Locals Know Best

Where to get good eats

Locals Know Best

For our April 2017 “Carolina Country Adventures” travel guide, we’vd highlighted the best dining spots across the state for road-weary travelers and locals alike. Locals know best, so here's some of your favorite spots, along with your go-to menu items.

Mountains

Barbeque plate at JD's Smokehouse

Barbeque plates come with your choice of sides at JD's Smokehouse (photo by Renee Gannon)

JD’s Smokehouse

500 Malcolm Blvd., Rutherford College [mapnew-window]
jds-smokehouse.com/

“We consider it a real treat to dine here. JD’s serves generous servings of moist, super flavorful pulled pork plates with banana pudding (to name one lunch favorite of ours). Travelling 60 miles to dine here is no chore for us — well worth it!”

Recommended by Amy Lester, Nebo, a member of Rutherford EMC

 

Caffé Rel

459 E Main St., Franklin [mapnew-window]
Caffé Rel on Facebook

“This European restaurant is so high class. Remarkably, it’s attached to a gas station. The chef has worked in some of the most highly renowned places in the country. I can’t claim any one thing I like best, but I always begin with the blue crab bisque.”

Recommended by Janet Arrington of Waynesville

 

Foggy Rock Eatery Patricia Joynes

Dining Room of Foggy Rock Eatery in Blowing Rock (photo by Patricia Jones)

Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub

8180 Valley Blvd., Blowing Rock [mapnew-window]
foggy-rock.com

Two readers named this spot their favorite. Tammy and Joe recommend the buttermilk fried chicken; Patricia likes the eggplant Florentine, and her husband loves their Tuesday special — spaghetti and meatballs.

Recommended by Patricia Joynes, Boone, a member of Blue Ridge Energy; and Tammy and Joe Signorelli, Purlear, members of Blue Ridge Energy.

 

Jonie’s Diner

8121 Parkway Rd., Balsam Grove [mapnew-window]
Jonie's Diner on Facebook

Only café/restaurant in our small town (pop. about 500), in the same building as the U.S. Post Office. Great food three meals a day (closed on Sundays). A popular place for locals to meet and swap stories.”

Recommended by Joe Bowers, Balsam Grove, a member of Haywood EMC

 

Piedmont

Barbeque plate at JD's Smokehouse

Smoked Pulled Pork at Pik-n-Pig in Carthage (photo by Lynne Gibbs)

Pik N Pig

194 Gilliam-McConnell Rd., Carthage [mapnew-window]
pik-n-pig.com

“Do you like small towns? Do you long for delicious, smoked pulled pork? Wouldn’t it be fun to catch the action at an airfield right outside the window? Well then, head on over to the Pik N Pig.”

Recommended by Lynne Gibbs, Mount Gilead, a member of Randolph EMC

 

7 Central Bistro

135 MacDougall Drive, West End [mapnew-window]
7centralbistro.com/

Not one, but four readers recommended this hidden gem in West End. Favorite dishes include the fried chicken sandwich (“melt in your mouth perfection”), and the house dessert classic Bananas Foster.

Recommended by: Russell Goodman, Cameron, a member of Central Electric; Lynne Johnston of West End; Al McLaughlin of Pinehurst; and Angela Patton, West End, a member of Randolph EMC

 

Mamies Drive Inn Patti Ingram

Legendary cheeseburgers abount at Mamie's in Laurel Hill (photo by Patti Ingram)

Mamie’s Drive Inn

Hwy 74, Laurel Hill [mapnew-window]
Mamie's Drive Inn on Facebook

“Friendly people, Ms. Sheila and Lauren are two of the greatest people you will ever meet. BEST burgers, hands down – you won't find one any better. Try it for yourself, if you don't believe me and then I can say ‘Told you so.’ Favorite Dish: Cheeseburger with mustard, chili and slaw and French fries with a big ol’ glass of sweet tea.”

Recommended by Patti Ingram, Laurel Hill, a member of Pee Dee Electric

 

The Old Country Club Steak House

555 Community House Rd., Roxboro [mapnew-window]
oldcountryclubsteakhouse.com

“They have the best filet mignon and ribeye steaks around. Their salad bar is exceptional with an added small hoop cheese & bread table. Good wine & liquor listing.”

Recommended by Kathy McElveen, Leasburg, a member of Piedmont Electric

 

Rockford General Store Ray Floyd

Try a sandwich on the house-made bread at Rockford General Store (photo by Ray Floyd)

Rockford General Store

5174 Rockford Road, Rockford [mapnew-window]
rockfordgeneralstore.com

“126-year-old general store that serves up the best hamburgers, hot dogs and fried bologna sandwiches in the world. They make their own buns and bread from scratch. Always fresh and hot. They have a wood stove you can stand by and eat or dine on the old wooden front porch in rockers or on a bench. Fried pies, brownies, fudge inside this old building is a must see to believe and eat.”

