Raleigh, N.C. — The Raleigh restaurant scene has received a lot of attention for its wide array of great offerings, but I have long since been surprised by the lack of organic dining options in the area. Thankfully, this need is now being filled by the recent opening of Organic Festival in Poyner Place just across the street from Triangle Town Center Mall in north Raleigh.
Organic festival is Raleigh’s first 100 percent organic restaurant. Menu offerings include salads, sandwiches, kababs, soups and pizzas with a host of sides and mixed vegetables. Entrees such as the grilled chicken and beef kabab, or wild-caught fish sandwich come with two sides and multi-grain bread for $12.95. Soup and stew options are $9.99. They come with one side and vary daily. Kids meals run $6.99, but kids can eat free every night 6-9pm. You get one free kid's meal for every adult meal purchased.
On the day my wife and I visited, the menu featured chicken and lamb stew, as well as lentil soup, vegetable soup and turkey chili. My wife ordered a bowl of turkey chili with fava beans and a side of roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables. I was tempted by their personal pizza option which is an 8-inch pizza. They have both a Margherita pizza (which comes with tomatoes, basil, garlic, mozzarella cheese) and a “Green Machine” option with several veggie toppings. The pizzas are all served on a multi-grain crust made right there in the shop.
Organic Festival doesn’t currently offer gluten free breads, but their entrees can be made gluten free by substituting the bread with mixed greens or quinoa pasta.
For those with a sweet tooth, there is a full case of delicious organic deserts including such treats as a strawberry pecan bar and a gluten-free double chocolate cake. Coffee served is from Raleigh’s own Larry’s Beans which uses only organic fair trade coffee beans.
The high ceilings, green painted walls and earth tone decorations add to the casual atmosphere at Organic Festival. Customers place their order and pay at the counter and the food is brought out your table. There are a dozen wood tables situated along one wall the length of the space with both chairs and bench seating.
In addition to the organic aspect, it is also great to know that the furniture in the restaurant comes from local reclaimed wood and the meat and produce they serves comes from local North Carolina farms whenever possible, like their fresh lettuce from Hilltop Farms, the only USDA certified organic farm in Wake County.
Service at Organic Festival was fast and friendly and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our meals. I definitely plan to go back soon.
The menu will continue to evolve featuring seasonal produce and there are also plans to start offering organic ground beef burgers complete with a whole wheat bun and apricot cranberry dressing. Another recent menu addition comes from the creative use of sweet potatoes which are prepared by roasting the potatoes with cinnamon, honey, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. If you have never had potatoes prepared that way I suggest you give them a try.
The restaurant has been open for just a few weeks now but word is already spreading about its organic offerings. Organic Festival currently only serves lunch and dinner but has plans to add breakfast to the menu later this year.
John Huisman writes about local events, food, and culture on his blog TriangleExplorer.com. He grew up at the Jersey Shore but has called Raleigh home for the last nine years.