Friday, January 16, 2015


Skipper's is the local place to go when you crave shrimp, fish or other seafood at affordable prices. Check out Skipper's menu for all the choices of fresh seafood.

Menu includes full seafood platters and sandwiches. Dinner for two runs around $22.00. A full sampler platter is available if you want to try everything. Lunch specials also available at lower prices. Tuesday is steamer day with steamed shrimp, oysters, clams and crab legs available at the steamer bar.

Hours are from 11:00 to 8:30 every day. Call ahead at 919-303-2400 for pickup orders.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Village Deli

The Village Deli and Grill in Raleigh's Cameron Village shopping center (and other locations) is worth a drive to Raleigh to dine in a college crowd atmosphere with a broad selection of cold and hot sandwiches. The rustic atmosphere includes pine wood paneled walls, little checkered table cloth tables indoors and outdoors. A great dining experience comes also with a view of the long popular shopping center near the NC State Campus and a long time popular part of Raleigh.

Food choices (menu) include salads, soups, seafood, a variety of sandwiches, burgers and chicken, paninis and specialty sandwiches and selections for vegetarians. Everything is hand made to order and fresh from the kitchen. Our favorites are the Reuben on Rye sandwich and the Village Classic sub. Typical cost to dine for two is around $22-24. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For a great local outing follow these directions and take a quick trip to Raleigh and into Cameron Village for a deli style meal and an adventure into one of the great shopping centers near the NC State campus.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Blistered Pig Smokehouse

The Blistered Pig Smokehouse is a new, long awaited BBQ restaurant in Historic Downtown Apex. Located at 225 N. Salem Street, Apex NC, in the renovated Mule Exchange building, the long rumored dining spot became a reality in December 2014. Reservations are not taken, but if you want to call  to check on availability you may by dialing 919-446-3366.

When you decide to go, plan to search for it since it's located in the back end of the renovated Mule Exchange building across from the downtown depot. After you discover where it is, you will find adequate parking just outside the door with easy access.

Once inside, be prepared for a wait since there's usually a line. And be prepared to be directed to sit on a skinny bench in the busy walkway by the door with waiters and food delivery people zipping by inches from your face while you wait. Hopefully you won't be smacked in the face while you watch all the folks rush by. If you don't want to sit in the aisle you can go over and sit on the hearth by the fireplace to wait behind the hostess. Otherwise you can stand at the door or sit at the bar while you wait. In warm weather you can wait outside on the patio. 

Once you are seated, be prepared to be close to other customers, New York style, in the crowded space. In an effort to squeeze maximum revenue from the small restaurant the owners opted to pack in extra tables rather than allow room for customers to walk and have a little space to enjoy the experience. About half of the seating is at hi-top tables or at the bar with high-chair style seats - comfortable for some but does not work well with customers not able to climb up to be seated. If you need a standard table be prepared to wait.

Once seated, you can ponder the choices on the menu and select from several BBQ styles. Pulled pork (sans sauce), brisket with a dab of spicy red sauce, pork spare ribs, beef ribs and chicken. A small plate ($12.95) comes with one meat choice and two sides. A large plate ($15.95) has two meats and two sides. Sandwiches are also available. Sides are meant to somewhat like southern food choices but not necessarily with a taste you might expect for real southern eating. Be mindful of the beef ribs - some are overcooked and difficult to eat. Mac-N-Cheese (mushy), "yeller" or red slaw (spicy enough to burn), bland grits with cheese on top, collards with red pepper sprinkled in and lukewarm sweet potato fries are some of the sides available. Desserts are available if you have enough room left - banana pudding and other treats . Don't get the key lime pie - it has a left over taste and seems to be flavored with a taste absorbed from other foods in the cooler.

The restaurant offers tea, beer (cans only) and wine. Sorry, no draft beer. Beer ranges from $5.00 to $7.50. Be prepared for you check to go up by $10-15 for a couple of beers on top of the $28-32 for dinner for two, $50-60 for four. Unfortunately this is the only BBQ spot currently in downtown Apex so expect a little sticker shock and food a little different from real southern food you were expecting. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mamma Mia!

Voted best pizza in Apex 7 years in a row
Truly the best Italian dining in Apex. One of those "best kept secrets" restaurants!

