Cary And Apex Dining Scene

Posted May 16, 2007

Cary is #5 on the list of Best Places to Live in America according to Money Magazine; with 1900 restaurants and 58 bars within a fifteen mile radius, locals have lots of places to celebrate the designation. Despite the standing and the wealth of places to dine, the restaurant landscape in Cary is just as bumpy as it is elsewhere. Restaurants open and close, chefs come and go, but one thing is certain – the times they are a changin.’

(Once sleepy areas are waking up and smelling the coffee; Salem Street in downtown Apex is practically on a caffeine high. The newly opened Good Day Café caters to families and has enjoyed a brisk business so far.) Last year Steve Adams, a relative newcomer to the area, fell in love with an old building next to the fire department and took a gamble, renovating it into Peak City Grill. The gamble paid off. Adams says his restaurant is getting traffic from Chapel Hill and Durham, as well as North Raleigh.

While establishments like Jimmy V's Steakhouse and Tony's Oyster Bar have been here all along, many of the dining options have been chains. In the last few years even the chains have become higher end.

The unbelievable popularity of Bonefish Grill and Ruth’s Chris Steak House convinced SAS owner Ann Goodnight that there was plenty of room for more restaurants. Citing the fact that the area draws visitors from all over the world, she wanted more dining options so she tapped Michael Chuong, former chef of the Goodnight-owned Prestonwood Country Club, to open An, a high-end Pan Asian restaurant located in the Arboretum. When Goodnight’s next project, The Umstead Hotel and Spa opens in a few months, their signature restaurant, Herons, will bring a world class chef and menu to Cary.

Bistro 64 serves first-class cuisine and has the warmth of a neighborhood restaurant; previously The Cosmopolitan Grill, Bistro 64 is thriving under the guidance of Emily and Will Massey, who wisely chose to keep Chef Randy Wilder when they purchased the restaurant from John Toler.
No stranger to Cary, Lou Moshakos, owner of Taverna Agora, Carolina Ale House and Papa Lou’s, recently gave Cary residents yet another alternative with Bentley’s American Grill.

Ethnic restaurants do well in Cary; Lotus Leaf, just down the street from An, is an intimate setting and offers reasonably priced Vietnamese food as well as jazz on the weekends.
Some of the best food in town is clustered in a shopping center called Chatham Square; Biryani House and Suchi Indian offer authentic Indian food at affordable prices; down the block, diners at Udipi Café can partake of an array of South Indian vegetarian foods.

Downtown Cary has cornered the Italian market with Bella Napoli, Ciao Café and Wine Bar and Vespa’s. Another Italian place, Daniel’s Restaurant in Apex, is a popular spot as well. Apex can also lay claim to an authentic Greek restaurant – XIOS.


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