Recommended by Ray Floyd, Dobson, a member of Surry-Yadkin EMC

 

The Old Store

3944 Vintage Rd., Lilesville [mapnew-window]
The Old Store on Facebook

“Crunchy livermush and hot grits. Lunch specials, burgers and hand-dipped ice cream. If you were born in the ‘50s, you will love this place. It’s very clean with good service, and relaxing.”

Recommended by Patsy Capps of York, South Carolina

 

Terrace Cafe Abbey Cameron

Enjoy beautiful decor and scrumptious brunch at Terrace Cafe in Charlotte (photo by Abbey Cameron)

Terrace Cafe

14815 Ballantyne Village Way, Charlotte [mapnew-window]
terracerestaurants.com/

“Upon entering the restaurant, you will find a gorgeous tree sculpture with lights, warm mahogany tones and beautiful decor and artwork. Their brunch is absolutely delicious! Be sure to try the omelets (even egg white is superb), chicken waffle, red velvet waffle, or eggs benedict. Top it off with a fruity brunch cocktail, fresh squeezed orange juice, or uplifting cappuccino. An absolute must try brunch on anyone's list!!”

Recommended by Abbey Cameron, Waxhaw, a member of Union Power

 

Coast

Classic Diner

301 East Main Street, Tarboro, NC [mapnew-window]
Classic Diner on Facebook

“The restaurant is owned by Bud and Shirley Woolard, good, down to earth people. For having the best steaks n ribs in town, Bud makes the best barbecue sauce ever. You can sop it up with bread or biscuits.”

Recommended by Brenda Tillery, Tarboro, a member of Edgecombe-Martin County EMC

 

Bagel Dock Robert Glover

Beach breakfast is best on bagels — try the Bagel Dock Cafe on your next trip to Calabash (photo by Robert Glover)

Bagel Dock

1162 River Rd., Calabash [mapnew-window]
thebageldockcafe.com

“Bagel Dock has the best breakfast, great egg sandwiches and omelets too! Favorite Dish: Ham, egg and cheese on a toasted bagel.”

Recommended by Robert Glover, Calabash, a member of Brunswick EMC

 

Rose Hill Restaurant

312 N. Sycamore Street, Rose Hill [mapnew-window]
rosehillrest.com

“Perfect omelets and waffles with local sausage. Home cooking specials every day: BBQ pork, BBQ chicken and special-made crab cakes — yum!”

Recommended by Mimi Powell, Wallace, a member of Four County EMC

 

Russell's Place Beth Clarke

Russell's Place is a long-time favorite for visitors to Oak Island (photo by Beth Clarke)

Russell's Place

5700 E Oak Island Dr., Oak Island [mapnew-window]
Find Russell's on Facebook

“From the first time we visited Oak Island, we fell in love with this jewel of a restaurant. Russell's has fast, friendly service combined with a wonderful homey feeling, fantastic food, and great prices. I have never had a bad experience and will gladly wait for breakfast on the days the line is a bit long.”

Recommended by Beth Clarke, Oak Island, a member of Brunswick EMC

 

Arthur’s Pizza

1415 W. Cumberland St, Dunn [mapnew-window]

“Literally the best pizza in North Carolina! I recommend this restaurant to everyone. You can’t go wrong with the White Spinach Pizza!” (Mackenzie also recommends the Spanakopita appetizer.)

Recommended by Mackenzie Church, Roseboro, a member of South River EMC

 

Dajio MaryEllen Piland

Chutney and applewood bacon are featured in this unusual grilled cheese at Dajio in Ocracoke (photo by Mary Ellen Piland)

Dajio

305 Irving Garrish Hwy., Ocracoke [mapnew-window]
dajiorestaurant.com

“Fresh, local ingredients, some harvested from the garden behind the restaurant, go into the delicious food prepared at Dajio. Crème brûlée French toast is my favorite breakfast item. All entrees are cooked to order, and Doug, the owner and chef, is likely to come out a greet you personally. The most unusual and delicious grilled cheese sandwich is my go-to lunch: It features fresh homemade chutney and smoked applewood bacon along with the cheese."

Recommended by Mary Ellen Piland of Belhaven.

 

Bill’s Grill

5619 US-117 ALT, Wilson [mapnew-window]
Bill's Grill on Facebook

“Whether you are looking for a full home cooked meal or a quick sandwich, there’s no better place to eat. The grill isn’t fancy but that’s part of the charm.” (A second location has opened on Nash Street in downtown Wilson.)

Recommended by Deborah Wells, Fremont, a member of Tri-County EMC

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