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Jun 5, 2011 02:40 PM

Graduation dinner for my son - central North Carolina

I would like to take my son out for a special meal for his high school graduation, and I live about halfway between Charlotte, NC and Winston/Greensboro.

We mostly eat at home, because we're out in the country, and I cook really well.

My son eats most anything, but he's not huge on red meat. He likes it OK, but it would not be a huge treat for the most part. He also has never been big on the kid/teen foods like pizza, chicken nuggets, frozen foods heated up etc.

His favorites are:

Seafood (but I don't think a restaurant would beat my scallops or shrimp)
Southern homestyle (but that's what I make a lot)
Green veggies
Cheese fries
Mexican (mostly for good cheese queso)
Grilled cheese (not the sandwich - grilling cheese that I do on the grill)
Sweet potatoes
Mac and cheese (but really just my mom's homemade)
Church dinners (with a range of foods)
Bojangles (if it's fast food)

Today he stuffed himself on a pot of home snapped green beans and new potatoes.

I hope that's enough info to give a feel. I think he's be the chowhound type if we were in an urban area. He likes to dress up, and he loves fresh foods prepared perfectly. His weakness (if you didn't gather) is cheese. He leans a little more heavily to vegetables, but he does like meat as well.

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  1. I can think of a few possibilities in the Winston-Salem area based on your list of his favorites. The Goat Lady Dairy (in Climax; between High Point and Greensboro) has a monthly dinner in summer months that emphasizes locally produced cheeses, produce, and meats. It's in a dry county, but I guess that not as much a concern for a high school graduation dinner. In W-S proper, Milner's (SC low country influence) and Sweet Potatoes are possibilities for menus that include several of his favorites. Also on the dress-up side of the aisle would be Fabian's. It's a five course fixed price meal in a small quirky dining room that used to be a gas station. Usually there is a common appetizer, soup, and salad, with your choice of entree and dessert. The menu changes weekly depending on what is available from area farms and Chef Bill presents the menu to the patrons (single seating at 7:30) so you can discuss how you'd like your meal prepared with him. Dinners may take three hours, so you'll need to consider whether this works for you family.

    On the casual side, Mozelle's (southern-influenced bistro) and La Botana (regional Mexican) are two additional possibilities. La Botana has both regional and vegetarian menus which are fairly unique for this area. One of my faves is the Burrito Potosino, which is steak or al pastor pork with prickly pear cactus, and pinto beans, with salsa verde and cotija cheese. Given your list of favorites, he may also like trying one of the molcajetes.

    Several of the local wineries have restaurants with strong relationships with local farms. The wine may not work for the grad party, but I'd still recommend that you look at Sander's Ridge. Chef Starr does a nice job with southern influenced cooking and their dining room has great character. They do family style dinners on Thursday (w/ occasional music) and have several dinner specials on Friday and Saturday in addition to their on-line menu. Plus, there is a zip line next door, which could be a special treat for your son, just make sure that he brings a change of clothes.

    Sweet Potatoes
    529 N Trade St, Winston Salem, NC 27101

    Goat Lady Dairy
    3515 Jess Hackett Rd, Climax, NC 27233

    5 Replies
    1. re: kdbarlow

      Thanks so much. I will follow up on those ideas.

      Just as a note, I was thinking a dinner engagement (-: versus a party. In other words, I want to take my son out - just the two of us some place special. He'll have a family party here, and the mom/son meal would be later in the week or month.

      Don't want to get arrested so will skip the spirits with his age (-: I've had some great meals at our wineries though. Lots of fun.

      Again, thanks for the ideas. Ones that we don't do for the graduation meal will also be fun for later.

      1. re: kdbarlow

        I've been looking up your suggestions. I put La Botana with North Carolina in Google, but I don't seem to get a page. I did, however, see this page (-: Would you happen to know if they do have a web page?

        1. re: kdbarlow

          I noticed that Chef Starr has her own restaurant in Mocksville too. I looked that up. Don't think I'll do it for the graduation dinner but hope to get out there sometime this month.

          Has anyone, by chance, been to Starr's to eat?

          1. re: CyndiA

            The link below should get you to La Botana:


            Unless she has reopened, Chef Starr closed her restaurant in Mocksville prior to moving to Sanders' Ridge (maybe two years ago).

            1. re: kdbarlow

              Thanks. Got right to it.

              I asked a student in class tonight about Starr's. He lives in Mocksville. He said he'd not heard of it, so I suspect you're right on that. Bummer. Wish I'd known about it before.

        2. For mexican, Casa Grande has very good food and is close by in Salisbury. For southern homestyle, Emma's in downtown Concord would be good.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Tanglebriar

            He loves Case Grande - especially the queso.

            We've not been to Emma's. Thanks.

              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                Pretty much. My Dad was Navy, and we moved here when I was four. I don't really recall anything before that age. I did go to Dallas (TX) to school for two years and then married someone in the military and lived all over including Greece and Japan. I returned to my hometown when my boys were ready to start school. So, I basically grew up here and then have been back here now for 16 or 17 years.