King Mattie Beason, of Black Twig Cider House, tied with Chef Kenny with 21 lists. If you want to know where to drink the best cider, Mattie B. has a “Cider Centric” list. If you happen to find yourself in Boulder, CO, check out his “Boulder Stops” list for the best places to eat and drink. Mattie B. is someone who we would want to join us for a road trip, and now he can. Follow him on CurEat and take Mattie B. along with you on your next trip around the country.   

CurEat 101: How to List Local Restaurant Haunts

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You already know that you won’t find reviews or ratings on CurEat, so how do you know if you should give a specific local restaurant, bar, etc. a whirl? Easy. If you like it, then you list it. We put the cart before the horse just a smidge when we published our first CurEat 101 about sharing lists with friends before telling you how to make a list. It’s ok because we are doing it now. Plus, we wanted all you CurEat list-makers out there to start sharing with your friends.

Step One

First things first, you have to download CurEat (available in the iTunes App Store or Google Play) and create an account before you start making lists. You do want your friends to know that you know all the cool, local restaurant gems around the U.S, right?

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Photo by Carly Mask

Step Two

Once you’ve placed your jazzy profile picture and creative banner photo, you’re ready to start listing your favorite local restaurant haunts. Now, locate the plus sign in the search bar at the bottom of your newly made profile. Click it. Next, give your list a name. After, type in the name of the local restaurant, bar, brewery or bakery that you love. Click it. When you’ve added all the local restaurants that you frequent, you’re ready to share.

Step Three (and the Challenge)

Feeling good about listing? We told you it was easy. The biggest challenge is coming up with a cool names for your lists. Here are a few for inspiration. If the creative iron still isn’t hot, then you can use basic names. No pressure. Just have fun and start listing and sharing. Let’s keep the positive vibes going.

P.S. Did you see our little shout out in Food & Wine? We were honored to say the least and want to continue to live up to our positive mission.


CurEater Nation Hahn Keeps a Legacy of Service Alive

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All of our CurEaters, whether they are prominent chefs, creatives or craft-makers, care about the communities where they live and work. You will often see our CurEaters like Vivian Howard, of Chef and the Farmer, and Lydia Clopton, of Pinpoint Restaurant, cooking to raise money for organizations like the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. There’s also CurEater and chef Chris Shepherd, of Underbelly, who changes the focus of his annual Southern Smoke event to benefit those affected by Hurricane Harvey. This week we want to highlight Raleigh CurEater Nation Hahn and what he is doing to impact his community.

Nation Hahn co-founded the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, which officially launched in October 2013 with its Party with a Purpose, 6 months after the death of his wife. Jamie Hahn was passionate about solving food insecurity, educational disparity and poverty in the community.

This year Nation Hahn and the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation will celebrate their 5th Annual Weekend of Purpose on Saturday, October 14th. If you live in the Triangle, we hope you will join us for their Day of Service Saturday morning and/or their Party with a Purpose Saturday night. CurEaters Inez Ribustello, of Tarboro Brewing Company, Phoebe Lawless, of Scratch Bakery, Kevin Barrett, of Dram & Draught, and Sean Lilly Wilson, of Fullsteam Brewery, will be among the talent providing food and drink for the event. 

Tickets are on sale now. If you have CurEat Experiences, we will send you a discount code for VIP tickets or general admission tickets. Don’t have CurEat Experiences? You can snag a membership for $10. Once you have purchased your membership, we will send you your Party with a Purpose discount code. With a CurEat Experiences membership, you will also receive recipes,tips, first access to events, and other perks every month.

nation hahn, cureat, cureat app, Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, food systems, eat local, local chefsAll tickets sales support connecting and equipping emerging leaders around the state of North Carolina through programs such as the JKHF Fellowship Program and Gathering for Good series. In keeping with Jamie’s passions, the foundation focuses on the betterment of North Carolina food systems and access to equal education. We hope you will consider supporting the great work of CurEater Nation Hahn to continue Jamie’s legacy of service and to spark change.

P.S. You can also follow Nation Hahn on CurEat to see where he eats and drinks around the U.S.

Meet CurEater Jenny Bonchak, Founder of Slingshot Coffee Co.

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It’s #NationalCoffeeDay, and we know what you’re  thinking. Shouldn’t everyday be National Coffee Day? Just like food, good coffee is always the starting point of a new relationship. They even have coffee ceremonies everyday in Ethiopia, so clearly the little bean is significant. In honor of this very caffeinated day (we’ve had about 3 cups each in the office already), we want to introduce you to one of our newest CurEaters, Jenny Bonchak, founder of Slingshot Coffee Co. in Raleigh, NC.