For truly authentic Italian food go straight to the Mamma Mia restaurant in the strip shopping center on Laura Duncan road in Apex. Operated by an authentic Italian family, the food is truly prepared in the Italian style - not just New York Italian. It has been run by the owner and head chef since opening many years ago in the Laura Duncan Commons shopping center. Seating is adequate for small parties or groups.

Choose from a selection of original items popular with local residents and true Italian families. On any given night expect to be surrounded with conversations in the Italian language and even on occasion be near families conversing with their family back in Italy via Skype!

Choices begin with Panini sandwiches and Calzones, then move right to a variety of pasta dishes, Vitello (veal), Pollo (chicken), Pizza and Specialita (speciality dishes). If all you want is very good pizza you will be very happy and be delighted with topping choices, but you can also satisfy your craving for a wide array of seafood, pasta and meat dishes.

Dinner for two will run from around $20.00 upwards to around $30.00. Be aware that the pizza has been voted the best in Apex seven years in a row and counting.

The restaurant has room for large groups and also offers catering for special events anywhere in the area. Check out Mamma Mia's website at Mamma Mia Pizza Pasta. Telephone 919-363-2228.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Peak City Grill & Bar, Apex, NC

The Peak City Grill and Bar is located at 126 N. Salem Street, Apex, NC, in Historic Downtown Apex. Just next door to Fire Station One. Parking is provided by the owner between the restaurant and fire station. Don't park in this lot to go to other restaurants and shops or risk a glare and comment from the owner. Contact the restaurant for reservations or availability at 919-303-8001.

If you are looking for a high-end steak style restaurant in the immediate area this is it. Offers a variety of sandwiches and full course meals and a full service bar. The site was a local downtown hardware store in the early 1900s and was renovated by the current owner to open the restaurant.

The menu covers a broad choice of food and varies somewhat to reflect the current season. Expect a selection of steaks, fish, seafood full course dinners and sandwiches of all types. Enjoy the bar with friends or go for the full dining experience. Prices reflect the diverse foods offered and dining for two will generally run in the $50-60 range or higher with drinks.

The food is very good and service generally what you would expect in a similar restaurant. Be prepared for occasional blasting of train horns since the site is only a hundred feet from the tracks. Surrounded by shops and businesses in the historic downtown district dating back to the 1870s era when Apex was a train centric rural community.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Houndstooth Cafe

Houndstooth Cafe is likely the very best restaurant in central Virginia. Worth the drive to Hanover, VA, it is the perfect way to end a day of horseback riding, shopping or most anything else you might do in this scenic part of Virginia.

The restaurant is located in an old renovated gas station building in the heart of Hanover, the seat of Hanover County. Only a few miles from Richmond and Ashland.

Go early to avoid the regular crowd and the one hour wait, and be prepared to savor some of the best food around. While you wait, sit on the front porch sipping your favorite brew and watching the country drivers cruse by.

Menu choices range from traditional pulled pork or beef barbecue to a variety of Chesapeake Bay seafood items brought in fresh daily. Top off your dinner with a slice of one of several home-made specialty cheesecakes or truffle desserts made by the owner that very day. Dinner will run around $40-50 for two.

The owner and the cook have operated the restaurant for many years, and as you might expect, are well known for great food and hospitality. Every item on the menu has been time tested and is always at its best.

You can visit the restaurant many times and try new items each trip. Try them all - sauteed seafood, fried shrimp, soft shell crabs (in season), fish, oysters, fresh pulled pork BBQ, beef BBQ and a variety of sandwiches.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Smokey's BBQ Shack

Yet another hidden BBQ spot in the Apex area...

Smokey's BBQ Shack is tucked away on the side of the road out in Morrisville at 10800 Chapel Hill Road (Highway 54). Take a ride out Davis Drive, turn right onto Morrisville Parkway, then turn back to the left onto Highway 54 in Morrisville. Drive about three miles and look for a small diner-like shack on the right.

The BBQ is great and both chicken and pork are available. You can also get ribs, sliced brisket and wings! There are lots of fixin's to choose from - mixed greens, fried okra, green beans, potato salad, mac-n-cheese, slaw, baked beans and the ever present hush puppies to go with the meal. You can also get Brunswick stew.

Prices are reasonable and two can dine for less than $20 - dine in or take out.

