When you say the word cafeteria, thoughts of college and hospitals come flooding to the brain. And normally it’s not always in the best perspective from a dining and culinary standpoint. But of course I couldn’t help but be a bit curious about the ol’ stand-by, K&W Cafeteria over in Cameron Village. An old-school Southern tradition, K&W offers up classic, comfort food and pies in a humble setting so off I go for lunch!
First of all, K&W Cafeteria has been
at its location at Cameron Village for years in the back of the plaza near Smallwood Road. I normally see a steady trickle of families and seniors walking in. Inside you’ll find a small foyer area with cashier, I head around to the left to the waiting area which is empty at 11:45 am, woohoo! I scan the buffet line as I walk in to see what up. All down-home American eats on steam trays along with a nice selection of pies and desserts at the end.
I grab a beige tray and roll of silverware and shuffle down the line with my cane (just kidding). There are about 8 or so entree choices but I spy some baked spaghetti which I’ve never tried before. Further down are the veggies and sides, I go with the yam souffle and broccoli with cheese sauce. At each food station there’s a nice lady who offers up a large portion of the K&W eats. At the end are the pies and of course I can’t resist and go with a large slice of dutch apple with crumble on top. There’s also sweetened and unsweetened tea as your beverage. They tally up my food and hand me a bill which is paid at the END of your meal at the K&W exit.
Out in the dining room which is large and spacious, K&W has some attendants milling about but the tables are pretty much self-serve. I grab a smallish two-top on the side and get ready to eat all mah food! The dining room is decorated in a fairly innocuous beige (popular theme here) and the dining room is already partially filled with silver-haired peeps. I feel like a young pup eating here at K&W!
I dig into my sides first, the yam souffle is quite good and pretty sweet. Soft fluffy, yam mousse with a traditional marshmallow topping. Definitely there won’t be anything low-cal in this meal! The broccoli with cheese sauce is not quite as successful. Over-steamed to the point of softness, there’s not much texture left in this cruciferous green. But I’m trying to be sorta healthy here. The baked spaghetti is a large portion of soft pasta in a rich red meat sauce that has a chili-sweet taste to it. Topped with some melted cheddar on top, it’s a hearty portion of pasta, meat sauce and more but again, very soft. The food at K&W is definitely made for the senior crowd in terms of taste and textures, teeth are not needed to eat here!
And finally the dessert. I tapped out and brought it home with me but it was nicely done with a good filling and sweet topping, a very nice version of apple pie. Service in the dining room was fine and I was able to check out at the cashier really quickly. The whole meal runs $10 and some change with entrees at about $5, sides at $1.50 and desserts at $2 so it’s about average for a lunch at K&W but probably a good deal for dinner. I’m not sure if/when I’ll be back next but I was glad to finally try out this classic Southern cafeteria. It’s tasty, down-home food but a bit over-cooked for its audience. But if that’s what you’re pining for, K&W Cafeteria will be a great visit for you if your bar isn’t set too high. Enjoy it for what it is and isn’t, simple Southern comfort-food without any frills or style, just good eats!
511 Woodburn Road
Raleigh, NC 27605
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