Beer, Wine & Spirits in Morrisville

Select Local Merchants

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."

8314 Chapel Hill Rd
Cary,
NC
US

zpizza— voted best pizza in Raleigh by CitySearch and Best Pizza in Cary by WakeCary Magazine —is known for its inventive, California-style pizzas: think zesty Thai-style chicken pizza with peanut sauce and cilantro, or Mexican-style pizza loaded with taco fixings. But even a simple cheese or pepperoni pizza from zpizza is sure to be memorable. That's because the restaurant's cooks use only top-shelf ingredients in their brick-oven-baked pies, from the Montana winter wheat that goes into their hand-thrown crusts to the organic tomato sauce and Wisconsin skim mozzarella layered on top. Diners can customize pizzas with other toppings, including locally sourced meats, fresh produce, and gourmet ingredients such as truffle oil.

96 Cornerstone Dr
Cary,
NC
US

April Schlanger, a 15-year wine-industry veteran, believes that the words “organic” and “eco-friendly” are not mutually exclusive when relating to affordable wines. She and her husband Josh opened Sip... A Wine Store in the hopes of sharing their passion for and knowledge of organic wine and beer, earning the young store a glowing feature on CaryCitizen. Respect for the planet oozes from every design detail in the quaint shop, be it the VOC-free wall paint, reclaimed-wood display tables, or complimentary wine carriers given to customers upon arrival. Those hoping to challenge their palates and forego the day's to-do lists can sidle up to the tasting bar or partake in formal wine classes, focusing on specific producers or varietals.

1059 Darrington Dr
Cary,
NC
US

Ethiopian main courses divide into two parts: injera, a thin flatbread, and wot, a stew comprising mostly meat or various beans. Ashee Ethiopian Cuisine adheres to tradition, serving stews of chicken, beef, or curried lamb and goat atop spongy slices of injera. Beyond its carnivorous dishes, Ashee caters to vegetarians with heaps of lentils cooked in berbere sauce and split peas cooked with mild green peppers. Feasts are served atop a mesob, a round table designed to encourage sharing among diners. Beers and Coke products can complement meals, though for a more authentic experience Ashee recommends ordering coffee, which is served during a traditional ethiopian ceremony.

904 NE Maynard Rd
Cary,
NC
US

The building has been there for generations, beneath a neon "Restaurant" sign that used to serve as a beacon of sustenance for WWII-era soldiers stationed nearby. Decades later, under that same sign, people still show up in search of food, and more importantly, in search of drink. This historic spot is now the home of Brewmasters Bar & Grill, a taproom that celebrates North Carolina brewers with its selection of nearly 100 craft brews. "Beer geeks," as Brewmasters likes to call them, can discover local suds from Big Boss and Crank Arm mixed in with nationally renowned beers such as Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.

Of course, beer is also integral to the food menu. On it, guests will find pork belly braised in brown ale and beer-battered onion rings. The kitchen makes many of their ingredients in-house, including spinach dip forged from a family recipe and Brewmasters' signature candied bacon with jalapeño-apple jelly. As guests tackle their meals, they can study a state map that pinpoints North Carolina's best-loved breweries and least-invisible rivers.

301 W Martin St
Raleigh,
NC
US

Boutier Wine & Design owners James and Laura Cawthern oversee a collection of award-winning, locally produced red, white, and fruit wines. Inside their facility, the couple casts casual vibes across a variety of special events, including Ladies Night on the first Thursday of every month and Wine Down Fridays, when visitors can celebrate the weekend by sipping wine instead of by fervidly burning their work clothes. In addition to their potables, the Cawtherns help lift spirits with personalized gift baskets and custom labels that outfit bottles with personal photos.

231 Bickett Blvd
Raleigh,
NC
US