Good Wednesday morning. It's a rare Valentine's Day/Ash Wednesday combo.

☀️ Weather: Sunny with a high near 59°.

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Raleigh member Ray Martin!

Today's Smart Brevity™️ count is 873 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Energy giant targets big growth in NC

A Siemens Energy building in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Siemens Energy, part of German tech entity Siemens, plans to add 559 jobs across Mecklenburg and Wake counties, Gov. Roy Cooper and the state's Commerce Department announced yesterday, Axios' Ashley Mahoney writes.

Why it matters: Siemens, which already has a large presence in North Carolina, will create 475 of the jobs in Charlotte. Another 84 will be added in Raleigh.

  • The state will provide nearly $10 million in incentives over 12 years to Siemens Energy if the company meets its hiring and investment targets.
  • And Siemens Energy is expected to invest a total of $149.8 million into the project statewide.

The big picture: In the Triangle, Siemens already has a manufacturing and R&D hub in Wake County for electric vehicle charging technology.

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2. Nanas pays homage to Durham culinary icon

Nanas chef and co-owner Matt Kelly. Photo: DL Anderson

Nestled inside the menu of the recently resurrected Durham institution Nanas is a tribute to a culinary landmark: a remake of the twice-baked grits souffle from Ben and Karen Barker's Magnolia Grill.

Yes, but: Matt Kelly, Nanas' new owner and a prominent local chef, was left gobsmacked the first time he tried it and never let its memory go.

  • After the first bite of the souffle, he recalled, "I asked: 'How, did you do this?'"

Why it matters: Nanas is picking up a culinary experience that had slowed down in the past decade and completely disappeared from Durham by the start of the pandemic.

  • The original Nanas, helmed by chef Scott Howell, along with Magnolia Grill, exemplified the classic, fine-dining American eatery — complete with white tablecloths, local ingredients and European cooking techniques.
  • The two restaurants were fixtures of special occasion dining and both attracted national accolades back when it was unthinkable for Durham to receive such recognition.

State of play: On a recent Thursday evening, Nanas' dining room, decorated with dark carpet and leather or velvet seats, was once again packed like it had been.

  • In the corners were couples tucked away in conversation and at large tables groups celebrated a birthday or brought colleagues together over bottles of wine.
  • At the bar, a more casual scene was taking place, with regulars and neighbors walking in for a bite or drink.

Details: The menu is rooted in the classics, like a shrimp risotto, tender, dry-aged duck and wood-grilled New York strips.

  • But you'll also find creative innovations throughout, like intricate pastas filled with pumpkin or oxtail — or starters like grilled oysters topped with a delicious and foamy mixture of green onions and creole seasonings.
  • For dessert, a sweet potato split served with tahini soft-serve ice cream and salted caramel — flavors this eater had never encountered in combination before.

Plus: Kelly is right about the grits souffle, which is cooked with foie gras and topped with mushrooms.

  • Both crispy and soft at the same time, the dish is a textural delight — and one you're likely to reach for again and again.

Location: 2514 University Dr., Durham

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3. The Tea: What we're reading

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

⭐ Chinese restaurant Five Star closed its Durham location in the American Tobacco Campus after a year. (News & Observer 🔒)

🛣️ Could Capital Boulevard be revamped into a toll road? It's too soon to say, but the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization has asked the NC Department of Transportation to study options as a way to pay for roadway improvements. (Triangle Business Journal 🔒)

For the second time in two days, a man has been charged with bringing a gun onto the campus of NC State. (WRAL)

🥪 NC's Department of Agriculture plans to add a year-round food venue on the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. (CBS17)

🦈 A stingray at a Hendersonville aquarium is about to give birth, possibly to a stingray-shark hybrid. Officials say the female stingray has only ever been around male sharks. (ABC)

4. Raleigh's highest-paying industries

Industries with the highest average Glassdoor salaries in the Raleigh metro area, 2023
Data: Glassdoor; Chart: Kavya Beheraj and Alice Feng/Axios

The Triangle's growing tech industry had the highest average salaries in the region last year, according to new data from Glassdoor.

Why it matters: Growth in the Triangle has been dominated in recent years by software companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and biotechnology companies.

  • That growth has translated into surging salaries, especially as local firms find themselves competing more with out-of-market competitors, due to remote work, or the arrival of tech giants, like Google and Apple.

By the numbers: IT workers in the Raleigh metro area make on average $91,471 per year — slightly above the national average for the industry.

  • Biotech and pharma pay on average $89,298, slightly below the national average.

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Stay booked and busy

📅 Upcoming events around the city.

Luxury Outdoor Furniture Liquidation at VIRIDIEN Patio + Fireplace now through February 19: They are liquidating their warehouse and showroom inventory to make room for 2024 collections. Enjoy up to 70% off MSRP on closeout patio furniture, dining, wicker, pool chaises, umbrellas and more.

Hosting an event? Email [email protected].

5. Topgolf nears opening date in the Triangle

A Topgolf in El Segundo, California. Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Triangle's long-awaited Topgolf is hiring for 500 positions in preparation for a spring opening.

  • That's according to a Tuesday post from the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce's vice president of economic development to LinkedIn.

Why it matters: The company's Durham location has been years in the making.

Background: Dallas-based Topgolf is known for creating an entertaining driving range experience with simulators plus food and drinks.

  • Tom Dundon, the owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, was a large investor in the company.
  • Topgolf's Durham location is part of a larger planned entertainment development, which will also include Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, the Triangle Business Journal reported.

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🚘 Zachery recommends the new Ducks Ltd. album "Harm's Way" for your next long drive.

🗣️ Tell us where you went out to eat this week for Valentine's Day. We want to hear what you thought was the best spot this year.

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This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Lucia Maher.