by Brian Clarey

Didja hear that the Triad is finally getting a Trader Joe’s? Yep… at the Thruway Center in Winston-Salem, opening later this year. Sorry ’bout that, Greensboro.

Also in Winston-Salem, the Twin City RibFest announced it would be held this year in the parking lot of the Winston- Salem Journal on June 7-10.

Andy’s hamburger chain, based out of Mount Olive, will be rebranding as Highway 55 after 20 years under its original name. Good luck with that.

Fatz Café, ironically, is introducing a new Lite Side Menu that includes low-calorie fare like Asian chicken salad and “lite” margaritas.

And Dunkin’ Donuts plans to double its retail presence in North America. Good news for doughnut lovers, bad news for porch swings.

On Wednesday, Cobblestone Farmers Market hosts a Learn to Cook Local class with Jeff Bacon, CEO of Triad Community Kitchen beginning at 6 p.m. at the kitchen. Reservations and pre-payment are recommended — call 336.782.1345 to get a seat.

On Friday, Noble’s Grill in Winston-Salem holds a Robert Mondavi wine dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Call 336.777.8477 for a reservation. Over in Greensboro, Undercurrent holds a Patz & Hall wine dinner at the same time. Reserve a table at 336.370.1266.

Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day. Fatz Café in Greensboro holds a pancake breakfast to benefit the Open Door Fellowship Church beginning at 7:30 a.m. The Archdale VFW Ladies Auxiliary holds a chicken stew sale from 4-6:30 p.m. Call 336.431.1106 for more info. Greensboro’s Warnersville community breaks ground on the neighborhood urban garden at 10 a.m. And Greensboro’s Fresh Market at HIghwoods Boulevard holds a Coffee & Cars event in the parking lot beginning at 8:30 a.m. There will be coffee, and there will be cars.

All weekend long Total Wine & More tastes wines and beers at all three Triad locations.

Got room for one more? The New York Times reports that celebrity Chef Mario Batali has to pay out waiters at his restaurants $5.25 million after they sued him for pinching their tips. Apparently it was policy at all Batali restaurants to skim 4-5 percent of total wine sales from the tip pool… and keeping it. The settlement affects servers, bartenders, busboys, food runners and table captains.