After trying P.G. Werth’s for brunch many times, the boyfriend and I finally decided to try their dinner menu for date night. P.G. Werth’s restaurant and coffee bar is situated on Morgan Street, at the base of the 927 West apartments. Chef Gregg Hamm is the owner and executive chef of Café 121 in Sanford and embarked on his newest restaurant adventure when he opened P.G. Werth’s in late 2014. The restaurant is named after Chef Hamm’s culinary instructor, who inspired him to become a chef and teacher himself. In addition to owning P.G. Werth’s and Café 121, Chef Hamm is also the Director of the Central Carolina Culinary Institute. He aims to provide Blue Ridge-inspired dishes using locally grown food and “new-school techniques” at P.G. Werth’s. He provides dishes that are familiar, but are a little bit different from any dish you can get around Triangle.
I have been a long-time lover of P.G. Werth’s brunch menu, but decided to try dinner for the first time during Triangle Restaurant Week. The Restaurant Week menu allowed me to try an appetizer, entrée, and dessert, which was the perfect excuse to share these dishes with you all! For an appetizer, I decided to try the fried green beans with ranch drizzle ($7.00). The green beans were thin and not too heavily breaded. As a personal preference, I would have preferred a teeny bit more ranch drizzle, but the dish was delicious nonetheless.
As for my entrée, I went with the Chicken Florentine ($19.00). Where a typical Chicken Florentine involves chicken and spinach over pasta with a cream sauce, Chef Hamm put his own modern twist on this dish. This Chicken Florentine consisted of grilled chicken breast over cooked spinach and bacon covered in Havarti cheese. All of this was served on a bed of roasted red pepper risotto. I thought it was the perfect amount of spinach and bacon to compliment the chicken without being overwhelming. The roasted red pepper risotto was cooked to perfection and really completed the dish. The meal was also the perfect serving size. I left satisfied but not in immediate need of a nap, which is always good. For dessert, I chose the Brownie a la mode: a brownie cut into three small pieces with a side of ice cream. Warm and not overpoweringly rich, it was the perfect end to the meal. As there is no dessert menu on their website, it seems they rotate dessert specials pretty often.
While our service was excellent during this outing, I feel the need to slip in a quick note. I think one of the things holding P.G. Werth’s back from becoming a popular new Raleigh restaurant is their service. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been great for the majority of our trips to P.G. Werth’s. All of the servers tend to be either way too attentive or not attentive enough. Last time we visited for brunch, there were only two servers working and the host forgot to assign someone to us. They also bring an iPad to the table when you’re ready to pay. I understand that this might make it easier for the servers, but it can be a little awkward when your server is standing over you while you pay and write out their tip. Since I genuinely think their food offers something new and different, I’m willing to overlook poor service, but I know a lot of people who would be turned off and not return.
Of all of the meals I’ve eaten at P.G. Werth’s, brunch is definitely my favorite. I think their brunch dishes are the most unique meals they have to offer at a little more affordable price than dinner. My personal favorite is the Southern Benedict ($13.00): a poached egg on a sweet potato biscuit with fried green tomato and sausage gravy. Despite the service, I would definitely recommend giving P.G. Werth’s a shot. Chef Hamm provides some truly new twists to southern classics that any Southerner would enjoy.
Melissa Guido is a currently a dietetic intern in the Triangle area. She studied nutrition at NC State and Meredith College. Her favorite part about nutrition is showing people that healthy food can be exciting and delicious. Melissa loves travelling and learning about how food fits into different cultures. In her free time she loves trying new restaurants, cooking, and obsessing over her dogs. Follow her on Instagram @made2order and at www.madeorder.wordpress.com