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NoFo at the Pig in Raleigh, N.C.

U.S. Brunch Review
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“Heading down south to the land of the pines
And I’m thumbin’ my way into North Caroline
Starin’ up the road
Pray to God I see headlights
I made it down the coast in 17 hours
Pickin’ me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I’m a-hopin’ for Raleigh
I can see my baby tonight”
-Old Crow Medicine Show

Warning … nostalgia is setting in. As y’all now, I went to the first (and best) public university in the nation. If you think Washington is pretty in the fall (speaking of which, where is fall?) you ain’t seen nothing ‘til you’ve experience fall in North Carolina, more particularly, Chapel Hill.

Beautiful old trees changing colors, a Carolina blue sky, crisp sweater weather, football, tailgates, front porches—there’s a reason they say Chapel Hill is like heaven. There songs about it. Hell, Walt Whitman even wrote a poem about it.

After spending a beautiful fall weekend reliving college with my three best friends and sorority sisters, we traded cheap beer, stadium food, cowboy boots and fraternity front porches of Chapel Hill on Saturday for brunch and relaxation in Raleigh on Sunday.

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We headed to NoFo at the Pig, an eclectic general store-meets-restaurant built in a former Piggly Wiggly, a Southern grocery store chain. On the first floor is the gift shop, which houses eclectic trinkets, children’s toys, aprons, antiques, home décor and more. It’s all very kitschy with a Southern feel. Down the stairs is the restaurant and main bar, which is colorful and well-lit, with floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s filled with families having brunch together and children scrambling about.

It was a perfect fall day—brisk, breezy yet not too cold—and the hostess sat us outside on the front porch. A live band consisting of two teenage girls (both wearing Toms) with acoustic guitars and accompanied by a man on a keyboard sang folk songs on the front porch. It was very modern day hippie—“granola” as they say—like something you’d find in Asheville, North Carolina, rather than Raleigh. The girls were very talented (wish I could sing like that) and made for a lovely, relaxing brunching experience.

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Unable to decide between two menu options, Maggie and I split both the honey French toast and “Bill Neal’s Famous Shrimp n’ Grits.” “Neither dish lived up to its alluring menu description,” says Maggie. And she’s right.

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The honey French toast came served with butter, syrup, bacon, and a side of fruit. It was pretty standard—made on regular slices of bread, rather than something exciting like French loaf, challah, or cinnamon raisin. It was good, but nothing memorable.

The shrimp n’ grits was made with oily cheese grits, jumbo shrimp, mushrooms, topped with chives and served with two biscuits. It was prepared well, but lacked flavor altogether. So bland, so disappointing. Not only did it sound better on the menu, it also looked better than it tasted.

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Honestly, the biscuits—moist, fluffy, warm, perfect—were the best part about the meal. It is North Carolina; they do make a mean biscuit. Maggie’s Bloody Mary, which did pack a punch of flavor, comes in a close second.

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Meanwhile, Steph was far more impressed with her salad. She says, “The generous portion of mango salad topped with blackened shrimp was 100% delicious and everything I wanted in life at the moment. It definitely gets an A from me.”

Not to side between my best friends, but I’m going with Maggie on this one, she says: “The food was comforting, the atmosphere relaxing yet fun (very indie), so I give it a B.”

The Bitches say: B. The ambiance is spectacular. The service good. The menu options expansive. The flavor, however, is lacking.

NoFo @ The Pig
2014 Fairview Road
Raleigh, N.C. 27608
(919) 821-1240

… And I’m gone to Carolina in my mind.

NOFO at the Pig Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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