The Raleigh Times

The Lunch Bunch

In Eat, September 2022 by Melissa HowsamLeave a Comment

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Think there’s nowhere to eat lunch in DTR? Think again. There are 100+ places to get your midday grub on in Downtown right now. Here, your go-to guide for lunch Downtown right now, divided up by district. Dig in!

Capital District

Acro Cafe
11 W. Jones St.

The Daily Planet Cafe
121 W. Jones St.

The Roast Grill
“Good friends, good dogs, good times” are on order at this famed hole-in-the-wall 13-seat Raleigh staple “burnin’ ’em for you” since 1940. 7 S. West St.

State of Beer RM Best Bars 2021
Beer is a state of mind at this DTR bottle and sandwich shop that plays home to “good, rad and funky” craft beer and chef-crafted sandwiches—with delish salads to boot. 401 Hillsborough St.

Sweet Tea & Cornbread Grill and Eatery
5 E. Edenton St.

Taverna AgoraRM Best Restaurants 2022
Specialty cocktails and authentic Greek wines complement traditional Greek dishes in the rustic old-world ambiance inside—or alfresco on the open-air rooftop patio. 326 Hillsborough St.

Smoky Hollow

The Cardinal Bar RM Best Bars 2021
“Spirits & everybody” is the name of the game at Jason Howard’s (think The Atlantic Lounge, Pink Boot) West Street drinking den and hot dog haven. The Cardinal’s infused liquor makes for some of the best—and cheapest—shots in town. Chase them with one of the lowkey bar’s famous beer-braised hot dogs, which are also available as veggie dogs. 713 N. West St.

Clouds BrewingRM Top Brunch + Bloody Pick; RM Chicken + Waffle Pick
In 1925, Carolina Power & Light Company built a one-story art deco building to house streetcars and buses—now, it’s home to Clouds Brewing, with its abundant brews, German-inspo’d fare and massive patio. 126 N. West St.

Dose Elixir Bar
Whether you just namaste’d a Dose class or you’re passing through the Hollow, grab your daily “dose” at Dose Yoga’s in-house smoothie bar concept and walk-up window to elevate your mood and stay balanced. Pick your potion, from adaptogenic and plant-based protein smoothies, smoothie bowls and wellness lattes—positive side effects, guaranteed. 415 N. Harrington St.

Layered Croissanterie
Ooh, la, la! Whether for breakfast or just a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, Layered’s “blankets of buttery goodness” are always a good idea. Pro tip: Peep the website for rotating monthly flavors! 911 N. West St., Ste. 107

Seaboard & Person Street District

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
111 Seaboard Ave.

Gringo A Go Go
With its playful vibe, plant-filled patio and housemade margs, this sup spot has been sating local Mexican-food lovers (including vegans!) since 2014. 100 N. Person St.

(Ish) Delicatessen
Not quite Jewish, a little Italian and maybe Southern, this sandwich shop boasts “weird sandwiches from weird people” for breakfast and lunch. 702 N. Person St.

Jersey Mike’s Subs
200 W. Peace St.

Peace China
802 Semart Drive

Seaboard Café
With wall-to-wall windows, natural light and pops of color from hanging plants and vegetation, this bright lunch-only eatery offers new specials Mon.–Sat., with everything from homemade muffins to fresh salads to sandwiches. 707 Semart Drive

The Station at Person StreetRM Top Bloody Pick
Nestled in a renovated Amoco gas station, this chill neighborhood hangout offers spacious indoor and outdoor seating that’s perfect for noshing on creative spins on bar food classics and craft brews. 701 N. Person St.

Tacos El Patron 323
Taco ’bout a great selection. Tacos El Patron 323 offers an array of tacos, natch, including breakfast tacos and Tijuana-style birria tacos (the birria ramen is also a hit!); quesadillas; mulitas (like a taco but in quesadilla form); and more. 122 Seaboard Ave.

Moore Square District

Alimentari at Left Bank @ Transfer Co. Food Hall
500 E. Davie St.

Benchwarmers Bagels & Coffee @ Transfer Co. Food Hall
500 E. Davie St.

Bean Sprouts
201 E. Hargett St.

