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Jan 21, 2008 08:21 AM

Dining in Winston Salem

My 17 year old son and I will be dining in Winston Salem NC this Friday and Saturday nights. We'll be staying near the NCSA. Last time we went up there, we took a lot of the chow hounds' advice and went to a Lexington NC style BBQ place called Little Richard's, I think. My homemade Lexington -style BBQ is much tastier than his, although the hush puppies were extreme and the service was lightning fast. Now, I'm looking for a place my son will like (he's not into sushi, if you know what I mean) and also that has a good wine list for me. White table cloth is fine, but not necessary. Is there a good steakhouse?

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  1. Sounds like a prospective student? If so, then you should try Darryls, either the downtown location (slightly fancier) or the one out by WFU (more casual). Now, I haven't been there in years, although I had many, many good casual meals there when I was at WFU. Looks online like they're alive and kicking. Maybe some locals can add info.

    6 Replies
    1. re: martyparty

      Um, Darryl's closed a million years ago. I loved it as a child. The one near WFU went down via wrecking ball over a year ago! Good memories though. That cracker bread...

      1. re: atruebluedevil

        Looking for someone who can tell me if those Darryl's crackers were made in-house or if they could be purchased on-line? We used to eat at Darryl's every
        time we passed through Kansas City, MO. then we would buy a large box of
        their crackers to take home. Do you know if Darryl's might have opened up
        under another name? Thanks

        1. re: SadieAnne

          there is still a Darryl's in greensboro on high point road. that is your best bet

          1. re: SadieAnne

            I worked at 3 different Darryl's Restaurants. Two in the Carolinas and one in Alabama. Originally the Crackers were made in house. Pizza Dough rolled thin, we had a mechanical dough roller. A little water sprinkled on the Dough to help a sprinkle of salt stick better and then 8 minutes in the convection oven. We would make two 55 gallon cans full of crackers every day.
            The Darryl's chain was sold two times while I worked there. The first was to General Mills and later to Gilbert Robinson. When Gilbert Robinson bought the chain they took most of the real cooking and outsourced it including the cracker production. This was a poor idea as the quality and flavor were not even close to the original crackers. They always came in with a stale taste. The regular customers noticed this quickly. The new owners started charging for a ramekin of ranch dressing that most folks asked for with the crackers.
            I left around that time and moved on to a different industry.
            Drew S

            1. re: xrnorm


              Wasn't Darryl's the place in W-S that had a bus inside the restaurant? It's been so long, but I remember the pizza being fantastic. I could drive there right now, on muscle memory alone, but I forget the street name. It was a big, grey building.


              1. re: uptown jimmy

                that one was at university and north point. the other one in winston was in brookstown

      2. Ryan's Restaurant - Steaks, Chops, Seafood - Since 1977

        This may not be exactly what you're looking for but it's one of W-S's hidden gems. My wife and I go there frequently; it's actually where I proposed to her 16 years ago.
        Steaks and seafood are wonderful; great wine list, service has always been outstanding. It is white table cloth, reservations are recommended but not necessary, and the dress is mainly business casual to coat and tie. They are open for dinner Monday - Saturday. Well worth a visit whether you go this time you're in W-S or later.

        1 Reply
        1. re: goodeatsinadive

          Second the Ryans recommendation. Just to make it clear, this is not associated with the Ryans chain that is similar to Golden Corral / Western Sizzler, etc. :-)

          The Chop House ( downtown is also nice, and the Village Tavern ( is pretty good too, although not as fancy as either Ryans or Chop House.

          FYI, Darryls has been closed for several years now.

        2. There are lots of excellent choices downtown, which is in close proximity to NCSA. In addition to the Twin City Chop House, there is Foothills Brewing, which has a wide menu including burgers, sandwiches and pizza, along with excellent beer, of course! There is also Mellow Mushroom for pizza, Downtown Thai, Sweet Potatoes (Nouveau Southern, if that is a cuisine) and 6th and Vine, a nice wine bar serving very good food...maybe too adventurous for your student. Also, the owners of Sweet Potatoes have recently opened a new restaurant, the Cotton Mill, located in the Brooktown Inn, a boutique hotel located between Old Salem and downtown. I haven't been yet, but I've heard good things, and since Sweet Potatoes is excellent (despite what Uptown Jimmy thinks), I'm sure Cotton Mill is as well.

