Editor’s note: Local Tech Wire’s ‘Hot Spot’ series offers up suggestions for the best place to network or lunch or dinner. We are a social species, and financing deals often get done over meals, top cuts of steak in fancy settings accompanying a venture capitalist cutting out a stake in an entrepreneur’s business.

We decide to partner while wolfing down a quick business lunch at Brigs or at tables in many of the other Triangle power spots listed here. Food and drink comfort and reassure us as we link our lives financially.

Some hot spots for these meetings of the mind and pocketbook endure for many years while others come and go with the seasons. Here’s an overview of some of the best ones in the Triangle:

Bon’s Bar-B-Q

Where: 104 NC 54 West, Carrboro Plaza, Carrboro 919-960-7630
When To Go: A stop for the local specialty is a must when entertaining out-of-town investors, execs, or potential partners.
What It’s Like: Best BBQ in the area according to some who say it’s indigestion proof. Other traditional pig palaces include Bullock’s and Dillard’s, both in Durham.
Who Goes: Chapel Hill/Carrboro-based executives and entrepreneurs.

Brigs at the Park

Where: 4900 Hwy 55, RTP 919-544-7473
When To Go: Breakfast or lunch. A casual spot for interviews, informal sales presentations, demos. Can get crowded.
What It’s Like: Easy-going atmosphere in the heart of RTP draws one and all. Breakfast “skillets” in the AM, followed by a selection of exotic wrap sandwiches, salads and desserts lift it out of the common sub-shop category. The salmon wrap and broccoli salad come highly recommended.
Who Goes: Dan Allred (Council for Entrepreneurial Development), plus assorted venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who work nearby. Mitch Mumma (Intersouth Partners) says he’s seen deals made on the back of a napkin here.

Capital City Chop House

Where: 151 Airgate Dr., Morrisville 919-484-7721
When To Go: Lunch with people flying out in the afternoon. Dinner, when you’ve got time to kill.
What It’s Like: Trendy (and expensive) steak and seafood spot is close to RDU airport but hard to get into during the workweek. Reservations required.
Who Goes: Senior executives, politicos, professionals, venture capitalists. Accountants and attorneys are thick on the ground. Southeast Interactive Technology Funds holds its partner meetings here.

Carolina Crossroads in the Carolina Inn

Where: 211 Pittsboro St., Chapel Hill 919-732-2461
When To Go: Breakfast for the buffet, lunch and dinner for the upscale ambiance. Meetings such as the Council For Entrepreneurial Development’s Venture conferences, business networking events.
What It’s Like: Classy Old South elegance and 4-star food situated in the heart of the historic UNC-Chapel Hill campus.
Who Goes: Consultant Bill Dunk watches his cholesterol by ordering the eggwhites omelet. Steve Nelson (The Wakefield Group) and other venture capitalists, Chapel Hill executives and professionals. Those in Chapel Hill to talk funding, partnerships, sales.

Fairview Restaurant & The Bull Durham Lounge, Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club

Where: 3001 Cameron Blvd., Durham, 919-493-6699
When To Go: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
What It’s Like: Lots of room to carry on conversations without broadcasting them in Fairview’s 4-diamond dining room. Formal, classy setting inspired Esquire to name this “the most elegant place to dine in the Research Triangle.” Casual, clubby atmosphere in the Bull Durham Lounge. Outside, some of the best-known golf in the area.
Who Goes: Consultants and dealmakers who want to discuss business with attentive but not intrusive service. Business people who do deals on the links.

Fowler’s Fine Food & Wine Store

Where: 112 S. Duke St., Durham 919-683-2555
When To Go: Lunch on the two-story back porch, overlooking Brightleaf Square.
What It’s Like: High-end deli sandwiches, shelves stocked with wine, micro brews, and gourmet items.
Who Goes: One local consultant says, “You’re apt to bump into anyone at Fowler’s.”

