Zack from Isaac Hunters has a Message for Mark Wahlberg

"Hey Markey Mark, before you bring those weak-sauce Wahlburgers to Raleigh, let me show you what a real North Carolina burger tastes like. @mark_wahlberg @donniewahlberg @wahlburgers

I challenge you to come to the Sir Walter Smoke-Off and put your burgers against mine. We can raise money for the Raleigh Wake Partnership to End Homelessness, and prove, once and for all, who has the best burger in the Oak City." - Zack Medford, Raleigh small business owner

On Saturday, October 7th, we're calling together the best barbecue chefs in North Carolina and beyond for the Sir Walter Smoke-Off.


Do you like barbecue? How would you like to try the best barbecue that North Carolina has to offer? Great Crawl Events is teaming up with the Oak City Outreach Center to host the 1st Annual Sir Walter Smoke-Off this fall, and you're invited.

We've invited over two dozen BBQ teams to join us at Dix Park for a day of barbecue, music and cold beverages. Teams are competing for the coveted Sir Walter Smoke-Off Golden Pig Medallion as well as $500 in prize money. Best of all, we're raising money for the Oak City Outreach Center and the Partnership to End Homelessness.

Buy your tickets, then bring your picnic blankets and camping chairs, and we'll take care of the rest. Your Pork Passport will let you sample pork from each of our competitors while supplies last, and then cast your vote for the People's Choice. We'll have the best barbecue in North Carolina. We'll have live music from some of Raleigh's favorite local bands. We'll have plenty of cold beer and a few specialty cocktails from our good friends at Jim Beam. This is a family friendly event, and we'll have the KidZone set up for the little ones.

For press inquires, please contact smokeoff at

Zack Medford
Thank you Raleigh Fire Department

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Firefighters at Raleigh’s Station One got a surprise visit Tuesday.

A local businessman, his wife and his son came by with hundreds of special deliveries.

Zack Medford lives downtown and owns several restaurants there. He and his patrons wanted firefighters to know how everybody feels about them after last week’s downtown inferno.

So they gathered hundreds of thank-you cards for the firefighters.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Medford said of the fire.

“Everyone wanted to find a way to say thank you and making cards was a great way to hunters creativity in the message in their hearts,” he said.

Over the last few days, hundreds of people have made cards at Medford’s business, which include Paddy O’Beers and Isaac Hunter’s Oak City Tavern.

“It means a lot. It really does hit hard and we have a lot of cards to go through, I’m sure, but we look at all of them. We’re like Santa Claus. We look at all the cards that come in,” said Raleigh Fire Capt. Kevin Radford.

Businesses come together to thank Raleigh Fire Department

Saturday, March 18, 2017

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) --

Businesses in downtown Raleigh are coming together to say "thank you" to the Raleigh firefighters who worked tirelessly to extinguish a massive downtown fire Thursday night.

Several businesses have set up Thank You Card stations; the cards are set to be delivered Monday.


People have been stopping by businesses like Isaac Hunter's Tavern Saturday to show their appreciation.

Raising Money for RFD

Zack Medford with Isaac Hunters Hospitality hosted an impromptu barbecue fundraiser at Isaac Hunters Tavern Friday night from 6 p m. to 8 p.m. (March 17, 2017)

They plan to take donations of $12 a plate and a cocktail. Medford said Clyde Coopers Barbecue and The Big Easy are donating food for the event.

"Proceeds are going to go toward the Raleigh Firefighter's Association, the Fallen Heroes Fund, and the Red Cross," Medford said.

They even had a thank-you-card station. Medford said they plan to deliver those cards throughout the weekend.

Zack Medfordfundraiser, fire
February 17th, 2017: The Great Neon 90s Ball

Like to dance? Enjoy ‘90s nostalgia? Want to help Raleigh families struggling with homelessness? Then the Great Neon 90s Ball is the event for you. The dance party is being held from 8-11 p.m. Feb. 17, 2017 at downtown Raleigh’s Market Hall in Moore Square. Courtesy of Zack Medford

Read more here:

Zack Medfordnon-profits
Latest HB2 repeal bills call for more nondiscrimination protections

So, Harrison filed House Bill 82 to repeal House Bill 2 and to expand "protected status" in terms of nondiscrimination to include sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veterans' status, marital status and age. The state already includes race, gender, national origin, religion, disability and family status as protected classes.

"It will provide enhanced statewide protections in a number of areas," Harrison said. "These added protections will apply to housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, insurance and education. This bill reflects North Carolina values, unlike House Bill 2. It’s long overdue."

Supporters said the proposal would send a strong message to businesses and groups like the NCAA.

"The NCAA is watching us closely to see what North Carolina stands for. So is the nation. The clock is ticking," said Zack Medford, who owns three downtown Raleigh bars.

"When tourists from out of state stop coming to North Carolina because of HB2, that is real money out of my pocket. That’s income that I count on to pay my mortgage and to feed my family," Medford said.

Zack Medfordhb2, politics
Zack Medford Elected Vice President of the Wake Young Democrats

"The Young Democrats of Wake County strive to get young professionals involved in the political process of the Democratic Party."

Become a dues paying member of the Wake County Young Democrats and support our work on a variety of levels: 

  • Support progressive candidates and causes through campaign and advocacy work;
  • Plan, publicize, and execute key events;
  • Supplement the various efforts of the Democratic Party on the county, state, and national levels; and
  • Recruit and train Young Democrats to be effective advocates and leaders.
Zack Medfordpolitics
One Facebook Post Sparks a Chain of Giving

"Friday morning, I felt compelled to write something on my personal Facebook page," explained Shana Overdorf.

Overdorf is the Executive Director of the Raleigh Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness. Her Facebook post started a chain of giving she could have never imagined.

