A return engagement

February 4, 2004 

Now playing at the Raleigh Grande: "Lilly's Part 3 --Back from the Dead." OK, that's not really the name of Jon Garrison's new restaurant, and it isn't technically at the Raleigh Grande. It's next door in The Shoppes at Lynnwood, and the name of the restaurant is Lynnwood Grill (785-0043).

The extensive list of pizza topping options, however, strongly resembles that of Lilly's #2, which closed a year ago in the same spot -- and which, in turn, was a sequel to the original Lilly's, Garrison's popular Five Points pizzeria. And, as at Lilly's, there's an emphasis on local and organic produce.

But Lynnwood Grill is not a clone of Lilly's. For one thing, the hand-tossed crust is a little thinner (Garrison describes it as a cross between New York style-and California-style) at the new restaurant.

And this time around, the menu has been beefed up with a half-pound Angus burger and an assortment of sandwiches, ranging from club to eggplant parmesan. You can also choose from a handful of soups, salads and appetizers. With that kind of supporting cast -- just right for a quick bite before or after a movie -- it looks like Lynwood Grill may be in town for a long engagement.

Another recent addition to the restaurant lineup in North Raleigh is Ted's Montana Grill at Triangle Town Center. Media mogul Ted Turner was in town on Jan. 22 to open the latest location. Turner co-owns the chain with George McKerrow Jr., founder of the LongHorn Steakhouse chain.

The theme at Ted's is "American West meets the 21st century," which translates into fare such as cedar-planked steelhead trout and Texas-style chicken-fried chicken, served in a sleek arts and crafts dining room.

And bison. Lots of bison, from bison burger to slow-roasted bison prime rib to grilled bison Delmonico steak to Tuesday's blue plate special meatloaf, made with a blend of bison and beef. And with a kids' menu, house-baked cookies and old-fashioned milkshakes, it's a safe bet deer and antelope won't be the only ones playing here.

But for denizens of the western Triangle who don't want to roam all the way to North Raleigh, another Ted's Montana Grill is slated to open soon in Durham's Renaissance Center near The Streets at Southpoint.

The recent closing of the Fox & Hound in Cary produced a flood of e-mails from readers, most of them with three questions: Why did it close? Any chance it will reopen? Will I get my mug back?

In an attempt to get answers to these questions, I spoke to owner Jerry Garnett. For fans of the popular pub, his answers will likely be only partly satisfactory, but here they are:

According to Garnett, operating during lunch hours is a condition of leasing restaurant space at MacGregor Village. For the Fox & Hound, this was a costly proposition. Garnett says that a few fans of the pub have expressed interest in reopening it. But he didn't sound optimistic about the possibility.

Finally, Garnett told me he has informed the repossessing bank that the mugs do not belong to the Fox & Hound, but to the individuals who purchased them over the years and kept them at the pub. Speaking personally as one of those individuals, I'd sure like to get my mug back, too. But I'm not holding my breath.

On a happier note, congratulations to Dennis and Nancy Quaintance, who were recently recognized by the North Carolina Restaurant Association as Restaurateurs of the Year. The husband and wife team own Lucky 32 restaurants in North Raleigh and Cary and others in the Greensboro area.

Got a tip for Greg? Contact him ggcox@bellsouth.net.

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