New JoCo and Area Restaurants

Discussion in 'Discussion Group' started by DWK, May 20, 2021.

  1. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    Since we had a poster on here recently who was genuinely frustrated by the lack of decent restaurants in JoCo, I thought I’d start a “New JoCo and Area Restaurants” thread where we could post our thoughts about local area restaurants we have been to, discuss rumors about what may be coming, and maybe talk about what we’d like to see around here in the future.

    Although it’s not in Clayton, and is located a mile or two away from downtown Fuquay-Varina on Hwy 55, I dropped by “La Farm Bakery” today, which opened as a “pop-up” just two months ago in order to “test the local market”, according to an employee there. Not sure how long they’ll be there, or if there’ll decide to open a more permanent place, but La Farm is operated by a talented French baker, who also operates several other La Farm Bakeries in the area, and bakes using fresh, high quality ingredients. And even though, it’s advised “never to eat anything bigger than your head”, you can’t go wrong with their humongous Bacon and Cheddar biscuits, which are beyond delicious, and could probably substitute for an entire meal. They also offer an assortments of amazing, European-style breads, croissants, desserts, spreads, and specialty coffee drinks. So, if you’re wanting to try a new place, and pick up some decent bread for later on, this might be a good option. It’s like having a little bit of France in Fuquay. Enjoy!

    Update: Good News! La Farm Bakery has extended their pop-up venue in Fuquay through the end of August 21, 2021.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  2. BuzzMyMonkey

    BuzzMyMonkey Well-Known Member

    How lovely !!
  3. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    Any local company, especially one like La Farm, which was nominated for a James Beard Culinary Award for its bread, and also employs and trains local people, IS about as “lovely” as it gets ….especially since their workers get paid more competitively than your typical fast-food place, which is usually just minimum wage. So, it’s a “win-win” kind of thing. :)
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
  4. lawnboy

    lawnboy Well-Known Member

    Good find. Poster was I; and I was talking about Cleveland, not Clayton. If anything, Clayton and Fuquay are the incorporated towns likeliest to have better options. Don't forget about Zeera Indian in Fuquay, or Sushi Iwa in Clayton. There are more options than that, and independent ones, but others may have more info and experience in reviewing any of those than I do.
    DWK likes this.
  5. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    I hear ya. As Cleveland and McGee’s was mostly rural just 10 short years ago, the type of business development, especially with all the fast food restaurants along 40/42, tended to reflect that fact. I occasionally like Biscuitville and Bojangles just as much as anybody, (seriously, I’ll eat just about anything!) but we are loooong overdue for higher quality, fresh food dining options, that don’t include so many fast food places, and it IS happening - just a little more slowly in JoCo, than in Wake. But when change happens so quickly, like in Cleveland (and Clayton in general), it sometimes takes a while for business developers and restaurant owners, to change their PERCEPTIONS of an area. Of course, we could always speed things up, and directly lobby somebody like Ashley Christiansen to consider the Cleveland area for their next food venture. We need a “Poole’s”, a “Pooleside Pies”, a Beasley’s Chicken”, and a “Death by Taxes” here! But at least it’s encouraging that Chef Scott Crawford will be opening up a place in Clayton. If his restaurant is here, then maybe Ashley Christiansen and others, will soon follow. D3E8999C-5A47-465B-B768-16C28FCF6957.jpeg FBB06446-96CC-4CE2-9890-A965D4528C85.jpeg BD5200C7-409A-4DD4-A198-316B833808D8.jpeg CD35D0EC-C54B-493E-AC89-944AAC68C2E1.jpeg
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
  6. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    It looks like contractors are starting to work on the interior fit-up, and the exterior seating area at 401 E.Main Street in downtown Clayton, where the new Crawford Cookshop restaurant will be. There were contractors in the old Flipside space today, (5/22) so it appears that they are remodeling that space as well as expanding into the storefront area on E. Main Street. This is one restaurant that’ll be a game changer for JoCo, so I’ll be following the progress closely on this thread.

    Note: If the Flipside is gone for good, instead of relocating somewhere else, I’m sure that their live music offerings will be greatly missed, but their absence might present an opportunity in the area for another enterprising business developer to offer a live, local music venue.

    Last edited: May 26, 2021
  7. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    I thought I’d migrate this post about the new Celtic Creamery Ice Cream business opening up in Smithfield from the other thread, just to keep the new restaurant information in the same place:

    Celtic Creamery is scheduled to open at the end of May 2021,at 257 Hwy 210 in Smithfield, and features handmade, Irish style ice-cream. This should be a welcome addition for local ice cream fans this summer. 4C830FB4-37F0-4613-98D1-601B8DE2118E.jpeg FAFC168B-C902-4B2A-B1F0-7CC1A38BA79D.jpeg 64C672B0-B687-4134-A339-7F456882EDF8.jpeg
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
  8. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    And also some other migrated content from the other thread discussing local restaurants, and some in Raleigh:

    Last edited: May 24, 2021
  9. poppin cork

    poppin cork Well-Known Member

    Gold star for the B.
  10. BuzzMyMonkey

    BuzzMyMonkey Well-Known Member

    Groovy !!’
  11. jesse82nc

    jesse82nc Well-Known Member

    Flipside has been gone for almost 2 years now. They had an auction of all thier stuff inside about a year or so ago. Even sold the chairs and lights.

