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Chanticleer: Cary’s Best Coffeehouse?

Story originally appeared on FoodCary.

Cary, NC – By accident, we tried Chanticleer, the café and bakery at the corner of Cary Parkway and Tryon Road. It might be the best coffeehouse in Cary.

The Accidental Diner

It was Father’s Day, and we had blown it. The idea was to get out to breakfast by 8:30 AM, but as we pulled up in front of our favorite breakfast joint in Waverly Place, a large crowd was gathered outside the front door. The clock read 9:08.

We kept cruising, hungry for breakfast but with no appetite for a long wait.

Pulling out onto Kildare Farm Road, we reviewed the inventory of breakfast eateries nearby– NY Bagel Deli, Java Jive, IHOP. “What about that new place? Isn’t it on Tryon Road,” I asked Lindsey, cutting across two lanes of traffic and signalling a quick right.

“Chanticleer,” she said. “It’s in the old space that was Mahoney’s.”

Lost in Wellington Park

About a mile up the road from Waverly is a shopping center called Wellington Park. It’s at the intersection of Tryon and Cary Parkway. Chanticleer sits on an outparcel right at the corner.

I know Wellington Park from Mike’s Used Books, a fine purveyor of quality goods for the discerning reader. But the outparcels in this particular strip center are a jumbled array of interconnected parking lots and ramps akin to Shoots & Ladders and I always get turned around. This trip was no exception.

“It’s over there!” said Lindsey, pointing in the opposite direction I was pointing the wheels.

“Doofus,” added Jill from the back seat.

Chanticleer, At Last

“There it is,” I exclaimed, triumphant at last.

Chanticleer sits on a small hill, surrounded by a spacious veranda. As we walked in, I could smell the baked goods.

A True Coffeehouse (and Bakery)

Fast-casual is now all the rage in restauranting. That’s where you order the food at the counter and go find your own seat.

But it’s always been that way at coffeehouses. Chanticleer is true to the tradition.

The Food (Amazing)

One of the things that makes Chanticleer special is the home-made baked goods. Many (perhaps most) coffee shops buy commercially baked muffins and turnovers and croissants. But Chanticleer bakes its own and you can tell.

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Luscious lemon-meringue tarts and mini strawberry-rhubarb pies. Peach-almond muffins and s’mores brownie bars. I had an almond scone that was as filling as a plate of bacon and eggs.

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The Room (Comfortable and Spacious)

Chanticleer has a big, open, rustic feel with lots of tables, a row of booths and a few sofas by the window. It is easy to spread out and be comfortable.

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When the weather is nice, the spacious wrap-around veranda affords a shady setting with nice views of Tryon Road climbing the hill toward Waverly.

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The Coffee (Joe Van Gogh)

Chanticleer has all the traditional coffeehouse offerings – Red Eyes and cappuccino, flavor shots and iced lattes.

The beans are roasted by Joe Van Gogh in Hillsboro and sourced from Peruvian co-op farmers.

The Rooster

Chanticleer is a rooster who outwits a fox in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The rooster motif is on display throughout the restaurant.

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Best Coffeehouse in Cary?

I love all my coffeehouses in Cary – Crema, Brew, La Farm and the Starbucks on Maynard. I miss Daily Grind, but a new joint is already moving in there.

Chanticleer has as fair a claim as any to be called the best coffeehouse in Cary, if such a thing has any true meaning. But if you enjoy outstanding baked goods with your cup of coffee and a comfortable room for hanging out or having a meeting, Chanticleer is well-worth a visit.

Chanticleer Café & Bakery
6490 Tryon Rd.
Cary, NC 27518

Hours: Everyday 7 AM – 3 PM


Story and pictures by Hal Goodtree. Coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Waverly Place in Cary.