Hours are from 11 AM - 2 PM Monday-Wednesday, 11 AM 7:30 PM Thursday-Friday and 11 AM - 7 PM on Saturday. Call ahead (919-469-1724) if you want to place a large order or to be sure they are open before making the drive. When they run out of BBQ they close up and go home!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Road trip - Two Frogs on a Bike !

Looking for a fun trip for good food and antiques?

Take a drive to Ashland, Virginia, and check out the ancient little country store at the intersection of Patrick Henry Road and US 301 in the heart of Hanover Courthouse in Hanover County, Virginia. The old store goes by the name "Two Frogs on a Bike" and is truly a glimpse back into a time from the past. The old store was a roadside country store and is now a destination for those that travel around looking for antiques and items for decorating the home. Not open at night.

Across the street is one of the best dining spots in Virginia - Houndstooth Cafe. Go early to avoid the regular crowd and the one hour wait, and be prepared to savor some of the best food around.

Menu choices range from traditional pulled pork or beef barbecue to a variety of Chesapeake Bay seafood items brought in fresh daily. Top it off with a slice of one of several home-made specialty cheesecakes or truffle desserts made by the owner. Dinner will run around $40 for two.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anna's Pizzeria

An exciting new restaurant has moved into the spot at 100 North Salem Street in Historic Downtown Apex. The busy, friendly establishment offers a broad selection of fresh made Italian cuisine to downtown shoppers and is a huge hit with residents and visitors alike! Get there early to beat the crowds or find yourself standing in line (the line is usually both out front near sidewalk benches and inside where you can easily see a sampling of just-served menu items). Dine in or pick up your take out orders (telephone 919-267-6237) for a great dining experience anytime Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Anna's Pizzeria menu is divided into sections named for relatives of the owner, Yury Rojas. Selections include salads, wraps, hero sandwiches, brick oven pizzas, dinners and desserts served with style by the friendly staff. Pasta choices include eggplant Parmesan, veal Marsala , Penne ala Anna's and many other selections. New York style pizza is available by the slice or a whole pie in many varieties from thin-crusted pizza to a hefty stuffed meat pie and most anything in between.

The restaurant serves as a family-friendly meeting and dining place and includes a small bar. The owners recently moved to the area from Long Island, New York, and still owns two Anna's Pizzeria restaurants in that area.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The General Store Cafe'

Sadly the General Store went out of business recently but the store is now open by a new owner and similar format. The new site will be reviewed here when we have time to visit it.

The General Store Cafe' - a local dining experience to remember!

In our travels around the triangle area we recently ventured over to Pittsboro, NC, to try the expanded General Store cafe'. The short trip was rewarded with great food, excellent service and a chance to look around at local art in a restaurant located in one of the town's preserved historical structures - an old Chevrolet auto dealership building.

The General Store Cafe' is located at 39 West Street, adjacent to the downtown round-a-bout in the center of town. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the store is open six days a week and can be reached by telephone at 919 542-2432.

Our first dining experience at The General Store allowed us to try the shrimp and grits (a local favorite) and grilled chicken over rice, both served with fresh grilled seasonal vegetables. Both were excellent and portions were more than adequate for hungry customers! Dining for two with these choices and cold beer and wine totaled to $47.00 - not bad for great food and the experience of looking around at the art and craft displays.

The restaurant began operation in 1979 as a natural foods grocery a few blocks from its present location. As it evolved into a natural foods grocery and consignment shop it was relocated in 1981 to a space in the Blair Hotel Building at the downtown traffic circle. The store evolved again to include a kitchen and dining room and in 1994 was moved to its present location in the old Chevrolet dealership building. In 1999 the original owner retired and the store evolved again under new management and the natural foods and consignment shop offerings were phased out, allowing the store to focus on becoming a fine dining establishment. In 2002 the establishment was purchased by a small group that currently owns and operates it. The restaurant continues to grow and now serves as a community center featuring local artists, musicians and non-profit organizations. A variety of community activities are held in the restaurant.

The restaurants large space is divided into two main areas - the "front" (the original auto showroom), and the "back" (the large rear space that previously served as an auto repair and service area). While the front offers mostly small tables for breakfast and lunch, the rear (a recent expansion of the restaurant) has a large number of two and four person tables, a few 5-6 person round tables for medium sized groups and space to pull tables together for large groups and parties. The rear section also includes a stage for performances by local bands and musical groups. Thursday through Saturday after 8:00 PM you can dine and enjoy local folk and other styles of music.

