Swift Creek Eateries in Raleigh Tempt the Palate

The restaurants of the Swift Creek Shopping Center in South West Raleigh provide a choice of dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the local population. Buried deep within this small strip mall is a very special dining experience and unusual/unique local attraction.

For the devoted coffee fan; the first establishment is Caf�© Noir.

Caf�© Noir.

Nice, clean and accessible, this small coffee spot is a nice place for a quiet meeting. As coffee shops it lacks a bit in ambiance. It’s location in the Swift Creek shopping center on a corner lacks any particular sights to see. Other than of course; the rest of the shopping center with its tar and glass store fronts.

The caf�© has both inside and outdoor seating. It is immaculately clean and very neat. The outdoor seating is on a concrete sidewalk.

The patron is offered coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner as the time may command. The breakfast choices are limited, but are also very affordable. They have fresh muffins, scones and cookies daily.

For lunch/dinner they offer salads and sandwiches. They have some unique salads that may be worth a try. I have seen nothing like their Caribbean Teaser in any other restaurant in the area. I guess that’s why it’s called a teaser. (Pecans, pineapple & mango)
Salads are from $4.99 to $6.50 for a signature salad.

They offer three sandwich choices on the menu; Turkey Club, Chicken and Hummus. If these don’t catch you attention, they allow you to create your own sandwich from a large choice of meats, vegetables, breads (very fresh), cheeses and toppings. Sandwiches start at $4.99.

As a Caf�© they offer a wide array of coffees both cold and hot. The coffees range in price from $2-$4.

Caf�© Noir
2893 Jones Franklin Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 233-0454

Zen Grill is the next Restaurant in the shopping center.

The grill is a favorite for take out. The food is billed as Japanese Cuisine.
The restaurant is a small plain restaurant with very comfortable seating in well upholstered chairs. The chairs are set around large tables that look to fine for the nondescript environment of the restaurant. Serving lunch and dinner only, the majority of the majority of the traffic appears to be takeout.

The lunch specials are only $4.99 for a choice of Hibachi or Teriyaki of chicken, shrimp or steak. The most expensive meal on the menu is a trio of the three meats for $10.49.

If you choose to eat in the meals are served in takeout boxes. The servings are quite large and a very good value for the money.

The restaurant is frequented by firemen, teachers and office workers. The folks who run the restaurant are very friendly. This restaurant is a quiet easy place to meet someone for a quick lunch.

Occasionally I have visited at lunch time and they have a television on in the restaurant. Lacking any real language skills, I think the language is Japanese. It does give a little bit of a genuine air to the place. The open kitchen reminds me of what I have seen in Chicago and San Francisco China Towns. (Though a lot neater and cleaner)

Zen Grill
Swift Creek Shopping Center
2841 Jones Franklin Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 858-8818 or 858-8805

Fiesta Mexicana in Swift Creek Shopping Center is one of three in the greater area.

When you enter the restaurant you may here the quiet music in the background. The layout is similar to the Mexican restaurants found along the road in the Southeast. They have a couple of rooms where you may be seated by your host.

This is the one restaurant in the shopping center where you can get alcoholic beverages with your meal. They have drink specials from Monday to Saturday. They have a good selection of nonalcoholic beverages.

The restaurant is decorated with Mexican statues and motif. One wall is painted to look like a village in the distance. It is overall a nice environment, though it can be a bit noisy with all the hustle and bustle.

The menu choices are very numerous. This is clearly a good place to eat whether you are a meat lover or a vegetarian. The adult plates include Enchiladas, Burritos, Tacos, Fajitas and Quesadillas just to name a few. The children plates offer hot dogs, grilled cheese, hamburger and peanut butter and jelly in addition to some standard Mexican dishes.

They have a couple of dishes greater than $10. Shrimp Fajitas is $12.50. The meals I have eaten there have been good and very well priced. The quality of the food, most people would consider average among Mexican food in this area. The Salsa served with the chips prior to the meal was only mildly hot. They did include another dip that is like a salad dressing.

This restaurant is very neat, clean and roomy. The waiters are attentive and as most appear to be of Mexican origin, there is some sense of authenticity. The food is served promptly and hot. It is a nice restaurant for those who do not like surprises. The food is well cooked and would appeal to most palates.

Fiesta Mexicana
2839 Jones Franklin Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27606
(919) 859-1303

Barrys Caf�© is one of those places you have to see. The other restaurants in the shopping center offer good value for good food. They all have nice environments with the distinguishing factor being whether you want Japanese, Mexican or Coffee.

Entering Barrys Caf�© you know that you have stumbled on a great restaurant. One to write home about, if you happen to be a traveler. What makes Barrys so special is not that the Cary Toastmaster meet there on Mondays. (in the wee hours 7am)

No, it is the focus on Firefighters and honoring them. From the outside the restaurant is nondescript. You just think you will be entering a strip mall cafÃ?©. But the first thing that greets you is a 50’s style jukebox. Maybe, you think, this is one of those places with a fall back to Happy Days.

There are two rooms. Both sides have booths. Go left and you get a dining experience only. Go right and you get the added feature of watching them cook with flames jumping into the air. Being a big kid, I went right so I could see the flames. But this isn’t what makes this place so spectacular.

The menus does read like a fifties place. Most patrons chose the Baby, Momma and Daddy hamburgers. I chose a chicken sandwich with fries. The food prices for this establishment reasonable but a little higher than the other establishments in the shopping center. So why would anyone go here.

The food is good and very tasty. I understand the burgers are excellent. So the food is one reason one would eat here. The service is fast and the people friendly, which is another good reason to eat here.
What Barrys has is this Unique focus on the firefighter. Every inch, of every shelf, of every wall, from floor to ceiling is cover with Fire Fighter memorabilia. There are patches, insignia, hats, badges and toys all focused on the firefighter. Except one small space for the Cary Toastmasters (who meet at 7am); the rest of the wall space is dedicated to the firefighter.

It is like being in a firefighter museum. Given the flames jumping high about the restaurants barbeque pit, they may be hoping this draws a large crowd of firefighters.

So whether you are someone who deeply respects what firefighters do or you are interested in firefighting memorabilia (some of which is probably unique); this is an excellent restaurant to visit. It would take a long time, perhaps hours, to see all the items on display. There are even a couple of firefighter coats beside the restroom doors.

It is difficult, if you have a bit of imagination, to not get caught up in the idea of being in the lunch room of a local firehouse. The cooks are dressed to resemble firefighters. And being a bit burly, they indeed do. Plus it is not uncommon in this restaurant, as in the other local restaurants, to see one or more teams of firefighters, EMS or police sitting in the booths. This adds even more to the atmosphere.

A meal here will probably run one $12 for lunch which is a little higher than the average for the shopping center. However, given the atmosphere this is a real bargain. The food is, in my opinion, a bit above the average for the burgers and sandwiches. The people are really nice and interestingly dressed. This place is worth a visit if you are in the Raleigh area.

Barrys Caf�©
5851 Holly Springs Road
Raleigh, NC
(919) 859-3555

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