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Feb 3, 2007 06:40 AM

"Locals' Food" in Raleigh

Hello all!

I'm going to be coming out to Raliegh for an interview/look around shortly, and I'm wondering if you can recommend any honest to goodness, local neighbourhood restaurants I should visit while there. I'm not interested in fine dining - but am interested in establishments that will give me a real "local's eye view" and feel for the place. Cuisine wise, I'm really open - but, of course, would appreciate recs for at least one great bbq shack.


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  1. Hit Allen & Sons in Chapel Hill for great Carolina BBQ.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Tom from Raleigh


      Allen & SonsAllen & SonsAllen & SonsAllen & Sons This is a Question about RALEIGH, not Chapel Hill.

      Sorry it is a pet peeve of mine

      Don't waste your gas money from Raleigh to there..
      Go to Clyde Cooper's downtown Raleigh for good bbq & great atmosphere.
      109 E. Davie St, Raleigh, NC, 27601

      Screw Char-Grill & go a block away to Snoopy's for good hotdog

      After your hot dog, make a left on Glenwood and keep walking till you get to Vin

      If you want a good country cooking the Farmer's Market Restaurant is way better than the touristy Big Ed's.

      Skip the chain beer joint mentioned in this thread & go to the Pour House on Blount St for not only a huge selection of beer, but music as well.

      1. re: RaleighRocker

        Good call on The Pour House (I haven't been there in years & didn't realize they had 30 taps of good microbrews & imports (though that's still fewer than Flying Saucer) *and* that they're now non-smoking downstairs), with a few caveats:

        1) they're a rockclub, meaning they don't open until an hour or two before showtime, near as I can tell (is that not correct, RR?), so if you want a beer at 4:00 on a Saturday afternoon, I think you're out of luck. Plus there's sometimes a cover, and the possibility of exposure to Widespread Panic tribute bands.

        2) they're a "private club," which is what you have to be in NC if you're not a restaurant & you want to serve liquor (as opposed to just beer & wine). All this means is that you gotta either buy a membership ($1 at the Pour House) or be signed in as a guest of a member. Welcome to North Carolina! ;-)

        p.s. re: hot dogs . . . . can we compromise: Roast Grill in the daylight hours, Snoopy's at night?

        1. re: RaleighRocker

          What do you recommend ordering from the farmer's market restaurant? My husband and I tried it this week. I didn't enjoy my country ham and home fries, and hubby didn't like his straight out of a can corned beef hash or his grits. We enjoyed the biscuits but that's about it.

          1. re: RaleighRocker

            Another great hot dog and a true local hangout is The Roast Grill on West Street (near both Char-grill and Snoopy's). Forget ketchup though--they don't serve it. But you can have a great grilled hot dog, all the way, with a coke in the bottle. Get the homemade pound cake or baklava for dessert!

            For BBQ, try White Swan (there are a couple in the Raleigh area) or Ole Time Barbecue (it's a fun experience and the owner, Jerry, will probably talk your ear off).

            Get your coffee at Cup a Joe on Hillsborough Street and experience the local scene.

            1. re: kpaigel

              At the Roast Grill, I've heard that if you ask for ketchup, they give you hot sauce instead. I love that!

              We have a number of indy coffee shops in town now but none can match Cup A Joe in quality.

        2. 'Was already there a number of years ago - so I know it's "the best of the best" (and they even made a special plate for my doggie - which I, really, appreciated - as did he :-). I plan on getting back there - but I'd like to hear about more local joints to help me get a "non-tourist potential resident" feel for the place.

          This trip is one of those "should I or shouldn't I" trips - and considering I'm not very "chainrestaurantstripmallbigmall" oriented, I'd love some more recommendations for "local flavour" places.

          I guess I should have noted this in my original post - but I grew up in the NY metro area - then lived for nine years in Atlanta proper - then moved to British Columbia - then just moved back to the States (WA, to be exact) - but I'm considering a move back to the South, the place I consider to be my home.

          Thanks for the Allen & Sons rec. I can hardly wait to get back there!!!!!


          1. OX, you know you like Allen & Sons, so I;ll only recommend new places that are respresentative of what I think is relevant of the local food scene:

            1. Locopops This is a popscicle place, but to me it is the heart and soul of the local food scene
            2. Pick one: Jujube/Rue Cler/Piedmont
            3. Go to the intersection of 54 & 55 in Durham near RTP and cruise the strip malls. There's good Korean, Indian, Mexican and other types of food there. Heck, there's even an Indian desert place/bakery. To me, this area shows the Triangle's ethnic food crediblilty.
            Extra Credit: Check out the taco truck on Buckthorn in Cary. I've heard good things


            1. One place that needs to get mentioned more often than it does is Driade. Not for food, mind you, because they don't make any. However, I honestly can't think of anyone in the area who does what they do better than how Driade makes a cappucino. It is absolute perfection and I actually used it to seal the deal in convincing a food geek friend of mine to move here. As we waited (and waited) for our drinks, I could almost see tears welling up in his eyes as he watched them make the drinks. The texture and flavor are freaking insane.

              While I haven't been to Italy, I've been to plenty of US cities that take their coffee quite seriously and have never had a better coffee drink anywhere.

              Mind you, like Allen and Sons, it isn't in Raleigh but Chapel Hill but it's the first thing that came to mind.

              If it was December, I'd insist that you get a stollen from Guglhupf but any of their pastries will certainly make you smile. In general, I prefer the bread at Weaver St. but the sweets at Guglhupf are outstanding.

              Those are two.

              OK, I'll also echo Tom's call on 54/55. In particular Vit Goal. That said, if you are coming from a big city, there's nothing there that will make you want to move here. Rather places that will make you feel OK that you'll still be able to find some good ethnic grub. For instance, I've had better tofu soup than I had at Vit Goal, but it's damned tasty and I'm very pleased that we have it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: detlefchef

                I have been using this thread as a sort of bible for my new life in Raleigh, so I've tried out some things and figured I'd comment.

                Thanks for the tip about Driade. Awesome woodsy location, and the most amazing milkshake/espresso creation ever! I highly recommend the Driade shake. My hubby had a cappuccino and loved that also.

                Went to Guglhupf specifically to try the grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut & dijon on brezel sub roll. They were out of it, and I wasn't too hungry so I asked for a nutella sandwich. Since it was on the kid's menu they refused to serve it to me. That made me angry. Hubby ordered westphalian ham on rye with soup. It was tasty ham but $7 is a bit much for 1/4 cup of soup and a sandwich with only one piece of bread. Perhaps the pastries are what makes this place famous, not the lunch or the attitude. I do admit the atmosphere was lovely with fountains and the cafe was in a nice, open, 2 story building, and the pastries looked delightful!

                I'm going to have to try your other tips! Thanks!

              2. I'll second everything Tom mentioned and add the following:
                Neomonde in Raleigh for Middle Eastern
                Bosphorous in Cary for Turkish
                Red Palace in Raleigh for traditional Chinese
                Any of the many, many authentic taquerias all over eastern NC
                Hard Times Cafe in Raleigh for chili and beer (even though it's part of a small chain the food is good, inexpensive, and it's very family-friendly)
                Armadillo Grill in Raleigh & Wake Forest for wings. The Raleigh location has a great tequila selection.
                And a little off the usual path - Holden's for cue on US1 up near Youngsville. While you're there, if you can find it, try Johnson's Farmer's Market Buffet for traditional Southern cooking, all you eat style.