Beasley’s Chicken + HoneyRM Chicken + Waffle Pick, RM Best Dishes Pick 2021
An ode to fried chicken and classic Southern sides, chef Ashley Christensen’s casual dining spot serves up too-good-to-believe classic comfort foods. 237 S. Wilmington St.

Big Ed’s City MarketRM Top Business Breakfast Pick
Having called City Market home since 1989, Big Ed’s continues to serve up some of the best in Southern cooking in town seven days a week for breakfast, brunch and lunch. 220 Wolfe St.

The Bridge DTR
For “bloody good” British food, international friendship and football (OK, soccer) visit London Bridge. Across-the-pond classics include rocket salad, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and a full English breakfast. 110 E. Hargett St.

Budacai
120 E. Martin St.

Bul Box @ Transfer Co. Food Hall
500 E. Davie St.

Che Empanadas @ Transfer Co. Food Hall
500 E. Davie St.

Chhote’s Indian Street Food @ Transfer Co. Food Hall
500 E. Davie St.

Dank Burrito @ Transfer Co. Food Hall
500 E. Davie St.

Domino’s Pizza
135 E. Davie St.

El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant
329 S. Blount St.

Gravy
Ask any Italian-American what “gravy” is, and they’ll tell you it’s the pasta sauce their moms and grandmas cooked fresh nightly. So, naturally, at Gravy, they prepare their own each day—among a host of delish Italian-American selects. 135 S. Wilmington St.

Mama Crow’s @ Transfer Co. Food Hall
500 E. Davie St.

McDonald’s
105 E. South St.

Sitti
Named for the most beloved Lebanese figure, the grandmother (sitti), this DTR sup spot by restaurateur Greg Hatem (with Neomonde owners, the Saleh family) honors his Lebanese heritage with delish authentic dishes and spirits, and an inviting atmosphere. 137 S. Wilmington St.

Square Burger
200 S. Blount St.

Sir Walter Coffee
145 E. Davie St.

Sosta Cafe
130 E. Davie St.

Transfer Co. Food Hall (see individual listings herein)
Located in the historic Carolina Coach Garage and Shop, this hip food hall houses local seafood, burritos, bagels, housemade meats and pastas, burgers, Asian fare, and more—plus a bar. 500 E. Davie St., 984.232.8122, transfercofoodhall.com

Woody’s at City Market
205 Wolfe St.

Vic’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
Owner Mario Longo has been serving authentic old-world Italian and NY-style pizza and traditional pastas for 30+ years overlooking City Market. Pro tip: Park it on the patio. 331 Blake St.; 4035 Lake Boone Trail

Fayetteville Street District 

Benny Capitale’s Pizza
121 Fayetteville St.

The Berkeley Cafe
217 W. Martin St.

The Big Easy NC
222 Fayetteville St.

Capital Club 16
This art deco landmark (14-foot ceilings, vintage subway tile and heart pine floors salvaged from the 1800s) serves as a beautiful backdrop for locally sourced traditional American fare with European influences. 16 W. Martin St.

Carroll’s Kitchen
19 E. Martin St.

Clyde Cooper’s BBQ
Since 1938, Clyde’s has been a fave for its award-winning barbecue (with three styles to choose from to boot!), succulent beef brisket and juicy chicken—NTM the sides! 327 S. Wilmington St.

Crema at City Plaza
421 Fayetteville St.

Element Plant-Based Gastropub
421 Fayetteville St.

Fire Wok
442 Fayetteville St.

Happy + Hale
Fuel happiness and your body at this go-to healthy sup spot offering colorful salads and bowls, smoothies, and an all-day brekkie menu that you don’t even have to wake up early for. Oh hale yeah! 443 Fayetteville St.

Jimmy John’s
437 Fayetteville St.

Jimmy V’s Osteria + Bar
Never give up! Named for famed NC State coach Jim Valvano, upscale Italian fare is served alongside casual ops like pizzas and salads. 420 Fayetteville St.

lucettegrace
Start your day at this contemporary patisserie with croissants and coffee; escape midday with the box lunch (your choice of sandwich, salad or soup, and a treat) or reward yourself post-work with those legendary macarons. 235 S. Salisbury St.

