9 Staff Favorites to Experience on Race Weekend

9 Staff Favorites to Experience on Race Weekend

Anytime race weekend rolls around that to do list can get lengthy very quickly. Here’s one thing you can cross off that list—where to eat. We surveyed more than 20 Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh staffers to offer up their favorite go-to restaurants and eateries in the capital city.

From farm to table seasonal ingredients, knock your socks off macaroni-and-cheese to some quirky, some refined dining experiences; these are the spots the #RnRRaleigh staff loves to dine on race weekend.

Think of it as motivation to register, train hard, ROCK hard and feast even harder at Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh, April 7-8, 2018.

Photo credit: sonoraleigh.com

SONO Sushi

SONO opened its doors in 2008, and after recent reinvention that spanned menus to decor in the summer of 2017, the restaurant continues as a downtown staple. The dinner menu features an eight-course tasting menu for those indecisive palates, as well as ramen and poke bowls, Korean fried chicken, salads and other sides.

Look for it just blocks away from the Start Line venue on Fayetteville Street.

Photo credit: joseandsons.com

Jose and Son’s Bar & Kitchen

Jose and Sons is the proud blend of Mexican roots and the American South in which the owners grew up. Family owned by a group of five siblings, the restaurant was born out of the lasting appreciation for their father’s love for hospitality and helping the local community. It’s Mexican fusion with brunch, lunch, dinner, DIY taco platters, dinner and a full bar that features traditional and Latin cocktails.

Also conveniently located in the heart of the Start Line venue between Cabarrus and Davie St.

Photo credit: bigedscitymarket.com

Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant

Established in 1958, Big Ed’s is one of the oldest establishments in Raleigh. It offers two locations, one in north Raleigh and the other central to downtown on Blount St.

With a motto like “Country cooking at its best,” it’s a Southern comfort food staple for visitors and locals alike. They offer breakfast and lunch specialty items like fried catfish, hot cakes, grits. red eye gravy and fatback, as well as traditional American dishes like burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Photo credit: thepit-raleigh.com

The Pit

The Pit does authentic, whole hog, pit cooked barbecue in a refined restaurant setting located in downtown’s Warehouse District. They also serve Texas-style brisket, baby back ribs, barbecue turkey, fried chicken and (wait for it) barbecue tofu.

They offer lunch, dinner, desert

Photo credit: ac-restaurantsnc.com

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey

This is Southern comfort food with a twist. It’s a casual dining atmosphere with big shared tables, so sit down, order up and strike up a conversation with the locals.

Don’t come here unless you’re looking for chicken, and lots of it. The restaurant offers chicken six different ways, whether atop a crispy waffle, wedged between a biscuit, in a creamy pot pie and others. The only other meat dish you’ll find on the menu is pork shoulder meatloaf, while the remainder of the menu features a balanced mix of southern style vegetables, deserts, and cocktails.

Photo credit: Happyandhale.com

Happy + Hale

Don’t let the size of the downtown location fool you–this place packs a punch! They specialize in fresh eats and juices sure to power you through the day. Just three years in the industry and they quickly garnered enough success to open a second location in Durham (three times the size of their Raleigh location).

Enjoy a healthy, filling bowl like the quinoa bowl that comes with quinoa, black beans, diced tomatoes, onions, feta, cilantro and tortillas crisps with a red pepper vinaigrette. Or better yet, enjoy breakfast all day, as well as cold pressed juices, and smoothies.

Pro tip: Neatly nestled in the heart of downtown Raleigh (and facing your Start Line corrals) Happy + Hale gets very busy at lunch time, so avoid the lunch hour rush by going before or after!

Photo credit: www.bgood.com

B. Good

Also located in the Fayetteville St. District, B. Good began in Boston and now features many locations that stretch as far south as North Carolina and all the way up north. There’s three locations in Raleigh: North Hills, downtown and Park West.

They offer good food fast, with a menu that features burgers and shakes, as well as kale and grain bowls with an array of fixins (toppings) and seasonal salads.

Photo credit: sitti-raleigh.com


Sitti offers authentic Lebanese food. The neat juxtaposition of the open air restaurant with a cozy shared tables creates an intimate feel is found at this corner location. Owner Greg Hatem saw the restaurant as a tribute to grandmothers or “sittis” who served as caretakers and teachers of Lebanese heritage, food and religion.

They offer lunch, dinner, beer, wine and cocktails. Try the baba ghanouj, tabouleh, falafel, or Lebanese twists on chicken artichoke, lamb, beef and fresh breads baked daily.

Photo credit: thebigeasync.com

The Big Easy

Bringing the N’awlins to N.C., the big easy specializes in Cajun and Creole fare in a cozy historic brick edifice.

Located just steps away from the Old Capitol building, The Big Easy offers lunch, dinner, beers and cocktails, as well as a late night menu for those night owls. Enjoy oysters shucked to order, crab, shrimp, and gumbo all skillfully prepared with NC farm fresh ingredients.


Hungry yet? Don’t just register and race in Raleigh. ROCK your mileage and look forward to tasting the best of the best throughout race weekend.