Raleigh pre-hockey dinner
So I have some old friends meeting me in Raleigh for a Hurricanes game Friday night. Looking to have a good pre-game meal (probably meeting around 5pm on Friday with everyone staying near Crabtree Mall or whatever it is called.) Not real expensive or stuffy, but not quite a sports bar. I am coming from Charlotte they are coming from Maine and Virginia so it would be fun to explore a spot with some local flavor. There will probably be some drinking but there will also be a toddler and a vegetarian to keep us on our best behavior. Thanks in advance!
North Hills area: Firebirds (American), Five Guys (burgers), Q Shack (BBQ), Mura (sushi/Japanese), Chick Fil A. I'd go with Firebirds, given what you're seeking. North Hills is just off of 440 at the Six Forks Road exit and is very well marked.
There's also a strip of restos off of the Harrison Ave exit just up from the RBC Center, but nothing spectacular - primarily either chain or very high end options. And I can't think of anything at Crab Valley Mall worth eating.
There's a small shopping center pretty much halfway between Crabtree Valley Mall and the RBC center. It's on the Corner of Edwards Mill and Duraleigh/Blue Ridge.
There's a place called Bella Monica in that shopping center which sounds perfect for you. You might do a search and see other favorable reviews of it.
Bella Monica is good, but VERY small and crowded - on a night where the resto is busy, you will be getting to know your neighbors quite well. I've never been able to get near the place on most game nights, and this week will be no exception, I'm sure.
I love Char Grill and for a burger, it's hard to go wrong there - but I'm not sure what the OP's vegetarian friend would eat other than fries and a shake...