Cafe Lucarne in Raleigh’s City Market to transform into neighborhood bar

Cafe Lucarne in City Market has served breakfast and lunch but will soon become a neighborhood bar.
Cafe Lucarne in City Market has served breakfast and lunch but will soon become a neighborhood bar. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

The owners behind Cafe Lucarne are transforming the City Market cafe into a neighborhood bar, they announced Monday.

Cafe Lucarne opened in July in the former Benelux spot in City Market. Since then, it has served all kinds of breakfast and lunch fare – think avocado toast, grits bowls and innovative sandwiches.

But this weekend, the owners decide to move in a new direction, said Gwen Butler, one of the partners in the group that also owns Royale around the corner. The new restaurant will keep the Lucarne name, but will be known as LPM, or Lucarne at Night.

The restaurant will be closed Tuesday through the next few weeks while the space undergoes a complete overhaul.

Butler said that while Lucarne served great food, the owners decided they wanted to create more of a companion restaurant to Royale. Royale, which opened in the former Battistella’s space in November, is a bistro with American and European influences.

“We recognize it’s a great space,” she said.

“We just wanted to create a cool little brother of this place,” she said, referring to Royale.

Butler said the owners realize that Royale has a higher price point and that it can be hard to get reservations. LPM will be approachable and affordable, she said. She also hopes it caters to residents who have made downtown Raleigh their home.

“Downtown Raleigh is so exciting,” she said. “We can feel the momentum of development.”

The partners in Lucarne and Royale are Butler, who manages front-of-house operations; Will Jeffers, who serves as the business manager; Executive Chef Jeff Seizer; and Chef Jesse Bardyn, who directs pastry operations.

Seizer will develop an evolving menu for LPM. It will be informal, with the daily menu written on a chalkboard, Butler said.

LPM also is serving as a home for the talent that’s growing in Royale, Butler said. The chef de cuisine will be Roxy Garza while the managers are Cody Morgan and Reagan Crownover. All have been working at Royale.

“It’s all about attracting and keeping good talent,’ she said.

Butler said they hope to open by the end of March, if not sooner.

Jeffers came to Royale and Lucarne from Stanbury restaurant. Bardyn was head baker at Asheville’s City Bakery for seven years. Seizer has worked at several New York restaurants and institutions and has hosted several New York-themed cuisine pop-up dinners at Royale.

Info: Lucarne is at 309 Blake St. Follow LPM’s progress on Instagram at @LPMRaleigh.

Jessica Banov: 919-829-4831, @JessicaBanov