When I first moved to Raleigh, one of the classic restaurants I used to enjoy was J. Betski’s over at Seaboard Station. A traditional dining room with lots of polished dark woods, German-Polish menu, and attentive service, it used to be a spot for a quiet date with good food for me. But as with many things in the Oak City, Seaboard was torn down to make way for a new hotel, apartments, and a work-live development. Given it happened in the middle of the pandemic, I wasn’t sure what the future held for J. Betski’s? Thankfully, news came out about the upcoming J. Betski’s 2.0 reboot which would be located at High Park off of Wake Forest Road. When it re-opened back in November of 2022 I did a little happy dance and knew I had to stop in and see what was new and different. Here’s my take after a couple of visits to this longtime, Raleigh favorite!
If you’re headed over to J Betski’s for a meal, you’ll find it tucked away in a corner of the quiet High Park plaza off of Wake Forest Road (on E. Whitaker Mill Road). Next door you’ll find longtime favorites, Seaboard Wine and Taste, officially this neighborhood falls under Five Points in Raleigh and is a bit more residential. J Betskis has its old-school crest on the double doors up front along with a long covered patio to the side, a very pragmatic-looking setup. And inside, that theme of practicality continues. It’s a wide-open dining room with a bar in the back, a To Go case to the right along with roll-up garage doors in the front for good weather days. Thematically, the colors are deep blues, blacks, and light woods. The space feels modern and fresh, definitely a big change from their old-school dining room at the original space.
J Betskis cuisine is considered German-Polish small plates and covers a lot of their classic favorites like pierogies, schnitzel, sausage, and more! Pork is a prominent ingredient on the menu and would be considered hearty comfort food in my experience, you will definitely not be heading home hungry. To start your meal, you can not go wrong with J Betski’s potato and cheese pierogi. If you’re not familiar with pierogies, they are basically Eastern European dumplings and they are pan-fried here (crispy but tender) and topped with sour cream, delicious! But don’t eat too many because they will put a dent in your appetite.
If you don’t want to eat your pierogies bare, try the pierogi burger instead! A smash burger is topped with caramelized onions, melty gruyere cheese, and truffle aioli. This burger is a flavor bomb and a bit messy but worth the battle. The pork chop is a bit of a misnomer, featuring cubed pork shoulder covered in panko crumbs, fried, and served with caper aioli. Definitely an unctuous bite with a lot of umami.
For sides, you don’t want to miss the potato crisps which are a thinly layered potato casserole, baked, sliced into wedges, fried for crispness, and served with truffle aioli. It’s a very cool preparation for the humble potato and features a tender inside with a crunchy crust, wonderful. I think officially they are called potato terrine. And of course, if you’re eating German fare, you don’t want to miss out on their classic sauerkraut with bacon. And if you’re able to make it through your meal and still have some appetite left, you don’t want to miss out on the long-time favorite chocolate-hazelnut torte at J. Betski’s!
While the dining room is certainly more casual than the original J Betski’s, service is still excellent as before. The staff is very professional and I recognized one or two of them from years back. And if you don’t feel like dining inside, I’m sure the covered patio would be awesome or you could try their ToGo case to take your meal home. Overall I’m pretty happy with J Betski’s Deux! The transition to a more casual space with a simpler menu makes a lot of sense post-pandemic. You can still get the same great food and given the lack of German and Eastern European dining options in the Triangle, a very, welcome return!