I’d love start this post off about how I discovered a “hidden gem”, but the fact is Winston’s Grille has been a staple of North Raleigh since it first opened in 1986. In fact they are currently celebrating their 30th anniversary this month! I am simply just late to the party. Now that I have experienced firsthand the great food and service I now understand why, after three decades in business, Winston’s continues to be a such a popular dining location and a second home to diners in the Triangle.
Winston’s has a lot to offer and is very versatile in both it’s menu and ambiance – all the more reason for it’s long running success. It can serve as place for a special date night while at the same time being a “go to” spot for a favorite weekly dinner. On each of my visits one thing in particular struck me. There are many regulars who have been dining at Winston’s for years – if not decades. It’s not uncommon to overhear waiters and patrons great each other like old friends. On more than one occasion I heard a guest request their “usual table”. That said, Winston’s warm hospitality extends to all guest including those like me who may have only just recently discovered them.
The menu at Winston’s has something for everyone and incorporates many elements made from scratch in house. Offerings range from light appetizers like a tomato and goat cheese bruschetta, to hearty entrees such as beef shortrib tacos and cashew salmon. There are also a host of sandwiches and salads to round out the menu. I’ve dined there for both brunch and dinner at this point and have found everything I’ve ordered well prepared and delicious. I’m more of meat and potatoes guy so I have enjoyed trying their pork chop with bourbon-maple glaze for dinner and their burgers and sandwiches when I go there for brunch. Pro tip: when you go for brunch they offer free blueberry muffins. I can put quite a few away, but I recommend leaving room for your entree!
When we visited Winston’s for brunch (offered Sundays from 11am-2pm) my wife enjoyed the Jam Jam shrimp appetizer, which comes with a spicy sriracha sauce and chopped citrus cilantro & lettuce. The homemade chicken salad was quite nice as well. The menu seems to always have something new. The lunch menu changes daily while the dinner menu has different offerings every 2 to 3 weeks. They do keep several favorites throughout the year as well. Like meatloaf for lunch on Tuesdays and a Friday fish fry. You can view the full menu here.
Along with the varied menu there are several seating options at Winston’s. Guest can enjoy a meal at the bar, in the main dining area (which covers several different rooms) or outside dining at one of the many tables the circle the outside perimeter of the restaurant. You can also reserve a private room for your special event. I like having different seating options because it provides for a different dining experience on each visit. I’m particularly fond of the outdoor dining area. I haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy the bar just yet, but I plan to go back soon to grab a cocktail and maybe a special dessert.
Reservations are not required at Winston’s but they are suggested. Weekends are particularly busy there and I would highly recommend a reservation if you know your plans ahead of time. You would also be wise to plan ahead if you have Mother’s or Father’s Day Brunch plans at Winston’s. It is a very popular spot on those days!
One final thought about Winston’s. Make sure you always leave room for dessert. Both of the owners, Wil and Charles attended a special course at Penn State to learn how to make their own homemade ice cream. They have passed on the craft to their kitchen staff and there is always plenty of fresh made ice cream on hand that can be bought by the pint. Of course the dessert menu is quite impressive as well, with classics like key lime pie and a brownie sundae. The standout favorite in my book is their bananas foster. Like the rest of the menu at Winston’s, it does not disappoint!
The fact that Winston’s remains so popular after thirty years speaks volumes about the quality of the experience they offer. I’m glad I finally had the opportunity to experience it for myself and I highly recommend you check them out as well. In world where restaurants come and go in the blink of an eye, it is nice to see a local favorite that has successfully navigated change while remaining true to itself and its customers. The future is bright for this landmark of the Raleigh restaurant scene.
6401 Falls of Neuse Road