Out To Lunch

Carroll's Kitchen
Carroll's Kitchen

Oh, the weekday lunch; does anything spark more joy? Whether it’s a solo escape from the confines of your cubicle, a quick get-together with an old friend, a meeting with a client or a trip out with your coworkers to boost morale, nothing says “escape” quite like leaving the office for a few to refuel. In Raleigh, there are plenty of options for that lunchtime satiation that you seek. On your own and need something fast? Grab a sandwich from Sola or a healthy salad from Happy + Hale. Need to impress out-of-town visitors? Take them to a classic Oak City spot, like Mecca or Clyde Cooper’s, or show your support for a worthy cause at A Place at the Table. Celebrating a co-worker’s birthday or just feeling indulgent? Bask in your sunnies on Vivace’s patio, soak in the atmosphere at Hummingbird or Bida Manda, or try a new treat from one of the city’s many top chefs. That work? It’ll still be waiting for you on your desk for when you get back. Remember, lunch time is your time, so soak it in! You only lunch once…once a day, that is. 

Best “Lunch for One”

Chuck’s

In all honesty, you’re probably better off enjoying one of Chuck’s hefty burgers on your own, as we all know how messy that can get. Choose from one of AC’s signatures or build your own with all the dribbling sauces your heart desires. 237 S. Wilmington St.; ac-restaurants.com/chucks

Chuck's
Chuck’s

Sola Coffee Cafe

With Sola’s sizable cafe and patio, it’s easy to tuck yourself away at a table for one and enjoy a cozy lunch of freshly made sandwiches, salads and smoothies. 7705 Lead Mine Rd.; solacoffee.com

Morgan Street Food Hall

No arguing over what to eat or where to sit here; going solo at Morgan Street Food Hall means you can choose freely between lots of lunch and dessert options, with no one judging if you opt for more than one. 411 W Morgan St.; morganfoodhall.com

Heirloom Brewshop

Curl up in one of Heirloom’s signature pink chairs and enjoy Laotian, Taiwanese, and Japanese-inspired bites paired with sake, tea or coffee for a delightful afternoon pick-me-up. 219 S. West St.; heirloombrewshop.com

Raleigh Times Bar

With its large, open windows, bar top seating and front patio, Raleigh Times is the perfect place to people watch while enjoying a quick and reliable lunch. 14 E. Hargett St.; raleightimesbar.com

Best Outdoor Lunch Spots

The Station at Person Street

The Station’s patio offers an outdoor bar, cozy fireplaces and picnic tables with umbrellas surrounded by lush plant life, ensuring a comfortable outdoor dining experience. 701 N. Person St.; stationraleigh.com

The Station at Person Street
The Station at Person Street

Vivace

Take in the sights and sounds of North Hills on Vivace’s spacious patio, centered around a gorgeous fountain, while dining on exquisite Italian cuisine. 4209 Lassiter Mill Rd.; vivaceraleigh.com

Whiskey Kitchen

Whiskey Kitchen’s outdoor patio is enough to make you want to check out of work for the rest of the day, with its large picnic tables, twinkling lights and ample foliage situated across the street from Nash Square. 201 W. Martin St.; whiskey.kitchen

Taverna Agora

In addition to the great Mediterranean food, Taverna Agora’s rustic rooftop patio transports diners to a Greek oasis. 326 Hillsborough St.; tavernaagora.com

Taverna Agora
Taverna Agora

Winston’s Grille

Reminiscent of a swanky resort, the concealed outdoor patio at Winston’s is perfect to enjoy a sophisticated lunch on a beautiful day, with umbrellas and a roof to shade against humidity in the dead of summer. 6401 Falls of Neuse Rd.; winstonsgrille.com

Best Kept Secret 

Lonnie Poole Golf Course

NC State’s esteemed golf course also boasts an excellent restaurant. Terrace Dining Room features upscale dining options, served alongside gorgeous views of the course and downtown Raleigh’s skyline. 1509 Main Campus Dr.; lonniepoolegolfcourse.com

