I admit that since I’ve lived in Raleigh, I’ve heard about this chain of restaurants called K&W. But for some reason, I never checked the place out even though there’s one right down the street from me. As luck would have it, a co-worker suggests checking out D&S Cafeteria in Cary which had been converted from a K&W so it’s game on! I haven’t been to a cafeteria in ages so I have to confess that my curiosity was piqued. I stalked the menu online to figure out what I wanted to eat and finally the big day arrives…
First off, D&S Cafeteria is a non-descript brick building on the eastern side of South Hills Mall. Senior citizens are streaming in when we arrive a bit before noon time, it’s the early bird special! Inside you’ve got a long serving line with steam trays full of all sorts of Southern eats imaginable. Salad, pasta, meats, veggies, dessert and more. This place can get busy so you should have some idea of what you want to order before you hit the first server. An LCD panel shows off what’s on the menu and you work through all the different stations where servers will either give you a plate or small bowl for your meal. They’ve got traditional Southern fare like fried chicken, chicken fried steak, baked spaghetti and fried fish. An array of sides and desserts finish off the serving area along with a smallish selection of drinks. You get your bill at the end but pay on your way out. Now comes the search for a table! This place is popular with the church crowd so timing is everything. Mostly booths and some slightly larger round tables, we find one that’ll seat five, take our meals off the tray and it’s time to eat!
I went with a bit of everything: fruit salad, chicken pie, yam souffle, mac n cheese, corn bread, apple pie and unsweetened tea for $11+. It was a LOT of food but I figured I wanted to try things out given it was my first visit. The fruit salad was fresh and the cornbread solid but not quite as moist and sweet as I would have liked. The chicken pie was a huge portion of pastry and dense chicken, peas and carrots. Pretty much a chicken pot pie as a slice. The yam souffle was fluffy, sweet and delish while the mac n cheese was over-cooked for me. The pie was decent but probably from canned fruit given the consistency. But nice crust, it was sprinkled with sugar and tender. My overall take on the food at D&S was that it’s consistently over-cooked, soft and a bit bland. But as I looked around the dining room, I totally understand. We were pretty much the youngest people there and… we’re not that young.
But I do think D&S is a great example of a classic Southern cafeteria and works well for people that enjoy this style of food. Service is polite, efficient and fast, this place serves a LOT of people with large portions of decently cooked food. But I also know that my tastes are a bit different and I’m not into soft, bland food which is sorta the deal here. Would I come back? Sure I would, but it wouldn’t be my first choice for my daily calories. But I totally understand why D&S Cafeteria rocks for its primary audience. So if you’re up for large portions of filling comfort food, stop by and check out this place in South Hills mall. You can’t get much more traditional and family-friendly than this place…
1177 Buck Jones Road
Raleigh, NC 27606