This is a post by N&O restaurant critic Greg Cox:
The original Café 121 in Sanford has been a popular dining destination for locals since 2008. So popular, in fact, that owner/chef Gregg Hamm is taking his show on the road. The Johnson & Wales-trained chef opened a second Café 121 (140 E. Chatham St.; 919-468-9884; chefhamm.com) in downtown Cary on Valentine's Day.
"We tried to keep the opening quiet," says Hamm. "We're still hanging pictures on the walls, and the exterior renovations to the building aren't finished." Even so, those who remember the last incarnation of the space as EJ's Soul Food will be astonished at its transformation into an inviting, casually romantic spot with fresh flowers and white linens on the tables.
Café 121 serves lunch Tuesday-Friday, brunch Saturday and Sunday, and - at least for now - dinner Friday and Saturday nights only.
The chef's signature Jala-Ribeye (grilled to order and topped with jalapeño-spiked pimento cheese) highlights a mostly traditional offering of steaks, seafood and pasta dishes. An extensive selection of sandwiches, wraps, salads and homemade soups should attract a lunchtime following in short order.
And with eggs Benedict, jumbo pancakes, and Southern fried chicken with gravy and eggs your way among the brunch options on weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Café 121 just might succeed in bringing people into downtown Cary on weekends.
Send restaurant news to Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to tune in to Greg's radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF.