In this series, we poll our in-the-know friends on what they love to see, do, eat and more in the Triangle.
As told to Addie Ladner
Joseph Jeffers is a Raleigh native and the creative master behind Stanbury, one of Raleigh’s favorite neighborhood restaurants. He likes authentic, old-school dinners, Lambrusco, antique collecting—shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve eaten at Stanbury—and chill evenings in the country. Here are his picks.
Finish the sentence: When I’m not at Stanbury, I…
…like to go out to Old Milburnie Farm. My buddy Daniel, a good friend of mine, is a farmer out there. I’ll take the dog and bring a bottle of Lambrusco.
What’s your favorite place in town?
I love Players Retreat. It’s like an old pair of boots that fit just right, you know? I order whatever Chef Beth LittleJohn tells me to get. Or one of my guilty pleasures is the prime rib sandwich, aux jus, double meat, double cheese.
Favorite places for happy hour?
Empress Room: I like to sit on the patio. They do a great version of a piña colada.
The Outpost: I’m a sucker for a frozen tiki drink! It’s not on the menu but they make a great frozen Miami Vice.
Where do you go for a treat-yourself day?
I love to pick up a pie from Frank’s Pizza, grab a bottle of Lambrusco and take it out to Old Milburnie Farm. I also love Saint Jacques. Serge is a super nice and talented guy. I’m just a sucker for traditional, old school, nostalgia. It’s the kind of place I like to go on my birthday.
Tough decision, Chargrill or Snoopy’s?
I’ll have to go with Chargrill. It’s just a great burger. It’s a good simple burger. I’ll get two small cheeseburgers, fries and a milkshake.
What are your hidden gem (or gems) in town?
I can’t just pick one!
Watkins Grill: It’s one of the last really old diners in town. They do this country fried steak, it’s just really good country food.
The Bull and Bear: It’s this little bar in the corner of the strip mall on the corner Six Forks and Millbrook. It’s been around forever and a cool place. They have bingo on Sundays. You can sit at the bar and play bingo. I’m not a regular anymore but it’s a nice outing.
Peddler Steakhouse: They do a great steak and will cut the ribeye tableside. I love old dark steakhouses, it has the nostalgia you want in a 50 year old steakhouse.
Waraji Sushi: A little sushi place out down Glenwood, it’s been around for quite some time. It’s just wonderful, authentic, reasonably priced sushi. You sit at the sushi bar and let them take the reins. It’s a hike to get there but totally worth it.
Community Deli: It’s a little place on Oberlin Road. I’ll pop in randomly for lunch, get a limeade and whatever food on the menu after that. We grew up going there.
Jerry’s Grill: It’s where Wake Forest and Whitaker Mill intersect, they’ve been around forever. They’ve got this sandwich called a hobo. It’s this breakfast sandwich that’s very unhealthy and delicious.
Union Camp Collective: It’s a vintage and antique shop. They have everything from old-school prison art, which you don’t find anywhere, to Mid Century modern to needlepoint, Chesterfield couches, etc. Charlotte Smith runs that and does a great job.
What’s your go-to coffee shop and usual order?
Escazu keeps me alive basically, the cortada there is awesome.
Benchwarmers: Their cappuccino and fried bologna sandwich!
And Cup of Joe is always great, I’ll get the red eye, it’s an institution.
What’s your favorite lunch place?
Watkins. I order Country Fried Steak and Collard greens.
Any other favorite things you love to do around town?
I love the Rialto. My old go-to outing was to go to bingo at The Bull and Bear, then the Colony (a movie theater that shut down).
You have a few days off-do you head east to the coast or west to the mountains?
West! The mountains are a great escape. I love the Nelson County, Virginia area.
Any fun facts people might not know about you?
I like to do metalwork. I did the door and the yoda here at Stanbury. I also like to do oil painting. I’ll paint at home. I’ll put Bob Ross on and cook dinner and paint.
Did you work in metal before Stanbury?
Yes, not in an artistic way but with environmental cleanup and shipyard type of stuff.
Did you always want to open a restaurant?
Yes. It’s what we always wanted to do. My brother and I had always talked about it, never really planned on it and weaned into it. It’s been a steep learning curve.
Did you anticipate Stanbury to be such a huge success?
Well, we’re still here! The goal for me, was to be open in a year. It’s been fun being part of the neighborhood.