As Seen On TV: NC Dining
In North Carolina you’re never far from some great places to eat. Southern classics? Our world famous barbecue? Fine dining? Greasy spoons? Drive-ins, walk-ups and curb service? Take your pick. Just in time for a spring road trip, here are a few favorites that have been featured on The Food Network, The Cooking Channel and The Travel Channel.
Elmo's Diner in Durham features breakfast all day and scratch-made desserts
Drive-ins, Walk-ups, Burger and Dogs
Stop in at the landmark Charlotte restaurant, The Penguin, to sample some of the dishes that made Guy Fieri (from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives) and Adam Richman’s (from Man v. Food) mouths water. The oversized burgers, fried pickles and house-made pimento cheese keep diners coming back for more. While you’re in the neighborhood, save some room for a taste of The Diamond, another Charlotte staple that’s now home to a few former members of the Penguin team that helped put the Plaza Midwood dining scene on the map.
In Durham, Wimpy’s Grill serves up giant buttermilk biscuits for breakfast and bigger burgers for lunch. Try the Carolina Burger (with chili, slaw, onion and mustard) or order the dish featured on Man v. Food but not on the menu, the Garbage Burger. A 1 1/4 pound burger loaded with every ingredient on the board. You’ll need a few napkins for this one.
Man v. Food also paid a visit to Raleigh’s The Roast Grill, a place know for its crispy grilled hot dogs served smothered in hot dog chili, and Durham’s Dain’s Place, where you can order “The Defibrillator,” a 1/2 pound burger with bacon, chili, cheddar coleslaw and a hot dog.
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and Alton Brown’s Feasting on Asphalt featured Charlotte’s South 21 Drive-in, a curb-service joint with classic drive-in food and must-have fried chicken.
Diners and Delis
Elmo’s Diner in Durham, featured on Rachael Ray’s $40 a Day, is a true diner – breakfast all day, scratch-made desserts and homemade soups. For breakfast, the French toast does the trick. Lunch, time for the Elmo’s burger. At dinner, try the salmon cakes.
While you’re in Durham, go to Nosh for a new take on deli classics; that’s what they did on Man v. Food. After one visit, you’ll be on a first-name basis with your favorite dish – almost every one is named after someone in the Nosh family.
At Neal’s Deli in Carrboro, try a Southern twist on New York Deli classics (think house-smoked pastrami biscuits, they loved them on Unique Eats). Or pay a visit to the Landmark Restaurant Diner in Charlotte and try the spanakopita; Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives thought they were fine.
Man v. Food had the pleasure of devouring one of Durham’s Daisy Cakes gourmet cupcakes during the Doughman Quatrathlon (a culinary and athletic competiton). Their unusual sweets – like the candied bacon and maple cupcake – and tasty brunch bring in diners from across the Triangle.
Scratch, also in Durham, appeared on Unique Eats and For the Love of Pies because of their chocolate creations – like the chocolate crostada, a chocolate-filled open-faced pie – and seasonal fruit pies.
New Take on Classic Dishes
Cabo Fish Taco, in Charlotte, wowed Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with its mango-barbecue mahi-mahi taco and Cabo slaw. Chef-owner Rob Crenshaw discovered fish tacos while he lived and surfed in California and became an instant convert.
For a new twist on Southern classics, Jake’s Good Eats takes the cake. This Charlotte eatery’s country ham grit cakes with blackened flounder was a favorite of Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Fried Chicken? Time Out Chicken in Chapel Hill served up fried chicken like you’ve never seen – topped with cheddar, sandwiched between a biscuit. The Tar Heel Favorite is a hit with UNC Chapel Hill students and fried chicken fans across the state. No wonder it caught the attention of Man v. Food.
Dish, a Charlotte staple, serves down-home comfort food. Think chicken and dumplings and fried-green tomatoes. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives thought their salmon patties were top notch.
A dining road trip through North Carolina wouldn’t be complete without some barbecue.
Start at the Barbecue Festival in Lexington. Every October, hundreds of thousands of ‘cue fans descend on this Piedmont town for a day celebrating their favorite food. Food Paradise paid them a visit and almost didn’t leave.
In Raleigh, you can’t go wrong with The Pit. The only whole-hog barbecue joint in town, they cook two entire pigs a day on their massive grill. The house-made barbecue sauce is near perfect, and their fried chicken, well, it’s so good, you may consider ordering two entrees.
Backyard Barbecue Pit boasts Durham’s only open-pit barbecue where they slow smoke their pork over hickory and oak, and Man v. Food thought their Eastern Carolina Barbecue was some of the best they’ve had.
Charlotte’s Bar-B-Q King Drive-in has been making pulled pork and sliced pork barbecue for more than 50 years using the same family recipes. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives host Guy Fieri called their ‘cue “a masterpiece.”
Lexington BBQ, in Lexington, made an impression on Rachael Ray’s $40 a Day for their Eastern ‘cue, and their classic take on the dish is hard to beat.
By Jason Frye
By Jason Frye
added: April 3, 2012
updated: April 11, 2012