Raleigh to Knoxville & back... food along the way
In a few weeks I will be making the drive from Raleigh to Knoxville for the UT/UGA game. I will be traveling alone and need a couple of places to stop and eat. Also, this will be my first time making this drive so please alert me to any other "must sees." I am mainly hoping for Southern, regional cuisine.
Before I offer any helpful advice, I need to know which team you're pulling for! LOL There is a great bbq chicken joint near Statesville called Keaton's. (www.keatonsoriginalbbq.com) Its a total road side shack, and has somewhat irregular hours, so check the website (its closed betwenn 2:00 and 5:00, I think, and will be closed on Sunday when you are returning home)
Also, the best bbq in NC can be found at Allen and Son BBQ, on Highway 86 just off I-40 near Hillsborough, if you want to stop shortly after leaving home. Also closed on Sunday.
Nowadays when I'm driving across NC I check the NC BBQ Trail first ( http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_map... ), and we always keep Early's book & Garner's book in the car, for "emergencies." ;-) If you've never eaten at Little Richard's BBQ ( http://www.ncbbqsociety.com/trail_pag... ), it's worth a stop just for the great neon pigs sign, but also for the first-rate Q.
Good luck finding [authentic] Southern regional cuisine in & around Asheville, but there *is* plenty of good food there. There are a *ton* of Asheville folks & Asheville posts on this board, so you should be able to either search, or ask 'em for advice.
For Knoxville itself, I got some *great* hometown/chow/dive type recommendations from this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/381128
We wound up not stopping in Knoxville after all, so I didn't get to check out Litton's (2803 Essary Drive Knoxville, TN 37918 - http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overv... ), or Mary's Hot Tamales (1931 E Magnolia Ave. Knoxville, TN 37917 - http://www.tamaletrail.com/marys_hot_... ), but I hope you'll have the chance to try 'em. Have fun!
I love the Moose Cafe off of I 40 exit 47, next to the Farmer's Market in Ashville. Great down home southern food and a plate of hot biscuits and apple butter when you sit down...wonderful!