Wednesday, October 08, 2014

N.C.'s best food tourism spots?

This may come off as snooty, and it's really not meant to, but since I live in Raleigh, I don't necessarily have to leave my city to enjoy great restaurants. The Capital City has come a long way over the past two decades or so in offering a veritable cornucopia of culinary delights. But that doesn't mean I don't look for those hot spots or "must-hit" spots around this great state. And there are plenty. Some are a short drive away, while others ... not so much.

In fact, a random conversation among coworkers a couple of weeks ago about favorite haunts around the state got me thinking: Just how far will you go for "food tourism?"

My grandparents, many moons ago, used to fly friends (in a small plane) from Clinton to Raleigh, just to have an evening at the Angus Barn. These days, I know a fair number of folks who can make a day or two out of heading to Kinston to see what Vivian Howard is cooking up at The Chef and the Farmer. People also sample the goods at Mother Earth Brewing as well. (Both of these are on my own personal "food tourism" bucket list.)

WRAL's Scott Mason, the Tar Heel Traveler, recently put out a map of some of the more popular restaurants in the state. Not surprisingly, many of these would qualify, in my mind, as food destinations: Britt's Donuts in Carolina Beach, the Roast Grill in Raleigh, Sherry's Bakery in Dunn (a personal favorite of mine).  We ARE in North Carolina, so BBQ places also made the cut (thank God!). And I know of people who have made the trek to Siler City just on the off-chance that they can enjoy a burger from Johnson's Drive-In before they run out of beef. Another place that I don't think made Scott's list but seems to be a sort of Mecca for some is the Beefmastor Inn (note the 'o') in Wilson County.

So a couple of questions .... what are some of your favorite food tourism sites in North Carolina? And how far are you willing to drive JUST to enjoy food? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Johnson's Drive-In image from Our State; Beefmastor image from


Anonymous said...

Parker's, Wilbur's and King's BBQ!!! They HAVE to be on this list!

Anonymous said...

If you want to start the BBQ war then here we go...

Skylight Inn (Ayden, NC), B's (Greenville) and Moore's (New Bern).

Go to Skylight for the experience, Moore's to fill up (generous portions is an understatement) and make sure you get to B's before noon or they will be sold out for the day.