Organize for Success® Turns 10
With this morning's feature of Chef Ashley Christensen's travel tips, I thought it appropriate to have today's top 10 list be of my favorite restaurants, which are as follows:
10. Adele's - Housed in the old Universal Tire Center of Nashville, TN, this restaurant features an open kitchen with a large, wood-burning oven. The menu focuses on seasonal comfort food from local farms, and its Sunday brunch buffet is delicious.
9. Butcher and the Rye - This downtown Pittsburgh highlight has a creative menu that offers "contemporary riffs on rustic American dishes". Awarded James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program for two consecutive years, this ambitious cocktail program features two bars: Whiskey Wall downstairs and Rye Bar upstairs.
8. Driftwood Southern Kitchen - Located in Raleigh's Lafayette Village, this open kitchen offers an ever-changing menu designed to showcase "the finest of ingredients from supporting local farms and purveyors". Paired with its wonderful whiskey cocktails, the Pimiento Cheese Board is great, and a meal that ends with its Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie is a home run; further, my favorite of this restaurant's offerings is the Crispy Shrimp and Grits.
7. Jubala Coffee - Opened in 2011 by a fellow Wake Forest University alum, this is much more than a coffeeshop. Yes, the dedicated baristas produce some beautiful, tasty beverages, but you are missing out if you haven't tried their Liege Waffles or Sweet Biscuits. Whether plain or paired with apple butter, honey, seasonal jam or pimento cheese, these biscuits are amazing. Then, for lunch, you should certainly try the Grown Up Grilled Cheese.
6. Outback Steakhouse - Although this is a chain restaurant, its food is consistently delicious, they offer delivery on food that's much healthier than most delivery options, and it provides an easy way to get tasty sweet potatoes as well as fresh steamed broccoli. I can easily choose between the Perfectly Grilled Salmon and the Victoria's Filet Mignon, making me perfectly happy.
5. Plaza Restaurant - This was always one of my favorite Kernersville lunch stops with Dad, but their breakfast is pretty doggone good, too. For lunch, any of their soups would be a good bet (Clam Digger's Clam Chowder, Classic Tomato or Homemade Chicken and Rice); yet, I really like to add tomato slices to a grilled cheese sandwich along with a House Salad, particularly since Plaza's salads feature shredded lettuce.
4. Poole's Diner - One of the many gems created by Ashley Christensen, who is a fellow alum from East Forsyth High School, this restaurant does not take reservations but has easily accessible parking across the street from its downtown Raleigh location. The philosophy of this kitchen and horseshoe bar is to produce "creative, simple offerings carefully executed". In other words, it's reimagining comfort food to be a little more imaginative. The ever-changing menu is displayed on chalkboards around the dining area, and anything you order is guaranteed to be amazing, from appetizers to desserts and including all the salads, sides and main dishes in between; still, I have to attest that the Macaroni Au Gratin is simply life-changing. Do not miss this one!
3. Ryan's Restaurant - Nestled in the woods, there's always a great view. This Winston-Salem landmark is famous for its steaks, chops and seafood but also offers memorable options for drinks and desserts. We had the meal following my graduation at Ryan's as well as many great evenings before that time and since then. The Colossal Lump Crab Meat in addition to the Spinach, Artichoke and Crab Dip are fantastic appetizers, the She-Crab soup is great, my steaks are always cooked exactly as I like them, I really love the sweet potato mash, and Ryan's Pecan Pie is worth the calories.
2. Whiskey Kitchen - This restaurant opened in the Nash Square area of downtown Raleigh in August of 2016 but has quickly become a fan favorite. Its kitchen offers creative options to meet anyone's food desires for small plates or large plates; however, its vast whiskey offerings lead to amazing options for happy hour cocktails. Personally, I like to pair my adult beverage with one of their delicious desserts, especially the Shoo Fly Pie.
1. Winston's Grille - This Raleigh tradition has been serving up memorable dining experiences since 1986, and, having been introduced to it by my Capital Ford family back in 2001, I have plenty of memories in this local landmark. This open kitchen offers great meals that "begin with delicious recipes and the freshest ingredients, prepared from scratch." My favorite is the Cashew Salmon entree paired with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, but the crab cake or shrimp and grits make a great alternative.
As this list indicates, I'm a fan of locally-owned and locally-operated establishments, and, yes, as a fan of Jack Daniels and Coke, I did notice the common theme of whiskey options.
Which are your favorite restaurants and why? What great options did I miss? Are there any on here you'd like to try?