Seven reasons to love a food tour of Cary, North Carolina

Tasting-at-Cafe-121---PullOChef Hamm’s delicious sampling at Cafe 121 in Cary, North Carolina

Come hungry, wear comfortable shoes, pace yourself and be prepared to enjoy some amazing food.

That’s my advice for diners embarking on the Triangle Food Tour’s Downtown Cary Tour.

Each weekend Triangle Food Tours takes visitors through Cary’s historic district on a guided walking tour that highlights local restaurants and provides a unique dining journey.

With Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina close by, Cary is sometimes overlooked.  However, the historic railroad town founded in the 19th-century has a charming downtown and an emerging culinary scene that’s beginning to step out of the shadow of its larger neighbors.

Here are seven reasons you’ll love the Downtown Cary Food Tour.


Stop 1Once in a Blue Moon Bakery & Cafe

As our tour guide Anne put it, “Life’s short, eat dessert first.”  That’s exactly what we did at Once in a Blue Moon Bakery.

Known for their cookies, pies, quick breads, pastries and cupcakes this busy bakery is hopping.

Tucked in a corner of Ahsworth Village the popular bakery is also the place to find that special cake. Wedding, anniversary and the latest trend for expecting parents- gender reveal cakes are the specialty at Once in a Blue Moon Bakery.

Once in a Blue Moon Bakery & Cafe

115-G West Chatham Street

Cary, North Carolina  27511  919-319-6554


Stop 2Cafe 121

Chef Hamm is ready for our arrival and has prepared an amazing array using the finest, fresh, local ingredients. As the website says, “Cafe 121 is the fusion of classic cooking styles.”

We’re treated to a sampling of several southern classics including; a harvest salad, fried green beans, melon and blue berries, and a pimento cheese sandwich topped with a fried green tomato and cherry wood bacon on gluten-free bread.


Chef Hamm opened Cafe 121 in Sanford seven years ago. His success in Sanford lead him to open a second restaurant in Cary and he now has plans for yet another location in Raleigh.  PG Werth’s is scheduled to open sometime in the fall of 2014.

Cafe 121

140 East Chatham Street

Cary, NC  27511 919-468-9884


Stop 3Dorry’s Downtown Deli

Our next stop is Dorry’s Downtown.  Dorry’s is a casual sandwich shop and favorite location for classic deli items, salads and sandwiches.  They’re also famous for their pizza.

Originally from New York, owner Ray Dorry delights in bringing the tastes of the northeast south. The laid-back atmosphere is ideal for our group of food-tourists trying out the delicious crab cake salad and New York-style specialty mimosa pizza.

A look around the restaurant tells us the owner is a Carolina Hurricane’s hockey fan and there are plenty of televisions inviting diners to stay and watch the game.


Dorry’s Downtown Deli

211 East Chatham Street

Cary, NC  27511   919-388-3030


Stop 4Havana Grill

We walk on to Havana Grill to experience some authentic Cuban food.

We savor delectable pork, black beans and rice, fried plantains and homemade sangria.  But Havana Grill isn’t only known for traditional Cuban favorites. You’ll want to save room for dessert. The flan has been recognized as the best dessert in the Triangle multiple times.

This is a happy, family-friendly restaurant that proudly brings the taste of the Caribbean to North Carolina.  Stop by on a Saturday night when the patio transforms and salsa dancing ensues.

Havana-Grill-patio---Cary--The patio is open year-round at the Havana Grill

The Havana Grille

404 West Chatham Street

Cary, NC  27511  919-460-8662


Stop 5Chocolate Smiles

To sweeten up our samplings we drop by Chocolate Smiles. Chocolatiers since 1984, this thriving sweet shop is chocolate heaven. Chocolate Smiles makes their handmade confections in small batches using the freshest ingredients.

Today we are the lucky ones sampling the tasty treats which include, pecan chocolate turtles and truffles.


Chocolate Smiles Candy Factory & Gift Shoppe

312 West Chatham Street

Cary, NC  27511  919-469-5282


Stop 6UnVined Wine Bar


We move up the street for a libation at UnVined Wine Bar.

This modern wine bar combines wine, music and art. The walls are adorned with paintings by local artists and live music is on-tap Friday and Saturday evenings.

UnWined’s menu features a variety of light appetizers, salads and desserts to accompany the wines and craft beers they serve.

Today we’re treated to a sip of Pinot Grigio to compliment our sampling of the pimento cheese and spinach artichoke dips.

UnVined Wine Bar

201 West Chatham Street

Cary, NC  27519  919-481-0881


Stop 7Academy Street Bistro

Last but certainly not least we finish our food tour of downtown Cary at Academy Street Bistro.

Chef Brian Fitzgerald treats us to a cool and zesty gazpacho followed by one of the tastiest crab cakes this Maryland girl has had since leaving home.  We finish off our sampling with a sip of Sauvignon Blanc and good conversation.

Academy-Street-Bistro---PulThe Academy Street Bistro is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch

The Triangle Food Tour’s Downtown Cary tour is a popular way to experience Cary’s rich history and burgeoning culinary scene. The tour congregates once a month on a Saturday afternoon at the corner of Chatham and Academy Streets outside of Ashworth’s Drug Store.

Reservations are required and tours fill up so be sure to book ahead of time.

Bon Appetit!

If you enjoyed this, please share it with your friends.  As always, Happy Travels!

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  • July 29, 2014

    I’ve never taken organized food tour. But would love to. Restaurant svene in Cary sounds quite exciting. Would love to taste that crab cake at the Academy Street Bistro

  • April 15, 2016

    First dish looks amazing. I can just imagine the taste of it. I would love to try it. Is this asparagus? They are amazing. The best ones are wild (selvatica).

    Thank you for sharing!

    • April 15, 2016

      Actually, that was green beans and they were delicious! Thanks for stopping by Pull Over and Let Me Out. 🙂
      Anna Marie

  • Lindsey Chester
    May 24, 2016

    Amazing what can happen in 2 years- 3 of these places are gone! Dorry’s left right after this post I believe, Un Vined closed in 2015 and Cafe 121 has been closed and Crosstown Pub is packing em in for well over a year.Havana Grill is under new ownership. Time to revisit Downtown Cary!

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