Out and about on WRAL.com


– Chef Coleen Speaks brings a bit of New Orleans to Raleigh. The successful caterer serves okra, oyster po’boys and other Louisiana dishes at his cafe, Hummingbird.

Speaks, who holds an accounting degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, found the culinary world a lot more exciting than crunching numbers. The St. Louis native has found pleasure in organizing dinners and working at restaurants, including Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA restaurant.

Speaks moved to Raleigh a little over ten years ago, working locally at Bloomsbury Bistro and Enoteca Vin. she launched PoshNosh caterer in 2007.

Last year, the mother-of-two recently opened Humming-bird and Whitaker and Atlantic, a private event space – both located at Raleigh’s Dock 1053.

“My goal was to create an accessible, beautiful and welcoming space for all,” said Speaks. Portrait Room, a 16-seat space adjacent to the main Hummingbird space, is aptly named for its collection of paintings – some kitsch – of people of various races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

Oyster Po'boy at the Hummingbird

Inside the main room is the Hummingbird marble bar and 12 bright yellow stools. Although seating is limited indoors, Hummingbird plans to add seating outside on the promenade and lounge seating next door at Whitaker and Atlantic.

Open from 8 a.m. to midnight, Monday to Saturday, the cafe serves fresh juice and coffee in the morning, as well as pastries including donuts and ricotta jam, sticky caramel buns and sugar. coconut and chia seed pudding. The bar also offers coffee cocktails and Micheladas.

The lunch menu will include vegetable bahn mi’s with mushroom pate, grilled cheese with apricot jam, fried seafood po’boys with cornmeal and salads, accompanied by a savory menu of “Session” cocktails including an Aperol Spritz.

Small plates and bar snacks include togarashi-seasoned popcorn and shrimp dip, homemade pretzel bread with tangy pub cheese, and brandy pie.

Durham Mardi Gras18

Dinner selections are a bit more filling with small hot and cold platters including grilled oysters, Cajun okra, buttermilk fried quail, marinated shrimp, and Garam Marsala scented wings. The dessert includes a collaboration from the kitchen and the bar – Soyer au Champagne – a cup filled with vanilla ice cream, bubbles, Luxardo and brandy.

The Hummingbird Bar menu offers a short wine list and a selection of beers by the bottle. The emphasis is on personalized craft cocktails with updated versions of modern classics and original cocktails with floral inspirations. The signature cocktail of the place, the Colibri, is a cocktail infused with hibiscus tea.


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Todd A. Mitchell

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