Completely outdoor restaurant opens in downtown Raleigh

Elaina Athans Image
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Completely outdoor restaurant opens in downtown Raleigh
As many restaurants struggle to regain patrons that are willing to dine inside, one downtown Raleigh food business is trying out a unique concept -- a completely outdoor restaurant.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The outside area of the former High Horse restaurant in Downtown Raleigh has transformed into an outdoor seating arrangement filled with picnic tables and chairs; under a tent sits a portable kitchen. The owner of City Market Grill decided to open a COVID-19-friendly restaurant where everything is outdoors.

City Market Grill began service about three weeks ago, offering sandwiches, skewers and other snacks like Mexican street corn, all of which are cooked over an open flame.

"We're always fighting the wind, the heat," said City Market Grill executive chef James Eason.

The new restaurant is serving up flavor-packed food while catering to the needs of customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some people don't want to be dining inside right now. They feel more comfortable eating in the fresh air, which is something this new spot provides.

"We want to completely adherent to all of the rules and regulations as far as safety, and that's why we did the outdoor concept. The times that we're in are calling for that."

The grill is located outside the former High Horse restaurant that closed early on in the pandemic.

Workers said the response so far has been great from folks, who have dined under the stars.

Eason understands that some might think it's strange opening up in the middle of an economic crisis, considering that many surrounding eateries have boarded up or permanently closed.

"I don't want to give up. I don't want to throw in the towel just because we have to reinvent or change something. We have the space and this space deserves to be more of a culinary center of the city," said Eason.

As the warmer weather moves out and cooler temperatures begin to move in, the staff is planning to bring in heaters and build more fire pits.