The entire restaurant displays regional art, crafts and various items that make the experience visually exciting and the items are available for purchase.

As we were leaving on Thursday night, the musical entertainment was about to begin and the crowd was growing. As the small local trio prepared to play, we thought it would top off a great evening to stay and enjoy the music but decided to save that for another night. We will definitely return soon for that and more great dining.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Yana's - Swansboro, NC

Yana's - Ye Olde Drugstore Restaurant - is one of the best small community restaurants found in our travels along the North Carolina coast. The food is outstanding and the character of the restaurant is exactly what you might expect in a small coastal town that depends on visitors for much of its business. Plan to arrive early and sit on the benches outside because the wait time can be as much as two hours during the busy season along the NC coast. Our wait was only twenty minutes at around 11:30 on a Sunday morning in April. As the weather gets warmer the crowds get bigger and the wait get's longer (up to two hours). And - yes - the food is that good and worth the wait.

The small town restaurant occupies an old drugstore building in the heart of Front Street in Swansboro, NC. Furnishings include old cafe' style tables and booths, juke boxes, Christmas trees, lots of Elvis memorabilia, buttons and signs from long ago. Next to the restaurant is Yanamama's 50's Memorabilia Shoppe featuring souvenirs and gifts focused on Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, The Lone Ranger, I Love Lucy, Betty Boop and so much more from an earlier time in our history.

On our visit we had two of the breakfast standards - two eggs, bacon, grits and toast for $5.25, and a cheese omelet with hash browns and toast for $5.25. Add two endlesss cups of coffee and our tab was $15.00 with the tip. The experience was exciting and the service was superb. Head on over to the coast and check out one of the best restaurants in the area!

After dining at Yana's check out the other shops and old homes along the waterfront and Front Street!

The waterfront in downtown Swansboro, NC

Monday, March 31, 2008

Elmo's Diner - Carrboro, NC

Elmo's Diner (near the University of North Carolina) in the restored old Carr Mill Mall in Carrboro, NC, (and a second location in Durham near Duke University) offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual setting. Sit at the bar or at a table, casual dress. Prices are reasonable - dinner for two around $18 plus drinks.

Selections range from salads to burgers and sandwiches and complete meals. The food is great and many items are prepared with a slight twist from standard fare to give diners a break from plain old diner food. Among the choices...
  • Grilled marinated chicken breast
  • Salmon cakes topped with creamy dill sauce
  • Chicken dumplings with chunks of chicken, dropped biscuit dough
  • Home style roast beef meal served on open faced toast
  • Elmo's Trifecta - triple decker sandwich with turkey, roast beef, three cheeses
  • Spicy smothered burritos
and of course, breakfast anytime!

Elmo's is open from 6:30 AM until 10:00 PM Sunday-Thursday, 6:30 AM until
11:00 PM Friday and Saturday.

Telephone 919 416-3823 in Carrboro at 200 N. Greensboro Street in Carrboro at the old Carr Mill Mall, 919 929-2909 in Durham at 776 9th Street near Duke.

Elmo's Diner

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot is a truly unique dining experience. Upon arrival you will be greeted by the hostess and taken to your private table for two or a larger table if you are having a party. Your waiter/waitress arrives quickly with a cheerful greeting and describes the various choices for dining. Selections range from a simple cheese fondue and dessert to full four course dinners with a variety of meats and seafood along with fruits and breads, followed by a special fondue dessert. Vegetarian selections are also offered.

In their own words "Fondue is a fun and interactive dining experience - and for more than three decades, The Melting Pot has defined the niche across the American dining scene."

A typical four course "fondue feast" meal would include your choice of fondue cooking mixes, beverages including wine, mixed drinks and/or other beverages, a selection of fruits and breads followed by a tray of meats or veggies followed by fondue dessert. A typical loaded selection would include all of the following:
Filet Mignon Medallion
Balsamic-Marinated Sirloin
Garlic and Herb Chicken
Citrus Pork Tenderloin
White Shrimp
Wild Mushroom Ravioli
Roasted Red Pepper Rigatoni
Fresh Vegetables
At The Melting Pot, fondue truly becomes a memorable four-course dining experience where patrons can dip into something different - and discover all the ingredients for a unique dining experience including a relaxed atmosphere, private tables, attentive service, fine wines and signature fondue dinners.

