When I saw that Second Empire made OpenTable’s 2015 list of the 100 “most romantic” restaurants in America, I cringed a bit. Not because I don’t think the restaurant is worthy, but because I felt bad for anyone who was there this past New Year’s Eve hoping for a romantic evening. I happened to be there with ten or so of my closest friends, and thanks to us, the room we were in wasn’t quite so romantic for anyone who was dining with us. Anyway, sorry folks.
The Triangle food scene has exploded in recent years and people are taking notice near and far. Andrea Weigl is certainly on top of things. Her recent write-up for the News & Observer formed a narrative around the recent spate of female entrepreneur chefs and blazed a trail for a subsequent piece coming from the New York Times by Kim Severson.
First, a bit of level-setting primer from Weigl:
But the capital has a growing crew of women running successful downtown drinking and eating establishments. Some owned their own places long before Christensen was named best chef in the Southeast last spring by the James Beard Foundation; others, inspired by her success, took the leap.
To, perhaps, a little more depth from Severson:
The North Carolina food sisterhood stretches out beyond restaurants, too, into pig farming, flour milling and pickling. Women run the state’s pre-eminent pasture-raised meat and organic produce distribution businesses and preside over its farmers’ markets. They influence food policy and lead the state’s academic food studies. And each fall, the state hosts the nation’s only retreat for women in the meat business.
I especially love the pork chop analogy that Severson uses to open up her piece to highlight the more-the-merrier atmosphere the permeates all of this growth.
Both articles are short and well worth a read. Weigl does a great job of highlighting some of the new hotspots while giving a little bit of background for the ladies behind them. Severson digs deeper into the complete farm-to-table phenomenon while also highlighting the strong female influence at each stop along the chain. The positive socio-economic impact is significant, but most importantly to me, the food is great and I’m just happy to be around to enjoy the spoils.
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”
“Once upon a time, food was about where you came from. Now, for many of us, it is about where we want to go—about who we want to be, how we choose to live.”
Two of Raleigh’s best restaurants made Southern Living’s Top 100 Restaurants in the South. Poole’s Diner and Stanbury represent the City of Oaks but quite a few other Triangle and Elsewhere, North Carolina restaurants made the list so be sure to check out the list. It took me a long time to grow up and grow out of chain restaurants, but I don’t think I could have picked a better time to jump on the bandwagon. Poole’s Diner is a personal favorite of mine and has long been on my list to write about since starting this site but I can’t land on a narrative. Stanbury was recently recommended to me and I’ve been trying for a while to get out to Chapel Hill to try Lantern. Mmmm, food is good.
(Hat tip: New Raleigh)