Jaguar Bolera Opening in Raleigh Iron Works May 18

Let the good times roll—literally—at Raleigh’s first eatertainment concept.

There’s only one requirement when it comes to visiting Jaguar Bolera: You have to be down for a good time. The “eatertainment” concept by founder/CEO Robert Thompson (of Punch Bowl Social fame) is officially opening May 18 with a ticketed Premiere Prowl party—delivering a highly anticipated social destination at Raleigh Iron Works, via a vast playground of games, grub and guzzles.

The first of its kind in Raleigh, Jaguar Bolera—the name a nod to jaguars’ historical habitat range from the Yucatan to the Carolinas—is first and foremost a “restaurant that serves great food,” says Thompson. So while activities like duckpin bowling, darts, cornhole, karaoke, foosball, board games and makertainment ops (think naughty needlepoint and Lego kits) are certainly a draw, you can and should come for the eats—and drinks!—alone. 

But don’t write off the games galore as the star. Jaguar Bolera’s fierce fare isn’t your standard bowling alley dogs and fries—nowhere close, in fact. Helmed by Culinary Director and Top Chef Season 21 contestant Manny Barella, the gastronomic paradise churns out a unique blend of Mexican and Southern cuisine taking inspiration from his youth and past restaurant experience—not to mention a stint at an Austin barbecue joint. 

The resulting menu is a combination of “simple ingredients and authentic flavors,” plus slowly smoked meats. Think brisket tacos, a carnitas torta (a throwback to an off-menu lunch item a former chef of his used to make—also starring his mom’s recipe for refried beans), shrimp and grits, smoked wings, beet hummus (an ode to his childhood in Monterrey, Mexico), and chorizo hush puppies—to name just a few standout selects—all of which can be ordered via counter service. But this ain’t your typical counter service either. Once ordered, the food finds you via a pager that tracks what table you’re at. … Cleary, this is the future. 

Don’t sleep on brunch either—and, for those with a sweet tooth, you’re gonna wanna belly up to the dessert vending machine (it’s giving Tokyo vibes), which serves the likes of tres leches and Oreo cheesecake.  

“I’m pouring my Mexican heart and Southern soul into every dish on the Jaguar Bolera menu,” says Barella. “From the pimento cheese and sliced brisket to the cochinita pibil and lamb birria and every dish in between, I’m excited to share the flavors of Jaguar Bolera with Raleigh.”

Not to be left out, the extensive spirits program. Think 73 taps of self-pour beer, wine, cocktails and NA bevs—including a nonalcoholic margarita (!). Boozy ops include a nitro cold brew marinti; strawberry Aperol spritz; and (our personal fave) the Jalapeno in the Coconut feat. tanteo jalapeno-infused tequila, El Jimador Reposado tequila, coconut syrup and lime juice. Pro tip: For a refreshing ’tail, the vodka-based Garden Party is, well, a pleasant party on your palate.

All together, the eatertainment destination is a game changer for Raleigh Iron Works—and Raleigh—a sure go-to for anything from GNO and bachelor parties to date night, Sunday Funday, family outings and no reason at all. 

True to its MO—“both the host of the party and the life of the fiesta”—the new eat/drink/play mecca promises to be the cat’s meow—and they’ve only just scratched the surface, as pickleball and pingpong are expected to launch early 2025 (stay tuned to our October Development Issue for all the scoop). Until then, the concept is already a winner in our books. Game, set, match!

Source link

About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.