An Evening at Scratch Kitchen & Taproom in Cary

Cary, NC — One of the newest restaurants to hit the Downtown Cary food scene is a place with nearby roots in Apex called Scratch Kitchen & Taproom. Over the weekend, I stopped in for dinner to see the space and try out the southern-style fare I’ve been hearing about.

Scratch started up on Salem Street in Apex as a partnership between two families, both with backgrounds in the restaurant industry who came up with the concept of freshly made foods, attention to details and a common thread of southern hospitality. Now, with this second location at 160 E. Cedar Street in Cary, Scratch offers the same menu some locals may already know from dining with them in Apex.

The building once hosted the Postmaster restaurant that had opened in late 2017 but is now decked out in Scratch’s signature decor incorporating blues and yellows.

Evening Hours Wednesday-Sunday

Scratch is open Wednesday-Sunday, with hours of 4-9 PM on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday and 4-10 PM on Friday and Saturdays. According to their website, lunch hours will be coming soon as well.

Eclectic Menu with A Southern Twist

As most would gather from the name, all dishes from the kitchen are made from scratch. The menu offers a blend of American classics like burgers and sandwiches as well as some unique, modern dishes like their General Tsao Cauliflower and bowls made with some Korean and Hawaiian flair.

Truffle Mac & Cheese Burger with Truffle Cotija Fries at Scratch Kitchen & Taproom Cary.

The evening I went with my fiancé, Brittany, we both had a hankering for a nice, juicy burger and the cooks in the kitchen surely delivered. I suppose to offset the heaviness we were signing up for with beef burgers, we opted to start with some greens — a house salad and a side of their Bacon Brussel Sprouts. Both were nicely put together and had great flavor.

The burgers were both cooked to our desired temperatures nicely. Brittany went for a kick with the Jammin’ Burger, including a red pepper jam, creamy feta, onion straws, and spicy Korean mayo. I went for an all-out southern indulgence with their Truffle Mac & Cheeseburger which combines a garlic-truffle aioli with arugula, candied bacon, and a patty-sized slab of fried mac & cheese. I paired that with their truffle cotija fries which never had the chance to make it to a to-go box.

A Clean, Fun Atmosphere with Good Service

When it comes to a restaurant experience, I can be wowed with simple things and little details. Sometimes it’s a statement piece of art in the dining room or the antique nature of a bar. As for my experience at Scratch, I enjoyed the atmosphere right away.

We were seated right away, got greeted by our server, and had iced water in Mason jars within a minute or two. Then, a small plate was set in front of us with two small white objects on it. Our server poured hot water from a teapot onto each one and they expanded to become warm, pre-dinner towelettes. Was it necessary? No. Did I love it and feel fancy, though? Absolutely.

As for the look and feel, the restaurant had lots of light coming in with large windows facing the train tracks. A shaded outdoor seating section is also available for the lower humidity days of the summer coming up.

All staff we spoke with were kind and knowledgeable about the menu. As we looked over both the drink and food menus, we were also pleased with the prices. Desserts there are $6 apiece unless they are featuring a large, “share it 4 ways” kind of dessert for the whole table. Burgers, bowls, and sandwiches range from $10-$15. There are a few “treat yourself dishes” as I would call them, like a Sesame Salon, NY Strip Steak, Lobster Mac & Cheese, or a Bone-In Pork Chop.

All in all, a nice date night out at Scratch set us back less than $50 and we left with happy bellies. Can’t ask for much more than that from a night on the town in Cary.

Story and photos by Ashley Kairis.

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