Posts tagged downtown raleigh
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.

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.”

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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.

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.”

Isaac Hunter's Returns to Downtown Raleigh

Isaac Hunter’s Oak City Tavern is returning to downtown Raleigh.

Zack Medford said Monday that Isaac Hunter’s Oak City Tavern will open at 5 p.m. Friday in the former Common 414 bar at 414 Fayetteville St. Common 414, a craft cocktail bar, has been closed for two weeks and undergoing renovations.

Medford and his business partners opened Isaac Hunter’s Tavern at 112 Fayetteville St. in 2009 but closed it in 2014. They moved on to other projects, including Paddy O’BeersCoglin’s and Common 414.

After Tir na nOg closed last year, Medford said he and his partners felt they should bring Issac Hunter’s Tavern back. (The bar is named for the original Isaac Hunter’s Tavern, where the state legislature is said to have selected Raleigh as the site of North Carolina’s capital in 1787.) “Downtown needs a good neighborhood bar,” Medford said.

Fans of Medford’s previous Isaac Hunter’s Tavern will recognize the new 3,000-square-foot space, outfitted with old wood timbers from a barn outside Waynesboro and filled with games, like shuffleboard, darts and table games. The bar will have a extensive bourbon selection as well as other liquors, craft beer and wine.

The bar will host a grand opening on April 1 — two years from when the former tavern closed — and the space will be in transition as renovations continue. But Medford said they wanted to open sooner rather than later. “Over the next few weeks, it will get better and better,” Medford said.

Weigl: 919-829-4848;

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Pub owners concerned as Raleigh studies outdoor dining rules


It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Zack Medford.

First he received an email from the City of Raleigh at 4:59 p.m. on Friday, May 29 letting him know about a Monday, June 1 meeting on a proposed rewrite of city rules that would strip bars of their rights to have tables on city sidewalks.

The change would cut Medford’s revenue in half at Paddy O’Beers, one of three businesses he owns with sidewalk seating on Fayetteville Street.

At the June 1 meeting, the outdoor minibar set up at Medford’s bar, Coglin’s Raleigh, during Brewgaloo on April 25 was used as an example of outdoor dining gone rogue.

While there have been ongoing conversations with city officials about crowding on sidewalks, the outdoor bar issue took him by surprise, he said.

“They are using this as ammunition against us and why this ordinance is required,” he said. “The funny thing is we are fully permitted, and on top of it they never told us that we can’t do this.”

Since at least 2013, Medford has been opening outdoor bars during most downtown events and believed it was sanctioned, he said, as he sought a temporary permit extension from the N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. The approval includes a map of the outdoor area with the bar and a sign-off with written comments by the Raleigh Police Department.

The situation is one example of the confusion and frustration stemming from city officials’ proposal – sprung on business owners last week – to revise city rules for restaurants, bars and other spaces that hold outdoor dining permits, which allow them to put tables and chairs on city sidewalks. The controversy is the latest version of an ongoing clash among competing interests and visions as Raleigh’s downtown revitalization takes hold.

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Patios, pints and growing pains in Raleigh


I opened Paddy O’Beers – get it? Patio Beers? – because I love sitting outside and sipping craft beer. I think Raleigh shares that passion, too – we have more than nine breweries in this city, as well as many new bottle shops. The website for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau has a whole page dedicated to helping visitors find them.

Last week, the assistant city manager proposed an ordinance that would revoke the patio permits of local businesses that don’t sell “enough” food. If passed, we would lose two-thirds of our seating at Paddy O’Beers and likely be forced to close our doors.

This ordinance is a mistake, and public response to the proposal has been a resounding, “No.”

I started a petition asking the City Council to reject this proposal, and it has nearly 8,000 signatures. The residents of Raleigh have made it clear: Don’t take away our patios!

Raleigh is at a crossroads. We’re no longer the sleepy Southern town we once were. We are growing into a lively, well-rounded city. It is an exciting time to live in Raleigh, especially downtown. Growing up, however, doesn’t come without growing pains.

Rapid growth means more people, and with more people you get more problems. Restaurants have longer waits. Parking is harder to find. Things can get noisy. These growing pains are natural for any city. It’s up to us, as a community, to come up with solutions to these problems in an open forum.

This ordinance will do nothing to lower the volume downtown, increase public safety or clean up the city. Instead, it will close many responsible local businesses that have never had a single complaint filed against them. Raleigh should be working with businesses like Foundation, which was featured in the magazines Our State and Garden & Gun. It shouldn’t be trying to regulate them out of business.

It is not the government’s job to pick winners and losers. Nachos and hamburgers are not going to make a business quieter or cleaner. Specific establishments that cause problems should be addressed through code violations, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

We all love our city, and we’re proud of how far we’ve come these last 10 years since Fayetteville Street was reopened. Many people took a gamble on opening businesses downtown, creating the vibrant urban center we have today. We have invested our time, financial resources and passion into making our downtown a destination. We didn’t receive any state, federal or local incentives to open our business in Raleigh.

Instead of shuttering the local businesses that have made our downtown such a success, we should be working with them to address these growing pains. Together, as a community, we can overcome any obstacle.

Zack T. Medford is the owner of Paddy O’Beers in downtown Raleigh.

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Common 414 contributes to downtown cocktail culture

“I think Common 414 is a way to take cocktail culture and make it more approachable,” says Medford. “And we’re a place that costs $2,000 or $4,000 to rent. A lot of times we do events with just the bar tab minimum. Nowhere in Raleigh do you get a find like that, where you can come in a space this big and has this sophisticated an offering and say, ‘You know what? I wanna have my cocktail hour here!"

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2014 : Isaac Hunter's Tavern Closes... for now

[2016 UPDATE: 2 years later, Isaac Hunter's Tavern re-opened its doors at 414 Fayetteville Street)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Isaac Hunter's Oak City Tavern will close its doors in downtown Raleigh on March 31, owners announced Tuesday. 

The tavern opened in 2009 amid the Downtown Raleigh Renaissance. Owners say that as their lease began to wind down at 112 Fayetteville St., their landlord, Pete Gillis, decided to go in a different direction, striking a deal with the owner of 606 Nightclub and Myst in Glenwood South to replace the tavern with a new concept. 

Owners Brad Bowles, Ben Yannessa and Zack Medford say they are "heartbroken to see the tavern finally close its doors so abruptly." 

"We are proud of our little bar, and we hate to see it end like this," Medford said, "but we know that we will bring Isaac Hunter’s back in the future, and this time make it everything we’ve always wanted it to be."