Despite the challenges faced by the restaurant industry, many brave chefs have decided to open new restaurants, much to the delight of Raleigh foodies. Here are some of the most anticipated restaurants in the city that are either scheduled to open early this year, or have just opened their doors.
Do you love a great Italian deli? Look no further than Bongiorno and Son in Lafayette Village. If you are unfamiliar with Italian delis, they are more than a place to buy lunch meat, they also serve up Sunday dinner-style meals every day of the week. The Bongiorno family, originally from the Tri-state area, opened the eatery in December 2020. They offer a combination of family recipes passed down from generation to generation, as well as dishes inspired by their travels to Italy. In addition to the delicious menu, there is a large selection of imported cheeses, cold cuts, sausage, pasta, bread and antipasto.
Sam Jones BBQ
Renowned pitmaster Sam Jones opened his high anticipated restaurant in downtown Raleigh this month. Jones is a third-generation pitmaster and semi-finalist for the coveted James Beard award. Jones’ grandfather, Pete Jones, was the owner of the famed Skyline Inn, located about 90 miles east of Raleigh. The smokehouse features Eastern Carolina, whole hog barbecue, which is a highly distinctive cooking method that has made North Carolina a paradise for meat lovers.
Jose and Sons
Jose and Sons opened in December 2020 in the Pleasant Valley area. The name reflects the family behind the restaurant, being owned by Jose Ibarra’s five children in homage to his dream of opening a Mexican restaurant. The entire family has been in the restaurant business since 1993. Chef Oscar Diaz has created a very unique menu, marrying Mexican staples with new ideas, like the Plantainwhich. You can also get your Birria taco fix here.
The Rainbow Luncheonette
The Rainbow Luncheonette is a vibrant short-order restaurant planned for downtown Raleigh’s Rainbow Building, formerly home of Rainbow Upholstery and Furniture Company for 36 years. The restaurant will be one of several tenants now in the building. There are only 23 seats in the entire place, and it is expected to be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Ashley Christensen is scheduled to open her newest restaurant in early 2021. The menu will be inspired by Christensen’s fried chicken recipe that she has spent years perfecting. The highlight of the menu will be BB’s crispy chicken sandwich, which is complemented by the various freshly-prepared sides, salads and milkshakes.
The Longleaf Swine started as a food truck, and now Adam Cunningham and Marc Russell have decided to open their first brick-and-mortar location in the old Oakwood Café building in downtown Raleigh. This restaurant is highly anticipated by the locals. Menu items will include smoked pork, ribs, brisket, sausages, homemade sides and more. No exact date has been set for opening, but takeout is available while you are waiting for the dining room to open later this year.
The Preserve BBQ
Nationally recognized barbecue chef Ed Mitchell has teamed up with LM Restaurants (the team responsible for local chain Carolina Ale House) to open The Preserve just north of downtown Raleigh. The restaurant is currently not open due to construction delays; however, delivery orders are currently available for customers who cannot wait. This eatery will feature Mitchell’s famous barbecue recipes, along with other North Carolina favorites.