North Carolina is filled with amazing restaurants. From the refined, foodie haven of Asheville to the up-and-coming scene of Durham, and even the tried and true BBQ joints of Lexington…one thing is for certain – we’re always eating well in the Tar Heel state. But, everyone loves a hidden gem, and some restaurants are SO amazing, but also SO hard to find. Maybe down a long, country road or just hiding in an unassuming strip mall. You might have to drive a bit to try these 10 restaurants, but it will be totally worth it!
1. Hillbilly Hideaway
At this little 'shack' in the woods, really, the name says it all. Hillbilly Hideaway serves down home, country cooking that rivals a Sunday meal at Grandma's. Dishes are served on a cart and you take your pick. Really, you can't beat the 'home-trained' cooks and the southern cuisine they whip up...if you can find the place.
2. B's Barbecue, Greenville
Sure, B's has a whole road named after it - but if you don't know what you're looking for it's easy to drive straight past, or day I say, even mistake B's for a somewhat abandoned building. But no, this little joint dishes out some of the best eastern style barbecue you'll find in North Carolina.
3. Artisanal, Banner Elk
Located on the private, and very exclusive Diamond Creek County Club, many think Artisanal is private as well, or generally have a hard time finding it. This amazing, five-star restaurant is open to the public May-Nov. With farm-to-table fare and an extremely fresh approach (the menu changes daily) make reservations far in advance as Artisanal consistently stays booked and also greets famous faces (like Michael Jordan).
4. Mike's Farm, Beulaville
Mike's Farm is hard to find because, like obviously stated, it's on a farm. But, this unique plot of land is not only home to a restaurant with amazing country style cooking, but also a country store and a whole farm to explore with special, seasonal events.
5. Pik N Pig, Carthage
Pik N Pig is easy to find, if you're flying in on an airplane. This amazing little BBQ joint is located right beside Gilliam-Mcconal airport. If you're driving by car, it can be a bit more difficult. But hey, you can't beat a delicious BBQ sandwich and an airshow.
6. McNinch House, Charlotte
Situated amongst the other gorgeous, Victorian-era houses of Charlotte's eclectic fourth ward is the amazing McNinch House. Between Uptown views and its ability to blend in quite well, you might not even know an Open Table Top 100 restaurant is located in this charming house.
7. Brooks Sandwich House, Charlotte
On the opposite end of the Charlotte dining spectrum is perhaps one of the best burgers you'll have in North Carolina. Down a dead end road in the NoDA neighborhood and located in a little red shack is the cash-only Brooks. It's a North Carolina and Queen City icon, for those who can find it.
8. Tre Nonne, Winston-Salem
While located on the busy Jonestown Road, Tre Nonne is located in an unassuming strip mall and almost too easy to miss unless you're looking for it. Inside, you'll find some of the best handmade pasta and Italian dishes - all deriving from the recipes of three Italian grandmas. It doesn't get much more authentic than this.
9. The SaltBox Cafe, Kill Devil Hills
Located in one of the more remote sections of the OBX, The SaltBox Cafe is easily one of the best seafood restaurants in North Carolina. While once in Kill Devil Hills, it's not too hard to find...it's all about the journey. That is, if you're coming from the mainland, get ready for an assortment of ferries, bridges, scenic byways...and plenty of great views.
10. On the Square, Tarboro
Tarboro is one of the oldest towns in North Carolina, but also not frequently visited. Hiding amongst this small town is big city flavor. On the Square specializes in American fare with a southern touch. While the dishes are innovative they're also approachable. You'll want to pay a day trip to this small town and hidden gem for some delicious food.
Alright, now I’m starving! Have you been to any of these restaurants? What other hard to find restaurants would you add to the list?
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you also love hole in the wall restaurants, well,
these ten are indeed the best.