Jenny has been in the Specialty Coffee industry since 2006 and has carved her way in an industry dominated by men. She has won some pretty notable awards, including:

  • 2016 Southern Living Entrepreneur of the Year (Food & Drink)
  • 2016 U.S. Eastern Conf. Champion
  • 2015 U.S. Brewers Cup National Runner Up
  • 2012-2014 U.S. & Southeast Regional Brewers Cup Coach

We can’t forget to mention that Slingshot has been noted for a quality and taste that is second-to-none, and featured in the New York Times, Imbibe, Real Simple, Southern Living, Paste, Monocle, Bust, Sprudge and more. It was also named Best in the U.S. by Huffington Post and Boston Globe. It is really some of the best cold brew coffee we’ve had. 

If you haven’t already guessed, Jenny is basically our resident expert of specialty coffee and you better believe she has some solid lists on CurEat of the best coffee shops around the U.S. If you are in NYC and need a place to open your laptop and sip some liquid gold, she has a list for you. Atlanta? Yep, she’s got you. Follow Jenny on CurEat and never be left in the dark for where to find specialty coffee, especially on #NationalCoffeeDay.

CurEat: A Positive Space for Chefs and Food Lovers

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We were sitting around the CurEat table and realized that we haven’t really talked about ourselves at length. We’re not shy; we’ve just had a lot of great people write about us since our launch, paving our way to you. Now, we’re ready to give you some real talk about who we are — an autobiography of sorts.

Like any startup, CurEat started as an idea. (We know. Way to state the obvious.) Founder Steve Mangano met with a group of chefs in Raleigh/Durham, NC, who all own and operate independent restaurants, to discuss a positive approach to review-based apps and websites. They helped refine the concept and from there the CurEat snowball started rolling fast.

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Photo by Andrew Sherman of Cast Iron Kitchen in Wilmington, NC

Steve wanted to create a positive space for individuals to discover independent restaurants, bakeries and breweries — a place for food lovers to be able to cut through the clutter of reviews, ratings and chains. His hope was for people to spend time promoting and discussing the places they love instead of perpetuating a negative spin cycle. Tastes are unique and one person’s favorite pizza may be another’s least. Catch our drift?

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Photo by Bax Miller of CurEater Matt Register’s Southern Smoke BBQ

The restaurant industry is a hard grind. Everyone has a bad day.  Should a restaurant have a negative review live online forever? One negative review could prevent you from enjoying a new experience and unique food. There’s enough negative juju in our society right now, do we really want to continue to add to it?

It is our view that reviews and ratings are rarely helpful as most restaurants are rated the same, making it difficult to find any real distinction and credibility. We think Chef Andrew Zimmern, of Bizarre Foods, said it best in a recent Yelp rant. We want to know where friends, chefs, and food writers eat, and we want to know where are favorite bartenders drink. Most importantly, we want you to take what you like, put them into lists and share with friends. Plus, everyone loves a solid list, right?

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Photo by CurEater Chana Lynn of CurEater Vansana Nolintha’s Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh, NC

All of that being said, what makes CurEat different and the app that you need to clear some space on your phone so you can download? First of all, it’s easy to use. You download, make a profile and start creating different lists of your favorite places to eat and drink around the U.S. For example,  if you liked that great cocktail bar in D.C., put it on your D.C. list to recommend it to friends. You can also find and follow prominent chefs, restaurateur, bartenders, creatives and artisan craft-makers in different cities to see where they eat and drink around the U.S. We like to call them CurEaters.

If you’re reading this paragraph, kudos to you for sticking with us. We want CurEat to be your go-to source to finding and recommending independent restaurants and bars. You can download CurEat on the App Store or get it on Google Play. We want to make things easy for you, so if you have any questions just give us a shout on social.

CurEat 101: How to Share Lists with Friends

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We’ve all received and sent a text to our friends asking, “Yo, what’s your favorite places to eat in {insert city}? I’ll be there next week!” Are we right, or are we right? If we had to guess, we’ve spent at least a year of our lives typing out our favorite bars and restaurants. Don’t get us wrong, we are flattered to be the go-to foodies of our friends; however, when you have favorite eateries in 20 different cities, it’s hard to manage the memory. So, this is one of many reasons why CurEat exists – to help you organize and share your recs.

Sharing with CurEat is so easy that we sometimes find it less complicated than making scrambled eggs (there really is an art to it, though)! The first thing you do is download CurEat, which is available for iOS and Android. Once you’ve downloaded you have the option to make a profile or skip to search. Well, we highly suggest you make a profile. Take ownership. Put up a cool pic of yourself. Then start listing.

If you already have a profile and a few lists, then sharing with that friend who is traveling to, let’s say Malibu, is a cake walk. Find your Malibu list (or a Malibu list that you have bookmarked), and move your finger to the box and arrow at the top right of the screen. Click it. Once you’ve taken .00002 seconds to click, the sharing options box will float up from the bottom of your phone screen. Choose the text option, type your friend’s name into the contact field, and press send. Boom. Your friend will have to download the CurEat, but it’s totally worth it because they can return the favor when you travel and are in need of a good restaurant that’s not a chain.