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Apr 5, 2009 03:27 PM

Road Trip- SC/Durham,NC/VA Help!

We have a long road trip back to NY from Florida, and I am hoping for some good rec's to try some of the best food the south has to offer! Due to time constraints, we can not stray from our route too much.

We are traveling from Tampa up 95 past Jacksonville and Savannah to US-40 to Durham, NC.
-Jacksonville recs for lunch I'll look on Florida board but any other good stops?
-I have no idea where, but delicious South Carolina bbq along the route would be awesome.
-Have heard good things about Fuller's Buffet in Lumberton or Fayetteville. Is it good/bad? We are concerned it might be closed late on Easter Sunday when we are passing through, will call.

Durham, NC:
-Is Allen and Son's the best bbq that we will find near our route?
-Looking to try one of the recommended southern-style places, for either brunch or dinner, but can not decide between Watt's Grocery, Crook's Corner, Piedmont. What do you recommend? It seems that Magnolia Grill, Revolution, Nana's are a bit more expensive, but maybe will try if they are really worth it.

Up 57 to 501 to 59 to Charlottesville, Va.
- Anything not to miss on the way?
- Please help with Charlottesville, I have no idea what is good there.

Then up through Baltimore to NY.


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  1. I've never been to Fuller's, but others on this board have recommended it...the phone number is 910-738-8694. They are open on Sundays, so you can call and confirm Easter Sunday. Allen and Son is the best; ignore others who say differently. When are you going through Durham? A&S is closed on Sundays and may be closed on Mondays, not sure. Again, may want to call: 919 578-5270. Are you driving through SC on Sunday? Most BBQ joints will be closed then. Places that get good recs on here include Sweatman's in Holly Hill and McCabes in Manning.

    I would suggest you do searches for recs on places like Charlottesville, Lynchburg, etc.

    9 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      Thanks, Fuller's said they were open on Easter Sunday but I forgot to ask hours (not on website for Sunday) so I'll have to call again.
      We may not be able to go to A&S if that is the case, so any other rec.'s in that area for Sunday and Monday?
      I think instead of stopping in Lynchburg we are going to try Thai Siam Take-out in Arrington, Va. It looks really good, but I'd maybe like to hear a little more to confirm, since we are kind of spoiled by Sripraphai in Queens.

      1. re: carolinadawg

        And yes, we will be driving through SC on Easter Sunday, so I am really struggling to find a good BBQ place that will be open.

        1. re: ian9139

          Grady's Barbecue in Dudley, NC and Wilber's in Goldsboro, NC aren't terribly far off I-40, but if you're going through on Easter Sunday, hang it up. Nothing is going to be open.

          1. re: Naco

            I think on Easter Sunday we are going to stop at B&J's in Darien, Ga for some low-country seafood. I haven't heard too much about it, so if anyone has been or has other rec.'s in the area that would be great (maybe Speeds Kitchen)- at least we found one place that will be open on Easter!

            Sweatman's and McCabes look so good, but will be closed.
            Considering The Barbeque Joint, Danny's BBQ, and Backyard BBQ Pit near Durham area. In a different vein, probably Piedmont for brunch the next day.

            1. re: ian9139

              Also, we could maybe go 30-45 min out of the way to Lexington. I assume its worth it, but I am concerned none of the best will be open on Easter for dinner.

              1. re: ian9139

                if you're gonna do Durham cue, I'd do Q-shack before any of those you mentioned, with the possible exception of Backyard. Allen and Son's will not be open on Sunday either, but if you're in the area, it's right off 40 as well.

                1. re: Pigloader

                  How is the NC-cue at Q-shack? If it is good, we will look to go there. If not, I would really like to try it somewhere; we may end up going to Knightdale Seafood and BBQ, a little out of the way, but some great reviews.

                  How does Byrd's compare to Backyard BBQ Pit?

                  1. re: ian9139

                    Maurice's has a spot right off of 95 in Santee, SC. It is not the best but will probably be open and is convenient. It just gives you an idea about the SC mustard sauce experience.

                    1. re: ian9139

                      Q Shack doesn't really do authentic Eastern NC 'cue. It's uniformly excellent for pretty much all the different meats - I'm yet to have a bad meat there - but don't go expecting something akin to Wilber's or B's. On a Sunday, it's all you'll find open, and it should do you pretty right. Most sides are very good; the creamed spinach just kills me.

                      Allen & Sons used to have great NC 'cue, but I've been extremely disappointed the last couple of times I've gone (got some inedible brunswick stew there as well).

          2. For brunch, would choose Watt's or Piedmont over Crook's Corner. Watt's Grocery's menu is more "southern" than Piedmont's, but both use fresh, local ingredients to great advantage (you can bump into the chefs at the Durham Farmers' Market). Hard to go wrong with either one, really.

            If you're looking for a more expensive dinner, I prefer Four Square to either Nana's or Magnolia Grill.

            1. Charlottesville has great options for almost any kind of cuisine. I'm a fan of Blue Light Grill and Hamilton's on the downtown mall, and if you're going to be there around brunchtime, the Bluegrass Cafe is great too. Are you looking for something specific?

              1. Thanks everyone for the help!
                We actually did not have any bbq at all on the trip, but everything we did eat was good to fantastic.

                B&J's Steaks and Seafood in Darien, Ga is an awesome place. The owner/manager(?) is a really nice guy. We arrived as they were closing for lunch but they said that they would be happy to keep the buffet open for us, but no hot food as the grills were off and being cleaned. We very much enjoyed the buffet, especially the creamed corn and the brisket. When they realized that we couldn't make it back anytime soon to try their famous fried shrimp, they surprised us with a basket of them from the kitchen. Amazing!

                Watts Grocery in Durham was pretty good, but kind of a disappointment considering it was by far the most expensive meal of our trip and also probably the worst. Strawberry Salad was pretty good, but nothing too special. The Vegetable Special sounded much more exciting than it was. Hush puppies came out cold, but second time around were good. Gumbo also came out cold, but second try was very good, albeit a bit greasy. I would like to try it for brunch but would be more inclined to try Piedmont (closed when we ate at Watts).

                Thai Siam Take-Out was so good that it will get its own post.

                Bodo's Bagels- I have hear that these are without a doubt the best bagels in Charlottesville, and the question is how they compare to NY Bagels. My answer is very well, the only NY Bagel is prefer to Bodo's is Ess-a-Bagel.

                Thanks again for the help, and we might have to do a separate trip for BBQ.