Restaurant News & Reviews

In Eater’s list of the country’s ‘essential restaurants,’ Poole’s Diner retains its spot

Eater’s restaurant critic Bill Addison cites the macaroni and cheese at Poole’s Diner in his 2017 list of America’s Essential Restaurants. “The menu is always changing with the seasons, but the maraconi au gratin is forever,” he writes.
Eater’s restaurant critic Bill Addison cites the macaroni and cheese at Poole’s Diner in his 2017 list of America’s Essential Restaurants. “The menu is always changing with the seasons, but the maraconi au gratin is forever,” he writes. jleonard@newsobserver.com

The cornerstone of Raleigh’s dining community has been named one of the most “essential” restaurants in the country again.

Eater, a national restaurant and food website, released the 2017 list of America’s Essential Restaurants Wednesday, as judged by Eater.com’s restaurant editor Bill Addison.

The annual roundup – this year with 38 restaurants – recognizes Ashley Christensen’s flagship as helping define the best of what it means to eat in America today.

“The seat of Ashley Christensen’s empire effortlessly bonds Southern and French cuisines,” Addison writes of Poole’s. “The menu is always changing with the seasons, but the maraconi au gratin is forever.”

It’s the fourth year for the list, formerly known as The Best Restaurants in America list, and Poole’s appears for the third year in a row, surviving a major refresh that saw 18 restaurants added for the first time.

Eater’s list runs the full spectrum of American dining, from molecular gastronomy temples like Alinea in Chicago to Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville, famous for making incredibly spicy fried chicken worth suffering for. The restaurant of the year is The Grey in Savannah, Ga.

Christensen opened Poole’s in 2007 and has since added three more restaurants, a bar and an events space all in downtown Raleigh. In 2014 she won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast.

She is opening a pizza restaurant in 2018, Pooleside Pie, which will be next to Poole’s on South McDowell Street.

It’s more national acclaim for Raleigh’s downtown dining scene. In August, the new Brewery Bhavana was named one of Bon Appetit magazine’s 10 best new restaurants in the country.

Chef in town

Christensen is hosting Boston chef Matt Jennings Monday Nov. 13 for a cooking demo and cookbook party at the Bridge Club above Death & Taxes. Jennings is the chef and owner of the Townsman and has been nominated for the James Beard award for the best chef in the Northeast multiple times.

Jennings is promoting his new cookbook “Homegrown: Cooking from my New England Roots” and will cook a dish from the book with Christensen assisting. Tickets to the event are $65 and will include some small bites, wine and cocktails. The party runs from 6 to 9 p.m.

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson

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