It’s been four years ago since I transitioned my blog to I’m Fixin’ To, with a focus on all the things I love about North Carolina. Being born and raised in northeastern North Carolina, I often share about the desolate areas that were once thriving in my youth. David is from western New York and isn’t as familiar with parts of North Carolina, so I always enjoy sharing some of my favorite places with him. One of my favorite parts of eastern North Carolina is the culinary scene that has emerged. There are destination restaurants in small towns that are creating a buzz and are collectively working with the local industries to support shops, bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, and breweries. These restaurants prove that food can bring people together and can help revitalize areas. Here are the five best destination restaurants in eastern NC you need to try!
Top 5 Best Destination Restaurants in Eastern NC you Need to Try
The Beefmastor Inn – Wilson
The Beefmastor Inn is a no-frills steakhouse in Wilson. Which is why it’s one of best destination restaurants in eastern NC! They don’t take reservations, the room is small and quaint with red and white checkered table cloths, and they serve steak, baked potato, Texas toast, and have a killer salad bar. Bring a chair and a cooler and tailgate in the parking lot while you’re waiting for your table. I promise it will be one of the best meals you’ve ever had without a lot of pomp or circumstance, which ain’t a bad thing. It’s a short hour drive from Raleigh and you’ll even see chartered buses and vans with larger groups.
2656 US-301, Wilson, NC or The Beefmastor Inn on Facebook
Vivian Howard’s Chef and the Farmer is well worth the hour and a half drive from the Triangle. It’s manageable to drive back, or you could get a room at the O’Neil and hang out at Mother Earth Brewing or at the Boiler Room. Chef and the Farmer put Kinston back on the map after the dried up tobacco industry sent many small southern towns into economic despair. The restaurant has a unique twist on old favorites and a cocktail tribute to RBG. My favorite order is the flash fried collards and whatever the fish on the menu is that night.
120 W. Gordon St., Kinston or vivianhoward.com/chef-the-farmer
I am so proud of my home county for having one for the destination restaurants in the region! The Hen & the Hog features a farm to fork menu updated frequently. If the tomato pie is on the menu, be sure to order it! I love the nods to US History throughout the restaurant and the amazing decor that Patterson has incorporated into the space. There is an adorable Air BnB in town for you to spend the night if you decide to make a night of it in town! P.S. you can get a travel credit for Air BnB if you use my link.
Photos by Glory Roze Photography
16 King St., Halifax or thehenthehog.com
On the Square – Tarboro
On the Square is one of the OGs in eastern North Carolina for food destinations. I love Inez and the work she has done in her hometown with her husband. On the Square is a delicious spot for dinner and has an excellent wine list. There are many delicious menu options, and it’s also a great spot for lunch. Come and spend a day and check out Tarboro Brewing Company or stay overnight at this sweet Air BnB. One of my favorite things about On the Square is that they brought sushi to Tarboro. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but in eastern NC, trust me, this is huge. P.S. you can get a travel credit for Air BnB if you use my link.
Photos from On The Square Instagram
115 E. St. James St., Tarboro or onthesquarenc.com
We recently had supper at Spoon River on our overnight stay in Belhaven. It has been on my list of restaurants to try for quite a while, and it came highly recommended from our friends at Between Water and Main. We are so glad we stopped in for dinner. The space is eclectic and beautifully decorated, the menu is delicious, the wine list is extensive, and you cannot leave without getting dessert. Make a weekend trip out of it and spend some time on the Pungo River and shopping the local boutiques before enjoying a delicious dinner at Spoon River!
263 Pamlico St., Belhaven or spoonrivernc.com
Four out of the five restaurants are owned by women who went back to their home towns to break bread with their neighbors. I love this particular connection and to see these women being instrumental in the revitalization of small towns that were in need of some love. I highly recommend checking these restaurants out for your next date night or weekend getaway.
What’s one of your favorite restaurants where you live? Share in a comment below!
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