    There's a list there of everything they sold.
  12. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    Too bad….2 years ago was about the last time that we were there. Sad to see them go though. We used to enjoy the Flipside on “open mic” night to hear all the local JoCo talent. You’re not kidding when you say they “sold everything”!
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
  13. rrgreennc

    rrgreennc Well-Known Member

    The Chinese restaurant near Walmart that you referring to - is that Yi Ge Asian Cuisine (in the former Wendy's building)? I've often wanted to try that but always forget since I don't pass by that area much anymore.
    DWK likes this.
  14. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    Yep, that’s the one. Thank you for remembering the name! We stopped by for lunch today (5/26) after having been away for over a year, and it looks to be much the same inside and out. Along with the usual fare to be found in American Chinese restaurants, they also offer more authentic, homestyle dishes to try.

    The only issue that I notice with Yi Ge Asian Cuisine is that from the outside, the restaurant looks like just another American-style Chinese, fast food joint, (or maybe a remodeled post office!), but once you’re inside and take a look at the menu, you quickly realize that Yi Ge Asian Cuisine is so much more than just a typical American style, Chinese restaurant! It’s more like the kind of restaurants that you would normally find in cities with larger Chinese populations. So, there seems to be a kind of “disconnect” between the appearance of the exterior, and the kind of authentic Chinese food that you will find inside. Simply put, it’s a little bit confusing and begs the question: “Does Yi Ge want to be just a forgettable, “Chinese fast food place”, or does it aspire to be a “Chinese fine dining establishment”, specializing in cooking authentic regional dishes?” Right now, it’s a little bit of both.

    I understand that in order to survive, Chinese restaurants need to cater to the average American’s idea of Chinese food (“eggrolls”, “chow mein”, “fortune cookies”), and while Yi Ge Asian Cuisine DOES offer its customers those typical menu items, at a competitive price point, ( combination lunch specials are $8.50 and include choice of soup or salad, and white or fried rice). they don’t tend to advertise their menu items that are more authentically Chinese. And this is the ONE THING that could really set them apart from most of the competition in the area. Also, if the owners were to spruce up the exterior a bit, and ditch their outdated “cartoon logo” (which unnecessarily cheapens their brand), then customers would be better able to justify spending more on some of their pricier dinner entrees. (Hong Kong style lobster, $28.95, whole or half bbq roast duck, $15.95; $25.95). In addition, providing some outdoor seating, and a more welcoming entryway, might also go a long way to attract local diners. All in all, Yi Ge Asian Cuisine is a great little place that we’re lucky to have in JoCo, but needs to show the public just how unique they are from all the rest.

    56BDC1DF-FE8E-41EB-8C46-7E042467F529.jpeg 967115DA-2E81-4B4D-B1BF-F5D0F9625515.jpeg 222B7FA2-086C-413A-BE33-1BE04EFE3691.jpeg 2AE725A4-A4C8-40E7-A042-D8EB447946B8.jpeg B7ED9B2A-C22A-434A-80A5-783BD8AA69DF.jpeg 80C72C7B-13BB-4520-80B2-12156856E8BE.jpeg
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  15. barney726

    barney726 Well-Known Member

    Yi Ge Asian Cuisine has very good food. Received very good rating from Greg Cox, N&O Food Critic. Only issue since COVID is some inexperienced staff and not enough staff. One very nice young server brought our entrees way before our soup. She was not trained, not her fault. We continue to dine there, Food is good and lunch prices are fair.
    DWK likes this.
  16. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were there yesterday and noticed the same issues. Food was good, but the owner, or manager, was very curt and snappish with us, as soon as we walked in the door, even though there were only two, small tables of diners there at lunchtime. Naturally that left us feeling unnecessarily rushed, and a bit put-off. Any restaurant should understand that offering a welcoming smile and a brief, pleasant interaction with their customers, is just as important as serving good food. (And as the old saying goes: “you can catch more flies with honey, than vinegar”, so it makes good business sense too!) Fortunately, I don’t recall this happening all the other times that we were there (before the pandemic), so we’ll give them a couple of months to get their staff issues sorted out before returning again. The trouble is, quite a lot of our food service industry workers have found new jobs in other industries during the pandemic (Hello, delivery drivers!), and now they don’t want to return to their former restaurant jobs.
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
  17. lawnboy

