Looks can be deceiving, especially when you’re dining in North Carolina. With a handful of diners and drive-ins, ‘small’ is not synonymous with ‘bad.’ It’s actually quite the opposite. While some of these restaurants fly under the radar, others experience a packed-out (albeit small) dining room on a weekly basis. Some aren’t ‘extremely tiny,’ while others are literally just a window you order from. Ready for some big flavor in a small environment? Try these 10 places.
1. Soul Gastrolounge, Charlotte
Soul is a trendy tapas bar and lounge. Despite the above picture, it's typically packed to the brim. Even on a Tuesday night you're likely to encounter a two hour wait. Yet the wait is worth it. While the space is tight, it's incredibly cool and cozy. Not to mention the food, cocktails, and sushi are out of this world.
2. Tre Nonne, Winston-Salem
You really can't beat handmade pasta, and especially the recipes of three Italian grandmas. Tre Nonne is new to the dining scene of Winston-Salem...but don't let the exterior or interior fool you. While it's small and simple, the restaurant packs big flavor. Even down to the unique house salad dressing.
3. Big Oak Drive In, Salter Path
Big Oak is literally just a walk up window, with a few picnic tables outside. But you won't mind eating in your car or taking it to go....they're home to some of the BEST shrimp burgers you'll find on the coast.
4. B's BBQ, Greenville
Looks can be deceiving, but the tiny B's has some of the best Eastern style BBQ you'll ever have in North Carolina. Enjoy it outside, at one of their picnic tables, on a nice spring day.
5. Johnson's Drive-In, Siler City
Entering this little joint is like stepping back in time. Grab a seat at the bar to enjoy a Carolina style burger 'all the way.'
6. Dame's Chicken and Waffles, Durham
The interior of Dame's is simple and to the point, with a small window in the back that gives you a nice view of the kitchen. One of my favorite parts is just how simple the interior is. No need for fanciness when the food is THIS amazing. Be prepared for a long wait on the weekends.
7. Pass the Salt, Currituck
Tucked away in the Outer Banks, this unassuming restaurant offers upscale southern cuisine. While the interior is cozy and coastal, the food will blow you away! A must-stop!
8. Brooks' Sandwich House, Charlotte
Brooks' is a true hidden gem when it comes to Charlotte dining. But their slogan does not lie...you'll want to bring cash with you for one of the best burgers you'll ever have in North Carolina.
9. El's Drive In, Morehead City
El's really doesn't look like much...but don't let looks fool you. Stop on in for some of the best classics (like burger and fries) and even some with a coastal twist...like the oyster burger!
10. Mecca Restaurant, Raleigh
Mecca has been around for a very long time. It fits right in with the historic Raleigh. This dive restaurant is a must-experience, with down-home southern comfort food served in a cozy, no-frills environment.
There’s SO much amazing food to be had in North Carolina – so much that I’m sure I missed a few on this list. What are you favorite tiny restaurants to dine at?