Restaurants in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of the top barbecue states, but from the ocean to the mountains, exactly how the barbecue is cooked and served varies dramatically. Connoisseurs in the east and central parts of the state want whole hog ‘cue (although some prefer just the shoulders) hacked to smithereens and just barely moistened with vinegar pepper sauce. Side dishes include boiled potatoes in the east and Brunswick Stew and hushpuppies in the center of the state. To the west, sauce begins to contain tomatoes and is a more significant presence on the plate. Beyond smoke-cooked pig, North Carolina’s prime attractions are Mid-Atlantic seafood, some of the nation’s best fried chicken, country ham, and superior biscuits.

North Carolina’s Most Famous Dishes

Sausage, brisket, ribs, and chicken surround a ramekin of orange BBQ sauce

BBQ Platters

Tall, gnarled-top light gold biscuit


Cross-section of a crisp-fried spherical hushpuppy showes the inside dotted with corn kernels


Macaroni & cheese, spangled with herbs, comes in a small cast-iron pot

Macaroni and Cheese

North Carolina’s Best Restaurants

Shaw’s Barbecue House


Bertie County Peanuts


Bunn’s Bar-B-Q


Cypress Grill


Dip’s Country Kitchen


Buttermilk biscuit sandwiches country ham.
Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen


BBQ meat at Short Sugar's in Reidsville, NC
Short Sugar’s Pit Bar-B-Q




John’s Country Kitchen


Bill Spoon’s Barbecue


Hot dogs topped with chili and cole slaw
Roast Grill


Wink’s King of Barbecue


South 21 Drive-In


Zada Jane’s Corner Cafe


Zack’s Hot Dogs




Big Ed’s City Market


Nana’s Soul Food


Jay Bee’s


Moose Cafe


Long Creek Fish Fry


North Carolina Articles & Guides

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20 Burgers to Eat Before it's Too Late

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Birds of Paradise

A visit to Price’s Chicken Coop is the fried-chicken-eating experience of a lifetime. Once inside the door of the little South End storefront, two thirds of which is dedicated...

Finely chopped pork and cole slaw piled in a bun

Leave it to Cleaver

By Jane and Micheal Stern The barbecue of eastern North Carolina tastes great. But long before you begin eating it, you smell it and hear it. The air surrounding each...

Drive Ins

For two-lane travelers, pulling into a parking lot perfumed by hamburgers and hot onion rings is as satisfying as any four-star dining experience. At a true classic drive-in, you...

Hard of Herring

Junior bond takes a straight razor to Michael’s neck. As he shaves an impeccable nape hairline, the 40-year-veteran Williamston, North Carolina, barber declares that he hates herring. A strapping...

Keaton’s - Sign

Chicken Riddle

THIS IS A STORY about getting lost and eating chicken. When you drive around western North Carolina, it is good to do both.  For those of us accustomed to ordinary...

Mount Airy North Carolina

Can someone please help a man in distress? Charles Dowell, who first started working at Snappy Lunch on Main Street in 1943 at the age of fourteen and is...

Roadside sign for Caro-Mi ... heaven at the Blue Ridge Mountains

Bridges Barbecue Lodge And Caro-Mi Dining Room

The Caro-Mi Dining Room in Tryon, North Carolina, is "the most divine dining room of the gentle South," a culinary tipster advised us. "You won't believe the ham," she...

A full plate of fresh oysters on the halfshell a must order at any seafood restaurant

The Essential 22 Seafood Restaurants in the US

Seafood is a delicacy that has been enjoyed since the beginning of time. Its flavors are unique and diverse, and it can be cooked in many ways. That is...

Dinosaur Bar-b-que - Motorcycle Parking

Best Local Restaurants on the Hot Rod Power Tour Route

The Annual HOT ROD Power Tour This is a seven-day, seven-city journey expected to bring together more than 6,000 vehicles and 100,000-plus spectators making it the largest traveling car-show in...

America's Byways: Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway This five hour trip will take drivers along the Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina to wonderful regional food served in restaurants that sing of...

Charlotte, NC: 2014 Eating Tour

The 2014 eating tour of Charlotte, North Carolina, featured four-star fried chicken, barbecue, pimento cheese, and banana pudding.

The One Must-Eat Food in Each State, and Where To Get It

Unique Regional Dishes After 40 years and 5 million miles spent on the road looking for America's best regional food, we've assembled a list of the quintessential, must-eat food in...

View of Caro-Mi across the river ... heaven at the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Best Restaurants Around Tryon, NC | Roadfood Bests

A favorite vacation destination for southerners eager to escape summer heat and enjoy the cooler climate of the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills, the area around Landrum, South Carolina, and...

Tall, gnarled-top light gold biscuit

The Best Restaurants In Asheville, NC | Roadfood Bests

Asheville menus reflect both new-age nostrums and traditional Blue Ridge Mountain cookery. Vegetarians and vegans, gluten-frees and keto devotees all will find happiness. But so will hungry carnivores and...

The Best Restaurants in Wilmington, NC | Roadfood Bests

From spectacular dive-bar burgers to elegant, cutting-edge cuisine, Wilmington, North Carolina, is an eater's paradise. The burgeoning downtown dining scene includes high-stylin' cafes with devoted farm (and sea)-to-table cookery...

Best Myrtle Beach Hidden-Gem Restaurants | Roadfood Bests

There is no shortage of places to eat in the bustling beach town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For an authentic, unique taste, forget the big, tourist-oriented dining halls....

The Best Dixie Dogs in America

In the states where they are popular, Dixie dogs are not known as Dixie dogs. They are called slaw dogs or simply hot dogs. But because they originated in...

Charlotte Sampler: One Day's Delights

Eating Charlotte's best could take a few weeks; but if you've got a single day to taste the Queen City's quintessential Roadfood, here is the cream of the crop. Amelie's...

Peach Desserts

There are few pleasures in life more sensuously delicious than sinking teeth into a perfectly ripe peach to let its juicy, sugared sunshine flood over taste buds. Because their...

The Varsity - Exterior Night

America's Best Remaining True Drive-In Restaurants

"Drive-in" has come to mean just about any cheap-eats restaurant with car-friendly parking. A genuine drive-in is a place where customers park and are waited on and eat in...

The sign at Little Miss BBQ in Phoenix. AZ

Barbecue's Delicious Dozen

Of the hundred five-star barbecue parlors around the U.S.A. this dozen is the crème de la crème. .

Superior Cole Slaw of North Carolina | Roadfood Bests

No matter how delicious it may be, cole slaw always plays second fiddle. When visiting whole hog barbecue parlors in North Carolina, the curious eater will encounter a handful...

Fried Chicken: The Delicious Double Dozen

Fried chicken is popular all across America and so different everywhere that it is not possible to say what city, state, or region does it best. While the process...

Lima Beans Glory | Pork Makes The Difference

Lima beans are known everywhere, loved mostly in the South, and a signature dish of Charleston, South Carolina. Soul food cooks simmer the khaki-colored pods with plenty of pork,...

Brunswick Stew

Brunswick Stew is a fundamental side dish for barbecue in Georgia and beyond. Originally made as a hunter's gallimaufry using whatever critters had been bagged and whatever vegetables were...


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