No trip to the South is complete without experiencing the food. Local favorites might change from one region to the next but all Southern food has one thing in common: It’s delicious! Explore these eight dishes for a true taste of the Carolinas.
Asheville, North Carolina
Photo Credit: Evan Sung
Nightbell: Sweet Tea Brined Quail
Small plates dominate the seasonal menu at Nightbell. Chef Katie Button works with Appalachian ingredients to create Southern favorites like grits hush puppies and brown butter skillet corn bread. For an innovative twist on a classic dish, order the sweet tea brined quail prepared with pecans, burnt honey, cipollini onion and marigold.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Good Food on Montford: Korean Beef
Good Food on Montford might have roots in the South, but the restaurant serves up global fare like gnocchi, pork carnitas and pommes frites. The Korean beef, served with crispy rice, scallion kimchi and gouchujang is one of the reasons Good Food on Montford was nominated for a James Beard award.
Greenville, South Carolina
Roost Restaurant: Loaded Biscuits and Gravy
A Southern breakfast menu isn’t complete without biscuits and gravy. Roost serves the iconic dish with scrambled eggs, sausage patties and gravy that might be better than MeeMaw makes. The Sunday brunch menu is piled high with other local favorites like fried chicken and mashed potatoes.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Skull Creek Boathouse: Lowcountry Boil
This casual waterfront restaurant specializes in ocean-to-table fare, including scallops, shrimp, oysters and fresh catch specials. No trip to the lowcountry is complete without a lowcountry boil prepared with shrimp, steamed redskin potatoes, smoked sausage, corn on the cob and melted butter.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Carolina Roadhouse: Killer Dog
A hot dog and chili fries go together like sand and surf. Carolina Roadhouse serves up a foot-long kosher hot dog that tastes like it just came off the backyard grill. Order a side of fries topped with chili, cheese and onions to share.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Country Barbeque: Make Your Own BBQ Combo Plate
Country Barbeque has been serving up pulled pork and all the fixin’s since 1975, earning several “Best BBQ” accolades. The menu features classics like pulled pork, ribs, barbequed chicken, hushpuppies, baked beans and coleslaw. Order the Make Your Own BBQ Combo Plate to choose your favorites.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Pizzeria Mercato: Formaggi Misti Pizza
In the college towns of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, chef Gabe Barker takes pizza to the next level. The menu at Pizzeria Mercato features Neapolitan-style pizzas made with seasonal ingredients (sourced from the renowned Carborro Farmers Market). The formaggi misti pizza is made with hand-tossed crust and multiple cheeses, including fontina, provolone and pecorino.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Photo Credit: Jim Trice
Boulted Bread: Chocolate Croissant
Bakeries are aplenty in the Carolinas, but do they mill their own flours? Just minutes from the North Carolina State University campus, Boulted Bread combines in-house, stone-milled flours with a bright and beloved bakery. While you can’t go wrong with fresh morning buns or a loaf of seeded levain, the must-order is the chocolate croissant, rolled with local Escazu chocolate.