Holidays in Raleigh, NC: The Iconic Angus Barn is a Southern Tradition for Families

When you drive down Highway 70 between the cities of Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, you will spot an iconic red barn that has created pure holiday magic in the Triangle for families for more than 50 years.

And every year, holiday decorations at the Angus Barn, a premier steakhouse in Raleigh, gets better and better. It's like the NC's mountain's Biltmore Estate for the eastern part of North Carolina, just on a smaller scale.

The famous iconic Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC

The exterior of Angus Barn twinkles as soon as you see it. It's surrounded by car lots and commercial businesses now on a very busy highway, but despite the hustle and bustle around it, the Angus Barn still projects that same holiday magic of yesteryear. When this restaurant was first established in 1960 in Raleigh, it was located in the country. Seriously, the country! The country where you would see barns in rural North Carolina.  I have photos of my parents all dressed up attending business Christmas parties. Even though Raleigh's Angus Barn is spread among urban sprawl on Highway 70,  it is one of Raleigh's most iconic places to visit, especially during the holidays.

The Angus Barn still maintains its country roots with a rustic, elegant interior. But, this is no country Cracker Barrel even though there is the Angus Barn Country Store which sells its famous cheese and crackers. Of course, Angus Barn elves are modern now and they ship everywhere so non-Southerners can have a little taste of what's so great about Raleigh destination. With most entrees priced above $30 and a children's menu starting at $14, it's a place where many Southern families splurge during the holiday season.

Diners inside the Angus Barn love the Holiday Season

People flock here because it's an experience like none other. A purely magical, joyous experience for kids. To dine during normal dining times like 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, in December you may need to make Angus Barn dinner reservations up to a year in advance. The Angus Barn extends its hours during the holiday season though, and if you can sit down to eat dinner at 10:00 pm, then you probably can snag a reservation during this busy time for the restaurant.

Inside the Angus Barn at the holidays

Dinner at the Angus Barn is steeped with tradition, and unlike most high-end steakhouses in America these days, they do not do that a-la-carte business of sharing a larger side with the table. Your 14-ox "IronChef" Ribeye (Oh, yeah. There's that, too. Angus Barn Executive Chef Walter Royal won TV's Iron Chef Competiton. He beat chef Cat Cora) comes with your choice of soup or salad and a side.  Bread, homemade crackers, cheese, and fresh raw veggies are on the table for every Angus Barn diner to enjoy. Even for non-beef eaters, the Angus Barn menu has something for everyone to enjoy.

The Angus Barn is beautifully decorated during the Holiday Season

But, the view of the Angus Barn restaurant through the magic of a child's eye is where this eatery has its edge. Beautiful trees, appearances by Santa, life-sized elves greeting you at the door with homemade gingerbread cookies, and hot cocoa. It's like North Carolina's own North Pole.

There is a toy box for kids, and kids are taken into the kitchen by staff to make their own dessert sundae after dinner.

The only downside though is for kids who are true steak lovers because the Angus Barn kid's menu has a variety of typical kid-like items, but the only steak choice for kids is a chopped hamburger steak. I've talked to many parents (you know parents today have more sophisticated little foodies) who frequent this venue year after year, and they all have expressed their desire for a small filet option for kids. Angus Barn, are you listening? I've got one child aging out of the Angus Barn kid's menu. He'll be 13 this month and he has had an aversion to any kid-type menu for years.

My son is one expensive date these days. But, I do think more and more elementary-school-aged children are eating fish and filet cuts of beef these days. Things have changed since the 60s.

And I must not forget the ladies parlor for little girls like mine. I think Liza remembered the bathroom experience more than anything. It's a fancy parlor and they have all these toiletries to powder your nose. It's a little girl's adult version of the blingy store Justice.

It's fancy inside Raleigh's Angus Barn Ladies Room. Kids love it.

Can I wait for a Table at the Angus Barn?

During the week, you may have more luck waiting around for a table, but the wait is long. Good thing you have lots of holiday decor and elves to view while you wait for a table. However, the Angus Barn Wild Turkey Lounge, which is upstairs in the restaurant is a first-come, first-serve no reservation dining with a full-service menu. It is open in the early afternoon during the holidays with a special sandwich type menu and it typically has live music at night. I personally think this part of the restaurant is charming. 

Upstairs at the Wild Turkey Lounge inside the Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC

It is a sophisticated bar so if you have older children like I do who are used to dining in luxury hotels and do not have to dine off a kids menu,  I would not hesitate to dine here in the late afternoon with them at all. Dining in the Wild Turkey Lounge offers elegance without the family bells and whistles of downstairs. I think the Christmas season makes this lounge even more appealing.

Have you dined at the Angus Barn in Raleigh, N.C?

The Angus Barn also have a Pavillion that hosts private parties. In December, parking is at a premium. It, of course, is free to look around the Angus Barn. The Angus Barn is closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

The Angus Barn is decked out beautifully for the holidays in #Raleigh #NorthCarolina. It's great for kids and parents. #Holidays #Decor #Restaurants

My time to write this post was made possible by blog local sponsor, Gladwell Orthodontics in Raleigh, N.C. 

I last visited the Angus Barn on my birthday after Christmas in 2017.  All photos were taken by Leigh Powell Hines, and are subject to copyright. 

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