"I'm overwhelmed. I thought my post would be seen as preachy," she said. "People that know me know I'm going to talk about things near and dear to my heart and keeping in mind people outside that don't have the option of coming in and getting warm and having dry socks or the ability to sleep in a safe warm place," she said.

After her post, a friend started a Crowdrise campaign raising $5,022 from Friday to Monday morning, and it didn't end there.

Raleigh restaurant owner Zack Medford who owns Paddy O' Beers saw the post and used his business accounts to encourage giving in the storm.

"We put a post on Facebook and asked people to bring coats to Paddy O' Beers," he said. "We thought we might get a few coats and help out the shelter-we wound up getting over 100 coats and they're still coming in," he said.

Zack Medford
All are Welcome Here

Zack Medford, owner of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, and Amy Cox, partner/manager of Deep South Entertainment, talk about how Raleigh, N.C., is a loving community where the free and open exchange of ideas is cherished. Zack and Amy also share their views on the importance of events and artists continuing to visit the Raleigh area, despite recent perceptions of N.C. sparked by the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, also known as House Bill 2 (HB2).

Learn more at

Zack Medford
Leadership Raleigh Welcomes its New Class

Leadership Raleigh Welcomes New Classes


Leadership Raleigh participants get a behind-the-scenes view into all aspects of our community—from the education system and the role of the media to law enforcement and economic development.

Last week, the two newest Leadership Raleigh classes got their years started at retreats at the Graylyn International Conference Center in Winston-Salem. 

Leadership Raleigh is a nine-month program consisting of eight one-day sessions held in the greater Raleigh area with an opening weekend retreat. The program emphasizes three overall components: team projects, community orientation, and enhancing leadership skills/styles.

Due to overwhelming interest in the program from business leaders across the community, the Chamber launched two classes of the program in 2015. This format will remain going forward.

Interested in learning more about the program? VIist or email!

Leadership Raleigh 33

Zack Medford
We don't need no stinkin' Wahlburgers

“Small business is what created this unique downtown that we have, and we owe a lot to our small business culture downtown,” said Zack Medford, president of Isaac Hunter’s Hospitality, which includes Paddy O’Beers, Coglin’s Raleigh and Isaac Hunter’s Tavern. “I think bringing in national chains is a threat to what we have built here and what makes Raleigh so great.”

Read more here:

Crema Will Close, New Chapter Begins

Jannik says he has been looking to vacate the spot since late 2015 and will consolidate the business with the other Crema, open since 2010 in the Bank of America building. During the past year, other local businesses have attempted to work out a deal for the space or the business itself. Brewerks, which finally opened in Oakwood last week, tried to buy the business last year, as did Paddy O’Beers.

“I was in talks with Crema to purchase their business last year,” says Zack Medford, co-owner of the bottle shop next door. “We spent a lot of time on it, worked out a purchase contract and everything. But [CBRE] wasn’t willing to make a move.”

Medford says he’s worried the leasing company already has a certain kind of tenant in mind: “If we’re not careful and start turning over downtown properties to the highest bidder, we’re going to turn into Charlotte,” he says. “No one wants Raleigh to turn into Charlotte. I’d much rather eat dinner at ORO than at Applebee’s.”

Jannik shares this view.

“Downtown was built by small local businesses. It needs to stay small local businesses,” he says. “It’s clearly thriving. There’s something authentic about a seeing a friend’s hard work paying off.”

Millennials spark dramatic turnaround in downtown Raleigh

One good example of this is Medford, who owns three bars on Fayetteville Street.

“I think it’s a great time to be in downtown Raleigh to watch the exciting new changes that come every single year,” said bar owner Zack Medford. “We’re seeing stores open their doors that we never would have expected before.”

“When we first opened there was pretty much nobody else on Fayetteville Street,” Medford said. “There were only a couple other bars and restaurants nearby. Most people were down on Glenwood South or North Raleigh. But we decided that we really wanted to see what downtown would become.”

Medford and other millennials are the pulse of downtown, creating a more urban and vibrant environment.

Triangle-Area Small Business Owners Urge Repeal of HB2

Zack T. Medford, Senior Partner of Isaac Hunter's Hospitality, spoke out about their group of restaurants in Raleigh.

“When we first opened the doors of our business seven years ago, we found success thanks to the support of our community...Raleigh’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive city brought an influx of new residents that helped make our business a success. With those residents came national conferences, major events, and most importantly, dollars into our economy,” he said. “Mr. McCrory, I’ve got to tell you, this law has me pretty upset. Discrimination is bad for business. As a small business owner, I’m feeling the direct effects...When HB2 writes discrimination into law, it is not only putting our economy at risk, but it is targeting people who are customers and employees all across the state.  It’s time to repeal HB2.”

Zack Medford
Raleigh Responds to HB2

Responding to House Bill 2

On March 23, 2016, the N.C. General Assembly passed and Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, also known as House Bill 2 (HB2), now Session Law 2016-3. The bill was introduced, debated and signed into law in a 12-hour period.

Zack Medford, owner of Isaac Hunter's Tavern, and Amy Cox, partner/manager of Deep South Entertainment, talk about how Raleigh is a thinking person's destination where the free and open exchange of ideas is cherished. It's where people from all walks of life, backgrounds and futures come together to share enriching experiences.

Millennials Shake up the City of Raleigh

Most of the business owners bringing movement to the downtown area are Millennials. Bar owner Zack Medford opened the doors to his business before the boom. “When we first opened there was pretty much nobody else on Fayetteville Street,” he said in an interview with WNCN. “There were only a couple other bars and restaurants nearby… But we decided that we really wanted to see what downtown would become.”