As a long-time resident of Raleigh, when I first arrived to the Oak City, the restaurant scene was a LOT different from what it is now. Two of the more popular spots were out on Hillsborough Street, Porter’s and Frazier’s, run by the Urban Food Group (Vivace, Coquette, Chow). Alas, they closed down and the Urban Food Group went a bit quiet during the Raleigh restaurant boom. Flash forward to 2023 and I get wind that the Urban Food Group is planning a new restaurant for West Raleigh, the Mill! I’ve had the chance to stop in for a couple of visits so here’s what to expect when you visit…
The Mill, Raleigh – Location and Interior
When you first visit the Mill, you may be a bit surprised at the location and exterior. Its home in Olde Raleigh Village is a very busy shopping plaza and located off the busy Duraleigh and Edwards Mill Road, not entirely inspiring. The plaza is shared with Harris Teeter, Bella Monica (Italian), and a Char-Grill, parking may be tight when you visit. The plain brick facade was a better match for its previous incarnation as the Edwards Mill Bar and Grill, a pedestrian sports bar. But hang in there, my fellow foodie! The door up front leads you to the bar and lounge while there’s also a side door leading you to a hostess kiosk for seating in the main dining room and patio.
I’ve eaten mostly in the bar and lounge area which has a classic, upscale Southern feel with hints of modern. You’ll find a short bar populated by locals, some high-top seating and then a more official dining area complete with corner booths in fawn-covered leather (and a cool neon sign above it). Wind your way around to the right-hand side and you’ll find the main dining room in back with blown glass globe lighting overhead, old-school prints of the area, and the same banker green and fawn color pattern. It all feels well put together, slightly upscale, and comfortable. Perfect for meeting up with friends, family, or a business meeting!
The Mill, Raleigh – Menu and Food
Dig into the menu and you’ll find a short assortment of classic American and Southern eats, what I would call comfort food in a good way! Salads, chips, and appetizers are in the $12 to $20 range with sandwiches and entrees between $15 and $37. You’ll find comforting classics like steak frites, onion rings, a shrimp poboy, and more. For starters, I highly recommend the wood-grilled wings which show off a nice char and are lightly slicked with honey! Crispy, savory with a bit of sweet, they are worth the hand wiping. And their BBQ pork chips are a heaping pile of tortilla chips, topped with queso (cheese) sauce, pulled pork, onions, and sweet barbeque sauce. A lovely mess for the table!
A newer appetizer I highly recommend is the PEI mussels, lovely! A large bowl of mussels slathered with a light green curry and served up with some grilled, rustic bread. It’s really well done and the bowl I had was full of amazingly fresh mussels, so good.
For mains, their classic Mill burger is a 1/2 lb. patty topped with short rib jam, cheddar, Duke’s mayo, and LTO. It’s neatly assembled and makes for a delicious bit along with their skin-on fries. The shrimp and grits were a generous portion of tender shrimp tossed with tasso ham but I think the grits could use a bit of work to improve its creaminess and texture given its such a Southern staple. And I’m looking forward to trying the pan-roasted flounder and reuben sandwich on future visits.
The Mill, Raleigh – Service and Conclusion
Over the course of my visits, I’ve found the overall experience at the Mill to be very professional which is expected from an established restaurant group like the Urban Food Group. The food is coursed out, finished plates cleared quickly, and the service is attentive overall. The staff at the Mill is very well-trained and their team service means your food comes out quick.
The bar and lounge can certainly get busy but it’s still easy to have a conversation here, even if it’s someone new you just met at the bar. And with its convenient location off of Edwards Mill Road, it’s a straight shot to PNC Arena so I imagine the Mill gets busy before big games and shows at that venue. Overall I’m happy to have the Mill from Urban Food Group as a dining option. The menu is classic, the prices are approachable and the ambiance is excellent. It feels like a refreshed Porter’s and the crowd reminds me of when I first got to Raleigh and things were a bit more calm, composed, and friendly. Welcome back, old friend…