In Greensboro for a day, looking for places to eat on downtown’s main drag, South Elm St.?
I’d suggest beginning your day, or popping in any time, at The Green Bean. As coffeehouses go, it’s not cozy, but there’s lots of seating, local artwork on the walls, and it’s a hub for studying or working wirelessly (free).
You sense historic character the minute you walk in the door and step on the appropriately worn floor. The ceiling looks a little too nice to be the original (didn’t ask), but look up and enjoy anyway. It adds to the ambiance.
Green Bean’s space is deep, so be sure to keep going if the tables you see from the counter are full. There’s also seating in the “front window” area which sports a nostalgic checkerboard floor.
Here’s a shot from the back, looking toward the front door:
Don’t miss the small deck and sweet patio out the back door. A nice place to hang whether you’re a smoker or not.
Green Bean’s Barista passed my latte test with flying colors! Hot, delicious, not too much or too little foam.
The Green Bean
341 South Elm Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Lunch at iconic Fincastles is an experience in good food, service, and funky music/dance entertainment.
Just inside the front door, you’ll see plenty of testaments to their long history of superlatives on their “wall of fame”. One superlative in particular can be seen (and heard) serving tables. His name is Bobby “Jaybird” Williams. He’s been named The Triad’s Best Male Waiter by Yes Weekly, and is known as the singing waiter. The day I was there, he was also cuttin’ some moves for the ladies.
Every now and then Chef and owner Jody Morphis gave a shake or two while working the grill. These were probably involuntary moves brought on by an excellent mix of songs and the Jaybird.
Fincastles menu is an intriguing mix of American diner and New Orleans inspired cuisine. Kind of a Burgers & Po Boy mix.
I went with a classic cheeseburger this time. Made with Certified Angus ground chuck, it was served cooked as ordered and delicious. See their menu here. Remember things change and online menus are not always kept up to date.
Epicurean Notes: Fincastles prides themselves on sourcing locally and say, “the only thing(s) frozen in our restaurant is (are) the ice and ice cream.”
215 South Elm Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Cheesecakes by Alex, also on South Elm St., is pretty much cheesecake heaven. The only other place I can think of with this much cheesecake love is Bruce’s Fabulous Foods in Marion, NC. They usually have somewhere over 130 flavors available, but that’s another story.
Full disclosure: I stopped in, but was way too full after lunch at Fincastles to have any cheesecake. I did spend a ridiculous amount of time browsing the case, inhaling, and asking nosy questions of the staff. This is what they say about their shop on their website:
“Currently offering twenty-two flavors (twenty available year round, two seasonal – Blueberry & Eggnog), and three sizes, the cheesecakes can be pre-ordered and picked up or purchased just by stopping by the store as we have stock of each size and flavor available on a regular basis. You can also order either online or by phone to have a cake shipped directly to you – see our shipping page for details.
Stop by for a slice of our handmade cheesecake or our made-from-scratch layer cakes and assorted pastries. We also offer ice cream from Homeland Creamery and a selection of fair-trade, organic coffees and espresso from our local roasters. Oh, yeah! Bring your laptop and enjoy our offerings while accessing the internet with our Free WiFi service.”
Update: As things would have it, I just met Ashley Carey Hayes (see Meet me at Karen Donatelli Cake Designs & Cafe), who hales from Greensboro. This was my opportunity! When I asked her if she knew anything about Alex’s cheesecakes, she provided a glowing report. Usually I wouldn’t write about anything I haven’t tried myself, but I’m making an exception here.
There’s a nice room off the bakery where you can enjoy your cheesecake, an espresso drink and free wi-fi.
Cheesecakes by Alex
315 South Elm Street
Greensboro, NC 27401