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If you haven’t spent much time in downtown Cary recently, let me tell you that you are missing out. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen the addition of Bond Brothers Beer, Pizzeria Faulisi, La Farm Bakery, Annelore’s Bakery and more. One recent and newer restaurant caught my eye, Postmaster! Located on a quieter back street (Cedar) behind the main strip on Chatham, I was curious about this modern looking space while it was under construction. Here’s what to expect when you visit!
If you’re headed over to Postmaster, thankfully you’ve got plenty of parking options! Large private lot out front and also Cedar Street is an easy option for on-street parking. As you approach Postmaster, you’ll immediately be taken by the super-mod, Scandinavian like decor. The front face is primarily plate glass windows with a natural wood facing above along with some mirrored panels. It all looks very light, bright and open! At night, the Postmaster glows with anticipation on this street corner. Now will the dining experience match up with the initial impressions?!
Poke your head inside and you’ll be struck by how minimalistic and hip the space is, quite different than what you’d usually find in downtown Cary. Bare concrete floor with simple wood-top tables and metal-framed chairs. The back bar is where things get interesting! A modern graphic print wall sits behind a bar lined with button-tufted fabric chairs. They obviously spent some time and money on the interior design at Postmaster. A small, open kitchen in the back-right corner is where all the culinary magic is handled.
Go over the seasonal menu and you’ll be entertained by a selection of cocktails and beers along with food items to match. The dinner menu covers snacks, small plates and large plates running from $6 to $18 similar to Humble Pie in Raleigh. And given the seasonality of their menu, details are on their website but you’ll have to stop in to find out what’s being served for the evening. The cuisine is primarily modern Southern with a gourmet twist.
For starters, I’ve tried the pork cracklin’ app ($6) which is served with chow-chow and dill aioli. An interesting and unconventional combination of flavors. The cracklins are nicely fried but a bit drier than expected. On another visit I try some spiral-cut potato chips served up with a Texas Pete aioli. This is a fun little dish that screams sophisticated State Fair fare! The chips are thick and crisp on the outside, but a bit raw on the insides. I like the concept but it feel like this appetizer could have been improved.
A grilled elote corn covered in parmesan cheese and green goddess dressing is on the menu for one visit. Split in half, it’s a messy but tasty treat to be shared amongst two people. I also enjoyed some nicely grilled lamb lollipops that were cooked a nice medium and covered in a good sear, thumbs up here. Overall I think there’s a lot of creativity and diversity in the Postmaster menu but some inconsistencies. Be aware that the menu changes pretty frequently so if you like a dish, it may or may not be available the next time you visit!
For the large dishes, the prices go up quite a bit to the $15 to low $20 range. I’ve had the chance to try a couple and again, Postmaster’s creativity shows up. A gnocchi’d grits with sausage is a tasty take, mixing up Italian and Southern cuisine. The texture of the gnocchi is excellent with some toothsome chew but I found the sauce to be a bit heavy for the dish. The smoked chicken on hominy utilizes a less common Southern ingredient. Hominy is a type of corn which has a softer, puffy texture and acts as a good base of carbs for this dish. It is again, an interesting play on a classic Southern dish.
And over the course of my visits to Postmaster I’ve found the service to be good but a bit casual. It’s a large open space so you can see everything that’s going on in the dining room and kitchen. If I had any advice to diners coming to Postmaster it would be to do some cocktails and small plates but I’m less certain about doing a full meal with the larger plates. There’s still a bit of inconsistency in the menu and once you start paying more money for those large dishes, it’s hard to overlook the misses. But I think the Postmaster certainly has potential. From decor to concept and creativity, it’s certainly trying with its menu. I’m just hoping it settles down a bit and delivers a more consistent dining experience given the prices, expectations and great decor. So let’s just say that for now, the Postmaster is a work in progress for the Cary food scene!
160 E Cedar Street #100
Cary, NC 27511