When Pullen Park re-opens Nov. 19, it will mark the grand opening of a new café whose mission is to provide fresh local food to park-goers, families and Raleigh diners. Located at the park entrance across from the Welcome Center, Pullen Place will serve expected concession foods like popcorn, hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches along with unexpected fare like made-from-scratch macaroni and N.C. hoop cheese, a Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich, and seasonal soups and salads.
Using locally produced and often organic ingredients on a menu that provides gluten-free options and affordable prices makes Pullen Place a totally unique dining concept.
"We want people to be able to enjoy great food, prepared with care when they visit Pullen Park," says co-owner Holly Taylor. "We set out to create crowd-pleasing menu items at an affordable prices, but you can feel good about feeding your family."
Pullen Place grew from a shared food philosophy among three Raleigh residents who believe in great food, local producers, a responsible approach to business, and the importance of healthy, reasonably priced food for children and adults. Sarig Agasi, Steve Mangano, and Taylor all have experience in the food and hospitality industry. Agasi is the executive chef and co-owner of Zely & Ritz, a Raleigh restaurant in farm-to-table dining, while Taylor has worked for a nonprofit that provides children and families with regular opportunities to grow, prepare, and share healthy foods together.
A large part of the company's mission is to partner with local farms, producers and organizations like the Inter-faith Food Shuttle, with whom Pullen Place will work to improve access to healthy foods, support local farms, and provide hands-on job development and training in the community. Pullen Place will be buying produce grown at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's farm providing the cafe with fresh, local produce while generating a steady revenue stream for IFFS programs. Other local providers on Pullen Place's menu include Farmhand Foods (sausages), Eastern Carolina Organics (vegetables), Perry Lowe Orchards (cider), Larry's Beans (coffee) and De' Lure' Bakery (desserts).
"We want to give back to the community and support our local food economy," Mangano says. "At the same time, we know our customers will taste the difference fresh and seasonal products make."
In addition to serving diners at its café daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Pullen Place will cater events held at the park and can provide food to parties large and small. Diners can order food at Pullen Place to enjoy at the park or to take home.
To mark its grand opening and the re-opening of Pullen Park, the café will offer a special menu and operate four satellite locations during the weekend festivities of Nov. 19-20. The satellite stations will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Located near the train, by the playgrounds, across from the carousel and at the pond gazebo, Pullen Place will offer a variety of options, including freshly grilled boneless chicken breasts and thighs marinated in Pullen Place's special seasoning blend, delicious sides, prepared sandwiches featuring seasonal ingredients, popcorn, cookies, and other snacks, and seasonal beverages.
Pullen Park will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week throughout November and December, with the exception of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The park will remain open in January and February, though hours might change slightly. For more information, visit www.pullenplace.com.