          13 Replies
          1. re: carolinadawg

            I resemble that remark!

            Our trout was overcooked at Sweet Potatoes. Everything else was pretty good. The place just had none of the elegance or flair we tend to favor in restaurants, but to each his or her own. I heartily applaud their efforts, that's for sure. I would try it again if anybody had specific dish recommendations.

            Mellow Mushroom is a regional chain with fare maybe a notch or so better than Domino's or Papa John's, right? They are not well-known for really excellent food here in Georgia.

            Hey, anybody eaten at a Libby's Libby's Libby's recently? Loved that stuff when I was a kid. Guilty admission, I'm sure.

            Defintely recommend Lexington #1 out in Lexington. Good old Carolina BBQ.

            1. re: uptown jimmy

              Just tweaking the tiger's tail a bit...all in good fun! :-)

              I'd say Mellow Mushroom is more than a notch above the big chains...2 notches at least! LOL In any event, its a fun place to get a decent pizza thats close to where the OP will be staying, and especially appropriate for a non-chowhoundish teenager.

              Libby's Libby's Libby's? I assume you mean Libby Hill Seafood? If so, they are still around, but seem to be shrinking. The Winston-Salem location closed a couple of years ago, and I think the Kernersville location has also closed. I haven't been in a while, but last time I went it was the same as its always been...decent fried "calabash style" seafood.

              1. re: carolinadawg

                Yeah, Libby Hill. Waaay back in the day I really enjoyed their plates of fried food, the oysters especially. "Calabash" is the right word. Haven't heard that word in a while. I just did a Wiki search, and it's a town near Wilmington, NC, where that sort of thing seems to have originated. Fascinating.

                I was just thinking back to all the restaurants where I waited tables waaaay back in the day: Newmarket Grille, Shober's, Michael's, Village Tavern, etc.

                Alright. The OP should definitely get to Dewey's in the Thruway Shopping Center for some sugarbread and fruit-filled buns, and don't forget the ginger snaps.

                Take a tour of Old Salem, too. The Salem Tavern is not amazing, but the food is pretty good, and it's fun to walk around town. One of the most lovingly-preserved/restored pieces of history in the region.

                Go to the Clemmons T.J.'s Deli on Country Club Road, right across from that mega-church (Calvary Baptist?), and order a Cham (fried chicken breast topped with ham and cheese on an onion roll with lettuce/tomato/mayo), with a side of onion rings. Just freaking do it, and don't order anything else. Some places have a few amazing dishes while everything else is just okay, but a Cham at T.J.'s is really, really good eating. I wish I knew the recipe for that batter. Awesome. That sandwich would make any Manhattan deli owner proud.

                Years ago I would have recommended K&W Cafeteria. Back in the day, they made some really good down-home cooking, everything homemade and quite delicious. It was amazing to walk those long lines of food as a child, what with giant roasts of beast, bins of freshly fried chicken, all manner of veggies and mashed potatoes and biscuits and! I used to love that place. But my impression is that they've gone downhill, perhaps due to massive over-expansion. But warm memories.

                I ate at Ryan's years ago. It's popular with the Country Club crowd. I DO NOT mean to rain on such a treasured memory as a marriage proposal, but it wasn't something memorable for me. Leaving W-S and moving to San Francisco was quite an eye-opener for me culinarily, all those years ago, I have to say, but many restaurants go through cycles of good and mediocre over the years.

                Oh oh oh. Definitely go to the West End Cafe. It's in a different location from the old days, just a block away. Go go go go go. It's much better than most food in W-S, and an easy peasy drive from the NCSA area, maybe a couple miles. Lovely part of town, and really good honest food, always was, probably always will be. This is a command: go to West End cafe.

                Anybody remember Staley's? It was a classic mid-century steakhouse located in the same building where Newmarket Grille was located, that building out in front of Thruwau Shopping Center. Gosh, those are some old memories.

                1. re: uptown jimmy

                  Now I'm excited and wish we were going to have more opportunities for chow. I'll let you know. Thank you.

                  1. re: uptown jimmy

                    I remember hearing about Staley's from my parents who went there every New Year's Eve for dinner, without me. Sigh.

