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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Restaurants With Character

Posted January 29, 2008

What are the North Carolina restaurants with true character? Let’s establish some parameters for this discussion. These restaurants must be at least ten years old with a history of great food, and wonderful service. Atmosphere is important but it’s not everything. We wouldn’t want to rule out hole-in-the-wall eateries that serve up superior food in this discussion.

I would like to begin with a restaurant in the mountains. It has one of the best stories I can imagine. At this restaurant the food is cooked in Avery County, picked up by waitresses in Burke County and served to customers in McDowell County. And no, it is not some massive cafeteria.

Famous Louise’s Rock House Restaurant is not only colorful because of its tri-county location but it serves up some mighty fine victuals in Linville Falls. In 1998 the NC General Assembly even passed a resolution commending FLRHR for its outstanding and unique country cooking. Grilled steaks, fresh seafood and delicious homemade pies have made this a mountain mecca for hordes of hungry tourists and locals.

Have you ever eaten at Famous Louise’s Rock House Restaurant and if so what were your impressions?

Also, what are the other North Carolina restaurants with true character?

Please weigh in.

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  • guppy Feb 4, 2008

    For steak, go to Heath's in Dunn, NC. For cheeseburgers, try Duke's Grill in Monroe, NC

  • janneholbro Jan 30, 2008

    How about Whispering Pines in Albemarle! I also love Char-Grill in Raleigh

  • Boostershot Jan 30, 2008

    Central Cafe in Rocky Mount. They have the best cheeseburgers and hot dogs in Eastern North Carolina. Tip.....get slaw on them, they are out of this world.

  • seahawksforpack Jan 30, 2008

    I have a funny story about Famous Louise’s Rock House Restaurant! We visited Linville Caverns and my 8 & 12 year olds were starving so we stopped here for a bite to eat. We all ordered a sandwich and then ordered a basket of fries and onion rings. I think the onion rings were $4.50 for the basket and instead of coming in a basket they came on one of the plates. It amounted to about 8 very small onion rings and when I questioned if this was the basket of onion rings I was told yes - that is the large basket! The waitress told me the small basket or order had only 5! It was an interesting place with the 3 counties meeting - but food was definitely not something I would make a return trip for - and seemed very over priced.

    I would vote for El's Drive-In and AJ's in Morehead. My family likes the Channel Marker in Atlantic Beach and Clawson's in Beaufort.

    My favorite in Seagrove is the Westmoore Family Restaurant - delicious food - from the salads to the seafood.

  • Glomae Jan 30, 2008

    One of my favorite spots for breakfast in the Mabry Mill off the Blue Ridge parkway. The food is great and the view is awesome. We have always had to wait but it is worth it. They have got to have the best grits I have ever tasted. And I have tasted my share! It is a wonderful way to start a day of riding the parkway!

  • maintman Jan 30, 2008

    We've eaten at Famous Louise's several times, always breakfast, and usually hit Spears' Barbeque for dinner. It's an awesome place to start the day when you're looking to spend some time in Linville Gorge. The fruit preserves are excellent!

    Somebody else mentioned Elijah's in Wilmington; awesome crab dip, excellent deck on the river, especially at sunset.

  • Garnerwolf1 Jan 30, 2008

    Does Wilber's do beef? I have to disagree about their being the best (assuming we're talking real barbecue). It's good, don't get me wrong, but when I die, I hope they bury me under the smokehouse at B's! :-)

  • Its All Right Here Jan 30, 2008

    For Hot Dogs, it must be Paul's Place in Rocky Point. Their relish is phenomenal.

    For seafood burgers, it's El's Drive-In at Morehead City.

  • weasleyes Jan 29, 2008

    River Forest Manor in Belhaven, Elijah's in Wilmiington, and the DryDock at Wrightsville Beach (especially in softshell crab season!) Plus, you get to see the po' folks, pulling up in their yachts :) Of course, Wilber's has the best BBQ beef in NC!

  • pcook1979 Jan 29, 2008

    Oak Level Cafe is run by my sister-in-law's brother. His name is Brad and they do have the BEST breakfast in NC. Get there early or you won't get a seat!!!! And yes, he did put Central Cafe on the map by the way :-P

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