The Federal and The Square Rabbit

Reporting on two more local places I visited recently: in Durham—The Federal, and in Raleigh—The Square Rabbit.

Just a brief run-down here. The Federal [914 West Main Street, Durham] is a bar that serves way better food that you would expect from a bar of this type. The place is dark, kinda unorganized and service is a little off. But they have some good things going for it in addition to the the food: a large back room for groups, a patio out front, great location in the Brightleaf Square area, and a good looking beer menu that includes 32-oz Red Stripe bottles. I’ve been a couple of times now and was impressed on both occasions by the grub. The first time I got a football-sized pesto chicken sandwich served on focaccia. I remember taking half home. And I never do that. I usually eat everything on my plate!

On my most recent visit I got the daily sandwich special: Bacon and Brie on a pretzel roll with mustard, kosher pickles and red onions. A bit like a Chicago dog. This sandwich was incredible, and all about the bread—crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. And while the medley of toppings may seem odd, I was pleased to see how everything worked together. The salad was lightly dressed in a vinaigrette—a great side. Fries are good, too.

bacon and brie sangwich

bacon and brie sandwich

I also visited The Square Rabbit [19 E Main Street] in downtown Raleigh recently. This place is next door to Mecca, and just around the corner from Busy Bee and Slim’s.

the square rabbit ©

the square rabbit ©Dave Horne, flickr

the setup

sweets to-go counter

The Square Rabbit, when I dropped in after lunch time, was still bustling with people picking up a bite for lunch. They have a number of prepackaged items ready for take-out in their deli counter—things like pasta salad, quiche, salads, sandwiches and soups. But they also have a sweets counter—with cookies, cupcakes, brownies and little cakes. I ordered a lemon bar (one of my favorite dainty desserts).

pretty lemon bar

pretty lemon bar

The Square Rabbit also has a healthy catering business for luncheons, parties and desserts. Extensive menus are online.

So that’s what that little shop is. And if you’re in the neighborhood and have an appetite, drop in. I would expect their food, if anything like the yummy lemon bar, will be delicious, too.


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