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RDU - ISO Dinner near Radisson, Resarch Triangle Park

Hey you RDU folks - my parents are coming in to Raleigh for a couple of days and are staying at the Radisson in Research Triangle Park. My husband and I are driving from Wilmington to pick them up and take them to dinner and we're hoping to find something reasonably close to there. Obviously, we'll have a car, but since we're going to have a two-hour drive there and then a two-hour drive home, we'd like to minimize our driving time, especially since it will be during fairly heavy traffic time. Anything decent? My dad is a pretty meat and potatoes guy, so something simple and non-ethnic would be preferred. Oh - and please not the Angus Barn. We ate there with him last time he was in town and we didn't enjoy it very much.


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  1. I am with you on the Angus Barn. I think you would be happiest at An (based on your post on the Wilmington threads, which I read as we are there often). http://www.ancuisines.com/ Can be pricey, depending on what you get, but have had some pretty great meals there. My hubby works in the park and very often has to go to fancy work dinner. He is always thrilled when he gets to go to An, rather than Angus Barn or is cousin, the Chop House (yes, Raleigh's iteration of the Chop House at WB).

    1. An is not exactly "non-ethnic", I'm afraid.

      Being about halfway between Raleigh and Durham, you've got a lot of options. What's your price point for dinner? JK's at North Hills is a pretty good steak place, and there are also plenty of chain-y options at Southpoint Mall if convenience wins out over fighting traffic. I'm unfortunately not that familiar with Durham, but there is tons of Durham info in the other Triangle threads on the board.

      Good luck and safe travels!

      1. If your dad wants the best steak ever, take him to JKs in North Hills. Their NY Strip is out of this world. Firebirds is also good for a chain. My Dad is Meat and Potatoes too. Big time. (He thinks rice is weird!) He really enjoyed Firebirds, also at North Hills. However, Briar Creek Commons is closest to RTP, just near the end of TW Alexander Drive. In that shopping center is a place called Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse. Looks interesting. Never been. But they serve meat.


        JK's would be about a 20 minute or so drive. The food really is fantastic. The wine list is huge. They have a good beer selection. It might be a little pricey, but it's not a chain (as far as I know).


        1. Oops, sorry, I missed the nonethnic request. I guess I am used to finding something on a menu to please people (I have taken my 5 year old twins to An for lunch and they loved the chicken soup and a plate of noodles...plus the wait staff was GREAT to them). So, I still say, check the menu online and see if there isn't something that he would like.

          There is little that is near RTP that is distinctive or non-chain that is not ethnic, except for Chop House...and my husband describes it as "fine", so maybe that is your best bet.

          If not, how about Bonefish Grill? It is a local chain (I think ya'll have one in Wilmington?) and there is one right near An, I think. Very simple, fish heavy menu.

          Another option near RTP is Herons at the Umstead Hotel. Very traditional, but very pricey and I have not heard anyone that was actually paying for it (most go there on expense accounts) say they would go back if they were paying themselves.)

          JK's in North Hills is a good option, but if you are going to drive that far, I would go to Chapel Hill or Durham instead and eat Piedmont or Rue Clare or Elaines, or come into Raleigh and get your Dad some Polish/German food (there is some meat and potatoes for you) at J. Betski's...that way he would be happy, and so would you. Their apple strudel is to die for..and if cabbage rolls are on the menu, don't think they are pedestrian, they are yummy and comforting. They have house made sausages....mmmmm...... OR go to 18 Seaboard where your Dad can get a great steak with two sides, and you can get something great too.

          3 Replies
          1. re: VaNC

            Bonefish is not bad. And if your dad is a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy - Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is in the same complex.

            I took my VERY meat and potatoes mom to Nikos Taverna in Morrisville (on Davis near the Harris Teeter) and she loved it.

            1. re: Westy

              Actually I was going to suggest Niko's also. It's Greek - but has all kinds of options. And there's a big steak on the menu. I think you would be very happy with the choices (I've read your posts too).


              1. re: Jeanne

                Unfortunately coming down Davis Drive or Chapel Hill Road out of the park during rush hour can be a nightmare, so it might be a little difficult to get to Nikos due to its location. Anybody got a "secret" route they can share? :-)

          2. Answered offline but for the benefit of others here are some local gems...

            Nanas - Durham
            Magnolia Grill - Durham
            Bin 54 - Chapel Hill
            Bonne Soiree - Chapel Hill
            Fins - Raleigh

            I have been to all but Bin 54 (it gets excellent reviews). The local newspaper food critic tabbed BS best last year and Fins "restaurant of the year" for 2007. I went to BS for my birthday last year and am planning Fins for this year. Good luck Andie!

            1. At rush hour, you don't want to be traveling toward Raleigh or Cary from the Radisson. Therefore, I suggest loci in Durham. The following are either Americanish or Italian, the latter often being acceptable to people who don't do ethnic.

              I-40 and Fayetteville/Hope Valley Road (10 minutes): Southpoint Mall chainarama. City Beverage near Hope Valley and Garrett. Bocci on Fayetteville.

              Durham Freeway to downtown/Brightleaf Durham (15 minutes): Piedmont, Pops, Rue Cler, Tosca

              Durham Freeway to Swift Ave. (Broad/Ninth St., 15+ mins.): Blu Seafood, Magnolia Grille, Parizade, Verde, Vin Rouge, Watts Grocery

              University Drive, Durham (15-20 minutes, not so expedient): Four Square, Nana's

              I have found something to like about all these places, although they are in no way catering to the same clientele. Some are considerably more upscale than others. Most, it not all, submit to Google.

              Chapel Hill also has fine offerings, but that's a longer trek.

              3 Replies
              1. re: dschoonmaker

                Slightly OT but of relevance to the Durham locations - beware the construction on 147/Durham Fwy. Yesterday it took me an additional half-hour to get to Brightleaf from Raleigh due to stopped/slowed traffic.

                1. re: Suzy Q

                  What time? I went to Durham from Raleigh twice yesterday, ferrying a friend to/from eye surgery. At 8am it was smooth sailing in both directions. At noon, there was only a slight slowdown on my return to Raleigh where they had closed one of the southbound lanes.

                  I'm curious because I'm headed there for dinner tonight at my favorite fast eats place...Chai Noodle Bar. Semi-fast, pan-asian food...I *love* their Thai basil noodle dish. Located on Erwin on the ground floor of one of those new office/condo buildings...

              2. Thanks much for all the help with this. An definitely would not work for my dad, but I'm pocketing that one for another trip. We're in Raleigh and Durham enough that we'll have opportunities to check it out. Also putting Niko's in my "to-try" when I'm not trying to feed my father. Have eaten at Nana's and Magnolia Grille - liked both very much but was hoping to avoid the drive to Durham, just because we've got to haul all the way back to WIlmington after dinner. Lots of excellent possibilities, though. I'll narrow them down in the next few days and pick one. Thanks very much!

                1. Bad news, boys and girls! My dad is the proud owner of a kidney stone and they had to cancel their trip. Bummer! So I'll have to save your suggestions for another visit, or the next time we're up there. Thanks so much for all the help!