Everyone Eats Better in Greater Raleigh
Tue, Nov. 18 2014, 7PM
New Restaurants, Notable Chefs and Innovative Concepts Draw National Attention to Destination's Sophisticated Culinary Scene
Raleigh, N.C. (Nov. 19, 2014) - New restaurants with innovative concepts, notable chefs presenting cutting-edge cuisine, and local-gone-national sensations like Videri Chocolate and Slingshot Coffee are among the reasons North Carolina's capital city is earning recognition as a legitimate culinary destination.
Among the destination's many culinary highlights are the following:
Up & Coming
Standard Foods, opening late 2014 / early 2015: Chef Scott Crawford's much anticipated restaurant and grocery hybrid featuring "southern comfort food with a twist" plus an on-site urban garden, a whole animal butchery, access to Crawford's own top-of-the-line prepared foods and a lunch box service delivered by bicycle.
Death & Taxes, opening late 2014 / early 2015: the newest addition to James Beard Award winning chef Ashley Christensen's lauded restaurant empire will focus on wood-fire cooking, as expressed through the ingredients of the South (think large-format dishes of vegetables, seafood and meats cooked in a wood-burning oven).
lucettegrace, opening late 2014: the eagerly awaited patisserie by pastry chef Daniel Benjamin due to open in the heart of downtown Raleigh by the end of the year. The cafe will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu of such sweets and savories as Caramel Apple Éclairs, Miso Mushroom Quiche and Butterscotch Apricot Macarons.
Tupelo Honey Cafe, projected opening Dec 1, 2014: having proven a success first in Asheville and now throughout NC, SC and TN, Tupelo will bring its inventive take on Southern comfort farm-to-fork food to Raleigh's Cameron Village. Expect the unexpected from this kitchen known for decidedly spirited, independent and frequently unscripted modifications to favorites like fried chicken, shrimp & grits, and buttermilk biscuits.
Raleigh Beer Garden, opening spring 2015: making a run for the "operational beer tap" world record holder, this new beer bar will offer 365 separate varieties daily with a focus on NC craft beer and local brewing companies. The two-story establishment will feature a rooftop "garden" for outdoor seating and will offer thin crust pizza, homemade sausages and gourmet salads as part of their all-day dining menu.
Rye Bar & Southern Kitchen, opening January 2015: the new signature restaurant of the Raleigh Marriott City Center will offer a "refined take" on traditional Southern cuisine inspired by the bounty of quality ingredients found on North Carolina farms.
Faire, opened October 2014: this latest venture from Eschelon Experiences restaurant group offers a contemporary twist on the traditional American seafood and steakhouse restaurant. With locally and regionally sourced meat, seafood and produce, their menu of "provisions from land and sea" draws heavy influence from the flavors of the South.
Boulted Bread, opened spring 2014: this authentic bakery and stone mill serves craft bread and pastry made with organic, heirloom and locally sourced grains. They are a "little shop with a little seating," a rolling garage door front entrance and a community garden spanning the length of the parking lot. They offer some of the best breads in the region for sale in their shop, made-to-order, and at various Raleigh restaurants and outdoor markets.
Notable Chefs and Restaurants
Bida Manda is one of the few true Laotian restaurants in the U.S. Owned and operated by siblings Vansana and Vanvisa Nolintha, the restaurant celebrates the diverse food traditions and culture of Laos and is a thoughtful tribute to the Nolintha's parents who taught the restaurateurs everything they know about "food and its ability to bring people together."
Fiction Kitchen -- farm-to-fork inspired and 100 percent vegetarian -- is strategically located nearby the North Carolina State Farmers Market, allowing the restaurant to offer seasonal menu changes and create daily menu specials based on the freshest local produce available.
Heron's, the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond signature restaurant of the Umstead Hotel & Spa, presents classic American cuisine richly enhanced with local, seasonal herbs and produce from their dedicated culinary farm. The restaurant and all of the hotel's culinary programs are orchestrated by executive chef Steven D. Greene, one of the country's youngest executive chefs to preside over the kitchen of a Five Star/Five Diamond establishment.
