HOME > Chowhound > Southeast >


Hickory, North Carolina Food Joints Worth Visiting

  • d

I am from Hickory NC, and read in another post that Hickory does not have any good places to eat. I am here to set them straight. We have lots of good restaurants in Hickory NC here are just some of my favorites.


Davinci's (127 in Viewmont) Authentic Italian Cusine with an autentic Italian owner and cooks- has a very romantic abiance, hugh wine selection, fireplaces, candlelight, resonable dinner prices ($10-$18 a plate). Melt in your mouth food. A+++ should not be missed. Well worth a trip.

Hamburger/BBQ Joints:

Shell's Diner (Springs Road) has HUGH... wonderful hamburger's, OK hotdogs, OK BarBQ, Country style plates and sandwichs, wonderful breakfast (livermush, bologna, fried hot dogs) Try their Cherry-Vanilla-Lemon-Sundrop (slushie or drink-out of this world) Cheap. Cute 50's style diner and decor, even has live music occasionally, and bike night.

Reynolds Sandwhich Shop: (321 between Hickory and Lenoir, behind Hams and Mcdonalds) hugh hamburgers/cheeseburgers, BBQ (almost like shells but different atmosphere.

Snack Bar- (30+years) used to be a drive in with a small eat-in, now hugh eat-in and pick up orders, WONDERFUL home cooking, very family friendly, great veggie sides and all the South Specialities as well as a good hamburger. (Uptown Hickory past Reynolds above - just stop and ask anyone for directions.


Akito's- 127 (off 321 in Mountain View) absolutely delicious japanese cusine, sit down or take out, better than another delicious much more expensive Japanese restaurant in area). $5.00-$10.00

Kobes (Japanese Steakhouse) They prepare food (5 courses) in front of you. Dinners from $10-$30. Nice atmosphere but share table with strangers.

Close BY:

Stop N' Shop (in a gas station) on Hwy 18 - great hamburger steak (hugh portions) - out of this world potato wedges VERY CHEAP $5.00 for a full meal, that only a really BIG eater can finish. Hamburgers, justa s big and good. Must not miss. Lots of Country cooking plates also. Family friendly atmosphere.

Morganton (LOCATION IN HICKORY TO OPEN THIS WEEK) Butch's (64-70 across from Valley Hills Mall - {right off of I-40 - Lenior Rhyne Blvd Exit to 64-70 towards CVCC/Valley Hills Mall)(one in Valdese on old 64-70 and another) They have the BEST (hugh) CHICKEN FINGERS in the world (with a great honey mustard or BBQ sauce - Fast food type atmosphere, owner very friendly, they have lots of sides. They also have awesome chicken. Owner VERY FRIENDLY, you can even stop and ask for samples (at least sample the items you don't order- will refund your money if you do not like it - But I PROMISE you will LOVE IT!)

Hope You will Visit Hickory and Try some of our Fabulous FOOD!!!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. How about Tia's, a little unassuming Thai place in a small strip mall out on NE Springs Rd? I've only been in Hickory twice, and ate there both times for lunch and it was great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KyMikey

      I had dinner at Tia's and would never go back. I should have known when I saw the restaurant was EMPTY on a Saturday night that it was a mistake to go in. The spring roll appetizer was fresh but just ok and the fried tofu was tough...both were served with the same tasteless sauce. The main dish was a disaster. My companion and I ordered two completely different dishes which not even our waitress could tell apart. They were just two plates of brownish grey, overcooked, gellatenous rice noodles, devoid of vegetables and too salty to eat. We left hungry. Very disappointing.

    2. I 2nd the comment about DaVinci's. We went there on a warm summer night and ate outside. Food and service were terrific. I have seldom had better for the price in a metropolitan setting!

      1. Based on this recommendation, I tried Snack Bar yesterday and was impressed. A typical southern meat and three type place, with well-prepared sides. Of particular note were the green beens - well-cooked as you would expect, but sweet rather than savoury. The slaw was good, with nice texture and a touch of sweet pickle. And the banana pudding was excellent.

        10 Replies
        1. re: brentk

          I was in Hickory in May and tried the Snack Bar. I doubt I'd go back. The fried chicken was just okay; mashed potatoes were very good, but the cornbread was dry and the fried okra was the worst I've ever had - soaked with grease, and the grease tasted old! In all fairness, I should have sent it back & asked for something else. I suspect it was a fluke, or they wouldn't be doing such a good business. But my conclusion is that the kitchen isn't dependable.

          1. re: David_in_CH

            My experience at the Snack Bar was better than yours.

