Review by: Michael Stern

Parker’s is a Panavision-wide restaurant with multiple dining rooms where customers crowd the lined-up tables for great platters of chopped pork accompanied by hushpuppies, boiled potatoes, corn sticks, and cole slaw. Cooked and chopped each day, the pork is moist and tender but laced with crunchy shreds from the outside of the shoulder from which it has been cut. There is scarcely any sauce on it, just a veil of vinegar and peppers to accentuate the wood-smoke savor. If you need to doll it up, tables are set with plain vinegar and a hot sauce that has a vinegar base.

Meals are sold by the plate or family-style to groups who want seconds and thirds — pay $10 per person for all-you-can-eat barbecue, 2 pieces of fried chicken per customer, and all the sides and fixins.

The restaurant is popular among locals as well as travelers along nearby I-95, and it always seems hugely busy. It’s quite a trip maneuvering to and from a table as waiters zoom past toting platters piled high with food.

What To Eat

Large BBQ Dinner

Chicken Livers

Corn Sticks

Cole Slaw

Fried Chicken

Sweet Tea


Parker’s Recipes


What do you think of Parker’s?

2 Responses to “Parker’s”

Patrick Shingleton

June 21st, 2010

The previous reviews are acceptable, but miss some of the spirit of the restaurant. With all respect to Bill’s, Cherry’s and the other EXTREMELY acceptable and competitive barbecue restaurants in the area, there is something they miss.

I was born in North Carolina, but have only lived there for about 12 months of my life. I have, however, vacationed there at least yearly since infancy, and was schooled at an early age as to what REAL barbecue is. I have traveled widely, sampled much. I lived 15 years of my life in Memphis (among ‘West Tennessee Barbecue Heathens” — which I did tell them to their faces) and developed a taste for dry ribs. I have been further west where barbecue is made of beef. I have been out to Kansas City and have eaten and enjoyed ‘burnt ends’.

This is NOT real barbecue. It is tasty, but it is not real barbecue.

I have eaten barbecue in the western part of North Carolina, and it is good. However, they have a tendency to add tomatoes into the equation.

This is CLOSE to real barbecue.

Real barbecue is pork. It is finely chopped pork. It is slaw that is (from a previous review) mustardy with a hint of sweetness. It is a basket of fresh cornsticks, and you’d better eat them quickly, because they do not keep to be re-heated. Brunswick stew. Potatoes. Chicken stew.

Bill’s, Cherry’s, and the rest of them have all of these menu items, and usually, additional offerings. But Parker’s Barbecue on US 301, Wilson NC, is the center of the Eastern North Carolina universe. It makes an art form of family style dining, good food, and atmosphere. The servers and kitchen staff in their aprons and paper garrison cap style hair restraints, if you let them, will let you believe you are eating in the 1950’s, 40’s, 30’s, etc…

Let’s just say, no matter how busy the dining room is out front,if you need to use the takke out facility out back come EARLY or be prepared to wait. This place is worth planning any trip up or down Interstate 95 around.


David McCarthy

July 7th, 2008

Parker’s is a great classic BBQ place in eastern NC. Some have said it is the best of the Eastern Carolinas BBQ places. Some BBQ places go the route of buffets but Parkers goes with the family-style, all-you-can-eat method (which in my book makes for fresher food). The menu is small but we knew we were going for the family-style option, so I didnt look at the other options closely. Note that it is an all-or-nothing option for the table: the entire table must order family-style.

The family-style comes with two pieces of fried chicken per person, chopped Carolina-style pork BBQ, slaw, Brunswick stew, boiled potatoes, hush puppies, and corn bread sticks. All except for the chicken is all-you-can-eat. We were really there for the pork but the fried chicken was equal to or better than the BBQ. This is classic fried chicken, crispy but really hot and moist on the inside (the wings are especially good).

The chopped pork is minced with some dark smoky pieces still visible. The vinegar sauce is mild (extra is available on the table). We usually opt for sandwiches so we asked for rolls and heaped the pork and slaw together. Hush puppies were hot and sweet and the boiled potatoes where good, with less butter and more spice than other places. Misses were the corn sticks and the Brunswick stew. The corn sticks were hard and cold. The Brunswick stew was too thick and pasty. We prefer a little more soupy stew but this may be a personal preference.

Overall, we came for the pork and got a great bonus in the fried chicken. You can also order most of the items in bulk to go. We picked up two pounds of pork BBQ to take back in the cooler on the six hour ride home.


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