Triangle Vegetarian Society

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Restaurant Review

Second Nature Cafe

(out of 5.0)
Veg. Sensitivity4.5

Olde Raleigh Village Shopping Center

3201-113 Edwards Mill Road

Raleigh, NC 27612


Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30am-9:00 pm. Saturday: 8:30 am-5:00 pm

Review Date: October 13, 2000

Reviewers: Sherri Guiton, Linda McGown, Mike Germano, Elyse Fox, Jim Miller, David Erb, and Kathy Marx

Author(s): Kathy Marx

Second Nature Cafe is a pleasant, cozy restaurant not too far from Raleigh's Museum of Art. Its atmosphere is that of a large coffee shop. Its menu and decor are appropriate for a luncheon or light dinner. There is an artistic flair to the cafe, and the food is presented nicely. The cafe uses a sound system to play music from the radio, and although the music was not too loud, it was somewhat annoying because the staff kept switching radio stations. It seemed that they did not have good control over their sound system. Overall, our group really enjoyed the evening.

Our group ordered the following dishes: Greek Salad w/out cheese ($6.50), Black Bean Soup ($3.95 for a bowl), House Salad ($3.25), Middle Eastern Special ($5.95), Grilled Spinach and Veggie Sandwich ($5.95), Grilled Black Bean Burger ($5.95), Southwestern Black Bean Burger ($6.95), and Hummus Sandwich platter ($7.15) with a side order of Home Fries ($1.25).

I received some interesting comments about the various things that we ordered. The descriptions that follow are paraphrased from the reviewers' comments, and will hopefully help you decide what to try if you dine at Second Nature Cafe.

On the positive side.... a reviewer described the black bean soup as having a lot of body - chunky, not creamy. It was more like vegetable soup in texture and flavor (in a good way) than a spicy, thick soup. The salad had an abundance of sprouts, greens, and tomatoes. The soup/salad combo was very good. One reviewer noted that she had eaten here before, and she liked it a lot. She said the food was good, and the atmosphere was "funky." The black bean burger she ordered was delicious, and the roll was very fresh. The portions were very generous. Another reviewer added that the homefries and fresh fruit that came with the Hummus Sandwich platter were good. Also, the home fries were experienced by another as having a good grilled taste. A couple of reviewers mentioned that the coffee was very good.

On the not-so-positive reviewer commented that the food was nothing really special. He said that the hummus in the Middle Eastern salad was very bland. The spinach and veggie melt sandwich was a bit soggy. Another reviewer mentioned that the hummus sandwich didn't have much hummus and that the homefries were a little too oily.

About the atmosphere and overall dining experience....there was an interesting mix of nice and ordinary furniture. It was not too noisy... however the employees have poor control of the music system. But I think that if any of us had complained about the constant station-switching, they would have stopped switching the stations. Second Nature Cafe has a very casual quality, that goes well with their menu. As for the overall impressions of the menu....there was a fairly good selection. The staff is very willing to adjust menu items to be vegan. The quantity of food that is served is reasonable, or even generous, but a little bit pricey for what you get.

Nobody ordered dessert, but Second Nature Cafe offers homemade cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, muffins, and ice cream creations. There is a good selection of beverages, including smoothies and juices, along with more typical beverages. There is also a breakfast portion of the menu (lunch is served from 8:30 am till 11:00 am Monday through Friday, and until 2:00 pm on Saturday). However, most of the breakfast items are egg-based (mostly omelets). But there are three types of Belgian Waffles for breakfast. This cafe would probably not be a good choice for vegans for breakfast, but certainly a good choice for lunch or dinner. Also, there are many side dishes available for lunch/dinner, and there is a separate set of side orders available for breakfast.

Overall, Second Nature Cafe offers a good vegetarian selection of foods that have a home-cooked quality. I would definitely recommend it for lunch or dinner.