            It's not a remarkable place, but I recall a variety of good vegetables, and particularly enjoyed the green beans. I often order a vegetable place at meat and threes and I'm sure I didn't have the same dishes you tasted.

            The place sure was popular with the locals, as I had a good wait the day I had lunch there.

            1. re: brentk

              The places Diedra mentioned are alright, but I would give other suggestions. (lived in HKY for 23 years and i'm a foodie...)

              BBQ -
              Sims BBQ: While this is not in Hickory itself, it's only about a 10 minute drive away from it. It is worth the drive just for the BBQ Chicken (Served only on thurs-sat). Only locals really know about this place, it's simply a wonderful place out in the country that consists of square dancing, horse shoe pitching, molasses, and fish feeding (Not to mention the delicious BBQ!). And just the make the record straight, I judge my BBQ by that of Lexington style BBQ, namely "The Monk".

              Burger - I would avoid the snackbar (60 yrs) for a burger at all costs. This is just a frozen, mass pre-packaged 'Sams club' burger. I do however love the snackbar...It's just plain, simple, good comfort food. Normally a plate lunch is a good bet, but it'll be the same as any other plate lunch you'll find at just about any other older dinner. There Onion rings are homemade though and to die for. If you want a truly good burger, Skins (starlight cafe) or Crossroads in Bethelehem (Both another 10 min drive from HKY) are fabulous. These burgers are so incredibly good, you'll be hard pressed to go back to a fast food place. Both places are local gems and have been written up in the newspapers from time to time...

              Thai -
              Whoever said Tia's is exactly right! Tia's is in a little unassuming shopping strip on springs road...It's one of my favorite Thai places around. More so authentic thai food with large portions for a cheap price.

              I wouldn't recommend any other Asians restaurants only because they are your same...everyday...Japanese steakhouse that everyone has in their community.

              Pizza -
              Tony's Pizza near Valley Hills mall (HWY 70). Great, NYC thin sliced pizza. Nothing completely amazing, just really good thin crust pizza.

              I can't think of more off of the top of my head, but DaVinci's is a darn good italian restaurant...I do wish Hickory had more to offer as far as great food goes, but until then! Try these spots.

              1. re: AppStateStew

                Where is Sim's? How would you get there off 40? Is it open for lunch?

                1. re: AppStateStew

                  BBQ - We like Sim's too! It's like eating dinner in the barn plus the music is fun. I also like Hickory Smoke House BBQ on NC127 across the street from Hobby Lobby. Love their Salt&Pepper catfish!!

                  Burger - Try Pleasers, also on 127 in Viewmont area, local fast food. I like it better than any other fast food places in Hickory.

                  I don't really care much for Japanese but since I'm Thai, I can recommend Thai restaurant I usually go. I like Tia's ok but I like "Thai Lanna" better. Fancier than Tia's and better too. I-40 Exit 128.

                  Pizza - I agree with AppStateStew. Tony's pizza is pretty good. I just found out that the owner just opened another pizza place in town called "Michael's pizza" (or something like that). It's in Viewmont area.

                  1. re: Flying Feist

                    The BEST pizza in town is in a new place off 127 in viewmont called Frankies. All I can say is...WOW! Outstanding pizza good prices. If you like pizza and Papa John's isnt gonna cut it try Frankies i promise you that you will love it as much as me and my wife have. Location: Across the street from Michael's on 4th.

                    Thai Orchid has the best asian food or Nara for chicken terriaki.

                    1. re: ryanz

                      You may be interested to know that the same family owns Frankie's & Tony's (near Target). They are also opening a pizza shop in the new River Crest shopping center in Granite Falls. Wow! I'm so excited!!! Finally, something besides the standard chain establishments. Happy eating:)

                      1. re: catu85

                        Had lunch at the Frankies in Granite Falls last week - VERY good. I'm with you, catu85 - SO glad to have an option besides chains! And I'll second, third, whatever for DaVinci's. Their garlic knots - oohhhhh my!

                        1. re: sarahNC

                          I have been to DaVinci's a couple times and was unimpressed. Maybe next time I'll try the garlic knots. mmmm I love garlic knots.

            2. re: brentk

              I have eaten at the Snack Bar a handful of times now and would never go back! The food is alright and the green beans are excellent-so is the chicken noodle soup. Let me explain: I've witnessed whom I assume to be the manager, degrading her waitstaff and customers (very loudly) on several occassions. Even more alarming is that the only staff which was friendly and helpful where the very same waitresses whom were being treated so badly! I just cannot enjoy another meal with my family in that kind of atmosphere-it was horrible!

