Royale opens Friday night in downtown Raleigh

Cookies and milk dessert at Royale, which opens Friday in downtown Raleigh.
Cookies and milk dessert at Royale, which opens Friday in downtown Raleigh.

Royale, an American bistro with French and European influences, will open Friday night in the former Battistella’s space on Raleigh’s Moore Square.

The restaurant will open at 6 p.m., offering a limited menu this evening. A full menu will be available starting at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The team behind the restaurant is Will Jeffers, one of the partners in Raleigh’s well-regarded Stanbury restaurant and the newly-opened Cafe Lucarne; Jesse Bardyn, the chef and baker at Raleigh’s Cafe Lucarne; and chef Jeff Seizer, a newcomer to the Triangle restaurant scene.

The three men are partners in both Cafe Lucarne, which opened in July, and Royale. Seizer and Bardyn sat down recently to talk about the new restaurant, which Seizer described as a “French version of Union Square Cafe,” the New York restaurant run by highly-regarded restaurateur Danny Meyer where Seizer used to work.

“We want it to be really fun — a place you can come with a date or sit at the bar and eat a burger and enjoy a glass of wine, celebratory but also laid back,” Seizer said.

Noting that he and Seizer both have young children, Bardyn added: “And some place where you can bring children earlier in the day.”

Seizer, 34, moved to Durham after working at several New York restaurants and institutions: The River Café and several of Meyer’s establishments (as a sous chef Union Square Cafe, on the opening team at Maialino and a chef de cuisine at Gramercy Park Hotel). He then served as executive chef at the Langham Place, another luxury hotel. Seizer also spent two years as executive chef at Biricchino, a restaurant for Salumeria Biellese, an artisan meat wholesale institution that dates to 1925.

Bardyn, 38, spent seven years working at Asheville’s City Bakery, most recently as head baker, before coming to the Triangle and opening Cafe Lucarne.

Royale’s menu will feature playful versions of French bistro fare, such as duck a l’orange with a roasted breast and a crispy confit leg served with a Cara Cara and blood orange sauce and bouillabaisse made with N.C. seafood and Iranian saffron. The menu will include shellfish, charcuterie and “plat de jour” sections.

Bardyn, a bread baker at heart, said he wants to offer classic fun desserts: milk and cookies, banana split, salted caramel apple pie, a trio of ice creams, etc. “We just want to do things that are fun,” he said.

The wine list includes an affordable selection of champagnes and sparkling wines by the glass and bottle. The idea, Seizer said, was to make sparkling wine a more affordable option for the everyday meal.

Royale’s opening also means a tweak to the offerings at Cafe Lucarne, which has been open for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. The men explained that Cafe Lucarne has a liquor license and will eventually be open until 2 a.m. offering snacks, charcuterie and a full bar.

Royale is at 200 E. Martin St., Raleigh. Follow the restaurant on Instagram @RoyaleRaleigh, and Twitter @Royale_Raleigh. Hours: 5-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, closed Sunday.

Andrea Weigl: 919-829-4848, @andreaweigl