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Jun 13, 2010 11:57 PM

AUTHENTIC (fill-in-the-blank) in North Carolina

I love places that are truly authentic -- regular people who cook the regular food they grew up with, without dumbing it down, making it safely "American", or fusing it with something else just to be trendy.

Where can I find food that's just like Grandma made back in the Old Country, any country?
Between Winston-Salem and the Charlotte airport?

Cheap scary dives, takeout trucks and hoity-toity elegance all ok. Thanks!

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    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      Szechuan at Gourmet Kingdom in Carrboro, NC
      BBQ at Allen and Sons in Chapel Hill, NC

      Gourmet Kingdom
      301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

        Neither of which are between Winston-Salem and the Charlotte airport, however.

          1. re: Sue in Mt P

            Sorry. I saw the title and first paragraph and ran with it. That will teach me to read it all first.

    2. +1 for Lexington #1. Other suggestions:

      Keaton's BBQ near Statesville. The star of the show is their chicken, which is fried and then dipped in bbq sauce. Its a shack out in the middle of the woods. Use their website ( to get directions. Pay attention to their hours of operation.

      There is also an italian restaurant in East Bend, just outside Winston-Salem that I haven't been to, but have heard many good things about. Supposedly a family-run operation, everything homemade, etc. Its called Kitchen Roselli ( Only open for dinner.

      Kitchen Roselli
      105 E Main St, East Bend, NC 27018

      1 Reply
      1. re: CharlotteChowhound

        A strong second on Keaton's. The first time I ate there, I got the last table in the place and waited a solid hour for my chicken (as did others.) I would do it again in a heartbeat.

      2. Get off at Exit 45 on I 77 which may not be the way you are traveling to Charlotte but there an old family restaurant there that's over 30 years old in an old house and country food is served cafeteria style.

        Julia's Talley House Restaurant @ 305 North Main St., Troutman, NC 704 - 528 - 6962.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Littleman

          Adding links:

          Keaton's Barbecue
          17365 Cool Springs Rd, Cleveland, NC 27013

          Julia's Talley House Restaurant
          Highway 21 N, Troutman, NC 28166

          Lexington Barbecue
          100 Smokehouse Lane, Lexington, NC 27295

        2. Stop in any grocery store and buy Neese's Liver Pudding. Eat it sliced cold on saltines or water crackers. Or you can fry it in a pan with a bit of butter and make a nice white-bread liver pudding sandwich with Duke's salad dressing.

          You can make it yourself and there is nothing more "authentically North Carolina".

          If you can find an old country store, they might still sell pickled pigs feet and pickled whole eggs. Eating a "red hot" country sausage from a jar along with that is one of the classic lunches of working folks from when i was growing up in the remoter parts of this state.

          And I haven't seen one in 20 years, but a braised pig ear sandwich is probably the original inspiration for baloney.

          5 Replies
          1. re: fussycouple

            Neese's! Road food for the weary traveler!

            Another authentically NC snack is a bag of peanuts in a 6.5 ounce Co'Cola.

            1. re: Sue in Mt P

              Take a Coke or Pepsi, hold the bottle top in one hand (using the hand like a funnel), and pour a small bag (1-1.5oz) of salted peanuts right inside.

              Ahhh...the joys of childhood.