Sometimes with all the new restaurants popping up in the area, you sometimes forget about great places you first discover. Old standby's like the Rockford which has always been one of my Raleigh favorites since coming to the area in 2008. Since it changed ownership a couple of years back, I've eaten at the Rockford a bunch of times but nearly always as an after-thought which isn't really fair. It's still the same, funky little restaurant with a great urban feel and bargain prices.
The Rockford 2.0 hasn't changed that much. Shockingly they've got signage outside now along with a back balcony I have yet to try. But inside it's still pretty much the same. Discrete, narrow staircase up to the dining room. The hip circular bar is still here along with the hodge-podge of knick-knacks and french doors leading to the second room. But the place definitely feels cleaner, they are now dusting the place! We grabbed a table by the stairs and plunked ourselves down. Most of the menu looks familiar to what you may have eaten five years ago. Favorites like the ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar sandwich), Cuban sandwich, Asian tilapia roll along with their great black bean quesadilla points still inhabit the menu. But you'll notice the addition of full plates along with brunch that the Rockford is now doing on Sunday. The prices are still great, under $10 for all the sandwiches with a fresh seasonal side. Nothing is fried at the Rockford which is a nice change of pace. I order up the Asian dumplings along with the daily special, salmon over asparagus and new potatoes.
The other change you'll note at the new Rockford is the service. Still hipster but a lot more attentive and professional which is a plus. Bottles of wine are half-priced on Wednesday, score! The dumpling appetizer is very good: thin skins, plump pork filling and nicely fried, great start! And my salmon entree is a nice helping of seared firm fish over braised asparagus spears and on top of pan fried new potatoes, simple but well done. Looking around the dining room it looks like the Rockford hasn't missed a beat in terms of business.
So yeah, what's old becomes new again especially with new management and the Rockford 2.0 still delivers the goods. Excellent, seasonal eats with fresh ingredients along with good service and a cool ambiance is always appreciated. I've always tossed out the Rockford as a great spot for a quick lunch, large dinner party or quiet date and thankfully that chameleon-like quality still remains here. So stop on by 320 1/2 Glenwood for some in the know, old-school Raleigh eats. The Rockford is still going strong after 20 plus years which is a rare thing these days...
320 1/2 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27603
Rockford - Reviewer: Ron Wen - Rating: 4 out of 5 stars