Irregardless Cafe is a 40-year staple of the Raleigh dining scene owned and operated by visionary chef Arthur Gordon. The restaurant now serving "fresh food for carnivores, vegans and vegetarians" opened as the city's first vegetarian eatery, introduced the community to the concept of sustainable culinary practices, banned smoking 25 years before the state's official mandate, and was instrumental in cultivating one of the area's first community gardens.
The Pit may well be one of the chief reasons Raleigh is considered one of the best BBQ cities in America. Promising "everything but the squeal," the restaurant serves authentic whole-hog, pit-cooked barbecue atop white linens in a beautifully-restored 1930's meatpacking warehouse. Their tried & true barbecue has been featured on the Food Channel, Travel Channel, NBC, ABC and CBS.
Coffee, Drinks & Sweets
Slingshot Coffee Co: this local-gone-national sensation is the brainchild of Jenny Bonchak, a farmer's daughter who believes coffee has to be grown and harvested in its proper season. That seasonal approach is what has made Slingshot's Cold Brew so unique and while the coffees they hand-brew and bottle locally in small batches change with seasonal crops, every bottle starts with local filtered tap water and locally-roasted in-season, single-origin, organic coffee beans.
The Architect Bar & Social House: one of Greater Raleigh's hottest sip spots and a favorite gathering place where the destination's business and social set mix and mingle over cocktails crafted from seasonal fruits, handmade tinctures and select spirits. A bookcase that doubles as a door in the main bar leads to a "secret" speakeasy-style lounge where prohibition-era drinks are served.
Bittersweet is the self-proclaimed "terribly wonderful" dessert, coffee and cocktail lounge serving seasonal, all-natural hand-made pastries with a full bar. Guests can enjoy bourbon alongside a slice of pie and sip champagne while indulging in a piece of cake - or try one of the lounge's many enlightening drink and dessert pairings.
Videri Chocolate Factory, with its retail shop and outdoor patio, is housed in the century-old former Raleigh Train Depot. Here, chocolatiers roast organic beans from Central and South America and blend their 70-percent bars and other chocolates behind picture windows where visitors can witness the pure process that, along with fair-trade practices, have earned Videri a Good Food Award nomination and put them on GQ magazine's list of 50 Things to Eat Now.
More Food (& Drink) for Thought
Raleigh City Farm, aiming to serve as a catalyst for the new farm entrepreneur movement across America, is an urban farm start-up growing fresh vegetables and flowers in the heart of downtown Raleigh. The farm provides participating restaurants with fresh produce and also makes their goods available to the public through their on-site farm stand and seasonal farmer's market.
NC State Hops: NC State University researchers are on the cutting edge of hops production, cultivating an experimental, quarter-acre hop yard in Raleigh that includes 200 total hops plants. This trial project is intended to help identify the best performing hop cultivators and most promising geographic areas for hops production - information certain to benefit the destination's 16 craft breweries.
Greater Raleigh Beer Month: April is Beer Month in Greater Raleigh (and all across North Carolina), a perfect time to sample drafts from the destination's 16 craft breweries, explore Greater Raleigh's Beer Trail and participate in a variety of brew-based events including Brewgaloo, a celebration that brings together area craft breweries, food trucks and local bands.
Food Truck Rodeo: more than 50 Food Trucks from across North Carolina packed within a half-mile radius and staging a pretty extreme food frenzy, with offerings that range from Pineapple Fried Rice and Crawfish Étouffée to Caramel Apple Cider Cupcakes.
Krispy Kreme Challenge: what kicked-off in 2004 as a dare between a few NC State undergrads has transformed into a national charity race that last year saw 8000 runners and a $200,000 contribution to the North Carolina Children's Hospital. This ultimate test of physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude involves at its peak level, the consumption of 2400 calories/12 doughnuts over a five mile, one-hour run!
For a comprehensive list of Greater Raleigh's restaurants, go to www.visitraleigh.com/restaurants/
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