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Empty Bowls; Bull City Burger and Brewery

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In Durham this month, one meal will lay the groundwork for many more. Urban Ministries will hold its annual Empty Bowls fundraiser between 5:30 and 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, at the Durham Armory, followed by an after-party and food truck roundup sponsored by Fullsteam brewery and Motorco Music Hall. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Urban Ministries' Community Cafe, which serves nearly 220,000 meals a year to members of the Durham community who are in need.

A panel of judges will select the "Best Soup in Durham" from entries among local restaurants including Guglhupf, Papa Mojo's Roadhouse, Revolution, Toast, L'Uva and Saladelia Cafe. [Disclosure: Indy Editor Lisa Sorg is an honorary judge.] Event attendees will bestow a "People's Choice Award" upon one worthy soup. Tickets to sample dishes and vote are $15. In addition, a $30 ticket is available and includes the purchase of soup and a keepsake clay bowl created by area potters. Children 6 and under may attend for free.

At 8 p.m., the evening continues with food and music on Rigsbee Avenue. Pie Pushers, The Parlour, Only Burger and other food trucks will gather, each featuring a special dish that is bowl-appropriate. Ten percent of those sales will benefit Urban Ministries.

Patrice Nelson, the nonprofit's executive director, emphasizes the importance of the evening's events for Urban Ministries, which supports 75 percent of its overall budget with private funds such as those raised at Empty Bowls. To purchase a ticket to the fundraiser or to learn more about Urban Ministries and Empty Bowls, visit www.umdurham.org/emptybowls.

March marks the first anniversary of Durham's Bull City Burger and Brewery. To celebrate, the restaurant is hosting its second golden bull scavenger hunt in downtown Durham, an event that launched its opening last year. "It got really crazy," owner Seth Gross says of the first hunt. A Duke professor called him about it, saying, "My whole graduate lab has stopped working."

This year, five bulls—"big brass paperweights, basically," Gross says—have been hidden downtown. Throughout the month, the restaurant will release clues about their whereabouts via Twitter, Facebook and www.bullcityburgerandbrewery.com. Gross hopes that by encouraging customers to explore downtown, the hunt will promote both his restaurant and other local businesses. For each golden bull found, BCBB will offer winners a free burger, drink and side of fries once a week for a year.

Also in March, BCBB is hosting an Exotic Meat Month, rolling out burgers beyond all-beef. Gross says to expect varieties including kangaroo, ostrich, iguana and elk. Offerings will change daily or weekly, depending on the availability of certain meats. To see what's on the menu, visit BCBB's website. Folks who try all of the restaurant's exotic offerings will receive a free T-shirt with the slogan "I never met a meat I wouldn't eat." For those who can't keep up, the shirts are also for sale at the restaurant.

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