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North Carolina Restaurants

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I watched an interesting video on our local TV station's website about NC restaurants today. Some of these are in very small towns, but all of them have a lot of character.  It's a little less than 30 minutes long, and WARNING is broken by 3 ad segments, which even Ad Block does not fix.


The thread would also be a good place for me to post about my rare visits to the modest, but good restaurants I visit here in my community. Hopefully, others who live in or visit the state could weigh in here too???


Doesn't Scott Mason aka "The Tar Heel Traveler" have the best job you can imagine? :x

> ^ . . ^ <



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  • 1 year later...

That was a pretty cool video - thanks!


I started a list at work of a lot of the restaurants around my office in Cary.  Slowly, I am making my workmates go through them :)  I try to stick to non-chains, but it is hard here.  I love eating out, it just starts being a drag on your own all the time.  


I expect to be up near Winston-Salem a lot while hiking this fall - gotta get my mountain hiking experience so I can tackle the big ones in Asheville.


I'm also making a trip to Blowing Rock, NC in January.  


So, needless to say, I can probably comment if someone gives me some guidelines of what they are looking for - lol.

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  • 9 months later...

Ok, so I went to a restaurant today that I HAVE to recommend.  Pro's Epicurean Market and Cafe


It's located in Cary in a small, unassuming shopping center.  Ever since I saw the menu, I've been wanting to go.  Now, I want to go A LOT.  I went with a friend form work, so I was able to sample two appetizers and entrees.  We got the burrata and brsuchetta of the day.  The burrata was served with toasted bread topped with generous garlic and olive oil on the plate.  It was delicious.  We were told a few times that the cheese is all made by hand by the owner of the cafe.  I could eat that with a salad and be happy!  The bruschetta had fig, chees (possibly goat, but I forget), THIN THIN shavings of prouscuitto, olive oil, and the most delectable balsalmic vinegar I have ever tasted.  Luckily, they have some for sale on site, so I plan to buy some when I go back.


For entrees, my friend got the special which was chicken picatta with carrots.  It was tasty, but it's not my favorite dish.  The chicken was a little thicker than I would have expected.  I got a sandwich described as such:  Prosciutto parma, fresh mozzarella, crisped pancetta, broccoli rabe, olive oil, roasted red pepper pesto.  It sounds like a lot of different ingredients, but they melded together very well.  It was amazing and I am usually not a fan of roasted red peppers.  It was served with some unimpressive, but homemade chips.  I think I'll see if I can change it next time.  Both of these entrees were recommended by the owner's son who waited on us.  He also listed out the desserts, but we were quite full by that time.  I wanted to get something to go, but I didn't really trust myself.  Iced tea flavor is very important to me because I drink it unsweetened, but here, it was great.  It had flavor, still tasted like tea instead of just brown water


The service was kind of weird.  It was set up as first come/first serve tables with counter ordering.  But, when we walked in, he said we could sit anywhere and followed us with some menus.  He went over almost everything in such amazing detail, I wanted to have everything.  As it got busier, it went more to the expected counter ordering, but there were still some tables that got the full service.  I believe after ordering, he was still coming by all the tables.  


It took about 1.5 hours and we got there soon after opening, so definitely plan on some extra time.  It's more expensive than your normal lunch places, but it was because we got appetizers.  You can make it more wallet friendly by just getting an entree or sandwich.  My meal was 24ish and my friend's was 30ish - both before tips.  Definitely a once in a while restaurant, but I can easily see myself going back. 

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I want someone who's been to Vivian Howard's restaurant to chime in.


Have never spent much time in NC. Can't say any of the trips involved memorable meals.


Don't ask. Eat it.


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15 hours ago, kayb said:

I want someone who's been to Vivian Howard's restaurant to chime in.


Have never spent much time in NC. Can't say any of the trips involved memorable meals.



It looks like there are three - which one were you referring to?

 - Chef & the Farmer

 - Boiler Room

 - Benny's Big Time

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1 hour ago, kayb said:

Chef and the Farmer was the one I was thinking of. Didn't know she had the others.



Well, if I head out that way, I'll post a review.  I'll admit - I'm not normally a very adventurous eater :$



Thank goodness you didn't say the oyster bar xD

Edited by blbst36 (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/20/2018 at 6:11 PM, kayb said:

I want someone who's been to Vivian Howard's restaurant to chime in.


Have never spent much time in NC. Can't say any of the trips involved memorable meals.



Ms Alex was there last month and raved about her meal. (She ate at the bar.) The pictures below are, in order: Lemon basil gimlet (yes, that's Mr. Bacon, who was very relieved that his traveling companion had sausage for breakfast rather than his cousins); Wood-fired oysters w/brown butter and Tabasco; NC flounder w/pesto, charred squashes, and stewed tomatoes; Strawberry shortcake.


She also is a big, big fan of 247 Craven, in New Bern.









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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Sqeeza's Country Kitchen in Elizabeth City, NC

It was pretty good.  Service wasn't fast, but I kind of expected it in a place like this.  It seemed like the sandwiches were faster.  Maybe next time.  In the meantime, those mashed potatoes?  SO GOOD.  Slightly lumpy and delicious.  The chicken was piping hot.  The coleslaw was standard.  


Edited by blbst36 (log)
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Ugh.  I had a whole post written and accidentally closed the browser :(  I was almost done, too!!


