Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Narrowing the Field - NC Diners

Posted August 21, 2008

With more than 40 different restaurants nominated in our Best of Carolina contest for diners it has been decided that we must narrow the field. So, instead of voting today, as was previously suggested, let’s whittle away at our list. Only diners getting multiple nominations will be included in the final poll. The most popular diners so far are Joe’s Place in Raleigh, The Highway Diner in Rocky Mount, Elmo’s in Durham, the Blue Ribbon Diner in Mebane and Burlington, Watkins Grill in Raleigh, Ramseur Diner in Ramseur, Cullowhee Café in the mountains and Knight’s also out west in Blowing Rock.

Your comments bring up an interesting point. With the Triangle melting pot it would seem logical that an excellent Northeast-type diner would be a big hit in the Raleigh-Durham area. If I were an entrepreneur with culinary skills I think I would sink some cash into a diner.

As for the restaurants nominated so far, I hate to admit it but I have only visited a few. It sounds as if I am missing out on some great grub. Elizabeth Gardner took her grandmother to The Blue Ribbon Diner in Burlington and says it was excellent. I’ve been to Joe’s and Watkin’s in Raleigh and they’re both exceptional.  I loaded up on the good food at Linville's Tartan Restaurant prior to a hearty hike in the Linville Gorge last year.  Valonda loves the Big A Burger at Arnold’s in Richlands. Next time on the Outer Banks I will surely stop by Bob’s Grill at Nags Head where their slogan is: “Eat and get the hell out!” Now. that’s hilarious! Does Bob serve fast food? No, just great food fast according to his web site.

Any other interesting slogans as we narrow the field for North Carolina’s Best Diner survey? Again, what North Carolina diners or cafes serve an outstanding and wide range of food with casual atmosphere, reasonable prices and extended hours?


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • mre2 Aug 26, 2008

    I would cast my vote for Highway Diner in Rocky Mount. I am a retired Senior citizen and eating at the diner brings back " the good ole days".The food is good, the servers are prompt and courteous with a smile to greet you. My retiree friends meet there every Sunday morning for a filling breakfast. Bill, come and join us for a real experience in dining at the "Shiny Diner".

  • lbe Aug 25, 2008

    I vote for Highway Diner in Rocky Mount! I stopped in for lunch and I was amazed at my friend's comment "This is known as "The Shiny Diner" and she was truly right. The atmosphere was one of fun, smiles and just plain down-to-earth Southern hospitality. The meal was cooked to perfection, and the server was delightful. Last, but not least, the cakes are not only beautiful, but they are scrumptious too. Hands down, the Highway Diner has my vote.

  • sunbeam87 Aug 25, 2008


  • amyforrester Aug 25, 2008

    Knight's on Main in Blowing Rock - ABSOLUTELY encompasses the atmosphere, hospitality, and broad menu options that make for the perfect Southern diner experience. They have the best breakfast in town, friendly faces, amazing fried chicken, and a wonderful family feel. It is rare for a place to be popular with both the tourists and the locals, but Knight's is a favorite with eveyone!!!

  • Celt Aug 22, 2008

    Still gotta go for Elmo's Diner in Durham! Hmmm. I wonder if I can go there for lunch today? :-)

  • tangerine Aug 22, 2008

    The Highway Diner in Rocky Mount...gotta love those fried green tomatoes!

  • thepotatobug Aug 21, 2008

    This is easy. Watkins Grill all the way.

  • thepotatobug Aug 21, 2008

    Watkins. No question.

  • ChristaS Aug 21, 2008

    I can't imagine the Blue Ribbon Diner being so good - the menu stinks!

  • khoggard Aug 21, 2008

    Bill - I promise you will not be disappointed by Bob's. The food is really good & they do serve fast food type food (hamburgers & such - or at least they did the last time I was there!)& you do get it fast. I can't vote for any of the one's listed because I have never eaten at any of them!




Meet the Author
Bill Leslie