Jessie Rossabi’s Favorite Places to Eat & Drink

The bartender at Glenwood South’s rooftop bar, the Willard, shares for favorite places for good food and good coffee in and around Raleigh
by Catherine Currin

For our 2023 Guide to Where to Eat and Drink in the Triangle, we surveyed a dozen food industry folks to find their go-to spots for everything from an elegant date night to a casual drink, to the best place to bring someone in from out-of-town. One of those folks was Jessie Rossabi. Rossabi is the bartender at Glenwood South’s rooftop bar and lounge, the Willard. She’s known for her creative cocktails. This year she was named first runner up in the NCRLA mixologist competition. Below she shares her favorite places to go when she’s off duty.

What’s your go-to place for a craft beverage?

Dram and Draught. I love the Mezcal Old Fashioned. They have a deep back bar selection with something elegant for everyone, and an awesome cocktail menu with potential to take it around the world in a bottle if you so choose.

What’s your go-to dive?

Circa 1888. The bartenders remember your order and they’re open late enough for industry folks to unwind at. The pool tables are a solid bonus!

Where do you like to go for a date night?

Ajisai. It’s quiet and a great vibe to have a good conversation. The food is stellar and beautiful.

What’s your favorite new spot?

321 Coffee. It’s an awesome concept with community outreach at its core, and they’re fantastic neighbors.

Where do you take an out-of-town guest?

Poole’s Diner. It’s a classic downtown Raleigh experience. 10 out of 10 every time! 

What’s your favorite coffee spot?

Jubala. Fabulous coffee, friendly folks, daily visits recommended.

Photo Credit: Anna Routh, St. Roch

Where do you go for brunch?

St. Roch’s. They have an incredible brunch menu with tons of fresh Creole takes on classic brunch faves.

What would your last meal on earth be?

My mom makes a killer baked Ziti! 

Who is a chef to watch?

James Cundiff at Willard Downtown Lounge. He’s an innovative executive chef who’s constantly exploring worlds of new flavors. Humble and authentic food every time!

What’s a place that’s worth the drive?

Mezcalito in Clayton. They have a crazy menu and super fun cocktails, fantastic value. The patio is great and the service is stellar on top of it all. Well worth the drive!

Photo Credit Bryan Regan, Gym Taco

Where do you go for a meal to-go?

Gym Tacos. It’s awesome, family run, cash only, authentic Mexican street food.

What’s your favorite spot for a weekday lunch?

Morgan St. Food Hall. There are tons of options, all fantastic in their own right. See Victor Vinson at the bar to really complete this quintessential Raleigh experience.

Photo Credit: Bryan Regan, Five Star

Where do you like to go for international cuisine?

Five Star. It’s a longtime Raleigh staple. The food is always fantastic and authentic.

This article was originally published on December 29, 2022 on