The economy got you down? Check out these two new area restaurants, whose names will put a grin on your face before you even walk in the door, and whose reasonable prices will keep you smiling.
In Fuquay-Varina, a miniature train making its rounds on overhead tracks sets a whimsical, family-friendly mood at Bullfeathers Wings & Grille (1625 N. Main St.; 577-0200; www.bullfeatherswings.com). In the adjoining bar, flat screen TVs and half a dozen beers on tap keep the brews-and-ball-games set happy.
As the name implies, Bullfeathers’ specialty is wings, which are fried to order and available with your choice of 20 sauces. In addition to the usual Buffalo variations (Classic, Hot and Volcanic), you’ll find several sauces here that you won’t find elsewhere, among them Tequila Sunrise, Thai Peanut and a mouth-scorching little number called A Wing and a Prayer.”
The “Bullfeathers” part of the name is represented by an assortment of variations on the burger (“Bull”) and grilled chicken sandwich (“Feathers”) theme. Other options include salads, wraps, and a deep-fried chimichanga-like twist on the wrap called the Savory Stuffer.
Bullfeathers is owned by the effervescent Gianna “G” Cramer, who makes about as many circuits of the dining room as the miniature train in an effort to make all feel at home. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily, with an open mic night on Thursdays and live music on Saturday nights. “We’re trying to make it feel like Cheers,” she says, “a friendly neighborhood kind of place where all kinds of people feel welcome.” But leave your cigarettes at home. Bullfeathers is a smoke-free establishment.
In North Raleigh, Fuhgeddaboudit Pizza (7321 Six Forks Road, in Celebration at Six Forks; 844-6692; www.bestpizzainraleigh.com) sports a name that’s sure to bring a nostalgic smile to transplanted New Yorkers. So will the decor, for that matter, which creates a funky vibe with Big Apple memorabilia and graffiti on the walls.
That’s as it should be, since the restaurant was founded by Richard Camos, who couldn’t find a good pizza when he moved here from Brooklyn, and his brother Gus, who still calls New York home but frequently visits the Triangle. The Camos brothers will proudly tell you that their pizza is the real deal, with a thin New York style crust made from low gluten dough, sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes, imported romano cheese and fresh (never frozen) toppings. The Red & White pie, which features a mix of fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, basil and garlic on house-made sauce, is, as the Web site proclaims, “straight from the Bronx.” The offering also includes Sicilian style pizzas, calzones, stromboli, hero sandwiches and a small selection of pastas.
Fuhgeddaboudit Pizza is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m to 11 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Beer and wine will be served pending approval of the liquor license.
On a sad note, Pizza Palace has closed after 45 years in Durham. Other recent closings include Citrus (Chapel Hill), Ciao! Osteria (Cary), Taste of Thai (Raleigh location only; the original location in Greensboro remains open), and The Triangle Grille (Cary).
Greg Cox's Hot List: Main Street bailout
Regardless of political affiliation, I'm sure most of us wish President Obama well in his efforts to get the nation's economy back on track. In the meantime, here are a few restaurants whose modestly priced offerings should help the bottom line for us individuals on Main Street.
China Palace, 5210 Garrett Road, Durham, 493-3088, www.mychinapalace.com, Cuisine: Chinese
Georgina's Pizzeria, 3536 Davis Drive, in Morrisville Market, Morrisville, 388-3820, www.georginaspizzeria.com, Cuisine: Italian
Havana Grill, 404 W. Chatham St., Cary, 460-8662, www.thehavanagrill.com, Cuisine: Cuban
Joyce and Family, 135 S. Main St., Fuquay-Varina, 567-1717, Cuisine: Southern
La Shish, 908 NE Maynard Road, in Reedy Creek Plaza, Cary, 388-8330, www.lashish.net, Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Los Cuates, 4524 Old Wake Forest Road, Raleigh; 3505 Capital Blvd., Raleigh, 872-6012 (Wake Forest Road); 954-1215 (Capital Boulevard.), Note: The Capital Boulevard location is a drive-through express., Cuisine: Mexican
The Raleigh Times Bar, 14 E. Hargett St., Raleigh, 833-0999, www.raleightimesbar.com, Cuisine: sandwiches, small plates
Skipper's Fish Fry & Market, 1001 E. Williams St., Apex, 303-2400, www.skippersfish.com, Cuisine: seafood
Thai House Cuisine, 1408 Hardimont Road, Raleigh, 878-3379, www.thaihouse-cuisine.com, Cuisine: Thai
Udupi Cafe, 590 E. Chatham St., in Chatham Professional Park, Cary, 465-0898, Cuisine: Indian vegetarian
Greg Cox is the restaurant critic and food writer for The News & Observer. He can be reached at the Epicurean blog at http://blogs.newsobserver.com/epicurean. Greg Cox's Hot List: Main Street bailout