            3. never been to tia's but i really like thai orchid. but i think my fave for asian cuisine in general is wild wok. it is right behind the mall. has a lot of chinese cuisine but has the sushi bar. place is almost always packed every time i been there. lunch and dinner times.

              1. Thanks for the suggestions! I went to Butch's (so close to 40 along the way of my drive). And you pretty much hit it on the spot. great friendly atmosphere. The fastfoody ambiance had me nervous that it wasn't going to be good bbq, but after getting the food, and digging in, I was actually surprised and impressed at how good the pork was. I had a piece of the chicken fingers, and wasn't incredibly impressed with the breading, but otherwise was good meat. same with the regular chicken. good meat. thumbs up.

                2 Replies
                1. re: attgig

                  Will be in the Hickory area the end of this month and Sims BBQ sounds like the deal--can someone give me directions?? THANKS!

                  1. re: BlueDevilRN1

                    From I-40 Exit 123 Hickory, NC: Take US 321 N toward Lenoir...Turn right at the stoplight at the Exxon, Fairvalue & Pizza Hut in Granite Falls...Go to the end of the road (1/4 Mile) and turn left at the stop sign onto Dudley Shoals Road...Go approximately 7 miles into Dudley Shoals...Turn right on Charlie Little Road, just past Gateway High School...At the stop sign, turn left...Go about 50 yards and the entrance to the BBQ will be on your right...follow the dirt road til the end! Our address is 6160 Petra Mill Road if you would like to look up the directions.

                2. hello could anyone tell me how the shrimping season is going in georgia iam from savannah ga and i was wanting to get into that business there .oh and the food in savannah is great go to a place called pauladeans and eat in savannah

                  1. hey this is great thanx. i am visiting NC in less than i week and i've had so much trouble finding a good place to eat at. now i just got to hope that Hickory is somewhere near where i am going to be. Even if it isnt, thanx anyway.

                    1. No one mentioned Hickory Tavern. Personally, I think they have pretty good seafood for an inland joint.

                      1. Is the Davinci's you mention related to the one that's out on 181 past Morganton heading towards Lake James and Jonas Ridge?
                        I'm taking some business clients up there in a couple weeks and I spotted that Davinci's recently and it looked like a great place to take clients. Please let me know.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: fultonbrewing

                          I believe the DaVinci's being referred to here is on Hwy 127 in the Belle Hollow shopping center-in the Viewmont section of Hickory. Next to the Harris Teeter. Not familiar with the one you're referring to.

                          1. re: TMackAZ

                            The one I'm referring to is at 1101 North Green St in Morganton. I wonder if it's the same owners.

                            1. re: fultonbrewing

                              DaVinci's is pretty good - definitely the best Italian in the area, and a nice place to sit with clients. That's where we take ours (not too many nice options in Hickory).

                              1. re: miss piggy

                                I agree that DaVinics (127) is the best italian food in the area. A great place to take guests. One of the few places to eat in Hickory that are really notable.

                          2. re: fultonbrewing

                            I also love DaVinci's. We go just about every weekend. I have a carry out menu and it mentions having a restuarant in Morganton. The menu has both numbers on it. I'm sure its the same one. If you go I know you will love it.

                            1. re: fultonbrewing

                              This DaVinci's location closed. I LOVE the one in Hickory, but for some reason this second location never came close. Darn.

                            2. A "buddy" of mine raves about an older gentleman that sets up a roadside BBQ stand on certain days of the week,he wont tell when or where because the fella only cooks so much and when its gone hes gone.I guess he is afraid I will eat up his portion.Anybody have a clue about this operation??

                                1. re: WFUnix

                                  Been to the Schnitzel Haus in Mountain View. Pretty good. Actually, darn good. Oweners are Chef / Pastiserie Chef couple.

                                  FYI, Tia's is "sister restaurant" to Mekvilai Thai Cuisine
                                  (2422 N Center St, Hickory, NC 28601 - (828) 322-9876)
                                  I liked Tia's, but after learning about the health inspection thing, I much prefer Mekvilai. (Tia's doesn't fare well on the Inspection Thing. Do be sure to check it out.)


                                  (Hickory restaurants will be in Catawba County


                                  A true fine dining experience in Hickory would be Youssef 242
                                  (828.324-2005 - 242 Eleventh Avenue NE Hickory, NC 28601... http://www.youssef242.com/ ) Been there. Like it LOTS!

