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Raleigh cafe menu has 'Big Easy' inspiration

Chef Coleen Speaks opened Hummingbird cafe late last year.

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Kathy Hanrahan, Out
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RALEIGH, N.C. — Chef Coleen Speaks is bringing a little bit of New Orleans to Raleigh. The successful caterer is serving up gumbo, oyster po'boys and other Louisiana fare at her cafe, Hummingbird.

Speaks, who holds an accounting degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, found the culinary world much more exciting than crunching numbers. The St. Louis native found joy throwing dinner parties and working in restaurants, including Emeril Lagasse's NOLA Restaurant.

Hummingbird's Ricotta Fritters
Speaks moved to Raleigh just over a decade ago, working locally at Bloomsbury Bistro and Enoteca Vin. She launched PoshNosh Catering in 2007.
Last year, the mother of two recently opened Hummingbird and Whitaker and Atlantic, a private event space – both located in Raleigh's Dock 1053.

"My goal was to create a space that was approachable, beautiful and welcoming to all," Speaks said. Portrait Room, a 16-seat space adjacent to Hummingbird's main space, is aptly named for its collection of paintings – some kitschy – of people of various races, ethnicities and backgrounds.

Oyster Po'boy at Hummingbird

Inside the main room sits Hummingbird's marble bar and 12 bright yellow stools. While seating is limited indoors, Hummingbird plans to add outdoor seating on the promenade and lounge seating next door at Whitaker and Atlantic.

Open 8 a.m. until midnight, Monday through Saturday, the cafe serves fresh-squeezed juice and coffee in the morning alongside pastries, including ricotta fritters and jam, butterscotch sticky buns and coconut-chia seed pudding. The bar also has boozy coffee cocktails and Micheladas.

The lunch menu will feature vegetable bahn mi’s with mushroom paté, grilled cheese with apricot jam, po'boys with cornmeal fried seafood, and salads, accompanied by a clever “Session” cocktail menu including an Aperol Spritz.

Small plates and bar snacks include togarashi-seasoned popcorn and shrimp dip, house-made pretzel bread with tangy pub cheese and brandied paté.

Dinner selections are a bit heartier with hot and cold small plates including charbroiled oysters, Cajun-style gumbo, buttermilk fried quail, pickled shrimp and Garam Marsala-scented wings. Dessert includes a collaboration from the kitchen and bar – Soyer au Champagne – a coupe filled with vanilla ice cream, bubbles, Luxardo and brandy.

Hummingbird's bar menu has a short wine menu and by-the-bottle beer selection. The focus is on custom craft cocktails with updated takes on modern classics and original cocktails with floral inspirations. The venue's signature cocktail, the Hummingbird, is a hibiscus tea-infused cocktail.


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