                    My WS steakhouse homage was a place downtown, below street level, called Sir Winston's. Back in the day it was probably a 3 martini watering hole for Reynolds execs. The steaks were awesome, served up by a big platinum blond named Pearl, who also served me my first drink.

                    Other olden days eateries that I doubt exist was Sam's (steaks, chops, fish, cocktails, cigarettes) and Zorba's, a - you guessed it - genuine Greek restaurant. Both places served my Shirley Temples cold and sweet. Just the way I like them.

                    1. re: jnday

                      While I'm revisiting this thread, one last shout-out to Sam's Gourmet, and that fabulous buffet they used to have. In the basement area of Thruway Shopping Center, down there with the Pepperidge Farms and the Post Office. Sam's made the best chocolate mousse I've ever had. Lord I miss it. I guess they closed down a looong time ago....


                      1. re: LisaNC73

                        Ummm, late 80's? Not for long. I was viewed as "non-comforming". It was a pretty uptight place, I recall.

                        I remember they got a really bad health code one month, so they hired someone to stand in front of the thing so that most folks wouldn't see it.

                      2. re: uptown jimmy

                        Thought Staley's was a stand alone right before you got to Rynolda Village???? Pretty sure!

                        1. re: LisaNC73

                          You may be right. I get my names mixed up sometimes, and I was so young back then. But there was a steakhouse there, I went there with my grandparents after seeing Disney movies next door at the old movie theater. That shredded salad they served was awesome.

                          1. re: uptown jimmy

                            I think the one in Thruway may have been the Town House or something like that. There is an old restaurant over by Hanes Mall / Stratford----maybe the Carriage House--that features the shredded lettuce salad with the Town House name. Best part of the current restaurant though are the crackers and cheese they serve. Staley's I think definitely was a stand alone by Reynolda.

                      3. re: carolinadawg

                        My son thinks of himself as a conoisseur of pizza and he loves Mellow Mushroom here in Atlanta. He thinks it's the best in town( after Mom's, that is). I 'm sure he would love to try it out in W-S. I had no idea they were all over the SE. Thank you.

                        1. re: carolinadawg

                          FYI - There is a new Libby Hill being built by Harris Teeter at the Tanglewood exit off of I-40.

                    2. Darry's has closed all winston locations the only one I know of in NC is on High Point Road in GSO. If you want to give winston lex cue another try go to Mr. BBQ on peters creek. kinda near school of arts. Get a chopped sandwich, light slaw and a hushie- you'll be in hog heaven.

                      I would also try El Paisano for good hole in the wall mexican(up waughtown street from the school) order the sopes or burritos.

                      I never understood the attraction of Ryan'ss. The setting is beautiful but the food is decidely mediocre.

                      For your student I would also rec Cat's corner or West end cafe for a sandwich @ lunch. up a notch on the scale are Village Tavern, Downtown Thai, Nobles grill on Knollwood or Milner's. May want to search for these on the board to find any specific dishes to order or caveats. also check for menus at many places in town

                      Staley's was on stratford? I've been here 30 years and I only remember it on reynolda across from Reynolda house. Some of you go way back:)


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: quazi

                        I think the steakhouse that was in front of Thruway was called Townes (sp?)Steak House. Staley's was only and always on Reynolda.

                        1. re: carolinadawg

                          Close - it was Town Steak house. Great shredded salad!

                          1. re: atruebluedevil

                            Oh yeah! Oh yeah! That shredded salad!

                            One of my fondest memories of childhood. Takes me back....

                          2. re: carolinadawg

                            Staley's had several locations around Winston-Salem. The one at Thruway was on the corner of Stratford and Knollwood--after Staley's closed, a place called Grinz opened in that location. Today there is a bank at that site. The Town Steak House was located where the Bonefish Grille is located today. There was also a Staley's on Reynolda across from Reynolda Manor Shopping Center--ate there every night one January term at WFU. Much the same fare as Shoney's used to have--sandwiches and burgers, steaks.

                          3. re: quazi

                            Born there in 1970, but a lot of my memories are from way back in the day.

                          4. In nearby Kernersville [due East of Winston on business 40] there is a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Don Juan's. It has to be the best Mexican in Forsyth County. Your son would probably enjoy anything there. Bon Appetit!