Discovering a hidden gem: Raes Coastal Café offers chance to relax, celebrate
It’s one of those places that folks really have to be looking for in order to find. But once found, it’s almost like joining an elite, secret club. Some people call Raes Coastal Café a hidden gem. Once we walked in the door a couple of weeks ago, we knew we had struck Caribbean gold.
From the quiet covered deck, my colleagues and I enjoyed the early spring breeze and warming sunshine. The rays sparkled off the clear water in Rae’s Creek and offered just a tease of what’s around the corner. As the restaurant preps for Masters’ Week guests, we were curious to see what’s on the menu for a business lunch.
Serving everything from shrimp sandwiches to jerk chicken sandwiches, there’s a hint of being close to the Florida Keys as one wanders the menu. Authentic Key Lime pie takes a priority spot under the dessert heading. Grilled salmon salad caught my eye from the list of salad selections. The onion mum and jerk chicken wings were discussed as appealing appetizers. Add, who can resist a hearty side of black beans and rice?
As we were seated, we noticed a dozen businessmen clearly celebrating a deal gone well. There were high fives and fist pumps. We even offered to take a picture when the selfie they were attempting looked awkwardly painful. Raes has adequate room for a quiet one-on-one business meeting or can easily adjust tables and seat a larger party.
As our orders were placed and we waited for our food, patrons casually strolled in and out. This doesn’t seem like the type of place to be in a hurry. It sits so snugly between the trees that some have referred to this little shack as just that, a little shack with a tinned roof.
Once our orders were delivered and we set to enjoying the fresh shrimp, grilled salmon and burger, it seemed the atmosphere added a bit of zest to the food. Our servings were generous and there was enough for a to-go box. Lunch items were priced in the $10-$15 range, which we found reasonable.
A couple of big-screen TVs were mounted in the covered deck area, but neither of them was on. We were glad to engage in the serenity of Mother Nature. If it was March Madness or the first week in April, then patrons would surely enjoy the company of the big screens. Inside, diners could also take their choice in seating and opt for TV watching in the bar area.
According to its website, Raes is turning 25 this year. To help it celebrate, to entertain a client or to simply enjoy lunch by the creek, seek out the hidden shack off Walton Way. If you’re directionally challenged, consider calling first. Happy birthday, Raes. Here’s to another quarter-century of success.
This great location can be found at 3208 W Wimbledon Dr. in Augusta.