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north carolina foodie towns?

We are planning on taking a trip to North Carolina in late October. We've been to Ashville a few times and would like to try a different place. We are hoping for somewhere with both excellent restaurants and great scenery. Suggestions?

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  1. NC is a big state. Are you looking to stay in the mountains?

    1. Lantern in Chapel Hill is getting major buzz right now, and it's close enough to Durham and Raleigh that you could maybe squeeze in all three, if you have more than a weekend.

      1. I rarely go anywhere but Asheville, so here are the places I WISH I could go eat:

        Chapel Hill
        Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine
        Town House Restaurant in Chilowee, VA (yeah, I know, but it's not far across the line)

        In case you're wondering...Cashiers and Highlands doesn't have much, at least not that I can find, although you'd think it would. Not much food in the Bryson City/Nantalahala area either.

        I can't wait to hear what you pick !

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        Town House
        1870 S Main St, Kannapolis, NC 28081

        7 Replies
        1. re: danna

          Knife and Fork. Yes! (If I could only figure out where the hell Spruce Pine is...)

          1. re: Jeff C.

            Off the parkway, N. of Marion, near Penland School. About 1 hr. from Asheville.

          2. re: danna

            My Mom is from Spruce Pine! Wow -- NEVER thought Spruce Pine would make it to Chowhound. PLEASE, PLEASE give details and tell us all about Knife & Fork. I'm in Pins & Needles! :-)

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            Knife & Fork
            200 S Main St, Mount Holly, NC 28120

            1. re: Tehama

              K & F is proprietor owned and operated...a nice couple named Wendy and Nate. The dishes are very reasonable, locally sourced (as much as possible) and always inventive in my opinion. I am pretty biased since we visit quite often. Earlier this week I had an incredible pork belly, red/yellow pepper dish, radish/arugula gorgonzola cremificato salad, and a wonderful cheese plate with grilled bread (bread is done in-house as well). Wendy does the wine list...probably 20 wines on the list...a great (again reasonable) selection from all over the world (Spanish, Italian, French, Cali, Washington...and, last week, a Slovenian wine). No liquor. The beer selection is quite impressive as well. We love brunch (I think Nate really uses his creativity here with the items from the previous week). He just won the Western NC Chef's Challenge...taking down several of the big name Asheville folks. I really cannot say enough positive things about the place...hope this helps.

              1. re: winefuhrer

                Thank you so much! Sharing with my Mom right now. I can't wait to give it a try!

                1. re: Tehama

                  we visited on saturday at 5 pm, and while the food was delicious (kale with chicken cracklins, crispy pork with spicy bok choy, nc trout with red quinoa/mung bean/feta, and sirloin) and the service very attentive and so welcoming, the pace of the meal was a bit slow for us. granted we did have our son, who tends to melt down at dinners which last more than 1.5 hours. however, we noticed the table next to us had complained about the length that it took for them to receive their entrees. we were looking forward to this after hiking at crabtree falls, so it was a bit of a letdown. i imagine that they are continuously working out the kinks in the kitchen as their popularity increases.

                  1. re: cervisiam

                    I will not disagree with this. I think service could speed up a bit...I have noticed a few changes in this direction but there are still kinks. I eat relatively slowly though...so may not notice slow service as much as someone else. I imagine everything done to-order prolongs preparation time, so there is a definite trade off.

          3. I'm not sure you'll find really comparable foodie areas in the mountains outside of Asheville. There are some nice restaurants to seek out in particular areas but as noted above, I have never found much in other mountain areas.

            When I think of foodie towns in NC, I first thing about the Triangle area. That's not exactly scenic though.

            I will say late October is a lovely time at our scenic coast and there are a number of worthwhile destinations whether you head to OBX, Crystal Coast, or Wilmington area.

            1. The High Country (Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk) would be a possibility for great scenery and a few good dining options. While it doesn't remotely compare to Ashville's food scene, it would be a good compromise with beautiful mountain fall drives and hiking trails. Our leaves are already starting to turn where I live at almost 5,000 ft. elevation. There are some fun local fall festivals coming up in October, Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain and so much more!

              Artisanal is a great restaurant: in Banner Elk http://www.artisanalnc.com/. Spruce Pine would be a beautiful 50 minute drive.