                                  I hear that "Michaels on 4th" is supposed to be very good. Never been..
                                  http://www.michaelson4th.net (1410 4th St. Dr. N.W., Hickory, N.C. - 828-431-4448


                                  I hear Market on Main is good (Special event dinners: http://www.marketonmain.info/default....)

                                  Going to Sims tonight. All you can eat and for about $10.00. DRY (no booze) but you can keep your 12 - pack in the truck and just go out for a guzzle with your cig! ; )

                                2. I went to college at Lenoir-Rhyne. The philosophy student's adopted McGuire's Pub as our home away from home - the food was mediocre but the atmosphere perfect for discussing existentialism or metaphysics. Music students adopted the Olde Hickory Taproom for the local brews (Hickory Stick Stout was my fav.) and decent burgers along with live music. We went to Sims BBQ for special occassions for great food and square dancing. Other than that, we'd go pretty much anywhere to avoid the cafeteria!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ewallace001

                                    I very much enjoyed the Olde Hickory Taproom. Altough there is smoking in the bar, the air system keeps it at a minimum and the beer selection is wonderful. I sampled several beers before settling on a delicious ale. The staff is cheerful and friendly.

                                  2. I have to respectfully disagree about Davinci's. I have eaten there twice and both times I have been disappointed. I can't remember the dishes, but their sauces seemed to lack flavor, and the chicken used in the pasta dish was pounded so thin it too didn't have flavor. My sister loves the place, but it's definitely not my Italian taste. I much prefer Carrabba's. Even though it is a chain, the food there is consistently good. I have heard Davinci's pizza is good though I haven't tried it.

                                    Here are my suggestions for anyone in the Hickory area.

                                    For Japanese/Sushi, I highly recommend Sakura next to the Galaxy shopping center on Springs Rd., near McDonald Parkway. It has great hibachi dishes, as well as great sushi. There is quite a variety for main entrees, including steak, shrimp, and chicken, also salmon, flounder, and one of my favorites, pork chops. The sushi is quite good, and reasonably priced.

                                    Hickory has a lot of Mexican restaurants in the area, but the one that stands out has two areas locations, one at Hwy 70 and 321 in Hickory, and more recently a location in Conover, also on Hwy 70. There menu isn't centered around combinations, though they have a choice of 8 or 9 items to make. They have lots of great burritos, quesdillas, tortas, but my favorites are the variety of what seem to be traditional dishes. Great margaritas too.

                                    The best all around restaurant has already been mentioned, but deserves a second (or third!). It is the Old Hickory Tap Room. Not only to they brew several great beers, but their menu has something for everybody, and it's all good. From sandwiches to appetizers, custom mini pizzas, huge burgers, and also steaks and dinner entrees, their food is delicious. Believe me, I've tried it all. For vegetarians they have a fairly good selections with the hummus, black bean burger, and grilled tomato sandwich are tops with me.

                                    As someone else mentioned the Hickory Smokehouse is the place to go for great bbq. There are many other good places, but these are the standouts.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: jadrum

                                      Good point on Japanese restaurants.

                                      If you want authentic Japanese restaurant, try Umi's in Viewmont off of 127 (Cloninger Mill Rd) near the bridge to Bethlehem. The owner / chefs are from Japan and they don't serve everything with Shrimp Sauce or Sweet Carrots.

                                      40 Cloninger Mill Rd NE
                                      Hickory, NC 28601
                                      (828) 322-5511‎

                                      They have a simplistic sushi menu. Nothing crazy creative nor extensive, but they do a good job with the basics. Their curry Katsu is TOO DIE FOR. The real deal...

                                      I've had some creative, tasty sushi at Sakura's, too.

                                      1. re: hexepatty

                                        We love Umi's too! Make sure you call for reservation if you want to go there on the weekend. They only have about 6-7 tables. Everything we have had there were good.

                                        1. re: hexepatty

                                          I agree Sushi Umi is awesome. I will definitely need to try the curry katsu. I've only had assorted types of sushi.

                                      2. Hi, I realize that your post was done a long time ago but I wanted to add my 2 cents regarding the Snack Bar. While I'm not from HKY, my husband is, and we were there this past weekend. We ate at the Snack Bar and it was awesome, as usual. The food was fresh and there was plenty of it, not to mention that the wait staff were great, checking back every few minutes to makes sure everything was OK. I had chicken livers and they are the best I've EVER had, and that includes what my Mom used to fix. All the vegetables were good as well. Just for the record, PJ's which isn't actually in HKY is very good too. We don't go to many of the "chain" restaurants while we're there, mainly the ones which are locally owned.

