Mitch’s Tavern Review – Raleigh, NC
Whenever I move to a new area or visit for an extended period of time, one of the first things I’m sure to do is scour the nearby stores and restaurants looking for my little nook or crevice to fill. I spend a lot of my time reading, writing, or just relaxing while I work and I prefer to do it in a quiet environment that can provide good food or drink when needed, and that I don’t mind hanging around. When I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, I found my place pretty quickly at Mitch’s Tavern. Mitch’s Tavern (often called simply “Mitch’s” by the locals) is a quiet little pub that offers students, teachers, and workers a place to eat on Hillsborough Street for lunch and dinner. When I walked into Mitch’s for the first time, a warmth washed over me and a feeling of home settled in; I knew this would be my area.
When you remove the old wooden door that leads to Mitch, you are immediately greeted by a well-traveled and worn wooden staircase. The staircase is steep and leads you to a dim but cozy little pub overlooking Hillsborough Street and the North Carolina State University campus. There is a wooden bar that is clean but displays a lot of little knickknacks (I have a strong sense of history in this place, and I like to believe that each of those nicks had its own story), and wooden booths and chairs set on coffee tables. dark wood. Wooden floorboards complete the restaurant’s “old town tavern” feel, and the walls are lined with character. There are old beach bikes hanging from the ceiling, toy airplanes flying over the bar, photos, autographs, and great little memorabilia (famous newspapers and wanted posters) all over the walls. Every time you tour, there is something else “cool” to look at that makes you realize that you are not in another bar and grill. I doubt I can go back to one of the plethora of gruesome bars and grills that are popping up across the country after visiting Mitch’s. Call me spoiled, but it wouldn’t feel the same.
While you may be drawn to Mitch’s first because of the decorations, character, or dining experience, you are likely to return for the food. This isn’t just bar food so you can eat while sipping the beers, it’s food you can tell chefs to be proud of. From the honey-filled melon to the Cuban sandwich, Mitch’s offers a wide variety of real flavor at easily affordable prices. Some of my personal favorites include:
The vegetarian chili: This is a chili stuffed with beans and spices, and flavored with mixed and chopped vegetables. It comes with tortilla chips and toppings (salsa, sour cream, and cheese is layered on top of the chili), and if you’re looking for an extra “bite”, there are jalapenos mixed in.
The London Broil – This sandwich was the first thing that made me drag all my friends to Mitch’s and it’s always my recommendation if someone doesn’t know what to order. Slices of royal steak are thinly layered between two pieces of toast and spread with spiced mayo. The sandwich is served with fries and pickles, the perfect lunch meal.
Mitch’s is also a historic part of the downtown Raleigh area. It has been there for decades and has seen many university professors, graduates, honored guests, and celebrities walk through its doors (with signatures and comments from some of them!). It has become an iconic part of the area near the university and, in addition to being open for lunch every day, it has been involved in many student activities (some sponsored by the university and some not) such as meetings, specials of the exam week and the famous Halloween night “Hillsborough Hike” (a pub crawl that focuses on costumes and local pubs). If you’re looking for a place to eat, hang out, watch the news, or even work in Raleigh, be sure to check out Mitch’s. I’ve been all over town since then and have found quite a few remarkable restaurants, but I always come back to Mitch’s at the end. You can’t beat that London Broil.