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It's amazing how much attention that blog post is getting. When Chris (my former Raleighing cohort) wrote something similar about Mira, we got a letter from their attorneys. I've never eaten at Mira as a result.

You mean Mura? They're owned by the same guy.

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Wow, we just had dinner at Abyssinia in the Mission Valley shopping center. It is an Ethiopian restaurant and it was my first time trying Ethiopian food. I loved it! The food was great! Unfortunately, though, I think it is in a horrible location, tucked away near the movie theater. A place like this would do much better downtown or at least on Hillsborough St. I just don't see the college crowd being able to support a restaurant like that. I'm surprised I hadn't heard anything about it.

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From that blog, Red Palace's website says they are closing that site...

Maybe they can move downtown? There is a glut of sushi/thai places (Wild Ginger, Soma, Champa, Waraji) but no Chinese offerings I can think of. Though if they could not afford the rent at their old place off New Bern, they probably can't afford downtown either. Though Cody's Chinese Bistro is closing at the end of the month on Glenwood south, to be replaced by a Thai restaurant, leaving no "pure" Chinese options in the CBD.

EDIT (to answer cophead's post below): Peace Chinese is coming along like a slow boat to China... We went by there two Saturdays ago on a lunch/shopping trip to Logan's -- quite busy with the spring gardners! Peace Chinese had more work done than before -- counters, some kitchen equipment, etc. -- but no tables and chairs in the dining area and just a vague "coming soon" sign on the door. My wife was intrigued, but I told her not to hold her breath, as they were initially supposed to be open last fall/winter and still aren't open.

Edited by ncwebguy
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^The Seaboard website still says it's "Coming Soon". As ncwebguy says, don't hold your breath.

There's also Five Star and Duck & Dumpling, but I dunno if they fit his definition of "pure Chinese". ;) (Of course, with D&D, it depends if you think $21 is worth it for Kung Pao Shrimp! :lol: )

I imagine Jade Garden does fit that definition, if you consider that technically still in "downtown". I was there Sunday night and the dining room was literally empty....however the phone was ringing off the hook with takeout and delivery orders...it was a madhouse. :wacko:

Edited by RaleighRob
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I suspect Red Dragon closing has nothing to do with inability to pay the rent...it always seemed busy to me. I'm guessing either the blighted, vacant strip shopping center it is located in is being redeveloped, or the restaurant itself decided to seek a better, more high profile location.

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Anyone hearing rumors that Rocky Top Hospitality (Michael Deans people) is struggling pretty bad?

Supposedly, 1705Prime has been pretty much a flop. It's overpriced and is not drawing near the crowds that Michael Deans' did at that location.

The new Michael Deans' isn't drawing well.

I ate at Bogarts on Saturday night and although the place was crowded (mainly from prom crowds -- I was still able to walk in at 7:45 and get a table for 4 with no wait), they had changed up the menu, reduced portions and increased prices. They even started charging $1 for bread.

A guy I was with is in restaurant wine sales and he said the whole company is hurting, mainly due to 1705Prime's failures.

Didn't know if anyone else had heard the same.

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I always kinda doubted the staying power of three places that give off the same vibe (to me anyway) all located next to each other. I understand you are saying that 1705 is the problem but in no business plan should one restaurant be able to take down four by itself. Michael Deans was so popular where it was I knew moving it would cause problems. A restaurant is so much more than just a menu...its a street corner, a vibe inside, a space from your front door to its front door....

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Here are my issues with the places:

  • Twisted Fork - sanitation problems
  • Michael Deans - mediocre food, sanitation problems
  • 1705 - OK, what's this now, a million good steak places around here? I'm going to Angus Barn or Sullivans in the rare event that I buy a steak out.
  • Bogarts - Great looking restaurant, food has no taste
  • Red Room - we really liked, but the music was so loud we couldn't hear each other
  • Hi5 - Concept keeps changing, we can't count on consistency.

Certainly the latter two are the gems in this group. With the amount of money they've gone through with all the changes, I am honestly curious about the other side of their balance sheet (ie where is all this money coming from, because the restaurants aren't that full).

Meanwhile places like Mo's Diner and Bloomsbury Bistro chug along serving incredible food...