Plan on spending from $30 to $100 for two depending on how hungry you are. Make reservations in advance time since the restaurant is always crowded!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Casa Grande - Restaurante Mexicano - Richmond, Virginia

Another favorite dining spot for the locals in Richmond, Virginia, is the small group of restaurants known as "Casa Grande".

Somewhat typical of many Mexican restaurants, the menu offers a variety of lunch specials, combination dinners, , vegetarian dishes, special orders, typical Mexican dinners, individual selections A La Carte and serious special order dinners.

The restaurants are always filled with local patrons and usually have a line at the door. Those in line are seated in less than ten minutes so there's no delay getting to the tables. The atmosphere is generally festive with lots of talking around the tables and this reflects how well the customers like the small chain.

Favorites: Taco salad, Number 5 and 21 combination dinners, Nachos Supreme and the ever popular Quesadilla (with or without chicken).

7818 West Broad Street, Richmond; 3532 Pump Road, Richmond; 10921 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond; and 10120 Glen Allen across from Virginia Center Commons Mall.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Buz and Ned's Real Barbeque - Richmond, Virginia

Just up the road a bit, in Richmond, Virginia, there's a great tiny barbecue place to go when you are up that way and crave some outstanding food. It's a small barbecue joint located near the intersection of Boulevard and Broad streets back behind a local car wash.

Some 21 years ago "Buz" traveled around the country to Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Kansas City, Lexington and Memphis learning cooking secrets from famous barbecue regions, and in 1992 opened Buz and Ned's Real Barbecue in Richmond. Some of the famous places he learned from offer a variety of barbecue in styles of each area - places like Do-City BBQ in the Fog City, Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City, Sonny Bryan's in Dallas, Goldie's in Vicksburg, Scott’s BBQ in Lexington, Tennessee and Lexington’s BBQ #1 in Lexington, N.C. These are a few of the sources that shared secrets of the old timers that tended the pits preparing secret family recipes, (many of which have been handed down for generations).

According to the story on the Buz and Ned website, Buz met Ned on one of his journeys in Jefferson County, at the crossroads connecting the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Ned made barbecue using recipes handed down for over 150 years. Before he passed away, Ned passed his secrets on to Buz to keep his family BBQ tradition alive.

The menu includes: Beef brisket - texas style, boneless pulled BBQ chicken, hand pulled pork, pork back ribs, pork spare ribs, beef ribs, chicken tenders and chicken wing pieces.

Address: 1119 North boulevard, Richmond, Virginia

Hours: Mon-Thu 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Fri - Sat 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Sun 12:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Telephone: 804 355-6055

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Hungry Farmer - Clinton, North Carolina

For some of the best seafood and country cooking around take a short drive to Clinton, NC, and check out The Hungry Farmer. Fresh shrimp, oysters, scallops and additional seafood selections are always available along with steaks and chicken.

This has long been a favorite meeting spot in the Clinton area. Don't be surprised if a local farmer walks over and strikes up a conversation while you are dining. Newly renovated due to a fire in 2006, the small secluded country restaurant is located between the corn and tobacco fields at 2474 Isaac Weeks Road. Look for a red brick building that looks like a country house by the side of the road. Be sure to take along your NC map!
Some of the favorites are:

Baby shrimp, hush puppies, 2 sides - $7.50, 9.00
Sea scallops, hush puppies, 2 sides - $9.00, 11.00
Pan broiled flounder, hush puppies, 2 sides - $9.00, 11.00
Hamburger steak with peppers and onions, 2 sides - $6.50
Home made chicken pastry, 2 sides (Sunday only)


2474 Isaac Weeks Road, Clinton, NC


Thursday - Saturday 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Sunday Lunch - 11:20 AM - 2:30 PM


910 533-3220

Head on over and satisfy your appetite!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Salem Street Soda Shop - Apex, North Carolina

*** The long time owner of the Salem Street Soda Shop and building sold it to new residents moving to Apex from out of the area. The shop has been remodeled and opened under the name "Salem Street Pub" and serves sandwiches, sodas, various beers. ***

The following is the original review of the SSSS in 2007...