Lonnie Poole Golf Course
Lonnie Poole Golf Course

Seaboard Cafe

Located inside Logan’s Trading Company at Seaboard Station, this pleasant cafe serves signature scratch-made dishes, including soups, salads and daily grill and deli options, to be enjoyed on the patio surrounded by garden shop greenery. 707 Semart Dr.; seaboardcafe.com

Lucettegrace

In addition to the exquisite pastries and desserts lucettegrace offers, the lunch options are not to be missed either. Choose from fresh sandwiches, salads and soups, or try the signature box lunch, which includes a sandwich, salad or soup and a treat. 235 S. Salisbury St.; lucettegrace.com

Oakwood Cafe

Though easy to miss, this Cuban and Argentine restaurant serves an array of authentic dishes from the two countries for a lunch that’s unlike any other you can get in Raleigh. 300 E. Edenton St.; oakwoodcafenc.com

Zest Cafe & Home Art

After browsing the store’s unique decorations and gifts, grab a seat in the café for diverse offerings of “zestwiches,” salads, soups and main dishes, all made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. 8831 Six Forks Rd.; zestcafehomeart.com

Best For Business

The Capital Grille

Impress a client or co-worker with lunch at Capital Grille, an elegant fine dining restaurant featuring sophisticated dishes guaranteed to leave a great impression. 4242 Six Forks Rd.; thecapitalgrille.com

The Capital Grille
The Capital Grille

18 Seaboard

A favorite spot for business meetings and special occasions, 18 Seaboard offers an impressive menu of contemporary Southern-inspired dishes made up of locally-sourced ingredients. 18 Seaboard Ave.; 18restaurantgroup.com

O-Ku Sushi

At O-Ku, chef Richard Fong sources fresh fish from some of the world’s premier markets for the restaurant’s sushi and sashimi, as well as for chef specialties that go beyond impressive. 411 W. Hargett St.; okuraleigh.com

Midtown Grille

An intimate, upscale restaurant in North Hills, Midtown Grille’s no-frills, contemporary American menu takes some of the pressure off during an important business meeting. 4421 Six Forks Rd.; themidtowngrille.com

A Place at the Table

A Place at the Table’s unique pay-what-you-can mission will impress any client or business partner, not to mention the friendly staff of volunteers and delicious, fresh-to-order lunch options. 300 W. Hargett St.; tableraleigh.com

A Place at the Table
A Place at the Table

Best Veggie & Vegan

Sassool Mediterranean Cafe

Sassool offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian options, including pita sandwiches, salads and pizzettes, along with a signature four-item sampler where you can build your own platter of fresh sides, dips and salads. 9850 Strickland Rd.; sassool.com

Irregardless Café

Irregardless Café’s farm-to-table concept sources ingredients from its own Well Fed Community Garden, in a variety of freshly-made dishes that range from cauliflower curry to zoodle bolognese to a black bean and quinoa burger. 901 W. Morgan St.; irregardless.com

Neomonde

Neomonde’s Meditteranean offerings feature plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, including build-your-own plates, pita pockets, man’ousheh (a flatbread pizza) and an array of satisfying sides and dips. 3817 Beryl Rd.; neomonde.com

Neomonde
Neomonde

Happy + Hale

At Happy + Hale, fresh, healthy salads and build-your-own bowls reign supreme during lunch time, with vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options and other allergies clearly marked on the menu for easy decision making, no matter your dietary restrictions. 443 Fayetteville St., 200 Park @ North Hills St.; happyandhale.com

Living Kitchen

Vegans and vegetarians rejoice over Living Kitchen’s 100-percent organic and plant-based menu. Try a range of favorite cuisines made without meat, eggs or dairy. 555 Fayetteville St.; livingkitchen.com

Best Grab-and-Go 

Carroll’s Kitchen

Carroll’s Martin Street location is the ideal spot to grab a seasonal sandwich, salad or soup on the go, while supporting the nonprofit whose mission is to provide gainful employment for women leaving crisis situations. 19 E. Martin St.; carrollskitchen.com

