NC Food Road Trip: Top 5 Food Destinations in NC

Benny's Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, NC

Benny's Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, NC

probably not alone in admitting that we plan all of our trips around meals, but this time we're putting food first in our list of the Top 5 Food Destinations in NC. These are the food experiences worth traveling for, found all across the great state of North Carolina (that aren't already part of our Outer Banks, Raleigh, Asheville, and Durham City Guides :). Just remember to pack your stretchy pants!

Kindred in Davidson, NC
131 N Main St, Davidson, NC 28036
Just north of Charlotte in the cozy college town of Davidson, Kindred recently made us one of the best meals we've had in ages. The menu is seasonal and changes daily. The dishes are always inspired, putting an unexpected spin on things like a golden fried egg served with creamy Bagna Cauda, roasted asparagus, and a heavy sprinkle of toasted benne seeds. It feels like everything has been considered, from the thoughtful mints and kids books stocked in their pretty bathrooms, to the beautiful modern decor, right down to the utterly perfect milk bread delivered warm in enamel bowls when you arrive. We already can't wait to go back.

Benchwarmers in Raleigh, NC
500 E Davie St, Ste 107, Raleigh, NC 27601
From the people who brought you Boulted Bread and Jubala Coffee, Benchwarmers turns out fire-baked bagels, seasonal cream cheese spreads, and flavor-packed breakfast sandwiches inside the popular Transfer Co. Food Hall. Get the #4 on a Grits Bagel (house-cured lox, deviled egg spread, and shaved onion) and a Salted Butterscotch Latte and call it A Day. Recently nominated for America's Best New Restaurants 2019 by Bon Appetit Magazine, Benchwarmers absolutely lives up to the hype.

Lucky's Delicatessen
in Durham, NC 
105 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701
Another venture by well-regarded chef Matt Kelly, Lucky's is a NY-style deli in downtown Durham that perfectly fills the matzo ball-sized hole in my sandwich shop-loving heart. Their space is bright and inviting, with a friendly staff always ready to echo your sentiments on the potato salad. The Roast Beef Sandwich will forever be my number one: pink slices of top round piled on a crunchy kaiser roll spread with horseradish mayo, a subtle blue cheese, and bright pickled red onion. Damn! 


Green Tomato Pizza from Benny's Big Time

Benny's Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, NC
206 Greenfield St, Wilmington, NC 28401
You've probably already done the trip to Chef & The Farmer in Kinston, made famous by chef Vivian Howard's PBS series and imaginative menu inspired by the produce and delicacies of the region. Her newest outpost in Wilmington serves fantastic wood-fired pizza and delicious pasta dishes. We ordered the excellent Green Tomato Pizza, but I left wanting to try the Guilty Pleasure pie -- doesn't smoked mozzarella, basil, pineapple, and red onion sound amazing? Next time!

Chai Pani in Asheville, NC
22 Battery Park Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

This popular, affordable restaurant with impeccable customer service does intensely flavored Indian street foods in the form of inventive sandwiches, savory crepes, traditional curries, and chaat (defined as"nibblys and snacks" -- aka my new band name). Order the refreshing Corn Bhel with cucumber, cilantro, mint, tomato, and lime. Also the heavenly Butter Chicken Thali! And finish it all with a bowl of Kheer -- cardamom-spiced rice pudding with almonds and raisins. Yum!

October 01, 2019 by Cathleen Cueto
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