Over the past two years, Cary has been popping with new restaurant and bar activity making it a must-visit on my food adventures. One little corner of Cary has been particularly interesting since Bond Brothers Beer launched back in 2016. A little wedge between Cedar and Chatham Street has slowly filled out with Pizzeria Faulisi, Postmaster, SideBar, Big Dom’s Bagel Shop and Pro’s Epicurean. It’s a great selection of eats and drinks for downtown Cary! Pro’s Epicurean Market and Cafe had caught my attention a while back but it’s hard to sway me from the great Neapolitan pizza over at Faulisi. But a conversation over cocktails next door at SideBar convinced me that they were worth the effort (thanks Jewel!), here’s what you can expect if you visit.
Head on over to a small plaza on E. Chatham street and just beware, parking here is TOUGH. Given the popularity of Bond Brothers and the other spots mentioned above, it fills up very quickly at peak hours. You may have more luck parking on Cedar Street or on side-streets off of Chatham Street. Pro’s Epicurean has a great corner location with plenty of glass to look in and out of, their set-up all feels very European. Seat yourself or you can order at the counter since it IS a market. Along with the meats and cold salads Pro’s Epicurean has a large selection of bottled beers and wine available to customers. But what’s got me interested is the menu at Pro’s Epicurean. It’s Continental focusing on Italian and French offerings ranging from sandwiches, crepes, pasta and more.
The dining room at Pro’s Epicurean is open and lively on a Wednesday night. Well-filled with couples and families, the usual Cary crowd! This is definitely a mom and pop type cafe with plenty of attentive staff on hand and my ears detect some Italian in the dining room. Scanning the menu, my eyes fall on several tasty looking items! When it originally opened up, Pro’s was primarily a small plates, charcuterie and sandwiches spot but the menu seems to have really expanded over the past year or so. Now you’ve got about 10 hot-cold sandwiches along with crepes, quiche, pastas and entrees covering chicken, seafood and beef. I start off with a glass of house white which is a huge pour, thank you very much!
Since I’m visiting for the first time, I plan on over-ordering. For starters I go with the Donatello sandwich filled with slow-roasted pork. The thinly sliced pork sits in a beautiful seeded Italian roll and is layered with provolone and chimichurri sauce. It’s a nicely balanced sandwich, love the fresh bread, succulent savory pork and hit of parsley from the sauce. A great choice if you like pork, the Donatello is served with a side of kettle-cooked chips.
For my second entree I do the crepe Parisienne stuffed with chicken, gruyere and dijon creme mushrooms. Served with a side salad, the crepe looks pretty substantial covered in melty cheese and a light sprinkling of tarragon. A decent crepe and plenty to eat but definitely a different crepe than I’ve had in the past. Pro’s Epicurean also has and interesting sausage pie on the menu (which I tried on a second visit), it’s a cross between deep-dish pizza and sausage quiche, pretty unusual and satisfying! Pro’s Epicurean does a great job with their salads and greens, offering a refreshing mesclun mix with a light viniagrette. I am NOT a salad guy but still happily ate the side salad here.
But given all that healthy eating, I still can’t resist the dessert case and finish off my meal with limoncello cake! Two layers of light, lemon cake and creme topped with white chocolate shavings, yum! A lovely happy ending to my first meal at Pro’s Epicurean. Most everything at Pro’s is in the $9 to $17 range with the majority of choices under $15 so it’s all very affordable to eat here. And I’ve heard they will deliver across the street to the SideBar and their shared patio. So excellent job, Pro’s Epicurean Market and Cafe. Your name is pretty long but I get what you’re doing here. Think upscale delicatessen from up north and an affordable Italian-French restaurant for the neighborhood. I think they’ve done an excellent job overall, broadening the menu while still keeping the casual feel of a local deli and market. The food here is worthwhile if not life-changing but I’ll be back soon to try more off that menu!