Jake Wood’s Favorite Places to Eat & Drink

The chef of Lawrence BBQ in RTP shares his favorite restaurants, bars and coffee spots in Raleigh and the Triangle.
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 Jake Wood, the chef behind Lawrence BBQ in Boxyard RTP. There, he serves up classic pulled pork, smoked chicken and a mean broccoli caesar. And when he’s off duty, here’s where he goes for the best food and beverages in Raleigh, Garner and further out in North Carolina.

Where do you go for a craft beverage?

Gallo Pelón. I order the Smokestack Lightning

Where do you go for date night?


What’s your go-to dive bar?

Kotuku Surf Club. Surf Club is the perfect setting for a dope afternoon hang. Great vibes over there.

What’s your favorite new spot?

Bendito [ed note: now closed]

Where do you take an out-of-towner?

Big Ed’s

What’s your favorite coffee spot?

Beyu Caffé at Boxyard

Where do you like to go for brunch?

Angie’s Restaurant in Garner 

What would you have for your last meal on earth?

Everything at St. Roch

photo credit: Eamon Queeney

What chefs should we keep our eyes on?

Kevin Ruiz at Bendito and Bobby McFarland at Wye Hill!

What restaurant outside of Raleigh is worth the drive?

Jon G’s Barbecue in Peachland, NC, and Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland, NC

What’s your favorite food truck or place for a takeout meal meal?

Soo Cafe

What’s your go-to weekday lunch spot?

Ideal’s. Beware that Ideal’s is only open on Monday, Thursday and Friday —  and you want to get there early to make sure you have a fair shake of their whole menu. The hot items tend to move fast.

photo credit: Bryan Regan

Where do you go for international cuisine?

Five Star Restaurant or Taqueria El Toro

What are you most excited about in 2023?

I am most excited for the boys at Longleaf Swine BBQ. I think Raleigh is in for a real treat as they grow into that beautiful new space over there!

Find more picks from local chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs here.

This article originally appeared on waltermagazine.com in December, 2022