Raleigh is losing another landmark this week as the old The International House of Pancakes on Hillsborough St. is closing its doors and moving down the block into a new shiny location in the Stanhope building. Gone is the familiar blue triangular roof that was like a beacon to drunk college students, almost as if calling your name as you were leaving The Player’s Retreat, Sadlack’s, The Brewery, PB’s or Jackpot. Now it will just be another sterile cog in the mix-used development that has taken over the city. Gone is the quaint ‘The International House of Pancakes’ sign that first graced us in 1968; now we’re only left with bright white neon coloring the sky. This seems all too familiar, as I had previously written about the revitalization of Hillsborough St. and the overall loss of charm and character in Raleigh. https://thewellredchef.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/the-ail-house/. The people watching on a Saturday night after the all the bars closed was epic. There were all walks of blurry-eyed life, wanting their Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity Pancakes to soak up a night full of cheap domestic beer and Jager. Not to mention some amazing longtime servers that spent many a late night serving the youth of Raleigh. At least we still have the ‘ol Waffle House for late night munchies. Not to get all sentimental, but as a Raleigh native, sometimes change can be hard. You grow accustomed to how things have been, and in some cases the change has been welcomed. However, I’ll still always miss the old North Hills mall back before it was Midtown, the grimy Ale House on Creek Side, and of course the beautiful dingy blue roof of The International House of Pancakes, as I can’t bring myself to call it IHOP. I just hope we don’t turn into Cary. Cheers Foodies!




Bar Code

So I was reading an article the other day on the interwebs about what if each US state was a person in a bar; hilarious reading btw. http://www.tickld.com/x/the-50-states-of-america-if-they-were-actually-people-in-a-bar Well, of course it got me thinking about what if each neighborhood in Raleigh was a person in bar. Sorry not sorry if I offend anyone.

North Hills/Midtown: Divorcee cougar who loves beach music on Thursdays. She can camp out on the patio all day with her girlfriends at Vivace, splitting a small Caesar salad, a Margarita pizza, and bottomless mimosas. Afterwards, stumbles into Target with her ex-husband’s money to buy bottled water and chardonnay.

Fayetteville St.: She only drinks what it on special. Fireball and Jagerbomb heavy. First real job money, most likely in a cubicle. She spent the last four hours getting ready and trying on thousands outfits to go out downtown and dance; probable tinder meetup.

Hillsborough St.: Most likely using dad’s credit card, in short shorts, croakies, and a visor. He travels in a pack and they only drink PBR, Bud Light, and Natty Boh with the occasional pickle back, brah. Still in college and hasn’t learned how to drink in moderation.

Oakwood/Mordecai/Person:  Hargett St.’s little bro is reading or blogging at the bar. Has new tattoos, an abundance of facial hair including a handlebar mustache.  A lover of craft cocktails, he always carries a man purse and loves to talk about his alt-country band. Vegan when convenient, but not after midnight.

Downtown Raleigh/Hargett: Loves IPA’s but drinks PBR because it’s cheap and trendy. Grabs a coffee every day at Morning Times in his skinny jeans, flannel, and trucker hat.  An artist and musician, but employed in the service industry.

OTB: Married couple with 2.5 kids. Only leaves the suburbs every 6 months to party with old friends in order to relive younger times. They try to visit Raleigh Beer Garden and The Ale House on Glenwood because they are shiny and new but have to be home by midnight to relieve the babysitter.

Five Points: A UNC Chapel Hill grad, she only hangs out with sorority sisters and people she grew up with. Her boyfriend is in boat shoes and Vineyard Vines while she’s always wearing a Lily Pulitzer sundress. Bud Light/Budweiser anyone? No outsiders allowed. BMW’s in the parking lot.

Cameron Village: Young couple drinking craft beer at Tupelo Honey while taking up two parking spots in their Land Rover with a sticker that says their son is an honor student at Daniels Middle School on the bumper. Has a sitter on speed dial. Never ventures OTB.

Glenwood South: Twins who love standing in lines and taking selfies. Shots shots shots constantly flowing. He’s drinking Heineken and listening to loud bass music and she knows the DJ. He’s always with his bro’s and she’s always white girl wasted. They leave JOCO once a month for the bright lights of the big city.

The Well Red Chef strikes again! Cheers foodies!