The Salem Street Soda Shop is located in the center of the downtown historic district in Apex. The Soda Shop is a quaint little breakfast, lunch and dinner shop specializing in homemade sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and homemade desserts. It's located in an old downtown store that served in a past life as the town's dry cleaner business, owned years ago by the current owner's father. Wade Baker, Jr., converted the old dry cleaner site into a soda shop style restaurant complete with old drugstore style glass display cabinets, a long soda counter serving area with bar stool seats, and several booths and tables for group seating. Behind the counter is an 1950's style soda counter for creating fresh squeezed orangeades and lemonades, ice cream floats, milk shakes, banana splits, and sodas served fountain style.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the shop serves home style cooked-when-ordered food that's always fresh and tasty. The menu lists a complete selection of soda shop style sandwiches and creations. The burgers are hand pressed and cooked on the spot. One of the most popular items is the home-made chicken salad (the chicken salad sandwich is one of the most popular lunch items). The shop gets crowded at lunchtime since it's a favorite of downtown merchants and town residents. Go early to place your order and get a seat without having to wait in line. Be sure to order at the counter first, then get a table - a practice required by the soda shop to make the limited seating available to those that have ordered food.

Our favorites: Chicken salad sandwich, burger and cheeseburger, both served with chips or potato salad. Hand made vanilla or chocolate milk shake or fountain soda. The hot dogs are a favorite also and are great with chili and slaw - another southern tradition.

113 N. Salem St., Apex, NC 27502




Monday -Friday 7:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday: closed

Monday, April 9, 2007

Smithfield's Chicken and Bar-B-Q - Central and eastern North Carolina

A favorite eastern North Carolina restaurant for over 25 years, Smithfield's is always a good choice for fried chicken or barbecue eastern NC style! The chicken is always crispy and fresh from the fryer. You can get barbecued chicken on request.

The vinegar based barbecue is popular in the eastern part of the state. Chopped and flavored with a bit of pepper. Combo chicken platters are available with white meat or dark, served with potato salad or fries and slaw along with hushpuppies. Sandwiches provide a generous portion of chopped barbecue without or with slaw (an NC tradition). Try the "value-pak" for a best buy - sandwich, fries and a drink.

If you are from the area sweet tea is a "must have" choice. Most folks from other areas don't understand the local fascination with sweet tea but quickly adopt it.

Our favorites: Chicken white platter or valu-pak sandwich and drink.
Website: Smithfield's Chicken and Bar-b-que

Locations: All around the area and extending to the coast

Friday, April 6, 2007

Roast Grill - Raleigh, North Carolina

The very best hot dogs in the triangle. If you like hot dogs this is the place to go. Served only two ways - regular and burned - straight from the grill, always hot and fresh. An assortment of drinks is available but the most popular is Coke in the traditional small Coke bottle.

Don't expect extras and for sure don't ask for ketchup! Ketchup not allowed. If you must add toppings you can get mustard, chili and onions.

A favorite lunch spot in the heart of Raleigh. There's limited seating so go early or late or plan to stand in line. The dining area consists of a long counter and a row of bar stools. There are a couple of small tables along the wall but usually not available. Plan on sitting by people you don't know and you may even find a state senator or representative next to you!
Website: Roast Grill

Location: 7 S West Street, Raleigh, NC 27603

Telephone: 919 832-8292

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Five Guys - Burgers and Fries

Five Guys is easily the best burger establishment in the area. Since the menu is limited, focus is on quality and service and being the best. If burgers, hot dogs and fries is what you crave you'll find these to be the best around.

Burgers are cooked only one way - well done - but always juicy, hot and tasty. Served fresh from the grill with most any toppings you want added. Add fries and there will always be an overflowing cup in your bag with more dumped into the bag.

Our first encounter with Five guys was in Virginia (the business originated in the DC and VA area) and when we moved to NC we hoped they would open stores here because the burgers were so good. The chain has opened restaurants in several areas around the central NC area with more coming.

The company's goal as posted on the Five Guys website is simply "Five Guys goal is to sell the best quality burgers possible. To sell the best burger possible we focus on Quality, Service and Cleanliness."

