The first time I went to Hayes Barton was to try one of their gigantic slices of coconut cake. Although it was pricey – in the $8 range – it was completely worth it. Hayes Barton’s claim to fame is their desserts, and the scrumptious coconut cake didn’t disappoint. I vowed to return for dinner someday and finally got the opportunity to do so this month. We recruited our favorite couple and made reservations for four on a Saturday night. Hayes Barton is a 40s-themed restaurant with good ole American fare. The restaurant was opened in 1998 by Frank Ballard and his wife, both of whom have a love for the bygone era. The space itself is very small with 40s-themed décor and music playing from that decade at a reasonable volume in the background.
We were seated right on time and found the cozy atmosphere to be charming and inviting. Our server was attentive, greeted us promptly, and took our drink order. The wine and beer menu was extensive and reasonably priced. We perused the food menus and caught up on each others’ lives. Our drinks were brought to us in a timely fashion and our food orders were taken.
My friend and I chose the steak with mashed potatoes, gravy, mushrooms, and string beans from the specials menu. It cost around $25. The portion sizes are very large at Hayes Barton, another thing they’re known for. My steak was tender, juicy and flavorful. The sides were delicious and cooked to perfection. I did find that I needed to salt my dish, though I do tend to be a salt lover, and it’s worth mentioning that my friend did not add extra salt to hers. I had a glass of pinot noir with my food, as well as a glass of iced tea. I was pleased that Hayes Barton served sweet tea, as it seems to be an unfortunate trend in Raleigh restaurants of late to not offer it as a beverage option. Sadly, we were too full to get dessert, although we were extremely tempted to do so!
All around our experience at Hayes Barton was extremely positive. Our server did an excellent job from start to finish, which always makes a restaurant experience that much better. The other guests were laughing and having a great time. I would recommend Hayes Barton to anyone and will definitely return myself, and our friends intend to do so as well. It was a bit warm inside, so my husband commented that it may be more suited to visit in the fall or winter when it’s cooler outdoors. I agree as it’s a very dark, cozy, festive environment and they serve heavy comfort food meant to warm your soul.
Address: 2000 Fairview Rd, Raleigh, NC 27608
Lauren has lived in the Triangle for almost a decade and has been a freelance writer for almost as long. She loves going out to eat, supporting local farms, hanging out with her husband and three daughters, and exploring the great state of North Carolina. If Lauren loves a restaurant, she’ll tell the world, so writing restaurant reviews has become a passion!