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Raleigh area - candidates for Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives

Brother & sister-in-law visiting later this week and are huge fans of Guy Fieri's show. Any suggestions for where to take them for lunch or dinner that could be/should be on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. Good food, funky atmosphere a must. Ideas???

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  1. Hmmmmm I've not been to Hayes Bartons but it seems like it would fit the bill. Lilly's Pizza maybe.. The Pit if they like Ribs...

    1. The Roast Grill for hot dogs in Raleigh or Char-Grill for burgers (various locations).

      Actually, The N&O did a piece on exactly this topic. Here's the link.


      Roast Grill
      7 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603

      1 Reply
      1. re: brsmith2

        What about Players Retreat on hillsboro

        Players Retreat
        105 Oberlin Rd, Raleigh, NC

      2. If you feel like a 30-ish minute drive you should go to chapel hill and try Time Out or Joes Joint both on franklin st.

        5 Replies
        1. re: drenee328

          Most of those suggestions in the N&O article were laughable.

          The only place I can think of that's worthy is Poole's Diner. Truly good and innovative food in a downscale atmosphere.

          Possibly Main Street Grill in Wake Forest. Home made pastries and donuts, roast beef made in house, excellent breakfast. Attached to a gas station. Guy seems to like this style. I do too.

          Most of the places on DD&D have large menus with some originality.

          1. re: Fu Dee

            In what sense were the N&O readers' suggestions laughable? I'm not familiar with all the recommendations, but it seems that most of them at least fit the category of diners, drive-ins, and dives. In which universe is Poole's considered any one of the above? The food at Poole's is fabulous AND expensive. The atmosphere is somewhat annoying IMHO, but hardly downscale. And I cannot recall the last time I dropped over $70 on a meal for 2, incl. 1 beer only, in a real diner.

            Poole's is a great destination but hardly what the OP is asking for.

            1. re: rockycat

              Do you watch the show? Many of the places he goes is more like Poole's than an actual diner. Some of "diners" he visits are run by former big city chef's who wanted out.

              I haven't been to some of those places on the list, but the one's I've been to are not special. Good but not special.

              I've eaten at all the Richmond VA and Charlotte NC stops, two in Sonoma and one in Long Beach featured on DD&D and I can't think of anything around here comparable. Hopefully there's a jewel or two not mentioned yet.

              Have you sat at the counter at Poole's? Those stools are pretty downscale to me.
              Woolworth's had better seating. But, the food is good. And it does meet the funky vibe as the OP desired.

              1. re: Fu Dee

                I became skeptical of the show after I saw the spots he chose in Richmond, VA. Especially the Village Cafe; only VCU college students go there and they do not consider the place a gem. I simply has run of the mill bar food, nothing outstanding.

                For a fairly small city, Richmond has a great culinary scene and for those two places to be chosen, it tells me that the producers do not spend the time to do the necessary research before visiting a town.

                1. re: anthonys

                  Well it is called Diners Drive Ins and Dives and is hosted by a male Rachael Ray.. where did you expect them to go? :-รพ

                  Drive In
                  505 S Pierce St, Alma, GA 31510

        2. Players Retreat and Roast Grill would fit the bill for me, definitely Raleigh classics. Hayes Barton Cafe at lunch time, maybe. It goes a bit upscale for dins. Some other thoughts:

          * Mecca Diner- Never been but old-school, Raleigh
          * Char-Grill- Classic
          * Sadlacks Hero's- Deli sandwiches

          All casual lunch spots...

          Roast Grill
          7 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603

          Players Retreat
          105 Oberlin Rd, Raleigh, NC

          2 Replies
          1. re: RonboNC

            I've watched the show a good bit and been to several of the restaurants recommended. When I think of the classic DD&D place, I think of The Penguin in CLT or Snappy Lunch in Mt. Airy. It's not literally about diners, drive ins and dives, but about locally owned places that are doing unique things with food.

            In Raleigh itself, I'd recommend the PR. In Cary, I could see Bella Mia making the show since they're pretty unique. Wimpy's in Durham for their burgers and quirkiness makes the list.

            The place that I feel would best make the show is The Pig in Chapel Hill. Guy would love this story. I've written enough about The Pig lately that I'm starting to feel like a shill...

            Snappy Lunch
            125 N Main St, Mount Airy, NC 27030

            Bella Mia
            2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513

            1. re: Tom from Raleigh

              The Penguin here is dead. Long live the Diamond.

          2. Why don't you take them to TGI Fridays, where Guy Fieri is the chef. Seriously, I agree with Tom that The Pig fits the show's style most closely.

            1. How about.. is it Finches that is over near 18 Seaboard?

              18 Seaboard
              18 Seaboard, Raleigh, NC 27604

              2 Replies
              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                Their food is pretty basic. From what I've seen of the show they look for a dedication to ingredients with a unique twist. That hasn't been my experience at Finches.

                1. re: meatn3

                  I love the show and try to hit as many of the places h visits when out of town. Some are great some not as good as they looked on TV. I would add to what has already been mentioned
                  Abbey Road - great burgers in a kitschy bar atmosphere.

              2. I don't know what constitutes "Raleigh area" but Saxapawhaw General Store would be a slam dunk for Triple D.

                General Store Cafe
                39 West St, Pittsboro, NC 27312

                7 Replies
                1. re: bbqme

                  Yeah, you're totally right about that, bbqme. Saxapahaw would be a no brainer for that show as good a fit as any place in the area.

                  1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                    I like your pick of The Pig as well. It is an absolute travesty that he has not done a show in the Triangle area yet given the accolades that the Triangle has received. And the dude was even in the area last year doing a show at the DPAC. Why would he not film an episode or two while in the area?

                    1. re: bbqme

                      That man is a douche, but I enjoy the intention of his teevee show.

                      1. re: ToothTooth

                        Not to come to his defense really but it is sort of hard for me to criticize him for not doing a show here when so many posters in the know seem to struggle with obvious Triangle candidates

                        1. re: Guilty Gourmand

                          I think the Raleigh focus of the question was what gave me pause. Now, I haven't actually seen the show but I think I get the gist. Sax. Gen. Store (or the Eddy) is obvious. La Vaquita or a half dozen taquerias in Durham seem to fit the bill. Old Times cafe (am I getting the name wrong?) in Snow Camp works. From the show's rep, Time Out at 2am or Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen at 10am would work. The soda fountain in downtown Pittsboro would be nice, especially for a summer episode, etc.

                          Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen
                          208 S Bickett Blvd, Louisburg, NC 27549

                          Time Out
                          131 S Herlong Ave, Rock Hill, SC 29732

                          1. re: brokegradstudent

                            Adam Richman visited Time Out for one of his Man v. Food shows. His eating challenge was eating hotdogs at The Roast Grill in Raleigh. He also had another episode centered around the Doughman race in Durham, which highlighted several Durham hotspots.

                            Roast Grill
                            7 S West St, Raleigh, NC 27603

                            Time Out
                            131 S Herlong Ave, Rock Hill, SC 29732

                        2. re: ToothTooth

                          Hah, ToothTooth! Sorta agree, Fieri just annoys the hell out of me! Bleached hair, backwards sunglasses, omg. So I haven't seen the show but if you're talking about unusual food spots witt a twist on ingredients, I'd toss out Toast as an option. Cantina 18 might fit but maybe not gourmet enough.