Raleigh’s Top 5 Restaurants for Business Lunch

The dining scene in and around Raleigh has certainly improved over the past 10 years. This article will highlight some of the best destinations for entertaining a business associate over lunch.

To start off correctly on this culinary adventure there are several attributes that all of our featured restaurants share that should be pointed out right off the bat. Those are that they all afford appropriate atmosphere, service, menu selection and quality for almost any business lunch occasion. Additionally, they all offer adequate parking, can complete service in a comfortable 60-90 minute window and have high ratings from the sanitation department. If it is of interest to you they each also carry full beer, wine and liquor permits.

Most importantly they are all locally owned and operated, many sourcing fresh ingredients from nearby farmers and enhancing the economy by reinvesting in local charities as well as being involved in their communities. The author is a huge fan of all the restaurants mentioned and it would be worth your effort to try all of them as soon as practical. The restaurants are presented in reverse alphabetical order.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst off then is the newest restaurant on our list, Relish Café and Bar located on Creedmoor Road. The menu is clearly southern comfort food with items like BL & fried green T sandwich and a full range of “not your mothers grilled cheese” gourmet selections (all of which were highly rated by the author). The unique twist is incredibly fresh and well paired ingredients. The portions are appropriate and prices quite easy on the expense account. A small grocery section also features house made specialties such as pimento cheeses, salsas and preserves. A great choice for entertaining anyone wanting to experiencing a taste of the South.

the-pitThe Pit has won national acclaim from Southern Living Magazine, Zagat and The Food Network. Known for its NC inspired BBQ and rib preparation the real treat when visiting is the quality of side dishes. Prepared in traditional Southern style I could easily get my fill without ever having to order an entrée – yes they are that good and they offer all the appropriate sauces and spices. If you are looking to treat a client from out of state wanting to experience NC culinary culture look no further – you’ve hit the BBQ-lode.

midtown-grilleMidtown and Bar 115 is centrally located in North Hills offers an upscale atmosphere with food and service to match. The prices are a bit higher than average, but the food quality is as well. If you are wearing a tie, dare a suit, you will feel quite comfortable although more casual attire is also common. Be sure to consider the often updated specials featuring gourmet takes on classic American fare.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur Penultimate feature is J. Betski’s and as the name might imply you are in for the most incredible German and Polish menu items imaginable. With all meats (sausages, brats, and burgers) being ground fresh onsite you will be blown away by the authentic European plating’s of everything from Kielbasa and Bratwurst to classic sides like Sauerkraut and German Potato salad. This is a menu for the enthusiast that won’t let you go wrong. If the occasion permits the beer list is absolutely not to be missed. This restaurant is on the smaller side and incredibly popular. If you happen to come upon an unacceptable wait walk around the corner to 18 Seaboard, which would definitely have also made this list had space allowed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARounding out our Business lunch list of powerhouses is David’s Dumpling and Noodle. David made his fame at Duck and Dumpling and now brings the best of his talents to this relatively new restaurant. Aside from the expected menu items there are gems to be found. Don’t pass up the side salad with creamy ginger dressing and if your entrée is not plated with a spring roll be sure to order a side or appetizer. As a special value unlimited refill of regular or sweet tea is included with lunch entre items. Probably the least expensive option on our list you can’t go wrong.


If you need to accommodate a larger group I can recommend David’s Dumpling and Noodle and Midtown Grille, both have large and private dining areas available.

Whenever a “best of” list is published there are always more that surely deserve to be included. If I’ve missed your favorite business lunch spot in the Triangle email me at jsnell@enlign.com. If warranted we’ll print a follow-up story with reader favorites.

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