Fall is in the air and pumpkin is on the menu! Here are some delicious autumnal flavors our local cafes, bars, and restaurants have on their menus right now.
by Kara Adams and Addie Ladner
From pumpkin spiced lattes and carrot-packed cakes to hearty dinners and autumnal cocktails infused with apple, cinnamon, squash, and more, we love when all things fall hit the menu. Get these items before they’re gone!
Autumn-Spiced Coffees, Teas, and Sweet Treats
Benchwarmers Bagel’s Pecan Maple Cappuccino is filled with Vermont maple syrup, maple sugar, fire roasted, and toasted pecans, then garnished with a maple honeycomb for a seriously sweet morning pick-me-up.
The S’mores Waffle at Benelux Coffee could eaten for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. Smeared with Biscoff cookie butter spread, toasted marshmallows and a chocolate drizzle, try pairing with their pumpkin spiced chai latte or a hot apple cider topped with whipped cream.
Sip on a Maple Brown Sugar Cortado from BREW Coffee Bar with house-made brown sugar maple syrup, or a fall latte with cinnamon, cardamon, allspice, and clove syrup. Check out the apple cider steeped with mulling spice or a fall espresso and tonic if you’re looking to change up your morning beverage.
Warm up with Jubala Coffee’s take on the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte, made with ground spices and brown sugar, or a Campfire Mocha with crushed graham crackers, smoke and salt bitters, and toasted homemade marshmallows. If you’re not quite ready to give up iced drinks, try a sparkling apple cider with earl grey tea, lemon juice and Angostura bitters and a maple apple cinnamon scone.
Switch it up with the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie from Raleigh Raw, sweetened with banana, or go for a classic spiced apple cider, pumpkin spice latte, or hot chocolate from their fall menu, featuring a variety of sweet treats as well.
Taste the flavors of fall with a Spiced Cold Brew from Sir Walter Coffee, infused with an aromatic blend of cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, brown sugar, and a hint of cayenne pepper to start fall off. If you have a sweet tooth, check out their fall menu, including a graham cracker infused latte topped with marshmallow and cinnamon and a pumpkin cheesecake latte.
Head to Sola Coffee Cafe to try their Seasonal Pumpkin Honey Latte or cinnamon plum apple cider, paired with maple apple cinnamon scones or hot pumpkin mini donuts for a perfect autumn breakfast. Check out Sola Coffee’s fall items to snack on, too including warm pumpkin mini donuts, maple cinnamon scones, or a filling apple butter and ricotta toast on Yellow Dog multigrain bread topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Down an Autumn Spiced Latte from Yellow Dog Bread Co., a drink boasting all the flavors of the harvest season with your milk of choice. Then try a chai spiced cookie or a pumpkin cookie for a quick treat, or take home an apple crisp or pecan pie for a quick and easy dessert. Make sure to check out Yellow Dog’s homemade pumpkin butter as well, which is sure to elevate any of your favorite make-at-home fall dishes.
Enjoy a caffeinated beverage concoction from 42 & Lawrence’s fall menu, featuring uniquely named coffees such as the Boots Beards and Flannel, a maple latte with ginger and cinnamon, the spooky Headless Horseman Dirty Chai Latte with pumpkin and topped with cayenne pepper, or the fan-favorite apple cider.
Make sure to pick up a Pumpkin Pie Croissant from Lucette Grace, a decadent flaky twice-baked croissant stuffed with pumpkin pie, pecan frangipane, and pumpkin seeds that flies off the shelves.
Head to Union Special, now with a downtown location in addition to their Gateway Plaza one, for unique fall pastries, including their Twice-Baked Pecan Croissants and heaping slices of freshly-baked carrot cake.
Stop by one of La Farm Bakery’s locations in Cary for their seasonal menu including apple strudel challah, braided pumpkin challah, fall harvest bread, pumpkin bread and a rotating selection of treats in store like their popular Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones, which have all the flavors of a pumpkin spice latte in buttery soft scone form, sweetened with chocolate chips.
Fall-Inspired Local Dishes
Chow down on a salty and sweet Benchwarmers Bagels Autumn Bagel Sandwich like no other, piled high with maple roasted jester squash, Boxcarr campo cheese, homemade peanut-chili crunch, and a granny smith apple.
Feast on the Scallop and Butternut Squash Ravioli at GRAVY, made with goat cheese, apples, brown butter sage cream, figs, pumpkin seeds — or opt for the butternut risotto with caramelized shallots, fontina cheese, seasonal greens, and seared scallops. On the lighter side, check out their fall mixed greens salad with red onions, candied pistachios, mandarin oranges, and a delicious cranberry maple vinaigrette.
