David Meeker’s Favorite Places to Eat & Drink

The co-owner of Trophy Brewing discloses his favorite restaurants, bars and coffee spots in the Raleigh area.
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 David Meeker, the co-owner of Trophy Brewing, now with multiple locations beloved for their craft beer and stellar pizzas. When he’s off duty, here’s where he goes for the best food and beverages in the area. You’ll find he’s a fan of coffee, a drive to Durham’s food hall and the Raleigh staple Poole’s Diner.

Photo credit: Bryan Regan, Longleaf Lounge

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

Longleaf Hotel Lounge. I fell in love with the Longleaf Lounge in Summer 2020. Their patio was perfect for the pandemic and I was determined to keep my friends in business. I get the Gold Rush in the winter and the Gin and Tonic in the summer.

What’s your go-to dive?

Person Street Bar. Love this place, it’s a great vibe! The owners are some of the best people in town.  

Where do you for a date night?

Stanbury. But, it’s so good that it’s hard to get in now. We also hit St. Roch, Crawford & Son and Poole’s.

What’s your favorite new spot?

East Bower Cider Company. The energy there is great and the owners Oliver Koch and Dustin Walker, two long-time beer guys, are incredible folks.

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

For business, definitely Death and Taxes. I have a friend who moved to Wrightsville Beach during the pandemic and literally moved back to Raleigh because he missed business dinners at Death and Taxes.

Photo Credit: Bryan Regan, The Optimist

What’s your favorite coffee spot?

So many! My regular spot is The Optimist Raleigh. For good vibes, Pine State Coffee. When I’m downtown and I need a to-go cup, 42 & Lawrence. For coffee and a pastry, Lucettegrace. For a work meeting, Sir Walter Coffee. I’m a big coffee shop guy.

What’s your favorite brunch spot?

Irregardless for a family brunch, Capital Club 16 if I’m having a Sunday fun-day and Beasley’s if we had a few drinks the night before.

Where would your last meal on earth be?

Poole’s. I love AC’s food but I’m also just a big fan of her as a person. We kinda came up together and she’s even a better person than she is a chef. She deserves all the accolades she’s earned.

What chefs should we keep our eyes?

Saif Rahman at Vidrio and Dave Ellis at Poole’s. Both are super talented and good people, so I’m rooting for them.

Photo Courtesy: Vidrio

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

Ex-Voto at the Durham Food Hall. It’s 45 minutes to get there, then an hour to eat lunch and the 45 minute drive back, but it’s worth it.

What’s your favorite meal to get to-go?

Locals Oyster Bar pop ups. I’ve been following them around since they closed at Transfer. The oysters are great and the people are even better.

Where do you go for weekday lunch?

Sono Sushi if I’m alone, Capital Club 16 for a business lunch and Centro if I’m lunching with friends. I eat lunch out downtown everyday. You can’t beat it.

What’s your favorite place offering international cuisine?

La Santa and Cortez are the gems of Glenwood South.

What place are you looking forward to opening?

I can’t wait for Cheetie and Paul’s new concept on Bickett in Five Points. I love that location and I think it will have a Stanbury vibe. It can’t open soon enough.

This article originally appeared online at waltermagazine.com in December 2022.