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Calling Raleigh Culinary Sleuths

  • Tehama Feb 23, 2011 02:46 PM
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Hey guys! I need to find something with the mystique and charm of Saxapahaw General Store within the confines of Raleigh proper for lunch on Friday. Additionally, the place needs to serve beer for reasons I am not free to disclose at this time. hahaha. I'm not feeling inspired -- suggestions?

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General Store Cafe
39 West St, Pittsboro, NC 27312

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  1. Although not quite with the mystique and charm of Saxapahaw, J. Betskis serves a great lunch and has a great beer selection. The place also has a uniqueness about it that, albeit different than the general store, makes it funky and fun.

    1 Reply
    1. re: veganhater

      Another vote for J. Betski's. It's amazing.

    2. Saxapahaw is pretty unique, so I got nuthin for mystique and charm. But, lunch and great beer selection makes me think of Raleigh Times. They have one of the best beer lists in town (especially if you like Belgians, and what right-thinking person wouldn't?) and their sandwiches are terrific. They also have a great deal on a hanger steak.

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      Raleigh Times Bar
      14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

      3 Replies
      1. re: dinersaurus

        The best analog of Saxapahaw Market in Raleigh is Poole's Diner. Both use chalk boards and both change their menus nightly. Poole's also serves beer. Poole's is quite a bit better, though. One piece of advice covers both restaurants: arrive early or endure the long wait.

        1. re: Tom from Raleigh

          I don't think Poole's is open for lunch on Friday.

          1. re: veganhater

            Yep, Poole's is only open for dinner on Friday - just check thed website, but agree that it might be the closest analogue.

            J. Betskis is great, but it doesn't have one iota of that general store vibe - as veganhater notes above above. But, if you do go, do let the bartender or waitstaff guide you on the beer page. They know their beers, and they've never let me down yet, always offering some very good recommendations. Note that it's mostly high quality German, Czech, Polish (well, not as high quality) beers, so I hope that your lunch plans do not involve shotgunnning Natty Lights.

      2. Thanks, guys! I have been meaning to try J. Betskis's since it opened, so Friday might just very well be the time to give it a go!

        If y'all have any other suggestions for funky hole's in the wall, let me know.

        I appreciate everyone so much!

        1. Does the Remedy Serve Beer?

          17 Replies
          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            Remedy definitely serves beer but I'm not a huge fan of their food... I'd toss out the Rockford as a semi-hidden option, good seasonal sandwiches, hipster staff. Busy Bee Cafe is a nice alternative to Raleigh Times, the food is probably not as good but great space and beers!

            Haven't been to Saxapahaw but not sure if we've got anything like that in Raleigh as far as I know...

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            Raleigh Times Bar
            14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

            1. re: RonboNC

              Sorry, I missed the lunch angle entirely.

              You say funky hole in the wall; I say PR. I can't think of any similarities with Saxapahaw, but to me it's an ideal Friday lunch spot. Last time, I was there, I had a killer burger paired with a tasty Wiggo, a seasonal release from Carolina Brewing Company.

              I'd second Raleigh Times. I've never been impressed by the food at Busy Bee, but I applaud their commitment to serving good beer. J. Betski's grinds their own sausage, which is significant. Their beer selection is solid, but limited as noted above.

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              Raleigh Times Bar
              14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                Please tell me Player's Retreat is good these days. Last time I ate there (some months ago), I had the worst meal I've ever had in Raleigh. It was a shame, because I remember liking it.

                1. re: rafeco

                  I haven't eaten at the PR recently, so I can't say one way or the other.

                  If I have a bad meal at a place I like, I'll try to give them another chance. Everyone can have an off day/night now and then.

                  1. re: rafeco

                    Hey! I have had two burgers there recently that really were the cat's meow. I think that the owner has his meat freshly ground on site. I haven't had anything else (I mean, the PR is not where I go if I am thinking I am going to be wow'ed by the cuisine!), but the burgers really were top-notch!

                    1. re: Tehama

                      If you're looking for southern food.. how about Pam's Farmhouse on.. Western blvd I believe? What about Market next to Escazu? Hmmm something more upscale.. maybe Flights in the Renaissance at North Hills mall..

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                        BLAH!!!! The Market! BLAH!!!!! Worst dining experience that I can remember! But tell me about Flights... I hadn't heard boo about it! :-)

                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          Me too on Flights - would love to hear more. I occasionally get these mom nights where I go stay in a hotel and that is usually where I go, and then have dinner at Coquette. But if Flights is right there, that might be worth checking out too. What have you had? what do they specialize in?

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/08/2...

                            http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/01/2...

                            I have not been but I've heard good things. I had a good meal at Market, but I was there for lunch/brunch.

                            I mean St. Jacques is technically hidden in a strip mall. The above links should give you some insight and link to a menu for flights.. not funky like Sax. but maybe better than what you'd expect from a hotel restaurant. Also Lilly's Pizza comes to mind as unique to Raleigh, but I've never been there either.

                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                              My experiences with Lilly's is on par with Tehama's experience with Market.
                              Sounds good on paper but ......One of the few places where there's no way in hell I'll ever step foot in there again.

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                Well, the thing is, as part of mom night I like to imbibe, and since both Flight and Coquette are walking distance, I can imbibe to my liver's content. That's why I was especially interested to hear about Flights. Anyone been?

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  I'm in. :-)

                                  But I haven't heard a personal word from any of my Raleigh friends or Chowhound friends about Flights. We might have to be the guinea pigs.

                                  1. re: Tehama

                                    ... or just go to Coquette!

                                    1. re: Tehama

                                      I'll go but it will have to be after Passover.

                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                        I'm pretty much out for the count until mid-late June.

                      2. re: RonboNC

                        Fosters? Pam's Farmhouse? Neither are hidden... Yeah hidden and quirky in Raleigh proper isn't that easy.. NOFO? but that is like parker and otis.. will get back ..

                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          Hmm, now that you mention it, maybe Hayes Barton Cafe would be a good fit... Never done lunch there but they definitely have a full bar for dins. Just not sure how quirky and interesting their lunch menu is...

                    2. Another vote for J Betsky's or Rockford. Betsky's has easier parking, and all of their cured meats are house-cured. The smoked beef & pork kielbasa, the pastrami sliders, and the lunch burger are all best-in-class. Fantastic german beer selection.

                      Rockford, on Glenwood, has a cool "you have to know it's there" vibe -- which means it can be hard to find. Open the door, walk upstairs, and it is a cool place with a very cool menu. Specials are always good, soups and sandwiches are great. I can't vouch for the beer selection personally, but they have beer.