Hillbilly Grill in West Jefferson NC

Very tasty.  The interior was a lot nicer than I expected from the name :)  The bacon was the best I ever had.  Smoky and crisp.  I would definitely go back.



Tortugas Lie in Nags Head

I would never go back here.  It was a really bad meal which was surprising because it was PACKED there.



Waveriders Coffee and Deli in Nags Head, NC

While it was tasty, I don't understand why the line was out the door.  I wouldn't wait in that line after eating there.  You can't even customized the egg on the sandwich, so even though I prefer scrambled, I had to get the hard cooked as shown below.



Peddalin Pig in Boone NC

I went here hoping to run into an old friend, but he wasn't there.  The food was fantastic, though.  I would go back even if I didn't know him!  It was so good.  There were leftovers for breakfast :D



Sticky Boy Kitchen in Boone, NC

Now, THIS is a bagel sandwich on a pumpkin chocolate chip bagel!  I would happily go back



My favorite lunch of the whole trip ;)

Homemade bagel sandwich with chips and ginger ale




Edited by blbst36 (log)
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13 hours ago, munchymom said:

Ham and cheese on a pumpkin chocolate chip bagel is quite possibly the most goyische thing ever (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Never claimed to be Jewish :P


4 hours ago, kayb said:

I'm pretty horrified at a pumpkin chocolate chip bagel, m'self. (bagel purist, here, oddly, as I've only been to NY twice in my life).

Don't knock it until you try it.  just a different flavor of sweet to go with the savory

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  • 4 weeks later...

I went on another trip to WNC.  This time I was in Fairview which is right next to Asheville.  Unknown to me when I booked the place.  I could have just stayed in Asheville again.  Anyways, I tried to go to all different restaurants again, but not necessarily in Asheville.


The first place I went was the Groovy Beast Grill in Gastonia.  It was on the way to the state park I was visiting.  It was disappointing.  I got a fried chicken sandwich with cheese and onion petals.  All of the breading had pepper in it, so the prevailing flavor was pepper.  If I had known, I would have gotten something other than the onion petals.  And of course, the tomato that I requested off was still there.  The cookie was huge, but, sadly, seemed old/stale.  If I were to try it again, I think I might get the special or something.  There were A LOT of people there, so there must've been something redeemable.



Later, after getting to my airbnb in Fairview, I ventured to Okie Dokie's Smokehouse in Swannanoa, NC.  It was good, the service was fast.  Frankly, some of the best potato salad I've had outside of my mother's house.  I got a sample plate with ribs and beef.  I know, I should have gotten pork, but I wanted something different.  Sadly. I wasn't a fan of their sauces.  There just wasn't anything remarkable about it.  If I were to go again, I would get the pork so that I would be able to use the vinegar sauce, at least.



For breakfast the next morning, I tried a recommendation of the hosts called the Local Joint.  It was lackluster even for breakfast.  They didn't actually toast the muffin and the bacon was floppy.  I was disappointed that this was a "great" place according to the hosts.



Of course, I had to check out the hot dog king.  Honestly, it was JUST what I was expecting.  I wanted to go back, but I just didn't find the time.  I would probably get more than just a dog, though.  This definitely didn't fill me up.  I'm not sure if it had anything that was made on site.  I took a picture of the menu if anyone is interested.



Another win was a place in Asheville (not downtown) called the Social.  It is NOT as fancy as the website makes it look.  It's almost the exact opposite!  It's kind of a hole in the wall filled with locals.  After the tiny lunch, I went with a DIY burger.  I added either american or cheddar cheese, onion petals, and bacon.  The onion petals really didn't add much, but the rest of it was great.  Juicy and delicious.  The only complaint is that they need a wider bun to contain everything.  I forgot to ask for no tomato on this one, so it's on me.



Now, this was a breakfast I would gladly eat daily.  Kosta's Kitchen in Fletcher erased the previous day's breakfast.  It was great.  Fast service, not too expensive.  The omelets had the fillings mixed in except for the cheese.  The potatoes were great.  Crispy and tasty.  Biscuits were soft and warm.  I wanted to go before I left, but it was closed Monday's.  Lots of places in the area were closed Monday and Tuesday.  I would definitely recommend this place.



I couldn't decide what I wanted for lunch, so I had ice cream :D  I went to the Hop in Asheville



My last dinner was, sadly, another recommendation from the hosts.  Another highly recommended place called Straightaway Cafe in Black Mountain.  That smelled like a barn with no animals in site.  I was pretty ignored the whole time.  My table was horrible, shoved against a back wall with no other tables around me - I felt like an outcast.  The food was fine.  Nothing special.  Nothing to risk the treacherous driveways to the place to get again.  I just wanted something simple and since the Hot Dog place was closed, this is what I could get close to me.  Only 3 tenders and a large amount of fries.



Since everywhere I wanted to go was closed on Monday when I was leaving, I stuck it out for a while and decided to pull into a Granny's Country Kitchen just off the highway in Icard NC.  It was slow as molasses.  It took me a half hour to get my food.  The problem was that they thought I wanted smoked ham instead of smoked sausage.  I knew it wouldn't be good when they didn't bring out the rest of the food.  By the time they corrected their mistake, the rest of it wasn't what I would call hot.  Barely warm.  At this point, I was famished, so I ate it.  The sausage was good, though probably not worth the trouble.  I would probably eat here again, but make it more simple for the cooks.



Hope you enjoyed :)  Also, let me know if this isn't the right place to be putting these things.  


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