    lawnboy Well-Known Member

    It's hard running a business, then you add the challenges of the past year, then you add the fact that every wannabe retail/restaurant associate magically thinks they are now worth $15 an hour base, that a 10 minute break means 15, that they really aren't that invested in making the owner look good because they can make more sitting at home on Uncle Joe's dime for a few more months, and your patience and sanity is only so thin. Add the 95* heat this week, and you have tempers. I try to be understanding of the owners. Waitstaff, notsomuch. And if you think giving servers $15 an hour and eliminating the tipping system is going to get anyone half the level of service we've been accustomed to since sometime after WWII, think again.
  18. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you might be a small business owner who had a bad day, and took my last post personally. I understand that it’s hard to run ANY business these days, but it’s practically a cardinal rule in “Business 101” for owners and servers to treat their customers well, otherwise they will go somewhere else where they will feel more welcome. It also works in reverse too, so you might want to try that the next time you’re dining out, and you may get better service.

    In fact, this reminds me of the time that my family went to “The Flying Biscuit” in Raleigh, for breakfast, and the server messed up my husband’s order. We never make a big deal out something like that since mistakes do happen sometimes, and as a family dining out, our goal is to have a nice time, and not go on a ranting power trip, and harass the server, if they mess up. Anyway, our server apologized profusely for the mistake, corrected the order, and everybody was happy. But as we were leaving, she stopped us at the door, and almost in tears, thanked us for being “so understanding” and “polite” to her, which surprised me, since we weren’t doing anything special - just saying “please” and “thank you”, and treating her like the hard-working human being that she is. She then went on to say that as a server, some customers can be “very abusive” towards them, which surprised me even more. I gave her a big hug at the door, and told her to be proud of what she does for a living, as any working person should be, no matter what they do, or how much they get paid to do it.

    Maybe that’s why YOUR favorite restauranteur, Ashley Christiansen, the owner of Poole’s in Raleigh, has in recent years, painted a big sign on the windows of her restaurant, reminding customers about “kindness”. Kindness matters, whether you are a restaurant owner operating an establishment under duress, a harried restaurant worker serving meals to the public, or a “hangry” customer waiting on your food. As I’ve said, unfortunately, we did not have a very good experience dining out yesterday, but we will try them again in the future, just to give them the benefit of the doubt. But if we continue to have the same uncomfortable experience there, then we will go elsewhere in the future, no matter how good their food may be.

    Last edited: May 29, 2021
  19. Wayne Stollings

    Wayne Stollings Well-Known Member

    Several years ago we were eating at one of those seafood buffet places at the beach with teenagers dressed as mermaids sat in a pool at the entrance. The seating in our area was a row ow tables with a low wall and another row of tables. When we sat down there was a discussion in the next set of tables which were all together. Adults and children totaled at least 10 people, but they were disputing the mandatory gratuity for large groups with the manager. The manager finally gave in and deducted the gratuity, but the bill was still well over 100 dollars from what we heard. Afterwards the group "pooled" their resources for the tip and left a kingly $0.18 because they counted it out loud enough for us to hear and made snide comments that merely bringing drinks and bussing their dishes between visits was not worth even that small amount. My wife kept me from commenting to them as she knows how I get when people mistreat others and this sounded like what was called "trash" back where I grew up trying to tell these teenagers they were somehow beneath the people being served. After the group left and the kids were cleaning up the table I walked around the wall and gave them what should have been an appropriate tip. I told them they should not be punished for having to deal with those types of ignorant fools. After we ate and left our tip we were halfway to the parking lot when a server yelled to us to stop. I had forgotten my hat and the server had chased us down to return it because in their words we had treated them decently and it was the least they could do in return. I was in a much better mood through the next day because a lesson had been given to all of us... except for the group who were oblivious to their bad actions. We ate there at least once every trip to the area after that.
    DWK likes this.
  20. DWK

    DWK Well-Known Member

    Good for you in rectifying the situation like that! I wasn’t aware of the kind of terrible, verbal abuse that restaurant service workers routinely suffer at the hands of customers, until that particular server shared a few examples with me that day. And it was shocking. I eventually researched the topic, and found that “customer abuse”, and “low wages” in general, are the primary reason why restaurants lose their workers. Like I said, I was sad to hear of the experiences of that server, but I really shouldn’t have been all that surprised by her story, or yours, for that matter.

    During the past 30 or 40 years, we as Americans, increasingly view the “worth” of a person, based only in monetary terms, that have nothing whatsoever to do with their character. Every day, in the media (ALL media) we are bombarded by stories glorifying some “billionaire” and his “net worth”, as if “net worth”, in itself, makes a person “valuable”, or “worthy” of our respect. What a crock! I believe that it is THIS attitude that has become increasingly internalized, so much so, that it is causing more and more abuse of our restaurant workers, and service workers in general. So, if you are upset that restaurant service workers “have not returned to the industry”, and if you “leave bad tips because you are deliberately devaluing restaurant workers based on what they do for a living”, and if you continually “mistreat service workers while you are dining out”, then maybe YOU are a big part of the problem! Just sayin’.
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
    Wayne Stollings likes this.

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