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Jan 22, 2009 06:20 PM

Long Weekend in Carolinas

We are a couple of LA 'hounds in the Carolinas (Raleigh, Pinehurst, Hartsville, SC etc.) for about 5 days. Would appreciate any insight into "can't miss" places in the area. We are most interested in good, regional cuisine. We've got all the high-end places we can handle in LA but, if there is a top notch place around, money is not really an issue for us.

Thanks for your help, Y'all..

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  1. Gullah Cuisine, Mount Pleasant. The most amazing fried chicken you'll ever have (get there when they first open). I've had to poo-poo my aversion to buffets after visiting this place. It is so good. And you'll eat more than you need to.

    Momma Brown's for BBQ, Poe's (Sullivan's Island) for burgers, fish tacos, and an incredible slaw...Station 22 (Sullivan's again) for the whole fried flounder and coconut-lemon cake. Wholly Cow (sp?) for their caramel banana ice cream (we gave our niece her first taste of it, bad us!).

    If you have to skip anything, don't skip Gullah. It truly is a gem.

    We haven't yet made it to Sweatman's BBQ, but if you can, that's supposed to be great.

    Avoid: The Wreck. Sewee's used to be better (still best corn fritters, though).

    The oyster festival at Boone Hall Plantation is worth a visit. Park wherever and walk past the cars waiting for the lot. Wear clothes that can get dirty, and be prepared for rain.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Caralien

      Avoid The Wreck? Really? It still remains the best casual fried seafood I've had in a restaurant, and I've literally eaten at hundreds of them around the South. Unless it's gone downhill in the past year, I have to strongly recommend it.

      1. re: mikeh

        Maybe they finally started being open during their posted hours? We've tried to go there about half a dozen times over the past 5 years--during their posted hours--and they've either been completely closed (no explanation) or after waiting a few minutes to be served was barked at with a WHAT??? (um, we'd like to eat) CLOSED Turned around and walked away. This was the one time we actually got through the door, hours before it was scheduled to close. Since then, we vowed never to bother returning even though my SIL lives a few blocks away. It's simply not worth the bother.

        1. re: mikeh

          I have to strongly agree with your recommendation.

          (843) 884-0052

          1. re: Cpt Wafer

            Make me another recommendation for the Wreck. It's one of our favorite casual places to eat in Charleston.

      2. If your going to be in the Charleston area, try Poogan's porch or McCrady's. Pretty much the market area in Charleston is packed with great southern restaurants.

        1. Can't miss Carolina BBQ. I really like The Pit in Raleigh. You can try both styles of NC pulled pork and your beverage choices aren't limited to iced tea. Another suggestion is Allen & Son in Chapel Hill. It's not a bad drive from Raleigh and well worth it.

          I also recommend you get biscuits for breakfast from Bojangles, Biscuitville or any one of a number of other outlets. This is definately regional fare.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tom from Raleigh

            Thanks, Tom. Our "base" has turned out to be Raleigh area so we will probably try all your recommendations. Thanks to others too. We've got a trip planned to Charleston later this year and will save those recommendations., too.

          2. 10-4 on the biscuit recommendation! Our favorites are Bojangles and Biscuitville.

            While it's not "regional" fare, if you're craving something sweet, check out Henry's Gelato in either the Southern Pines or Cary location. Henry is a great guy and puts his heart and soul into making a fantastic product.

            1. In Raleigh, Gypsy's Shiny Diner would be fun for breakfast. Kemp's for seafood is a local favorite. Neomonde in Raleigh is so popular for middle eastern food. Near Hartsville in Florence you should try the lunch buffet at Roger's for barbecue and southern sides but I understand they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
              I have seen many threads here that could be helpful though.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Lewes17266

                Oh sorry but I forgot to mention Redbone Alley. It is definitely a favorite in that Florence/Hartsville area!

                1. re: Lewes17266

                  There also used to be a Redbone Alley in Columbia. Not sure if it's still there or not.

                  1. re: Suzy Q

                    We ended up doing most of our eating in Raleigh. I tried Bojangles for fried chicken and biscuits. Clyde Coopers for Barbecue (b/c they had hushpuppies and the Pit did not), 42nd Street Oyster Bar for dinner. The winner was Vin Enoteca for Sunday brunch. Aside from the silly blue laws in this state preventing the bar from serving alcohol before noon, this place was really good. Also very popular. It opens at 11:00. They take no reservations for parties of less than 7 people. Our group of 4 arrived at 11:40, stood for 10 minutes and then sat at the bar drinking water and a coffee until noon when we ordered some Bloody Marys. We were seated at about 12:15. I had the chicken-fried steak with red-eye mushroom gravy over a biscuit with sunny-side up eggs (and a side of bacon). Others had the eggs benedict and shrimp and grits. Everything was quite good and the CFS and shrimp dish were certainly not the type of offerings we usually see in LA. Only criticism of the food was runniness of grits. We like ours a bit firmer. We also ate at a place in the heart of Hartsville. I will get the name wrong but it's some like Bozell's. There the shrimp and grits were perfect as was the shrimp and crab casserole I had. Thanks again for the help. I am going to save the other recommendations for a trip to Charlotte/Savannah later this year.

                    1. re: lebdog

                      Bizzell's in Hartsville, also Shug's Smokehouse.

                      1. re: angie1175

                        Bizzell's is the place I misspelled Bozell's.

                      2. re: lebdog

                        Glad you had a good visit! Grits vary a LOT by restaurant here - there are some places where you could eat them with a fork, and others where they're like soup.