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Raleigh Farmer's Market Restaurant

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For some idiotic reason I stopped by this place for breakfast on Saturday. I've had a couple poor meals here, but never breakfast. The thought of a restaurant adjacent to a large farmer's market is very appealing in theory, but this operation is an embarrassment.

First thing to hit our table were biscuits, served with packaged margarine spread and little plastic cups of smuckers jelly. I'm looking across the street at countless fruit and vegetable farms and local dairies, yet I get hydrogenated vegetable spread and industrial jelly. The rest of the food was poor, with pre-fab hollandaise, over-fried sausage links, over-poached eggs, run of the mill syrup, instant grits, bland home fries, etc. The most disappointing part of eating here is the complete lack of produce from the farmers market, which sits 100 yards away. I hate to blast a restaurant, but those in charge should be highlighting local products in this scenario. They also need to find someone who can cook.

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  1. word. Never have eaten breakfast here, but my very first meal after moving to North Carolina was at this awful place for lunch. I thought a restaurant adjacent to a farmer's market would be like the Market Diner in Thomasville, GA (which gets all their fruits and vegetables for their country restaurant from the adjacent market). It was an abomination. All the veggies from cans.

    Aren't they on (leasing) state property? The state should shut them down and get a vendor that actually upholds the philosophy of the Farmers Market.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mikeh

      I would love to know who's in charge and what kind of lease or arrangement they have in place. The state should offer incentives or mandates for the use of local products. I would kill to have that farmers market within walking distance of my restaurant. What a waste.

      1. re: veganhater

        The name of the market manager is posted on the Ag Dept.'s website, along with his phone number.
        http://www.agr.state.nc.us/markets/fa...

    2. Aw. It was great back in the day, before the Market moved. Too bad. No excuse for that!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sue in Mt P

        It was never great...........it was a Denny's on steroids.....it has always catered to a busload of I-95 type of clientele............it has the location and the untapped potential to be so much more......it has remainded a dinosaur and deserves the death of such.....someday/someway it has the potential to become a mecca for NC fresh.......whatever.......if ever an inovative/creative type were to tap into this local the sky would be the limit particularly with the burdgeoning produce/organic/artisan scene to accomodate a "happening" restaurant......not to mention the ideal local.....

        1. re: Saddleoflamb

          Well it's funny that we are in the heart of SFA and seemed surrounded by a good number of chefs who believe in supporting local farmers and yet no one has tried to grab the reigns on this. Maybe a thread like this will call them to action.

      2. "Gypsy" of Gypsy's Shiny Diner runs this restaurant now.

        1. Yeah, it's pretty bad. I always wince and shudder when anyone "recommends" it as an example of either southern or country cooking, because it's totally Sysco from a box, ultra processed imitation food products. Sigh.

          The market itself pretty much needs a complete rehashing as well. Half the stuff there comes from States away from us, and isn't from NC at all, and a lot of the rest is just poorly implemented compared to other *good* farmer's markets in this area. I remember back in the 60s when it was actually a good place to go, unfortunately.

          10 Replies
          1. re: fussycouple

            All of the stuff in the "open" building (AKA the lower building) is from N.C.

            1. re: JoanInNC

              Yes, the Ag Dept. actually has an employee whose sole responsibility is to verify that every item sold in the shed is grown in NC. In that respect, your criticism is unfair. The rear building is a wholesale market supplying restaurants and the like and it is impractical to limit their sales to only local produce.

              Nahunta Pork is locally grown and processed and they do a fine product. I'm not certain about the fish restaurant, though.

            2. re: fussycouple

              Not to be too disagreeable, but I have to say that I have never had a problem finding local stuff at the Farmers' Market.

              1. re: fussycouple

                I have seen a state employee interviewing and charting the vendors about their products to verify that they are NC grown. They could be sneaking out of state stuff in but it would be pretty difficult to continue to do so.

                The Asheville Farmers market has a very good restaurant attached, Moose Cafe, that claims to use products from the market. I imagine that the current operator is making a nice profit and it would be difficult to get a new operator anytime soon. Political connections are probably a big part of who gets to run that restaurant but it would be nice to bring the Moose Cafe model to Raleigh.

                1. re: Jesco

                  Have you ever had the apple butter from the Moose Cafe? Wow, that stuff is good. In fact, we just had 6 jars brought to us by friends who were visiting out that way. We've even had it shipped to us in Raleigh.

                  1. re: Jesco

                    Is there an eatery attached to the huge one in.. mebane (the one with on I-40 with the Blue roof)?

                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                      burgeoningfoodie, are you thinking of the one near Greensboro? It has a blue roof and is on I-40. It's actually called the Piedmont Triad market. Yes, they have an eatery, and it's the Moose Cafe!

                      1. re: JoanInNC

                        Yeah thats the one I'm thinking of. I hear good things about the market itself but didn't know anything about it or if there was a restaurant.

                    2. re: Jesco

                      Moose Cafe is also at the N.C. Farmers Market in Greensboro, and I think Moose operates the restaurant at the Western N.C. Ag Center in Fletcher (home of the N.C. Mountain State Fair, opening Friday).

                      1. re: Jesco

                        I believe yours is the first positive review of Moose Cafe in Asheville have I have read on Chowhound.