Edited by dmccall
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We tried 1705 Prime a couple of weeks ago on a "date night" special either on a Tuesday or Wednesday. There were a few tables but it was by no means busy. It was ok at the sale prices, but it would be hard to justify a full price visit. The decor changes from Michael Deans were odd, to say the least. The table dividing curtains? Those Century 21-looking jackets looked like something the grown up Von Trapp children would wear.

We went to Twisted Fork with a buy-one-get-one free coupon, and we're not going back. I want to like it, but they don't seem to have a good focus - dessert cases, bar, weird dining room layout -- for a restaurant next to a shopping mall. Nothing makes its bar stands out next to the other bars close by at Chammps, Ted's Montana Grill, and the Italian restaurants. To say nothing of Chilis, Macaroni Grill, Applebee's, or Ruby Tuesday's, which all had their character focus grouped to death in an office hundreds of miles away.

Hi 5 is a Glenwood South version of a sports bar, and the $5 food menu they've had for the last year or so seems to be working, though I could see that changing with increased food prices, etc. And their Mash House beers aren't bad, though not worth going out of the way to get them either.

We also made the trek to the North Raleigh Prime Only a few weeks before that. It was nice enough (and good food!), but being a few miles down 540 from the mecca that is the Angus Barn (and in a non-descript strip mall) could not have helped.

The "slowdown/recession/whatever" will shake out the shaky players in the high end restaurant game, including places downtown. I think anythign by the Eure family is in good shape, but it could be rough for new/recent upstarts (The Pit, the new Poole's) if they don't obtain a loyal following quickly.

I hope this doesn't lead to something like a Chili's or Outback Steakhouse as a tenant in the base of West at North (just an example/total speculation!), but they can afford to take a short term hit to get a location established.

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The Pit needs to get their act together, pronto. I have heard numerous complaints about some fo the food, and the service has been very, very lousy when I went. It wasn't an issue of talent, but sheer numbers. They can't find enough decent help to actually open the entire dining room. Given that there are plenty of people who need a job within 0.5 miles, it's pretty frustrating, because the restaurant really has potential.

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On the 510 spots, there was an article a couple of months ago in the paper about how Hi5, Bogarts, and Red Room were actually doing very well, even as other Rocky Top locations suffered in N. Raleigh. The whole complex seems to do pretty well on location alone. Hi 5 is the trendy sports bar/10-2 club. Bogarts is the martini bar (can't speak for the food), and Red Room, the tapas/trendy lounge. Is Globe part of Rocky Top? Every Thursday - Sat night, there are lines out the door to get into the place, so it seems the 20/30 single crowd is good for business, and with 222/West opening soon, it will only get better.

I have always had good experiences at the Pit, actually. The 'upscale' BBQ theme seems to be doing quite well, as everytime I am over that way--even lunch--they seem to have a consistent crowd. The Pit might be the only restaurant I've been to that will serve you genuinely fresh ribs and BBQ pork (right off the organically raised and pit-cooked hog) and a tasty salad to go with it. Never underestimate the appetite for quality BBQ in NC!

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1705 Prime has closed.

Rocky Top Hospitality closed 1705Prime this week and will turn the North Raleigh space into a catering operation.

The switch from Michael Dean's to 1705 Prime is something I can't understand. I suppose they had their reasons but I guess we will not know what they were. Now it's going to be a catering operation, which is understandable. However, what a waste of a beautiful restaurant space!

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Why would customers come back to 1705 Prime after being locked out for a catered event? It wasn't good enough to take the chance that they'd be serving the general public. And unlike 510 Glenwood, there are few if any customers that could/would walk there. North Raleigh has enough $ to support another banquet-only facility (and not everyone can afford/access North Ridge and Wakefield's facilities), so they'll probably be ok. I don't know why, but I never associated Vivo with Rocky Top. I always meant to check it out, then it was gone.

The article mentions soon to open steak house competition Flemmings (Crabtree) and two Ruth's Chris -- North Hills (July) and Rennisance Center near Southpoint (fall), but doesn't mention that the North Raleigh Prime Only also recently closed. If this happened downtown, it would spawn a "downtown is dead" panic story.

On another blog (Raleigh Philosophical Society), someone noticed that Village Tavern's website lists a North Hills location as coming in 2009! It would be a good tenant to fill the old JK's space with Ruth's Chris in the hotel. Or could it be in the CapTrust building in North Hills East? The Charlotte location is in a office building near South Park.

Edited by ncwebguy
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