Boba, barbecue and Italian coming to Morrisville, NC

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Four new restaurants are opening in Wake County’s Park West Village shopping center, bringing three new brands to the Triangle for the first time. Leo’s Italian Social, one of the 2022 restaurant openings, specializes in classic Italian-American pastas like chicken parmesan.

Four new restaurants are opening in Wake County’s Park West Village shopping center, bringing three new brands to the Triangle for the first time. Leo’s Italian Social, one of the 2022 restaurant openings, specializes in classic Italian-American pastas like chicken parmesan.

Leo’s Italian Social

A major barbecue chain is returning to western Wake County, along with the addition of two new Italian restaurants as a Morrisville development ups its restaurant game.

The Park West Village in Morrisville, off of Cary Parkway, is adding four new restaurants, including three newcomers to the Triangle, as out-of-state restaurant groups continue to eye the region for expansions.

The barbecue chain Red, Hot & Blue is also opening a new location in Park West Village, adding to its existing restaurant in North Raleigh. The chain previously had locations in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Hillsborough Street in Raleigh and multiple restaurants in Cary. But the new Red, Hot & Blue will be only the second still operating in North Carolina.

Piada Italian Street Food, Leo’s Italian Social and Feng Cha will all make their Triangle debut with new locations in Park West Village.

Piada Italian Street Food specializes in fast-casual Italian, taking its name from an Italian-style wrap made out of a thin flatbread and filled with options like fried calamari, meatballs and salmon, and add-ons like harissa-spiced grain blends, avocado and pancetta. There are also pasta dishes like carbonara and pomodoro, salads and protein bowls.

The Park West Village Piada will be the second North Carolina location for the brand, following the first in Charlotte. The brand opened in 2010, launching in Ohio.

Leo’s Italian Social debuts in the Triangle as an upscale traditional Italian restaurant. The brand launched in Cleveland in 2019 and the expansion to Morrisville is part of a larger move into North Carolina, with additional locations opening in Asheville and Charlotte. Those are all slated to open this summer.

Leo’s menu is stacked with familiar Italian dishes, including starters like beef carpaccio, fried calamari and heartier small plates like short rib ravioli. The lunch and dinner menu includes traditional pastas, old school entrees like lasagna and chicken parmesan and pizzas from a wood-burning oven.

Feng Cha Teahouse comes to the Triangle as a global boba giant, with more than 1,000 locations worldwide. The Chinese brand is slowly growing its US presence, with 25 locations opened since 2017, starting in Texas.

The Morrisville Feng Cha will be the first location in North Carolina.

Feng Cha specializes in boba far beyond typical teahouses, including bruleed teas, dirty boba made with brown sugar, foaming teas, as well as classic milk and fruit teas.

Local Feng Cha franchise owner Dung Kim Le said that construction on the new shop is nearing completion and the teahouse should open in March.

The arrival of Leo’s, Piada’s and Feng Cha to the area follows a growing trend of outside brands tapping the Triangle for expansions.

Among the restaurants and food shops already planned include a Jeni’s ice cream in Durham, Emmy Squared in Durham, Dave’s Hot Chicken, Superica and Colleta in Cary’s Fenton development and Torchy’s Tacos, which is already open in Raleigh.

Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.



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