Sosta Cafe

Sosta offers an eclectic mix of homemade paninis and sandwiches, as well as soups and salads, that feature high-quality ingredients sourced from the local farmer’s market. 1806 E. Davie St.; sostacafe.com

Whole Foods

We can all agree that Whole Foods’ salad and hot bars are the next best thing after your favorite sit-down lunch spot. Or, pick up a fresh pizza or grab-and-go sandwich for a lunch that’s so good, you’ll forget you got it at a grocery store. 3540 Wade Ave.; 8710 Six Forks Rd.; wholefoodsmarket.com

Whole Foods salad bar
Whole Foods

Chargrill or Snoopy’s

Depending on where you are, both Snoopy’s and Chargrill are ideal options for celebrated hot dogs, burgers, fries, shakes and more in Raleigh. 4621 Atlantic Ave., 618 Hillsborough St., 3211 Edwards Mill Rd., 9601 Strickland Rd; chargrillusa.com; 600 Hillsborough St., 1931 Wake Forest Rd., 3600 Hillsborough St., 2431 Spring Forest Rd.; snoopys.com

Pizza Times

Every day, Pizza Times offers a special pizza featuring a unique mix of toppings. Or, you can build your own as a slice, 12-inch pie or 18-inch pie. 210 S. Wilmington St.; raleightimespizza.com

Pizza Times
Pizza Times

Spots We Wish Served Lunch

Poole’s Diner

We don’t know about you, but we long for Poole’s comforting, seasonal dishes well before it opens for dinner, especially the to-die-for mac and cheese. 426 S. McDowell St.; ac-restaurants.com

Crawford and Son

Scott Crawford’s creative menu of classic and modern dishes, offered in a casual, welcoming environment, would certainly impress at lunch time. 618 N. Person St.; crawfordandsonrestaurant.com

Oak Steakhouse

While Oak exclusively serves dinner, some might appreciate the Certified Angus Beef or the oyster deviled eggs during lunch, for a little extra indulgence during the day. 417 W. Hargett St.; oakraleigh.com

42nd Street Oyster Bar

Unfortunately, 42nd Street’s impressive menu of fresh, local seafood dishes can only be enjoyed in the evening, otherwise we’d be camping out all day long. 503 W. Jones St.; 42ndoysterbar.com

Angus Barn

A mecca for celebrating birthdays, promotions and other special events, Angus Barn’s beloved menu of steak, seafood and other dishes is only available for dinner. 9401 Glenwood Ave.; angusbarn.com

Atmospheric Lunch Spots

Iris

Located in the North Carolina Museum of Art, Iris offers an elegant dining experience of modern American cuisine among beautiful works of art. 2110 Blue Ridge Rd.; ncartmuseum.org

Iris at NCMA
Iris at NCMA

Coquette Brasserie

Coquette’s sophisticated patio, adorned with black and white laminate floors and potted flowers, transports guests to a lovely Parisian café, Eiffel Tower views not included. 4351 The Circle at North Hills St.; coquetteraleigh.com

Brewery Bhavana

As breathtaking as the food is delicious, Brewery Bhavana’s ethereal interior, composed of elegant wooden tables, ample foliage, intimate lighting and an impressive marble bar top creates an awe-inspiring backdrop to enjoying traditional Asian cuisine. 218 S. Blount St.; brewerybhavana.com

Gonza Tacos y Tequila

The lively, colorful interior decor of Gonza, including its brightly lit stars, painted floors and vibrant artwork, makes for a fun spot to grab a bite and escape the hustle and bustle of a weekday. 7713 Lead Mind Rd., 2100 Hillsborough St.; gonzatacosytequila.com

Bida Manda

Bida Manda’s alluring reclaimed wooden furniture and stick-lined walls, harvested from North Carolina mountains, perfectly channels the Laotian affinity for nature, providing a beautiful space to enjoy the unique food of the region. 222 S. Blount St.; bidamanda.com

