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Jun 20, 2007 07:20 PM

Raleigh, NC- LUNCH- Very Special Occasion

Help! I am getting married in a couple of weeks and I need to find a special place for my new husband and I to take our 2 small children to lunch after the ceremony. The kids are 4 and 7 and well behaved but we don't want to go to a place that is stuffy. We were thinking of a place like Maggiano's but we don't want to drive all the way out to Durham. Any one out there have any good suggestions? Italian or American food would probably be best with the kids and I am hoping we can find a place with good desserts. Thanks!

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  1. You could try Hayes Barton Cafe & Dessertery in Five Points ( The kids might enjoy the 1940's retro/movie decor and the cakes are a mile high. Congrats!

    4 Replies
    1. re: aeron75

      Hmmm...lunch makes it more difficult. You could try Cafe Luna (Italian) in Moore Square (though, I actually prefer 518 West).

        1. re: aeron75

          I checked out their website and it looks like they just have basic sandwiches for lunch and daily specials. Is that true or do they offer more than that? This is a good idea- thank you!

          1. re: km4874

            IIRC, they offer pasta dishes at lunch, too. I'll see what I can find out.

        2. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

          I would suggest for American you go to Nelson's in Cameron Village, or for more Italian fare, Vivace at North Hills. and

          3 Replies
          1. re: Tehama

            I have never heard of either- thank you. I checked out their websites and Nelson's isn't open for lunch. Thanks for the italian referral. I really like Claudio's off Creedmoor but I have been there so much it wouldn't be really different and special.

            1. re: km4874

              Since you were considering Maggiano's, I would put Cheesecake Factory or PF Chang's into play. Kid friendly and CF has good desserts your kids would enjoy. Congrats.

              1. re: km4874

                Hey there.... Unless I am totally losing my mind, Nelsons recently did begin opening for lunch. If it looks like a place you would like to try out, give them a call and see if they did start opening for lunch. I *think* I saw a sign to that effect outside one day not too long ago. Maybe Nelsons just didn't update their website yet??? Congrats again!

            2. One of my go-to places for the whole family (it's a chain, but......) is Firebird's in North Hills. They are likely open all day.

              They have one of the best kids' menus in town - as in, a delicious grilled sirloin steak (my 7-year-old always gets hers medium rare....she likes it "juicy") for $7.95. The steak comes with your choice of two sides from quite a long list like steamed veggies, carrots, salad, fries, fruit, etc).

              It's a nice atmosphere, very open and mountain-lodgey. It's quite noisy, although that's usually a benefit when we have the 3-year-old. The service is good - all the servers are very professional and know their stuff.

              It's also one of those places where you get the fresh bread on a wooden thingy that you slice yourself. And they've got the typical dessert tray with a little of everything.

              I don't know if Tina is still the manager, but she always takes care of us. She's one of those who makes you feel welcome and remembers the kids names even if you go there once a year.

              And yeah - Congratulations!

              1. I'd choose 518 West in a minute. Off Glenwood. Open Mon-Sat for lunch. Nice atmosphere like an Italian villa with lots of nooks and crannies and natural light. Good service and really good food. I'd recommend any one of the specials - in fact, I went to the website to check on which days they were open for lunch and the crab cakes sound so good I just might have to go before the menu changes on Wednesday.

                Their pizzas are dinner plate size and the kids could probably split one. Pasta dishes are terrific, even the spaghetti and meat balls. Seafood is always wonderful. Deserts are very special. As you can tell, I like 518 a lot and have been going since they opened. We've never been disappointed. And with a new specials menu every week, we've never been bored.

                4 Replies
                1. re: yahooer

                  Thank you everyone! 518 is on my short list and Bella Monica was also recommended. Any thoughts on Bella?

                  1. re: km4874

                    I love Bella Monica! In fact, I didn't know they were open for lunch, but dinner has always been very consistent and a wonderful medley of flavors. However, as much as I adore their food, the tables are very close together, and that may not give you the privacy you need to celebrate your wedding. If you are close to Edwards Mill/Blue Ridge, swing by and scope it out. They do have a couple of tables in the long hallway on the way to the restroom (I know, a little weird) where you could have more privacy.

                    1. re: Tehama

                      As much as I love Bella Monica, I don't know if I would call it fancy. If you want a fancy, special occasion place and Italian, I would do 518 or Cafe Luna, with Cafe Luna being fancier. From my experience, it serves a full menu for lunch, just smaller servings. They get a business lunch crowd mostly, but I have certainly taken my kids there for lunch, as well as dinner. Assuming they are well mannered and it is a special occasion, Parker Kennedy, the owner, will likely come to your table and make a fuss over them!

                      1. re: Tehama

                        I did check it out over the weekend and the host that met us was so kind and helpful. I definitely got a good vibe from him and the place. We are not looking for anything fancy. We want to be comfortable and enjoy a nice meal.

                  2. You didn't mention what day of the week, but if it happens to be a weekday, consider 18 Seaboard.