13+ Awesome Local Coffee Shops East of Raleigh NC

Chai latte and avocado toast with micro greens on multicolored table at local coffee shop Sonder Coffee in Wendell, NC

After moving to Knightdale a few years ago, I had a list of priorities I needed to take care of. I needed to get fiber installed (check), set up pediatricians, doctors, and dentists (check), and find an awesome local coffee shop east of Raleigh and closer to Knightdale.

So, now I want to share my labor of love (and a super fun topic to research)!  Here are some of my favorite local places east of Raleigh where you can grab a great cup of coffee (plus allllllll the treats). 

East Raleigh Local Coffee Shops

Little Blue Bakehouse

Little Blue Bakehouse is next to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in east Raleigh. This bakery makes beautiful melt-in-your-mouth macaroons in-house and sells a variety of other baked goods from local small business vendors who have their display cases here. 

Indoor seating is available, and my cappuccino was strong but smooth.  Little Blue Bakehouse also offers kombucha, matcha lattes, chai lattes, affogato, tea, hot chocolate, ice cream, and nitro cold brew.  The owners are friendly, and there’s Wi-Fi, so there’s not much more you can ask for!

Knightdale Local Coffee Shops

Cake Town Bakery- Knightdale

Cake Town Bakery is Knightdale’s neighborhood bakery shop, owned by Tracy and Jason Albert, two of the nicest people I have met since coming to town. Known for its amazing banana pudding, sweet potato pie, and poundcake with cheesecake layered in the middle, leaving this store without buying a treat is pretty much impossible. Trust me—it’s all 100% worth it!

However, if you need a caffeine fix while you’re here, Cake Town Bakery makes a wonderful cup of coffee. Try one of their lattes (or grab a chai latte or hot chocolate if coffee isn’t your thing).

They have plenty of indoor seating and Wi-Fi and occasionally host events. Just check beforehand, as their business hours might occasionally shift because of baking competitions!

slice of salted caramel and cookie butter pound cake with cheese cake layer

Wendell Local Coffee Shops

41 North Coffee

41 North Coffee is a locally-owned coffee shop nestled right in the heart of small but quaint downtown Wendell, NC.  Their exposed brick walls give you the feeling that you could be in a small coffee house anywhere in a city.  

The staff is nice, the handcrafted coffee drinks are delicious (the beans are roasted in Raleigh), and the amazing rooftop deck is accessible by walking through next door’s Brickhouse Events space. If you’re an afternoon or evening coffee drinker, you can watch the sunset from the rooftop! 41 North also offers a breakfast menu and a lunch/dinner menu.

41 North Coffee in Wendell NC brick exterior of the store

Arise Coffee Cottage

This unique little coffee stand can be found when traveling toward Archer Lodge or Clayton.  Located in Wendell, NC, and with a unique concept, Arise Coffee Cottage is a Christian coffee walkup cottage and drive-through.  

Arise serves Larry’s Coffee, a Raleigh-based company known for its organic, fair-trade, shade-grown beans.  There isn’t an interior space to sit and drink coffee, but there is outdoor seating with umbrellas for shade.  I tried a latte infused with honey and a cinnamon bun.  Everything was delicious (but take it from me- share the cinnamon bun! Lol, they are big!).   

Farmhouse Cafe

The Farmhouse Cafe is located in the heart of Wendell Falls, a newer, booming subdivision in Wendell, NC, close to Knightdale. NC. Chef Patrick Cowden creates delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus using fresh, seasonal ingredients. The cafe also offers espresso, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and smoothies.  

I swung by the same day the neighborhood was having its Easter egg hunt, and the outdoor dating area was bustling.  Limited indoor seating is also available.  The cafe shares its space with the stunning Wendell Falls clubhouse, right next to a large, open lawn.  So, this is the perfect place to bring the kids and let them get some energy out while you can sit back and watch them with easy sight lines.

Iced coffee sitting on black granite bartop at The Farmhouse Cafe in Wendell Falls. QR code in background

Carter’s Baking Company- Wendell

Carter’s Baking Company is also located in the heart of downtown Wendell, NC.  Go into its historic building and grab a pastry and a latte (seriously- their baked goods and lattes are wonderful)!

Indoor seating is limited to one large booth and a few chairs to the side. However, if you prefer to sip outdoors, downtown Wendell has benches up and down Main Street to relax, grab some sunshine and fresh air, and people-watch.  

P.S.- If you’re looking for more fun things to do in downtown Wendell, start hunting around for some painted rocks.  You might find a small but beautiful handcrafted piece of art!

Sonder Coffee

Sonder Coffee is relatively new to the Wendell coffee scene but is a fabulous addition! It has a bright, organic, and modern interior and is located in Treelight Square (the smaller commercial district being built out in Wendell Falls). I don’t know why, but you just feel a little bit cooler when you’re there.

Try unique flavor combinations, like their vanilla rose latte or a smoked sea salt mocha with homemade syrups. Sonder Coffee not only has wonderful coffee, but their matcha tea with homemade lavender syrup is heavenly. It’s the perfect drink after getting a massage next door at Elements Massage.

Sonder Coffee also offers a breakfast and lunch menu with beautiful yet lighter plates, like their mascarpone toast, and indoor and outdoor seating.  

Berry Mascarpone toast and avocado toast with microgreens at Sonder Coffee in Wendell, NC

Zebulon Local Coffee Shops

The Creative Cup 

The Creative Cup is a true gem in Zebulon, NC’s rapidly changing downtown district. This quaint coffee shop with friendly people has a beautiful interior and delicious specialty coffee. If you’re hungry, grab a sweet potato and ham biscuit or one of their pastries, and then sit back and relax.  