Bida Manda
Bida Manda

Best Build-Your-Own 

Chopt

At Chopt, the world, or bowl, is your oyster. Choose a base of greens, then add from a list of superb veggies, and finish with your choice of cheeses, grains, meats and crunchy toppings for a colorful, satisfying chopped salad that’s all your own. 420 Daniels St., 6004 Falls of Neuse Rd.; choptsalad.com

CAVA

Similar to Chipotle but for Mediterranean cuisine, at CAVA you can build your own salad, grain bowl or pita with fresh toppings, proteins, dips, spreads and dressings to your heart’s content. 403 Daniels St.; cava.com

Raleigh Raw

Raleigh Raw’s customizable poké bowls are a downtown cult favorite. Choose your base of sticky rice or greens, protein and one of three signature styles, made up of either spicy, sweet or savory refreshing ingredients. 7 W. Hargett St.; raleighraw.com

Gusto Farm to Street

Go light or indulgent with Gusto’s customer-crafted salads and pizzas, where it’s up to you to choose from a substantial list of greens, grains, sauces, cheeses, proteins, dressings and other toppings, as well as type of crust; cauliflower is the favorite. 3088 Wake Forest Rd.; 2512 Hillsborough St.; eatgusto.com

Guasaca Arepa & Salsa Grill

This South American-inspired restaurant specializes in build-your-own arepas, featuring an authentic list of fillings, ranging from avocado, chicken, braised tilapia to shredded beef, plus traditional toppings and sauces. 4025 Lake Boone Tr.; guasaca.com

Best Deals & Combos

BarTaco

The BarTaco lunch tray lets you live every day like it’s Taco Tuesday, with the option of three tacos or one rice bowl and a chopped salad or cup of soup for $11. 4121 Main at North Hills St.; bartaco.com

BarTaco
BarTaco

The Cardinal

There aren’t too many spots where you can get an amazing $3 lunch in Raleigh, but The Cardinal is one of them. For just three bucks, get a signature local beer-steamed dog in a New England-style bun, then load up on gourmet toppings for 25 cents each. 713 N. West St.; facebook.com/TheCardinalBar/

Pizza La Stella

Get your own personal, one-topping pizza with a drink for only $9.95 at this beloved Neapolitan-style pizzeria in the heart of downtown. 219 Fayetteville St.; pizzalastella.com

Sono

Craving sushi? For $15, try Sono’s lunch sushi combo, which includes miso soup, house salad and your choice of a specialty roll. 319 Fayetteville St.; sonoraleigh.com

Tazza Kitchen

Tazza’s bowl of soup and half salad combo for $8.50 is perfect for those who like to stay on the lighter side during lunch. 432 Woodburn Rd.; tazzakitchen.com

Tazza Kitchen
Tazza Kitchen

Most Iconic

Mecca

This old timey, diner-esque restaurant has been serving Raleighites since 1930, with a traditional Southern comfort menu and daily house specials that utilize local, seasonal ingredients. 12 E. Martin St.; mecca-restaurant.com

The Player’s Retreat

Since 1951, Player’s Retreat has been a beloved lunch spot for all walks of life in Raleigh, no matter the age or financial status. Elevated bar food and made-to-order entrees comprise the beloved menu. 105 Oberlin Rd.; playersretreat.net

Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue

For great barbecue around these parts, most Raleighites opt for Clyde Cooper’s, a long-cherished establishment featuring award-winning slow-cooked pork barbecue dishes and fried chicken. 327 S. Wilmington St.; clydecooperbbq.com

Clyde Cooper's Barbeque
Clyde Cooper’s Barbeque

Hayes Barton Cafe & Dessertery

Located in the heart of historic Five Points, Hayes Barton’s signature deli and grill selections have been a Raleigh favorite since 1998, along with housemade desserts. 2000 Fairview Rd.; hayesbartoncafeanddessertery.com

The Roast Grill

This diner has solely been serving hot dogs, glass bottle Cokes and Greek desserts since 1940. The dogs are made from 90 percent beef with a touch of lean pork flavor, cooked on a grill until crisp and charred, and served without ketchup—the owners don’t believe it belongs on a hot dog. 7 S. West St.; roastgrill.com

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