Barred from Fun

So I was sitting on the rooftop of Hibernian the other night, enjoying a beverage and scanning the skyline of Raleigh; a far cry from the downtown I remember growing up. Ten plus years ago, Glenwood South was Raleigh’s first nightlife hotspot, before downtown erupted with hipster bars. It was full of shitty clubs with dudes drinking Jager bombs and Heineken. Memorable bars such as Blue Martini, Cashmere, Hi5, Bogart’s, Red Room, Stool Pigeons, and Solas dominated the cocktail scene in Raleigh. And how could you forget White Collar Crime? If you liked not being able to walk five feet without bumping into someone, taking twenty minutes to get a drink, and not be able to hear the person next to you, they were the perfect place to spend a night out on the town.  No thanks. Don’t ask me how I remembered them all, thank Google. I might have even spent a few dollars a Bogart’s back in the day, don’t hold it against me. It was the cool thing to do. But now they have all shut their doors for good. Thank God. Not even Jon Taffer could save poor ‘ol Cashmere by turning it into bar of dueling DJ’s. What was he thinking by the way? Anyway, besides all the clubs you had the original pre-fire Hibernian, Southend Brewery, Ri-Ra, and Havana Deluxe if you wanted to go somewhere to avoid the douche factor. Then Ri-Ra closed and turned in Napper Tandy’s, and Southend Brewery turned into Natty Greene’s eventually. There was also the Fox & Hound in North Hills, as well as the original Creekside Ale House. I don’t know how many Saturdays I spent in Fox & Hound and Ale House after I moved back to Raleigh; way too much to admit. Now look at Glenwood South. Gone are most of the clubs and craft beer and cocktails have taken over. The Carolina Ale House compound, North Street, C. Grace, Clockwork, Stag’s Head, and now the immense Raleigh Beer Garden garner most of the attention. Check out my other post about The Ale House. https://thewellredchef.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/the-ail-house/.  I think it’s just a testament to how much downtown Raleigh has grown in the last ten years. The opening up of Fayetteville St, Red Hat Amphitheater, and The Raleigh Times has definitely made Raleigh more attractive and given people more options than only Glenwood South and the club scene. Times, tastes, and trends have changed. No more Jager bombs, bass and flashing lights. Now it’s Fireball and local beer. Who needs Glenwood South anyway? I’ll stick to The Player’s Retreat, my favorite watering hole in Raleigh where they have my High Life ready when I walk in the door. Plus I can stay on the patio until 2 AM unlike the rest of downtown. As Steve Winwood says, “back in the high life again.” Cheers foodies!

Glenwood SOuth-500

The Ail House?

So I ventured out to the new Ale House on Glenwood Sunday after work. It’s only been open a week, but it seems like it has been in the works for years now. Massive is not an appropriate enough word to describe it. I was exhausted by the time I finally sat down at the bar from walking up the three flights of stairs. The 96 beers on tap are impressive. No Champagne of Beers or Icehouse though. I was saddened that the Ale House on Creekside was closed, obviously because of the impending opening of the downtown compound/location. For Raleigh natives or those who have been around for a while will remember the Creekside location as the original Ale House. I don’t know how many State games I watched there or how many times I made it my last stop of the night on my way home. The TV’s were shit, but there was a sense of comfort there. It was convenient, never that crowded, and the food was decent for a sports bar. It had character, the feel of a dive bar; the direct opposite of the Glenwood location. This seems to be a problem we’re experiencing in Raleigh unfortunately. Some people would call it progress or modernization. Not me. Look at Hillsborough St. for example. Gone are Sadlacks and The Brewery. Enter hotels, mixed-use apartments, and impending high rises. It is revitalization or a loss of character? Hillsborough St. needed a facelift, not reconstructive surgery. Cameron Village has also gone through its share of changes over the years as well. Look at it now. Gone are the hideous blue awnings. Now it’s the dream of every ITB’er. All I’m saying is there needs to be some sort of happy medium between the old and the new. Is there a need to tear everything down and start from scratch? Does Raleigh really need more mixed-use developments? I understand that any property inside the beltline is treated like gold. Just look at the street I live on. In the last year they have torn down two smaller houses to build huge brand new homes. Property values increased; charm decreased. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll check out the Ale House again, just not on the weekends. Glenwood South on a Friday or Saturday is a nightmare. I’d much rather go to Player’s Retreat, a place full of charm and character that hasn’t been changed in the name of revitalization. Plus they have a High Life waiting for me when I walk in. Cheers.