Roadtrip across the South - Where to eat?
I'm in the process of planning a more-or-less free form roadtrip through the South, and am looking for advice on food destinations along the way. We're up for pretty much anything, but with a bent towards the diner/street food/inexpensive genre - certainly don't need to be meccas; lesser known places in smaller towns would be more than welcome (we'll be camping most of the way). The route will read something like - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and then into Virginia. If there are specific older posts that I should take a look at, let me know! Thanks!
This is a difficult post to reply to - very wide in topic.
I tried thinking about places I make sure to visit if I'm nearby, but many of them are much more expensive (The Admiral in Asheville) or seasonal (Sunnyside Oyster Bar in Williamston, NC).
You may want to post on the Atlanta board too - I'll detour several hours just to go to Your Dekalb Farmers Market and their are so many excellent, reasonable ethnic options on Buford Hwy.
Street food in NC is generally a mobile hotdog stand or a food truck. Durham has an active food truck scene, a search on this board should provide more info on tracking down the locations. During the summer there are often signs for church or community fund raising suppers once you are out of the metro areas. Food is often very good, people are friendly and it's a great way to get a feel for the local vibe. These are often listed in the local free advertiser/news papers.
Our State magazine created a list of of the one don't miss food experience for each NC county - this might provide inspiration and give you a better idea of offerings in this state.
In Raleigh and the surrounding area there are a few places that fall into your description which are really worth seeking out:
*Neomondes is a middle eastern deli/grocery in Raleigh - very fresh, delicious and budget friendly
*Grand Asia is just south of I-40 in Raleigh/Cary - very busy Asian grocery with a bakery and small prepared foods area.
*NC Seafood restaurant at the state farmers market in Raleigh has terrific fried seafood at reasonable prices - this is NOT the Farmers Market restaurant to the left when you arrive, it is in the row where the enclosed booths are.
All three of the Raleigh suggestions are very short jaunts from I-40.
*Blackbeards in Conetoe is about an hour east of Raleigh - really excellent, will give you the opportunity to try eastern style BBQ and many Southern specialties. Well worth the drive!
This is simply an impossible thread to respond to substantively. You're talking about a region that has 80 million people. Imagine taking the entire NYC metro. area, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, D.C., and Boston, and then have someone say they're gonna visit all those cities and to identify where one should eat, in a single thread. To give you an example, I'm going to be visiting my old digs of Raleigh/Durham next month. In a 50-mile radius, I have narrowed down my list to 19 restaurants, some old and some new, that I have to somehow narrow down further into a total of 7 dining slots. That's for one city in this region.
It will be much more useful for you to select metro. areas or themes of food and do a search of that here. Everything has been covered previously. Get BBQ in NC (google "NC bbq trail" for the best places). For SC, the corridor between Charleston and Savannah, including both cities, has some of the best eating in the country. I've vacationed there about six or seven times in the past four years and still haven't covered half of the outstanding places along that stretch of coast. You could spend half a year in New Orleans itself eating yourself silly and be consistently wowed. The Southeast is one of the most bountiful food regions in the country.
Are there specific posts that might help with the Charleston to Savannah trip? This might be a problem with the Chowhound search engine or with my own research skills but I can't seem to find recent posts about that particular area. Plenty of posts about dining in the cities themselves but less information about the gems to be found en route. Thanks in advance for your help!
The route itself from Charleston to Savannah has very little of what I think you are looking for. You'll have to get off 17. Be aware that Highway 17 near Beaufort is under construction and the speed limit is 45. Mind your speed.
If you search Beaufort you'll find discussions of what's in between. You may also want to consider places between Charleston and Kiawah/Seabrook.