Readers add favorites to our list of don't-miss meals

Readers add 10 of their favorites to our list of don't-miss meals

Staff WritersSeptember 8, 2010 

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CORRECTION

A Sept. 8 story in the Life, etc. section about food experiences in North Carolina gave the incorrect dates for chicken-and-dumpling day at Fresh House in Locust. The dish is served every three weeks for lunch and dinner on Saturday and lunch only on Sunday. The next dates are Oct. 2-3.

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This was your chance to tell us where to go. And you told us to go all over North Carolina.

Earlier this summer, we put together the Tar Heel 25, our picks for places and plates that ought to be on your must-eat list. We used our own experience, plus advice from dedicated traveling eaters, to turn out classic North Carolina tastes.

We suggested everything from Ocracoke fig cake to the pork chop sandwich at the Snappy Lunch in Mount Airy.

Then we threw it open to our readers and asked for advice. What did we miss?

We can't share all the suggestions - comments numbered well over 100. But as we went through the lists, we came up with 10 more great North Carolina food moments. If you're hitting the road this fall, keep them in mind. And you can find the original list and all the comments on our Web sites, at www.charlotte observer.com/food and www.newsobserver.com/life/food .

Tony's Ice Cream, Gastonia

If you're looking for a classic place for a hot dog and an ice cream cone, Tony's Ice Cream of Gastonia is a great choice. The ice cream plant is right across the street, and the red-vinyl booths have been a family hangout since 1947. But if you can't decide from the 30 or so flavors posted daily, readers can help: Go with the grape. It's like an ice-cold lick of a Concord.

Tony's Ice Cream, 604 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, 704-867-7085.

Texas Pete, Winston-Salem

No, Texas Pete is not from Texas. But it's found on tables all over the South. The classic bottle with the red cowboy is made by family-owned Garner Food Co. in Winston-Salem, which came up with the formula in 1929. With a flavor of vinegar, salt and peppers, it has a subtle heat that isn't as overwhelming as Tabasco.

www.texaspete.com.

Parker's Barbecue, Wilson

Speaking of barbecue institutions, readers reminded us that a meal at Parker's Barbecue in Wilson isn't complete without those corn sticks, sweet cob-shaped cornbread. To some, it is as blasphemous as eating Eastern North Carolina barbecue without sweet tea.

Parker's Barbecue 2514 U.S. 301 South, Wilson, 252-237-0972, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, Cash or checks only.

Shelby Livermush Expo

Livermush, North Carolina's version of pâté, made from grits and pig parts, is available in grocery stores and restaurants all over the state. Mark your calendars, livermush fans: Shelby hosts a Livermush Expo Oct. 23. A highlight - Mack's Livermush sells livermush sandwiches.

Shelby Livermush Expo, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 23, Historic Court Square, Washington Street, www.TourClevelandCounty.com

Fresh House near Albemarle

Fresh House near Albemarle is a combination bakery/candy store/toy store/cafe, started by the late Dave Hinson. But readers told us to go on the third weekend of the month for some of the best chicken and dumplings we've eaten anywhere: rich broth, plenty of chicken and tender strips of dumplings. Hinson's 79-year-old mother, Tunnie Hinson, comes in to roll them herself.

Fresh House, 805 W. Main St., Locust, 704-888-1460; closed Mondays. Chicken and dumplings served on the third weekend of the month.

Sunny Side Oyster Bar, Williamston

We touched on steamed oysters before, but we neglected to mention the Sunnyside Oyster Bar, which has been operating in Williamston since 1935. It hasn't changed much since then. Sit down at the U-shaped bar and have your oysters shucked by men with names like Jesse and Griff. This Eastern North Carolina institution opens for the season Friday.

Sunnyside Oyster Bar, 1102 Washington St, Williamston, 252-792-3416. 5:30 p.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-close Friday-Saturday, 5:30-8 p.m. Sunday.

Kyle Fletcher's, Gastonia

Here's another barbecue restaurant to add to your list: At Kyle Fletcher's in Gastonia, smoke pours out of a half-dozen cookers out back all day, turning out tender, chopped pork that is smokier than most Carolinas 'cue, with plenty of outside brown mixed in.

Kyle Fletcher's BBQ & Catering, 4507 Wilkinson Blvd., Gastonia, 704-824-1956. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Cash or checks only.

Peanuts

How could we forget peanuts? Try the blister-fried beauties sold at Mackey's Ferry Peanuts in Jamesville. Or the Carolina Crisp Peanut Bar, a solid bar of double-roasted peanuts from the Golden Grove Candy Co., based in Warsaw, N.C. The peanuts come from company president Lee Swinson's farm.

Mackey's Ferry Peanuts, 30871 U.S. 64, Jamesville, 888-637-6887. 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, closed Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, shop.mfpnuts.com/;

Golden Grove Candy Co., Warsaw. Carolina Crisp bars available at www.goldengrove.com; and Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly, IGA, Kerr Drugs, Handy Mart, Handy Hugo, Short Stop, Mallard and the State Farmers Market in Raleigh.

Hot dogs, various

Yes, the chili dog is a Carolinas classic. We noted several great places. Readers wanted more: the classic hot dog stand Dick's in Wilson, the footlong dogs with multiple toppings at Jay Bee's in Statesville and the unusual white chili on the dogs from Bill's in Washington.

Dick's Hotdog Stand, 1500 W. Nash St., Wilson, 252-243-6313; closed Mondays; Jay Bee's, 320 Mocksville Highway, Statesville, 704-872-8033; closed Sundays; Bill's Hot Dog Stand, 109 Gladden St., Washington, 252-946-3343; closed Sundays.

Calabash-style seafood, Calabash

Fried fresh off the boat, abundant and reasonably priced. Its name comes from Calabash, a small town inland from Sunset Beach and close to the South Carolina line. So it seems appropriate to recommend the Calabash Seafood Hut, where the shrimp and flounder are popular. Specials before 4 p.m. cost only $7. Even at dinner, you won't pay more than $15 and get a plate full of food.

Calabash Seafood Hut, 1125 River Road, Calabash, 910-579-6723, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday.

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