As a Raleigh native (something of a rarity these days) I have definitely seen the restaurant scene flourish over the years. Raleigh has gone from a town full of chains to a bustling city full of independent and striving restaurants. Although I don’t want to admit it, we can thank the influx of outsiders (i.e. Yankees) to our fair city for their desire for improved dining options. The population boom in Raleigh and surrounding areas has brought new life to a once dormant restauarant scene. Growing up here, we were limited on our dining options. We had the typcial chains that are in every city, but who wants to eat there. There was always the Angus Barn, but that was something you did on special occasions, or someone else was paying the check. You remember Darryl’s on Hillsborough St.? Hole in the wall places like Casa Carbone, Amedeo’s, Piccolo Mondo (Owners of the now Café Tiramisu), The Peddler, and Winston’s Grille are some of the few places that remain today from the old Raleigh I grew up in. The development of North Hills (not going to call it Midtown) and Glenwood South, followed by the opening of Fayetteville St. and the rest of the general improvements downtown have also played a huge role in Raleigh’s ever-changing restaurant scene. I could write a whole entry about the evolution of downtown Raleigh, but I’ll save that for another day. We can also link the progress to the trend of restaurant groups, such as Empire Eats, Urban Food Group, AC Restaurants, and Eschelon Experiences. We have a James Beard award winning chef in Raleigh, how cool is that? You can go on Urban Spoon now and find thousands of dining options besides shitty chains. Raleigh has now become a desirable place for chefs throughout the country to come and hone their skills in an ever-growing market. The days of Applebee’s or Chili’s for dinner are thankfully gone. I’m not saying Raleigh is New York, or even Atlanta. But looking back and seeing the progress of where we were, the future is bright for Raleigh.