Manhattan Cafe
Grilled cheese is for grown-ups! … And lunch is a vibe at this super-fresh local cafe by three brothers serving brekkie and lunch since 2009. 320 S. Wilmington St.

The Morning Times
10 E. Hargett St.

The Pizza Times
210 S. Wilmington St.

Plaza Cafe and Deli
411 Fayetteville St.

Raleigh Raw Juice Bar and Cafe
7 W. Hargett St.

The Raleigh TimesRM Best Bars 2021; RM Top Bloody Pick
Located in the home of the 100-year-old building that housed the former The Raleigh Times newspaper, this downtown staple now encompasses almost an entire city block (with a rooftop patio to boot), plus a generous selection of craft beers and eats. 14 E. Hargett St.

Shish Kabob
438 Fayetteville St.

Sono Raleigh
Let the good times roll at this sexy-chic-but-approachable vibrant sushi resto serving up world-class rolls (not to mention ramen and other Japanese faves), with a huge cocktail and sake selection to boot. 319 Fayetteville St.

Subway
150 Fayetteville St.; 234 Fayetteville St.

Union Special
A rotating menu of sweet and savory pastries, breads and cookies is enough to make you wanna stop by this full-service bakeshop and cafe on the daily, but don’t skip out on the delectable breakfast, brunch and lunch fare either. 401 Fayetteville St., Ste. 103

Warehouse District

Bad Cat Coffee, Crepes & Bagels @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Bella’s Wood Fired Pizza & Tapas @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

The Bowls @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Buena Papa Fry Bar @ Morgan Street Food Hall
Fries before guys—and everything else. Buena Papa’s loaded fries (topped with everything from Colombian refried beans and fried pork belly to meatballs and tomato sauce to grilled chicken and tzatziki) are truly all you need in life. 901 W. Morgan St.

Cousins Maine Lobster @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Cow Bar @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Curry in a Hurry @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Heirloom Brewshop
219 S. West St.

Jade Garden Restaurant
1207 Hillsborough St.

Irregardless Café
Treasured by carnivores and omnivores alike, this classic Raleigh venue is known for its global cuisine, as well as its flavorful and inventive vegan and vegetarian dishes. Come back at night for a meal to a backdrop of live music. 901 W. Morgan St.

Iyla’s Southern Kitchen @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

The Katsu @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Makus Empanadas @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Morgan Street Food Hall (see individual listings herein)
An oasis for some of Raleigh’s best food and drink ops, this new-age food hall serves up everything from wood-fired pizza, tacos and burgers to lobster rolls, ice cream and more—not to mention cocktails at its indoor/outdoor bar. 411 W. Morgan St.

Oak City Fish & Chips @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Parkside
“Parked” at the entrance to the Warehouse District, Parkside is situated in a building that’s served up Southern hospitality for over 100 years. Take a seat at the reclaimed barnwood bar for chef-inspired dishes and 25-plus beers on tap. 301 W. Martin St.

The Pit
Continuing NC’s barbecue legacy, The Pit doles authentic whole-hog, pit-cooked barbecue (think chopped barbecue pork and beef brisket). Opt for the warm-hued interior or the patio with a front seat to the hustle and bustle of downtown. 328 W. Davie St.

A Place at the TableRM Top Business Breakfast Pick
Having quickly gained local love and national acclaim, Raleigh’s first pay-what-you can cafe offers breakfast ops like quiche and waffles, and such lunch classics as salads, sandwiches and paninis. 300 W. Hargett St.

Primal Cuts @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Sam Jones BBQ
Prominent NC pitmaster Sam Jones brings his family’s signature Eastern North Carolina chopped whole-hog Q to Raleigh at Sam Jones BBQ, where trays and sandos are best served with the Skylight Inn-style cornbread. 502 W. Lenoir St.

Tuscan Blu
Ciao, bella. At this authentic Italian resto, classic Tuscany-inspired pasta, meat dishes, and daily specials await—either to dine in or enjoy alfresco on the patio. 327 W. Davie St.

Whiskey Kitchen RM Best Bars 2021; RM Top Brunch Pick
Exposed bricks, lofty ceilings, garage door-style edifice, light-strung large patio and a communal vibe serve as the setting for this whiskey haven—housing hundreds of top-notch whiskies, with a full bar program and Southern-inspired plates for pairing to boot. 201 W. Martin St.

