"We were eager to find a new place to eat in downtown Raleigh," says Christy Woolard, who works downtown.
Now more than ever, the city center is serving up a variety of places to eat. In just six years, the number of restaurants has increased from 35 to 117. Despite the options, many people still believe dining downtown hardly exists.
"For many years, when you came downtown after 5 p.m., you could bowl down the streets," said Nancy Hormann, president and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. "And I think the people who live close to downtown are discovering what's going on downtown, and what makes these restaurants successful. But if you live in the suburbs, you haven't seen what's happening here and your mindset is ten years ago."
Right now, 75 restaurants in Downtown Raleigh are open at night. The city's goal is for every new restaurant to serve dinner.
"If they order it and I can cook it, it's going," says Harvey Yancy, owner of Yancy's.
At his new restaurant, Yancy plans to not only cook three meals a day, but offer room service to condo residents who live above his place. He welcomes the menu of new choices.
"Competition is good for everybody," he said. "The more competition there is, the more people come downtown."
Even more competition is expected. The city hopes to have 200 restaurants downtown in the next three years. Along with the 117 restaurants now downtown, seven new ones are expected to open up within six months.
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