They have plenty of indoor seating, perfect for their other creative events! Beyond just a coffee shop, The Creative Cup also regularly hosts classes and events, like watercolor painting, crocheting 101, an introduction to beekeeping, and children’s classes.   

One of my favorite events at The Creative Cup was listening to some FREE live music by Chandler James, presented by Oak City Songs. Oak City Songs collaborate with The Creative Cup to bring local, talented musicians to the music scene here in Eastern Wake in a listening room style.  Admission is free, but donations to a rotating group of local charities identified by Oak City Songs with each performance are encouraged. We can’t wait to see more of their shows this coming year!

Rolesville Local Coffee Shops

Black and White Coffee Roasters

If you haven’t been to this award-winning local coffee company, this one is a must! Their coffee menu is relatively simple—you won’t find a ton of crazy, sugary concoctions here.  But come on over here to pick up a cappuccino, hop on the Wi-Fi, and have an amazingly caffeinated meeting.

Black and White Coffee Roasters coffee is so unique and robust that you’ll probably want to buy some of their grounds to enjoy at home or as an excellent birthday or holiday gift.  They have plenty of blends to choose from and also sell their roasts online.

Black and White Coffee Roasters cappuccino

The Coffee Lodge

The Coffee Lodge is a drive-through coffee stop just a short drive from Rolesville’s new Cobblestone Village. It offers a variety of pastries, smoothies, and coffee drinks. There is a small amount of outdoor seating, so you can feel like you are snuggled up by the cabin (lol, but make sure to face away from the parking lot and toward the building).  

Try one of their signature coffee drinks like the Turtle latte, which is refreshing and needed when you’re feeling tired on a hot summer day!

The Coffee Lodge exterior seating area in Rolesville NC. Small lodge with green metal roof, outdoor metal tables and chairs, and bear statues

Wake Forest Local Coffee Shops

Summer Moon Coffee

Okay, okay.  Summer Moon Coffee is actually NOT unique to the Raleigh, NC area- there are multiple locations nationwide.  But, this Wake Forest location is the only one in North Carolina (at the time of my writing this), so I’m claiming it as a unique spot for us.

The first thing you notice when you walk into this Wake Forest Heritage location is its stunning interior.  Buttery soft brown leather armchairs, an electric fireplace, modern lighting, and rich, bright blues are offset by the classic black and white tile backsplash along their walls.

But most importantly, the coffee and service are great. I tried their cinnamon cappuccino, which is perfect for a cool but sunny day. My kids patiently tagged along with me, so I grabbed them a pecan croissant. This. Was. Amazing! Imagine a pecan pie and a huge, flaky, buttery croissant decided to have a baby—and there you go. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.

Pecan croissant sitting on paper plate and black metal table with napkin underneath

Plant Cakes Bake Shop 

If you’re looking for a locally owned, small business to grab a shockingly good, vegan, gluten-free blueberry donut and a cup of vegan coffee, this is your spot. Plant Cakes Bake Shop in downtown Wake Forest, NC, sells individual vegan baked goods, custom cakes, and vegan soft-serve ice cream.

I grabbed a cup of coffee while I was here, and it had a really interesting add-on: Ryze mushroom coffee. It gave my coffee an earthy, umami flavor (something I’m not used to, but it definitely made the flavor interesting)! According to the Ryze website, “Loaded with adaptogenic mushrooms, our coffee blend delivers calmer energy, sharper focus, and immune support for a balanced body and clear mind.”

I swear, after that cup, I felt like I had more mental clarity and energy (more so than your typical cup of coffee).  One cup of that, and I was able to take on the rest of my day chasing around a toddler and a preschooler!

Plant Cakes Bake Shop coffee and gluten-free, vegan blueberry donut

Black and White Coffee Roasters

See above in the Rolesville section for a description. It is also located in one of my favorite downtowns in the Triangle: historic downtown Wake Forest!

Sign- Black and White Coffee Roasters in downtown Wake Forest, NC

Clayton Local Coffee Shops


If you haven’t spent much time in downtown Clayton, NC, you may not know how intensely charming it is and how it has its own unique, awesome vibe. One thing contributing to Clayton’s coolness is definitely BLVD West, a local coffee shop that serves up blends from Raleigh Coffee Company.

With industrial lighting, exposed ductwork, concrete floors, and the subway tile backsplash, this is another coffee shop that makes you feel like you just got one notch cooler for hanging out in it.  Beyond their deliciously strong coffee/espresso menu, they also serve sandwiches, waffles, and boba tea!

There is indoor seating and a great, attached, fenced-in patio area adjoining the shop, making it a wonderful gathering place for folks with kids or dogs.

Interior of BLVD West local coffee shop in downtown Clayton.


Whether you’re a brand-new or seasoned Eastern Wake resident, visiting, or just passing through, I hope you have the chance to come on out and explore some of the awesome small, local businesses that serve a delicious cup of coffee. There’s really a special feeling when you find your coffee spot!

If you love this article and want to learn more about the great finds in the eastern Wake area and beyond, come take a peek below at our email list or social media channels!  We always love to connect with our readers in whichever way works best for you!

Author: Taylor

Taylor, the founder of Eastern Wake Love and resident of Knightdale, NC, created the platform to celebrate Eastern Wake County’s community and lifestyle. Driven by the lack of substantial information about the Eastern Wake communities during her move to Knightdale, she wanted to create a resource for this beautiful area's potential and current residents and visitors. In her spare time, she’s chasing after her two young kiddos, getting involved in her community, and laughing with her husband about the chaos of parenthood.


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