Way up on Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh is a quiet little shopping area called Lafayette Village. You could pass this plaza a hundred times and not even notice it. But if you drive by without stopping, you my friend, are missing out! Because inside Lafayette Village are a slew of gourmet options for eating, drinking, and shopping. Slate stone walkways, stucco exteriors and metal hanging flower baskets accent the plaza. The quaint European facades give you some idea of what to expect but there’s no easier way to experience Lafayette Village than with a quick virtual visit!
If you’re a home cook, Savory Spice is a must stop. A small chain based out of Colorado, Savory Spice’s Raleigh location is the only one in North Carolina. Pretty much any spice you can think of is available here. Take a sniff through their sample containers, buy a bag of spices or maybe one of their mixes. Paprika, peppers, meat rubs and more, this place smells wonderful. They even have a grinding room on site for their custom blends. As a home chef I can tell you that fresh spices can make all the difference in the end results. If you’ve had that little bottle of rosemary sitting on your shelf for a couple of years, maybe it’s time to replace it!
Driftwood Southern Kitchen sits in the space that used to house the old Antonio’s Gourmet Market. The interior has a modern yet rustic feel with a diner area right next to the kitchen, full bar and country decor spread out over the large interior. The menu is focused on local and farm to table, mixing Southern favorites (fried oysters, shrimp and grits) along with smoked meats and barbeque. Prices are reasonable for drinks, apps and entrees especially given the location. With excellent service, cool decor and an interesting menu, Driftwood Southern Kitchen is worth a visit if you’re shopping in the area.
Simply Crepe’s recently just opened up in Lafayette Village and again, it’s the only North Carolina location for a small, upstate NY chain. Inside, Simply Crepes has a continental feel but service is all Southern and friendly. You can do crepes for breakfast, lunch or dinner but I highly recommend checking them out for dessert. Their chocolate mousse crepe with strawberries and blueberries was great. And don’t miss their side of roasted potatoes if you’re doing breakfast at Simply Crepes.
If you’re having dinner at Lafayette Village what better way to finish off your evening than with a glass of wine or gelato? Vinos Finos y Picadas is a labor of love from owner, Pat West. They specialize in S. American wines and appetizers. Grab a glass of malbec, a plate of empanadas or a charcuterie plate and kick back. Pat has family back in Argentina so he constantly visits to get the best wine deals for you. This classy little wine bar is worth the trip if you’re looking for a relaxed evening.
And around the corner from Vinos Finos is Jubala’s, a neat little coffee shop. Bustling with its caffeinated crowds, Jubala is known for its latte art but also dishes out nice sandwiches and tea too. With plenty of communal tables, you can certainly plop yourself down and get some work done along with getting an injection of high quality coffee. Just be aware the place is busy and plan accordingly.
One newer addition to Lafayette Village is Farina, an Italian restaurant and sister restaurant to Driftwood Southern Kitchen. Inside the space is casual and open, featuring a brick, wood oven made for pizzas and other Italian specialties. A bar in back acts as a quiet lounge for solo diners and those looking for a quick drink and a snack.
I’ve had the chance to eat at Farina a couple of times and it’s very solid Italian-American fare. Love their thin-crust wood-fired pizzas, the pasta carbonara with pork belly is also really rich and filling. Definitely a good spot for the family for some Italian favorites!
Last but not least is one of my favorites, Zanyu Asian Noodles! A small noodle shop specializing in SE Asian noodle bowls and small plates, Chef Michael Buongiorno knows his way around a kitchen. Don’t let the humble space fool you, he dishes out some wonderful khao soi, ramen, udon and more. It’s one of the few places in N. Raleigh I will make the drive up for…
Lafayette Village is still growing into its space so I expect even more in the upcoming year. The circular design of the village means there’s a ring of patios behind the shops where you can see all the action. They’ve also got a huge common area where I imagine they could do some great festivals and events. And while it may be a bit of a drive to get to Lafayette Village from downtown Raleigh, it’s worth the effort. Because all I can think of when I’m wondering through the area is bon appetit, it’s time to eat!
Shops in Lafayette Village
8450 Honeycutt Road, Raleigh