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what to eat in greenville NC

  • j
  • John Collins Sep 2, 2001 05:40 PM
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I just moved to eastern NC from California, and I'm hoping to find some eating tips for the vicinity of Greenville. (Wilson, Rocky Mount, Kinston, etc. ok too) I've heard of B's in Greenville and a couple other bbq places in Kinston. I'd like to hear of any other places, bbq or not, that people have liked. Thanks.

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  1. Rocky Mount

    Melton's Barbecue - making a comeback after Flood of 99- now located off Hwy 301
    501 Old Mill Road
    Rocky Mount NC
    252-446-8513

    Central Cafe - cheeseburgers, dogs- try w/ mustard,chili,slaw - downtown near Police Station
    132 S. Church St.
    Rocky Mount NC
    252-446-8568

    Sister's Family Restaurant - just off Hwy 64- good veggies
    1071 Winstead Ave.
    Rocky Mount NC
    252-451-0110

    1. For traditional eastern style barbecue, you're in the right area. Forget Gardner's, Parker's, Ellis' and Melton's. All now cook with gas or electicity. Pork cooked in this manner is merely barbecue STYLE roast pork. Some of it is outstanding, but real NC barbecue it ain't. Go south on NC Hwy 11 to Ayden, NC. It's about 7 or 8 miles. There you will find the last practicioner of purely traditional eastern NC que as it has been prepared for almost 300 years. Pete Jones runs the Skylight Inn on Lee St. and has for, I believe, about 50 years. They cook only whole hogs over live wood coals, using blackjack oak. The wood pile out back is enormous and appears to be on the verge of collapse. The barbecue is chopped fresh all day. Be forewarned; whole cooked hogs turn out drier than shoulders, therefore fat and bits of skin are tradionally chopped into the meat to moisten and enrich it. The result is delicious but it can be off-putting if it catches you by suprise. The cornbread is cooked with lots of drippings and is too good... May as well apply it directly to your artery walls. The sauce is probably unlike any you've had elsewhere in the country. It's basically vinegar seasoned with red and black pepper and salt. This simple mixture accentuates the flavor of the pork rather than masking it with tomato product, sugar and liquid smoke. Also in Ayden is Bum's Restaurant. They also cook traditional eastern NC barbecue and do it extremely well. While Skylight serves ONLY barbecue trays and sandwiches, Bum's features a pretty good variety of outstanding sides and is a great spot for down-east country cooking. Ayden also host an annual Collard Festival.

      B's in Greenville now cooks with charcoal. While charcoal is preferable to gas or electricty for cooking barbecue, it is not quite up to par with hardwood burned down to coals. The barbecue at B's is pretty good. The barbecue chicken is really good.

      Kinston used to have a great barbecue joint in The Barbecue Lodge. They quit cooking with wood several years ago. After that, the place changed hands a couple of times and has since dropped off the barbecue "radar screen". You might as well go on to Goldsboro and visit Wilber's Barbecue. It is another outstanding eastern joint that still does things well. I don't believe that they chop fat and skin with their meat any more. Excellent.

      Mitchell's in Wilson is a great choice for country/soul food. I'm not sure if they still cook REAL barbecue anymore, but everything else I've had there (I visit everytime I in that part of the state...)is very, very good. Nice folks, too. Don't miss it.

      If you get to a Parker's location, I recommend skipping the "barbecue" and getting fried chicken, brunswick stew, barbecue potatoes and and corn sticks. Good eatin'!

      Jim

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jim
        j
        John Collins

        Thanks for the responses on Greenville NC food. Jim, I went to the Skylight down in Ayden and it was terrific. And cheap -- about 4 bucks for a big meal of bbq, cornbread and cole slaw. And the collard festival starts tomorrow.
        John

      2. THere are all sorts of restaurants on or near Main St. in Greenville. THere's a THai restaurant that is reasonable and has nice quality food. Soby's for excellent Southern cuisine - plus it's the place to be seen. Casbah has awesome martinis and tapas style bar food.

        1. My wife and I used to live in Greenville. We were talking about our favorite places to eat and one place came to mind but for the life of me, I can not remember the name. I'm not even sure if it is still in business because I heard the hurricane in the latter 90s flooded the place. This place used to be located in a run down looking building on "the other side" of the old tar river bridge. The place used to serve good old home cooking. I remember it was one of those places where the tea pitcher was on the table and you would sit down next to other folks eating as if you were at a family gathering. Does anyone out there remember the name to this place?

          3 Replies
          1. re: CWilliams

            Sounds like you might be talking about Venters Grill.

            1. re: Naco

              Ah yes, Venters Grill. That was it. Is it still up and running? I moved back in 02 and have not been back.

              1. re: CWilliams

                Venters just changed hands, but it's still open.

          2. My mother still lives in Washington, so I get back there several times a year. Parker's isn't quite what it used to be, but for someone who doesn't get that style barbecue often, it'll do. While I haven't yet tried the Ayden resturants, I've heard they're both very good. I like Hog Heaven on 264W in Washington. I've been to the Dixie Queen(seafood) with my mother as she really likes it and it's been very busy every time we've been. It was very good! It's southeast of Greenville toward Ayden/Grifton I believe. There's one called the Mayflower in Greenville that my mother and her neighbors swear by as well!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: RetiredPowerGuy

              Can't remember the name of this place either, but in Ayden, I remember eating in a place that had "brains" on the menu. Pig or cow...can't remember. Also, there was a place my wife and I used to frequent for breakfast out that way...run by the Mennonites (spelling?). Good food.