Horsefeather’s in the Holiday Inn – Raleigh Durham Airport

Where: 4810 Page Rd., RTP 919-941-6000
When To Go: Lunch, dinner. To let off steam (and network) at Thursday night Karaoke.
What It’s Like: Hotel dining room looks like old Williamsburg, but the bar is where it’s at after hours.
Who Goes: Location midway between Raleigh and Durham, and near the airport, make this a popular stop for business breakfast and lunch meetings of moderate size.

Il Palio in the Sienna Hotel

Where: 1505 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill 919-918-2545
When To Go: Lunch, dinner, anytime elegance counts.
What It’s Like: Four-diamond Italian cuisine presented with class. Citysearch.com named this the best Italian restaurant in the U.S.
Who Goes: Execs closing big partnerships, consultants wooing clients or discussing advice. Start-ups entertaining out-of-town VCs. VCs or companies recruiting senior talent. A place to take execs from San Francisco who don’t believe the Triangle has top restaurants.

Jamaica, Jamaica

Where: 4857 S. Apex Hwy., Durham 544-1532
When To Go: For TGIF lunch on Thursdays when a live combo plays island music.
What It’s Like: All the Caribbean favorites – jerk chicken, fried plantains – in a colorful, music-filled atmosphere.
Who Goes: Chris Matton, Executives from Triangle companies, start-up founders.

Magnolia Grill

Where: 1002 Ninth St., Durham 919-286-3609
When To Go: Venture capitalists take executives they want as CEO for a portfolio company or to close a really big deal.
What It’s Like: Rates among the Triangle’s top restaurants in every survey and list. Award-winning cuisine from chef-owners Ben and Karen Barker uses traditional southern ingredients in innovative ways. Menu changes seasonally.
Who Goes: Kip Frey (Intersouth Partners), heavy hitters from the Duke University endowment and faculty, business people courting Duke researchers with proprietary intellectual property.


Where: 2514 University Dr., Durham 493-8545
When To Go: Dinner to woo senior execs to the area, celebrate a deal.
What It’s Like: High-end food from well-known chef Scott Howell makes this a must-stop for visiting gourmands.
Who Goes: Bankers, lawyers, accountants wooing clients, companies luring senior executives, entrepreneurs pitching VCs.

Pop’s, a Durham Trattoria

Where: 810 W. Peabody, Durham, across from Brightleaf Square 919-956-7677
When To Go: Crowded at lunch, draws executives from companies headquartered in the Brightleaf Square area of Durham, which includes venture capitalists and a number of biotechnology and information technology start-ups.
What It’s Like: Paul Jones (Eno River Capital) says you can’t beat the bowl of mussels.
Who Goes: Eno River Capital partners, Bill Chastain (Bloodhound Software), start-up executives, professionals.

Radisson Governor’s Inn

Where: 280 Davis Dr., RTP 919-549-8631
When To Go: Lunch, dinner.
What It’s Like: Upscale hotel restaurant near the airport and midway between Durham and Raleigh, hosts business meetings large and small.
Who Goes: Monica Doss (Council of Entrepreneurial Development). Execs trying to close deals before boarding airplanes, VCs making their final pitch to execs they want for portfolio companies.

The Seasoned Ticket

Where: 3211 Shannon Rd., Southcourt Office Complex, Durham 919-493-7797
When To Go: Lunch & Dinner. Catch sports events in the lounge, do deals in the more formal dining room.
What It’s Like: Burgers and sandwiches in the sports bar, steaks, seafood and pastas in the dining room, which also features a baseball memorabilia exhibit.
Who Goes: Members of the oldest and largest venture fund in the Triangle (Intersouth Partners) do a lot of business here because it’s in the same building as their Durham offices.

Second Empire Restaurant & Tavern

Where: 330 Hillsborough St., Raleigh 829-3663
When To Go: Networking after hours in the Tavern. Courting investors in the elegant dining room.
What It’s Like: Old Victorian house makes a convenient, impressive spot to entertain people staying at the Sheraton City Center.
Who Goes: Entrepreneurs, attorneys, VCs entertaining portfolio company executives, consultants with clients.

Wednesday: Java spots in the Triangle