With a wide variety of beers on tap, 14 TVs, and a huge menu, The Train Station (formerly Harrison's Bar & Grill) is a great place to kick back and watch the game or UFC fight. It's also a great place to play a game—the bar has free darts as well as free pool, making the days of saving your spot on the pool table with a gold dubloon obsolete. Nearly every night of the week, events keep visitors further entertained, whether it's with free beer pong on Thursday, karaoke on Sunday, or DJs on Friday and Tuesday.
Judging by his daring attitude toward fusion cuisine, head chef Michael Schiffer probably tried to fry the rule book before throwing it out the window. He founded Maximillian's Grill in 1991 with humble aspirations: it would be a 32-seat pizza restaurant where guests could enjoy quiet meals. In four months, however, he had amassed magazine awards and a clientele that would line up outside the restaurant for an hour before he opened the doors. They were there, waiting patiently, to see what delicious fusion food would sail out of the kitchen that night—Michael hand wrote a new menu every day and often invented new dishes on the spot, fusing Italian flavors with creole and Asian influences.
Unfortunately, in 1998, a fire closed Max’s for good. Though he and his wife Gayle later opened a gourmet deli, it wasn’t until 2001 that they opened Max’s once again, this time in a roomier location with high ceilings, soft light, and tinted windows. The new joint even has a wine bar in the back separated from the dining room by a partition.
In the kitchen, Michael devises fresh takes on fusion cuisine while holding onto many of the dishes that made Max’s famous, classics as the grilled caesar salad—prepped by grilling the actual lettuce—and the peppercorn-encrusted Voodoo tuna. Michael has also archived his old menus on the restaurant's webpage, viewing them as a timeline for his culinary evolution and a way to remember how to spell "bouillabaisse."
You can thank Brooklyn-born ovens for the authentic taste of Maximillian's Pizza Kitchen's stone-baked pies. Sauce, cheese, and myriad toppings, such as veal meatballs and applewood bacon, bubble atop doughy disks in the 40-year-old ovens. These pies have earned Maximillian's a 4-star rating from News & Observer's Greg Cox, as well as a mention in Cary Magazine. Aside from pies, the Italian food hub also prepares rich pasta dishes including braised short rib over penne and linguine topped with grouper, jumbo shrimp, and wild mushrooms in a coconut-smoked, chili-ginger sauce.
Cooks at Michelangelo's Pizza's Cary location sprinkle fresh garlic, italian sausage, and green peppers to form custom orders and the specialty pies that make up their daily pizza buffet. Guests can transform their round pie into a square meal with fresh garden salads or sizzling chicken wings coated in teriyaki, barbecue, or buffalo sauces. The imposing lunch and dinner buffets houses pre-sliced pizzas, hearty pastas, and salads to complement sauce-drenched feasting. Dessert options range from peanut-butter, chocolate-chip, and cherry-pie pizzas to chocolate-dipped cannolis.
The Big Easy borrows more than New Orleans' nickname—it's a full-fledged slice of the rollicking city, with authentic Cajun fare served amid street lamps and photos of the French Quarter. Louisiana classics include po'boys, gumbo, and jambalaya washed down by hurricane cocktails and sangria. An outdoor patio adds an alfresco option for romantic dining, with hanging ferns, candlelit tables, and cherubs posing for greeting cards. Inside, nightly events from live music to trivia games create a festive air around the restaurant's iron bar. There are also themed rooms for private events.