If you say ‘home cooked meal’ in North Carolina, one thing comes to mind: sweet tea, biscuits, fried chicken, fresh greens (cooked, of course) and enjoying this delicious ‘supper’ with friends and family. But sometimes cooking is just too much work, and sometimes you still want that family experience, southern food, and comfortable atmosphere. Luckily, these 12 restaurants in North Carolina will give you just that.
1. Smith Street Diner
Smith Street Diner has mastered the art of a homestyle meal, so much so, they're basically a Greensboro landmark. Smith Street serves up generous portions of classic country fare. Besides the whimsical pig portraits on the walls, the decor is simple - but the heart of Smith Street is its hearty breakfast options "served 8 days a week."
2. Johnson's Drive In Restaurant, Siler City
Grab a seat at the bar and enjoy a delicious Velveeta Cheeseburger - a staple of Johnson's. Come enough times and your name and order are sure to be memorized!
3. Dan'l Boone Inn and Restaurant, Boone
Located in one of the most beautiful ( and oldest) buildings in Boone, this restaurant is a beloved stop for both travelers and locals. Their specialty is home style, southern cuisine...you can't go wrong with lunch or dinner here!
4. Mike's Farm and Country Store, Beaulaville
Mike's Farm is a one-of-a-kind experience! They offer down home cuisine in a family friendly atmosphere. With a prime location on gorgeous farmland, you'll have plenty to see and explore prior to your meal. The front porch rocking chairs add to the homey atmosphere and are perfect for a nice summer day.
5. Hillbilly Hideaway, Walnut Cove
If you find Hillbilly Hideaway, you won't regret it! The 'home-trained' cooks dish out some of the most delectable southern cuisine found in North Carolina. The atmosphere is just like dining at Grandma's. The dishes come out on a cart and you take your pick. Hillbilly Hideaway might just be one of the best-kept secrets in North Carolina.
6. Snappy Lunch, Mount Airy
This Mayberry Classic is as down home as you can get. That's a reoccurring theme of Andy Griffith, right? Treating friends and even strangers like family. You're sure to get the Andy-approved treatment here. While all the dishes are delectably southern...if you're a first timer, get the famous pork chop sandwich.
7. Shatley Springs, Crumpler
If there's a pitcher of sweet tea on the table - you know you've entered Mom & Pop heaven. Shatley Springs is perfect for a hearty breakfast or 'supper.' This is a one-stop for southern food galore.
8. Sims Country BBQ, Granite Falls
At Sims, looks are definitely deceiving. This 'shed' is a place for amazing bluegrass and amazing BBQ. Come on the weekends for live music and a little two-step, but don't forget to try the food...and vice versa!
9. Thompson's Store and Ward's Grill, Saluda
Thompson's has been around since the late 1800's with Ward's Grill opening in the 1950's. Located in a town with under 500 residents, there's no way you wont feel like part of the family in this historic and delicious restaurant.
10. The Fountain at Smith's Drugs, Forest City
The Fountain is a place where nostalgia still remains. On my last visit, the mayor of Rutherfordton was dining with his wife and many sat on bar stools low to the ground eating cheeseburgers and a variety of southern cuisine. While the food is simple, this Mom & Pop meets diner meets drugstore is a wildly unique experience.
11. Dame's Chicken and Waffles, Durham
Dame's has transcended from Mom & Pop to local landmark - but you still get that southern atmosphere and AMAZING southern food. The interior is simple and the waitstaff are abundantly kind. You can tell who the regulars are and who is just popping in while visiting town. The best part, you're all treated the same. If you want a REAL southern delicacy, this is the best place for chicken and waffles in the state.
12. Ella's Seafood Restaurant, Calabash
For a different kind of Mom & Pop, you can't eliminate the fried fishy goodness served on the NC coast. A local favorite is Ella's. For fresh seafood in a cozy atmosphere, skip the more well-known chain restaurants of and keep it simple and delicious.
Before anyone asks where the BBQ restaurants are, this whole other spectrum of North Carolina cuisine deserves its own
list and road trip. I wanted to include places that serve delicious southern cuisine that makes us feel like we’re back at Grandma’s on Sunday afternoon.
If you love down home cooking and southern cuisine, make sure to check out our list of
hole in the wall restaurants. They won’t disappoint!