24 Tables

A Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant located within The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Herons puts a regional spin on American cuisine, with the bounty of North Carolina’s Piedmont starring in executive chef Steven Greene’s seasonal dishes. You’ll spot local ingredients peppered throughout the menu — think Chapel Hill Creamery mozzarella in a crispy oyster starter with baby tomatoes, sweet basil and horseradish puree, or pheasant from Ashley Farms dressed with chestnut puree, braised red cabbage and king trumpet mushrooms. Much of Herons' produce is sourced from the sustainable culinary farm on the campus of tech company SAS, less than a mile from the restaurant, where Greene and chef de cuisine John Childers work with the farmer to grow organic micro-greens and fruit.

Ordering dessert is a responsibility at Herons. Recent examples of pastry chef Evan Sheridan’s whimsical decadences include a winter pear dish with spruce-tip sherbet and pine-scented snowfall, and a creamy meyer lemon chiboust with pistachio gelato, acacia glass and confit meyer lemons.

In addition to those with a sweet tooth, wine aficionados will find much to marvel at here. A 2,500-bottle wine cellar overseen by sommelier Hai Tran features selections from every corner of the globe, many by the glass, and quite a few rare. And the restaurant’s use of Coravin wine access technology means you can have just a taste of some of Herons’ more exclusive bottles, too.

The setting for the chefs' locally minded culinary excellence is Herons’ streamlined, contemporary dining room, where floor-to-ceiling windows, North Carolina artwork and pottery, and an open kitchen create a warm atmosphere. In spring, summer and fall, outdoor dining on the terrace is also a lovely option.

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