Wicked Taco @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Wye Hill Kitchen & BrewingRM Best Bars 2021; RM Top Brunch Pick; RM Best Restaurants 2022
For brews and chews with epic views, Wye Hill serves up the best patio and skyline views around—paired with palatable chef-driven small and large plates and potables (including beers brewed on-site)… and a must-munch brunch. 201 S. Boylan Ave.

YoHo Hibachi & Sushi Burrito @ Morgan Street Food Hall
901 W. Morgan St.

Glenwood South

Anise Pho
222 Glenwood Ave.

Armadillo Grill
Whether for late-night eats or a casz meal, “Dillo” is a Raleigh staple, making authentic Tex Mex for over a quarter-century—with a full bar to boot. Fun fact: They make their own tortillas, which you can watch them press for each order. 439 Glenwood Ave.

Carolina Ale HouseRM Best Bars 2021; Game Day 2022 Bar
500 Glenwood Ave.

Char-Grill
618 Hillsborough St.

DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli
Um, you’re def on a knead-to-know basis when it comes to this local pizzeria and deli dishing homemade eats with fresh local ingredients that’ll steal another lil slice of your heart with every, well, slice (or salad, or sub…). Insider tip: Don’t sleep on the delivery service. 222 Glenwood Ave.

Flying Saucer Draught EmporiumRM Best Bars 2021
328 W. Morgan St.

Hibernian Irish Pub
Sláinte! Irish eyes are smiling indeed at this longtime two-story Glenwood South staple, famed for its Irish social club feel, beer and liquor selection, wraparound rooftop patio (with bar), and, of course, delish Irish dishes. 311 Glenwood Ave.

Iris Coffee Lab
725 Tucker St.

La Santa
It doesn’t get more authentic Mexican than a family-owned resto serving up fare using the owner’s mother’s recipes from Guadalajara—think handmade tortillas, bolillo and chicken enchiladas—best served with mezcal cocktails and margs. 222 Glenwood Ave., Ste. 107

McDonald’s
703 W. Peace St.

Mellow Mushroom
601 W. Peace St.

MoJoe’s Burger Joint
With a dozen-ish different styles, MoJoe’s signature award-winning handpressed burgers are 100% Sterling Silver Choice beef and 100% delicious. Add fries, famous MoJoe’s sauce and a brew (or a signature shake) for the full experience. 620 Glenwood Ave.

My Way TavernRM Best Bars 2021
With a Cheers-esque vibe and TVs on every wall, this neighborhood tavern is a great spot to catch the game over cocktails and brews—and all the food you need to keep your game day fueled. 522 St. Mary’s St. 

Plates Neighborhood KitchenRM Top Brunch + Business Breakfast Pick
Nestled on a cozy strip of Glenwood South with a spacious patio, this vibey rustic neighborhood kitchen dishes an ever-evolving menu of reimagined Southern favorites. 301 Glenwood Ave.

Raleigh Beer GardenRM Best Bars 2021
614 Glenwood Ave.

Sushi Blues
An affordable spot to get a wide selection of fresh sushi and sashimi in a casual, sleek environment, Sushi Blues is known for its BOGO rolls (try the Wolfpack) and half-price wine bottles on Sundays and Wednesdays. 301 Glenwood Ave.

Sushi O Bistro & Sushi Bar
222 Glenwood Ave.

Thaiphoon Bistro
DTR’s first (but no longer only) Thai resto is famed for its handcrafted authentic fare repping every region of Thailand. Don’t miss the papaya salad, the green curry or any of the house noodle dishes. 301 Glenwood Ave., Ste. 190 

Tobacco Road Sports Cafe & BreweryRM Best Bars 2021
Born out of owners Amra brothers’ vision for combining good food and sports-watching, TR is the quintessential spot for catching the game over world-class beers, cocktails and fresh locally sourced fare. 505 W. Jones St. 

*Visit Downtown Raleigh Alliance for updates + see our fast-casual and full-service dining guides for where to eat across the city. Looking for brunch or rooftops? Gotcha covered.

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