Grab the Seasonal Harvest Salad from Sola Coffee Cafe while you still can! An arugula base topped with roasted sweet potatoes, onion, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and Jeanne’s dressing, this salad is fall in a bowl, perfect for an energizing lunch break.
Enjoy a small plate from the new fall menu at Stanbury! From Smoked Masala Cauliflower with chutney and spiced ghee to a duck break with marinated olives, there’s something for everyone! For a heartier dish, opt for the tagliatelle with mushroom ragu, mirepoix, garlic, basil, pecorino, and bread crumbs.
At Rosewater in North Hills, try a unique Heirloom Squash accompanied by a tofu vinaigrette, pickled shallot, preserved lemon, bread crumbs, or consider the Brussel sprouts with dried cherries, pecorino, pancetta, and basil. Still have room? Finish off your meal with a carrot cake for dessert.
Head to Sitti for a Smoked Pear Salad with labneh, arugula and butternut squash topped with a maple garlic vinaigrette, candied walnuts, and pomegranate, or dine on a butcher block with a sirloin steak topped with lemon harissa butter paired with za’atar fingerling potatoes and broccolini.
Check out the Butternut Squash Ravioli at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen, made with Swiss chard, pickled peppers, toasted hazelnuts, and a brown butter vinaigrette, or warm up on a chilly October night with their cream of mushroom soup with fox farm mushrooms, cream, herbs, and chili oil.
Vegetarians and vegans will love Fiction Kitchen’s Locavore Salad with spinach, Asian pears, shallots, roasted kabocha squash, red cabbage, candied pecans, carrot ginger dressing for the fall salad of your dreams.
Get your fall fix at Haymaker with its Verlasso Salmon, served with fall squash, or order the herb gnocchi with pistachio pesto, fall squash, charred shallots, confit cherry tomatoes, and house-made ricotta. For something heartier, consider the New York strip steak, currently served with crispy fingerling potatoes, roasted fall vegetables, and arugula chimichurri for an autumnal twist.
Fall-Inspired Cocktails, Spirits & Beer
Fiction Kitchen’s Halloween-inspired Mezcall Me By Your Name features mezcal, pomegranate liquor, orange juice, lime, Peychaud’s, and a black salt rim. Or consider the seasonal apple spice sangria, She’s My Apple Pie, with Black Strap rum, apple pie spice, and citrus mixed with your choice or red or white sangria.
Choose from one of Foundation’s twists on the Old Fashioned, including a Maple Old Fashioned with maple syrup, or Piedmont Sazerac with Laird’s Apple Brandy in their cozy Fayetteville Street location.
Relax at The Longleaf Hotel Lounge with a harvest-themed cocktail dubbed the Do Not Disturb #223, a mix of Elijah Craig Bourbon, Eden Honeycrisp Ice Cider, Carpano Antica, and orange, or peruse their beer and wine list for your favorite fall drink.
Enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Milky Way Stout or Oktrophyfest beer on tap at the newly opened Young Hearts Distilling downtown, or sip on the Spice Trader cocktail, a concoction of barrel-rested Zaya rum, Frangelico, chai Lillet, dry Curacao, and cherry syrup at this charming downtown space.
Stop by Bittersweet on Thursdays for Bubbles and Cake, a rotating pairing of a fall-themed cupcake and a mini-champagne bottle to-go, or spend the weekend with a delicious dessert plate paired with one of Bittersweet’s fall cocktails, lik the Pumpkin Pie Cocktail, Blair Witch Tea Party, or the Boozy Chai Latte.
Hang out in the crisp fall air on the outdoor patio at Whiskey Kitchen while you sample a new whiskey from their international collection, or try a fall-themed flight of Larceny, Conviction, and Redemption.
Head to Fayetteville street to check out some of The Haymaker’s seasonal drinks, including a cranberry and cider-filled punch bowl called the Certified Lover Bowl or their featured pumpkin cocktail composed of vodka, pumpkin spice orgeat, lemon, and angostura bitters, and a selection of ciders.
Celebrate fall with a Pumkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale on tap at the Raleigh Times Bar, a sweet ale bursting with all the flavors of pumpkin pie. Consider Dogfish Head Punkin Ale as well, a full-bodied brown ale brewed with pumpkin meat, brown sugar and spices.