Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

North Carolina's Best Diner

Posted August 20, 2008

What is North Carolina’s best diner? Ponder that culinary question as we continue our Best of Carolina series. Randy Cotten of Cary suggested this topic. Here’s what he had to say:

“I am drawn to the historic diners of the Northeast. Many of these great eating places are being featured in the current series on the Food Network, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives". Unfortunately, N.C. is not a diner mecca. However, many great cafes do exist here. You know, the type where you can get breakfast 24/7, homemade desserts, great vegetables and wonderful, sincere service. Yes, I know the Triangle has places labeled as diners, but they have a menu that is very basic, almost fast-foodish and with no real love applied or selection that makes them stand out.   While I love cuisine from speciality restaurants, I can always count on the family atmosphere and comfort food awaiting in a "how are you today honey" diner. And, don't we all need a bit of that at times? So, where are they in N.C.?"

Great question, Randy. Thanks. What are the best diners in North Carolina?  What diners or cafes serve an outstanding and wide range of food with casual atmosphere, reasonable prices and extended hours?

We’ll take your nominations today and vote tomorrow.   By the way, pass the lemon pie, would ya.


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  • snavarro1 Aug 21, 2008

    The wife and I are transplants from the north. We live in Pine Level and after finding The Highway Diner in Rocky Mount travel the 40 miles for different meals, good prices, great people. Would have to give them a "FIVE STAR" rating.

  • Queenie Aug 21, 2008

    The Highway Diner in Rocky Mount is great. The people there always make you feel at home. Their breakfast is fantastic!

  • Dreamin of Disney World Aug 21, 2008

    Honey's of Durham..For one thing it is local family owned. It serves awesome breakfasts 24/7. Their meatloaf and chicken and dumplings will leave you humble at your own attempts at these. It has the look and feel of a diner. Pictures of Duke basketball cover the walls, while 50-60's beach music plays. And there's nothing as comforting as walking into a diner and seeing various coffee clutch groups there, that you just know show up every day rain or shine.

  • commonsense4 Aug 21, 2008

    It's not a diner unless it serves breakfast all day and is open 24/7.

  • computer trainer Aug 20, 2008

    Joe's downtown!! YES!!! A couple of years ago he was going to close. It was unreal the amount of people that showed up. Great food, wonderful folks, decent price!! Love ya JOE!!

  • christye Aug 20, 2008

    Barry's Cafe on Holly Springs Road (close to Cary at the intersection of Holly Springs Road and Tryon Road). Has been there for as long as I can remember; excelllent food; family atmosphere; and Barry would do just about anything to help the local fire department.

  • 5bryants Aug 20, 2008

    There is this fantastic Greek Diner in Queens, NY. So good you can close your eyes and taste the food long after you've been there. My Dad used to own a great resturant in Wilmington, NC. He had everything from great breakfast to home cooked dinners! YUM!

  • goldsborogirl78 Aug 20, 2008

    Ya'll Pizza in Goldsboro is great! Not exactly a diner, but really great food and atmosphere. They have pizza, pasta, foccacia sandwiches, subs, and desserts. Everything is homemade and you can really tell the difference. Some of the desserts....Buttermilk brownie, Honeybun Cake, Lemon Cake, Strawberry Cake, Banana Pudding, Tiramasu....So Good!

  • Eduardo1 Aug 20, 2008 are the only poster out of about 30, who seems to even understand what a northern, GREEK diner is all about. The other posters, just keep comparing one place or another, whose got good ribs, who serves a great breakfast. They don't seem to understand what a diner is. FREAT tasting food, GREAT variety,,GREAT portions, IN MOST CASES REASONABLE PRICES, most of them have wine & beer all of this is available 7-24

  • UNCfuturealumi Aug 20, 2008

    Just have to visit Skid's diner on Church Street in Burlington and/or their location in downtown Graham.




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