                                        1. Web sites? Where are the web sites? I don't understand how a restaurant can stay in business in 2010 without a web site. I must have checked 10 or more of the places mentioned throughout this thread. i only came up with 3 that had their own site,Old German Schnitzelhaus, Kobe and Umi. I don't want Yelp or Trip advisor's take. I want the restaurant's site with all the contact, location, menu and hours of business. Grrrr.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: d.v

                                            Ahhhhh.... D.V.

                                            Welcome to Hickory!

                                            Agreed. Websites are a rare thing around these parts for restaurants.

                                            NEW ADDITIONS:
                                            Josh's.... Crescent Moon Cafe.... and Michael's on 4th has CLOSED. Youseff's still rocks, too!

                                          2. Traveling to Hickory this weekend. Any updates on good restaurant recommendations?

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Leadmine

                                              Josh opened up a 2nd restaurant on Hwy 321. "Josh's Fish, Fowl and Cow" I haven't been, but I like Josh's. The most "big city" presentation and original flavors in the area. So I hope his 2nd restaurant carries on with the trend.
                                              Original Josh's: http://www.joshsonunionsquare.com/ind...
                                              New Josh's: No website yet, but has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joshs-...

                                              Another small stand out in "Viewmont" off of Hwy 127 is a small restaurant called "Bistro 127". Chef uses seasonal, local and organic ingredients for the most part.

                                              New Greek / Mediterranean Restaurant that I have not been to: "Santorini Grill " Also in Viewmont area off of Hwy 127.

                                              I still like Youseff's.

                                              Maybe more folks will contribute.

                                              Report back where you go!!!

                                              1. re: hexepatty

                                                Thank you very much for the recommendations! We were in Hickory for one night, and based on where we were the original Josh's downtown was the best option, although I'd love to try the others another time.

                                                I ordered the hoisin glazed short ribs with the mac & cheese and asparagus. Guest had the butcher steak with sweet potato mash and fried okra. Excellent dinner and great service. Sweet potato had some cayenne pepper thrown in which was a nice touch. We'd definitely go back and recommend it to others.

                                            2. Currently, Bistro 127 and Josh's on 321 are Hickory's worst. For the best food and service, Backstreet is tops. Tripps comes in second.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: aphrab

                                                I could not disagree more with this. Bistro 127 is AWESOME unless you don't quite grasp what gourmet food is supposed to be like. Matt (chef) uses all fresh, organic ingredients and uses them well. There is a large variety - seafood, steak, veggie, you name it. He has different things for different seasons. Haven't tried Josh's but hope to soon. Bistro is the place we go most often.

                                              2. We're planning a "staycation" and want to eat somewhere new in the Hickory area each night. From reading the posts below, I've compiled a long list of places. Can you help me narrow it down or suggest places that I've missed?
                                                Sims BBQ
                                                Skins (starlight cafe)
                                                Crossroads in Bethelehem
                                                Wild Wok - standard chinese food and sushi.
                                                Tap Room - Great beer, OK food. I always get the fish and chips - very good. Good prices.
                                                Bistro 127 - went there when it was in it's former location. Place was empty and smelled like donuts. I'm hesitant to go back, but I see their posts on FB and it looks like it should be great.
                                                Santorini Grill - went there with the family and it was good. Not quite the Greek experience that I remember from my days in Detroit, but good, solid food.
                                                Youssef242 - went there 5 years ago. I ordered the wrong thing, so my impression of the food is not accurate. (braised lamb - too muttony for my taste. Was thinking of lamb chops.) Good wine list. Pricey.

                                                1. would like to know if Davinci's is a candel light eating joint im wonting to take my woman somewhere nice and kind of romantic

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: will52

                                                    Here's the website, with pictures:


                                                    Doesn't look like a candle light, romantic place to me.

                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                      i heard it was i was wnting to know if any one has been there to see if its true or if anyone knew a place like tht

                                                    2. re: will52

                                                      Go directly to Highland Avenue. You'll feel like you won second prize in a beauty contest.


                                                      1. re: will52

                                                        Yes, Davinci's is a romantic-type place on one side of the restaurant; the other side is more casual with a bar. Overall, it is a traditional Italian restaurant. Food is ok if you ask me, but others absolutely love it. You might also want to try out Josh's on Union Square too. It is upscale casual dining with a very creative menu and excellent food and service. Josh's will run you $60-$80 for meal for two, and Davinci's a little less.

                                                      2. Thanks now I'd like to find something on local small festival or yard sales just moved here love it

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: bargainbox

                                                          Chowhound only covers food related topics. The following is a good forum for these other topics: