One of my favorite parts of eastern North Carolina is the culinary scene that has emerged. There are destination restaurants in some of the 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!
This post was originally published in 2019 and has since been updated and recirculated for 2022.
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 great salad bar. Bring a chair and a cooler to tailgate in the parking lot while you’re waiting for your table. I promise it will be one of the best meals you have ever had without a lot of pomp or circumstance, which ain’t a bad thing. It is a short hour drive from Raleigh and you will even see chartered buses and vans with larger groups.
Visiting Cypress Hall is no different than stepping into a swanky restaurant in Charleston or Chicago. There is outdoor seating on the street, seating that overlooks the sidewalk and downtown New Bern happenings, gorgeous bar seating, and sophisticated booths and table seating. The menu boasts eastern North Carolina staples making for a creative dining experience. Chef Ashley Moser has done a fantastic job with this restaurant concept and I cannot stop raving about this spot.
We started with the pimento cheese served with pork rinds. David ordered the spicy chicken sandwich while I had the pan seared salmon which was served over a hoe cake with ham hock succotash. This restaurant is absolutely worth the trip to New Bern to experience this absolutely delightful restaurant. And if you’re looking to make a weekend trip out of it, be sure to stay at the Jarvis.
Photos by Glory Roze Photography
I am so proud of my home county for having one of the best destination restaurants in the region! The Hen & the Hog features a farm to fork menu updated seasonally. If the tomato pie is on the menu, be sure to order it! Other favorites include their fried oysters and pimento cheese balls. On Thursday evenings, the restaurant offers their lunch menu which features a great line-up of sandwiches and such. I love the nods to American 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.
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 while you are in town. 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, it’s huge.
We 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!
What’s one of your favorite restaurants where you live? Share in a comment below!
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