Margaux's owner and general manager Steve Horowitz can remember a time when dining out was about getting away from the stress of the day and sitting down together.
After 20 years of running the north Raleigh restaurant and even longer in the restaurant industry, Horowitz has noticed influx of diners nowadays transfixed on their cell phones.
But he is hoping to change that.
The restaurant is considering a special promotion that would give diners 5 percent off their bill if they are willing to check their cell phones with the hostess at the beginning of the meal.
"I want to get back to 'once upon a time' when people relaxed," Horowitz said.
Margaux's is the type of place where people tend to linger. It could be the decor – a mix of pieces from local artists that rotates every two to three months – or the rich cuisine – a blend of French, Southern and Asian.
Twenty years ago when Margaux's opened the cuisine was strictly French. Four years later, things began to change when London born chef Andrew Pettifer joined the team as Chef de Cuisine. Influenced by his international culinary training, Pettifer helped craft the menu to include a variety of styles.
Now, the ever-changing menu keeps it interesting for customers and staff. The menu changes slightly each day and drastically from week to week.
The cocktail menu is also ever changing as the restaurant makes it own spice-infused syrups and blends.
The basis for each dish, however, lies in the ability to get fresh ingredients - from seafood shipped in from the coast to produce from local farmers, Horowitz said.
There are some staples that keep customers coming back like the popular lunch item the Mac Daddy sandwich containing sauteed fillet tips, Horowitz said.
Another favorite is the early bird three course prix fixe menu, which gives diners a variety of options for $19.95 per person. After 6:30 p.m., the price goes up to $27.95 per person.
The restaurant also has a pulse on the vegan and vegetarian community. There are always vegan items available on the menu and they are prepared by a vegan chef on staff.
While things are ever-changing Margaux, some things have remained the same since it opened two decades ago. The giant fish tank that resides in the back of the main dining area is a holdover from the building's past as an outdoor store.
Some regular events at Margaux's to watch out for:
- The restaurant holds Lobster Fest each June to celebrate its anniversary. The event includes live music and, of course, lobster!
- Coming up in November, they will hold a Thanksgiving day buffet, which routinely serves 1,000 diners.
- Live music once a month.