Check out the menu on the Five Guys website and drop by and check them out! Also read the "corkboard" comments from customers.
  • Favorites: Little Cheeseburger with toppings, fries.
  • Hours: Generally from early lunch time until late night. Posted at stores.
  • Locations: See website locator

Bella Monica - Raleigh, NC

One of the best local dining sites we discovered is tucked away in the Old Raleigh Village Shopping Center at 3121-103 Edwards Mill Road. If you are searching for the best in fine Italian dining and enjoy outstanding service this is the place for you to try!

After discovering how good the food is and noting that it's frequented by regular customers we now try to go every other Friday or Saturday when there are added specials not available on other nights. Be sure to make a reservation for these nights or you will find yourself standing by the door for an hour or so watching everyone enjoy the great food. Of course you can usually drop by and be seated at one of the sidewalk tables and avoid the line if you forgot to call ahead!

You can check out their complete menu at the Bella monica website. Our favorites include:

Chopped salad
- Chopped greens with tomato, mushrooms, onions, carrots, cannellini beans, and parmesan cheese with balsamic herb vinaigrette dressing.


Cannelloni - Long pasta tubes filled with ricotta cheese and topped with meat sauce and melted mozzarella cheeses.

Pork Picatta - Pork loin medallions with a lemon caper sauce served with asparagus and red onion.


Genoa - Pepperoni, sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

From the Bellamonica website...

Bella monica - Pizza, Pasta & Vino

Sundays at our Nana’s house were special days. It began when we entered Nana’s house and the smell of the ‘gravy’ simmering on the stove would greet us at the door. Nana would fly out of the kitchen to pinch our cheeks, give us hugs, and lead us to the table full of food saying “mangia, mangia”. Sundays with Nana were days where everything seemed to stop for family and friends; everything except for pasta.

Since 2000, when chef/owner Corbett Monica and his wife Julie opened the doors to this neighborhood trattoria, Bella Monica has become an extension of Nana’s table. It is a place where guests become family at our tables and enjoy Nana’s recipes. Keeping true to tradition, we use only imported San Marzano tomatoes and the freshest ingredients just like Nana would. So please, enjoy our food and the company you share.

Website: Bella Monica


Old Raleigh Village Shopping Center
3121-103 Edwards Mill Road
Raleigh, NC


Lunch - Monday-Friday, 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Lunch - Saturday - 12:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Dinner - Monday-Thursday - 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Dinner - Friday - Saturday - 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ruth's Chris - Cary NC

What a treat! We bought ourselves a Ruth's Chris gift certificate some time back and kept it for a special occasion. On our recent anniversary we decided to check the restaurant out.

We highly recommend this restaurant for any occasion. The food is outstanding and service is right on target for a fine dining establishment!

Here's how their website describes their fare...
Welcome to Ruth's Chris Steak House. When you visit Ruth's Chris, you soon understand that this is no ordinary restaurant. From the U.S. Prime steaks, broiled to perfection at 1800 degrees, to the expertly executed seafood, New Orleans-inspired appetizers, unforgettable desserts and award winning wine list, this is a steakhouse to which others aspire. We invite you to explore our website. Take your time to get to know us. Visit the site often to make online reservations and order Ruth's Chris Gift Cards for family and friends, clients and colleagues. Follow the sizzle.
We were greeted at the door and our coats were immediately taken to the coat room. Next, we were escorted by the hostess to a small dining area with a half dozen tables and seated. Since this was our first visit we didn't notice one of the napkins rolled around the silverware was black. We later discovered this was a signal to the waiter.

For dinner my wife chose a fillet and I selected a ribeye steak. As you can imagine, the steaks were cooked to perfection and lived up to the reputation of the restaurant. Ruth's Chris food is truly a step above similar offerings at other fine establishments.

After dinner we ordered coffee and asked for the dessert menu and waited patiently for the waiter to return. The coffee arrived quickly and we were looking forward to seeing the list of desserts we had seen occasionally passing our table on a sample tray. Minutes later we realized he had not returned and started looking around for him. Suddenly he arrived with a healthy slice-for-two of dark chocolate cake covered with dark chocolate icing and sprinkled with little chocolate drop morsels. Wow! To our surprise this treat was provided by the restaurant for our anniversary dessert!

Needless to say, dining at Ruth's Chris was a grand experience and we now look forward to planning another visit on a special occasion to have dinner prepared to perfection and enjoy royal treatment!