New and expanded restaurant options are elevating the
restaurant scene across western Wake.
Move over Raleigh and Durham: The communities of western Wake are becoming foodie destinations in their own right. Now when you go looking for the answer to that oft-asked question—“Where do you want to go for dinner?”—there’s
no need to wander far from home to find fresh and flavorful options. From cold brews and barbecue to global street
foods, seasonal dishes, and wood-fired pizza, the restaurant scene in western Wake is buzzing with newcomers
and celebrated chefs.
By Brittany Murdock
Owners: Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins
Executive Chef: Amanda Haisley
Cuisine: Global Street Food
Opening: January 2019
A Raleigh restaurant icon is moving to west Wake! On the heels of its eight successful years in downtown Raleigh, bu•ku announced it will relocate the original bu•ku to Cary, moving in January to the space formerly held by AN restaurant. The first restaurant will remain open through the end of this year and shutter after the New Year celebrations. Cary will mark the brand’s second move to suburbs; another location opened earlier this summer in Wake Forest.
What to expect when eating at bu•ku: Global foods inspired by street vendors from cities across the world. Complex and flavorful dishes currently on the menu include Korean Deviled Eggs and Vodka-Cured Scottish Salmon. And they’ve got beers from abroad and a spiced caramel apple dessert that will have you coming back for more.
Photos by Nathan Richards Photo
Owners: Gianni Cinelli
and Gregory Goldberg
Executive Chef: Gregory Goldberg
Location: Holly Springs
Opened: February 2018
Nestled in the former Little Hen space resides Osteria G, an Italian restaurant and wine bar that brings authentic, seasonal dishes and a relaxed atmosphere to the town of Holly Springs. Known for its handmade pastas, Italian cheeses, seared fish and meats, and an extensive wine list, Osteria G offers a variety of dishes to appeal to every palate. Stop by the next time you’re in town and experience a bite of Italy right here in western Wake.
Photos by Nathan Richards Photo
Scratch Kitchen and Taproom
Owners: Jeff and Meredith Kromenhoek
Location: Downtown Apex
Given that the owners have partnered with The Mason Jar Tavern (locations in Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina) and The Mason Jar Lager Company, odds are the new Scratch Kitchen and Taproom will be serving some pretty sassy signature brews. The aspirational opening date is looking at August, but even if it slips to September, it will be worth the wait to have another restaurant in the space formerly held by The Blistered Pig Smokehouse / Cantina 2 Twenty Five.
Photos courtesy of Scratch Kitchen and Taproom
Pizza La Stella
Managing Partner: Rudy Theale
Cuisine: Neapolitan Pizza
Authentic Neapolitan pizza, specialty cocktails, craft beer, and wood-fired wings—and its all headed to Cary! Pizza La Stella, which opened its first location in downtown Raleigh in December 2016, will be coming to Cary in August. Known for importing some of the finest products straight from Italy and for their fresh, never frozen ingredients, their perfection of wood-fired cooking (in ovens imported from Italy) and signature craft cocktails are what keep customers coming back for more. But they’re not just coming back for lunch and dinner. Pizza La Stella is also known for serving up some great brunch options sure to spice up your weekend plans.
Photos by Pam Varela
Dean’s Kitchen + Bar
Owner: Cook Hospitality Group
Chef: Lee Whitsel
Opened: April 2017
When you think of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, you think of Dean’s Kitchen + Bar. From fresh seafood and meats to local fruits and vegetables, it’s clear that their commitment to North Carolina farmers and creating scratch-made dishes in-house is at the top of their list. Enjoy dinner on the patio or skip a night out and head to an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch, where the menu features Southern classics like shrimp and grits and mimosas, along with a made-to-order egg and omelet station. And it’s not just about eating local: At Dean’s you can drink local, enjoying craft cocktails that feature local spirits from Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and other North Carolina cities.
Photos courtesy of Dean's Kitchen + Bar
Aviator Tap House
Owner: Mark Doble
Opened: November 2008
Beer isn’t the only thing Aviator Brewing Company is known for around town, but it’s certainly the headliner. Select from more than 600 different types of beer at their Beer Shop, take a tour of the brewery, enjoy 22 Aviator beers on tap at the Tap Room, and dive into some good eats at their Aviator SmokeHouse restaurant. They’re serving up some favorite homegrown recipes including smoked wings, pork, and ribs, and house-made onion rings. Top it off with one of their beers on tap and you’ve got yourself the perfect duo.
Be on the lookout for a new brewery expansion coming soon: In January, Aviator announced it would expand on a
new five-acre site, adding another restaurant, more brewing capacity, and a bar. Then in March Aviator purchased the former Elliotts Pharmacy building, with plans of opening Aviator Diner and resurrecting local favorites of bygone lunch counter days.
Photos courtesy of Aviator Tap House
Owners: Joel Ibarra and Miguel Araiza
Executive Chef: Miguel Cuevas
Cuisine: Mexican Street Food
Opened: September 2014
Step inside Totopos Street Food & Tequila and you’ll find yourself immersed in the culture of Mexico City. Vibrant décor and colorful lantern stars hang from the ceiling, welcoming visitors from near and far into a space surrounded by creative and authentic dishes. From homemade guacamole and Mexico City–style quesadillas to their fresh-squeezed citrus mixes that complete the margaritas and mojitos, Totopos is giving Cary a taste of authentic Mexican street food.
Photos courtesy of Totopos