Our Five Faves

Gerald Owens and others give fave date places

Posted February 10, 2012 6:30 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 2:19 p.m. EDT

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we decided to ask some of the folks in the newsroom their picks for romantic or date places. WRAL anchor Gerald Owens, reporter Erin Hartness and Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie each gave us their picks for great date restaurants. 


Gerald Owens

Gerald Owens

Reys (Cary)romantic, with a great staff.

Second Empire (Raleigh)for that memorable occasion where you want to be alone without being alone.

Ruckus(Cary)great family restaurant, a warm, friendly place. It feels like your neighborhood restaurant where you can find a good mix of traditional Italian dishes and local favorites.

411 West (Chapel Hill) - fun place. Good blend of dishes, reasonably priced

Sushi Thai (Cary) - great sushi and traditional Japanese cuisine




Erin Hartness

Erin Hartness


The food is amazing. It’s as good as every accolade its earned. I’ve interviewed owners/chefs Karen and Ben Barker and they are every bit as nice as they are talented.

Rue Cler (Durham) This is where my husband and I went to celebrate our engagement. It’s also one of my favorite spots for brunch.

Watt's Grocery (Durham) - Every time I go, I find a new favorite dish. It’s wonderful.

Nan's (Durham) - I’m getting hungry just thinking about Nana’s. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is very cozy and romantic. It would be a perfect spot for Valentine’s Day.

Guglhupf (Durham) - This is another one of my favorites for brunch, but it’s also great for dinner. The atmosphere is very cozy. The bakery is fabulous.

Lantern (Chapel Hill) - I was lucky enough to eat here for a birthday celebration this year. The food is wonderful. I can see why Chef Andrea Reusing recently won a James Beard award.


Laura Leslie

Laura Leslie

Bella Monica (Raleigh) - Tiny, cozy, great food, great service! (But you'd better make a reservation - they're always busy!) Plus, it's where I went on my first date with my sweetie.