HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The mayor of Flavortown himself has added a few hot new additions to the Food Network’s rundown of North Carolina highlights.
Legendary foodie and chef Guy Fieri is best known as the host of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” the Food Network’s cross-country exploration of America’s classic “greasy spoon” restaurants. Fieri first launched into the spotlight with his 2006 victory on “Next Food Network Star,” and he’s done the title justice, earning himself a Hollywood Walk Fame star in 2019.
With more than 500 episodes and 38 seasons under his belt since Triple D first hit the road in 2007, the celebrity chef has visited hundreds upon hundreds of restaurants across the country.
But, today, we’re talking about Flavortown, North Carolina.
These are 27 North Carolina restaurants that have been featured on Food Network, specifically on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
Sweet n Savory Cafe
1611 Pavilion Place, Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: (910) 256-0115
Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, Sweet n Savory Cafe is a must-try option while passing through Wilmington. The menu includes something for everyone with classic dishes (pot roast, chicken pot pie, meatloaf, etc.) and incredible creations from the restaurant’s Executive chef and Sous chef.
Special Dishes: Wrightsville Beach French Toast, Mutha Heffer Sandwich (Meatloaf Sandwich)
Cast Iron Kitchen
8024 Market Street Unit 6, Wilmington, NC 28411
Phone: (910) 821-8461
This breakfast-brunch spot is serving up classic Southern flavors all day long. From shrimp and grits to chicken and waffles (and everything in between), Cast Iron Kitchen has a menu to satisfy any appetite. Guy Fieri suggests ordering the Not My Momma’s Meatloaf, which is comfort food at its finest.
Special Dishes: Dirty South Biscuit, Not My Momma’s Meatloaf
109 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: (910) 762-1373
For a taste of Philly in North Carolina, head to Copper Penny where owner Brian Cadwallader is serving up inventive pub food. The 109 Chestnut Chicken Sandwich is a take on a chicken Philly cheesesteak. It is served with their famous onion rings. “Keep those onion rings away from me,” Guy Fieri said after he couldn’t stop eating them, “I never want to see them again.”
Special Dishes: 109 Chestnut Chicken Sandwich, Hot Roasted Pork Sandwich
7210 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: (910) 256-3131
Chef and co-owner Hunter Tiblier grew up in Panama while his dad was working on the Panama Canal. At Ceviche’s he’s bringing the Latin-inspired dishes of his childhood to North Carolina. The Ropa Vieja is a homerun. Chef Tiblier takes spicy braised flank steak and serves it with citrus cabbage slaw, coconut rice, fried plantains, salsa fresca and avocado. Not surprisingly they also do killer authentic ceviche.
Special Dishes: Ropa Vieja, Sancocho, Ceviche
2909 N Davidson Street #200, Charlotte 28205
Phone: (704) 375-8260
This spot caters to craft beer aficionados who are particular about both their brews and their bites. In addition to its carefully curated selection of suds that extends beyond Heist’s own brews, the spot also serves not-so-basic burgers and other elevated takes on pub grub (Duck Confit Flatbread, anyone?). “That’s legit,” said Guy Fieri after sampling the sliders that feature miniature patties made from a blend of chuck, porter and brisket. These bite-sized beauties are packed with flavor, thanks to layers of herb goat cheese, beer-laced bacon jam, roasted tomatoes, fresh arugula and a house-made barbecue sauce.
Special Dishes: Burger, Burger, Burger (Sliders), Duck Confit Flatbread
Fud at Salud
3306 N Davidson St, Charlotte 28205
Housed in a beer shop, this little spot churns out imaginative eats that are just as inventive as the craft brews on the shelves. The “wild waffle sandwiches,” as Guy called them, are a particular standout. Listed as Waffle-Wiches on the menu, these golden, fluffy creations come stuffed with a delectable array of fillings. Guy opted for a sweet variation inspired by s’mores. Two Belgian waffles made from a meringue-laced batter are sandwiched with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate sauce and a massive housemade marshmallow that’s caramelized with a torch before serving.
Special Dishes: Waffle-Wiches
The Improper Pig
9855 Sandy Rock Place, Suite A, Charlotte 28277
Phone: (980) 339-8410
The Improper Pig is not your standard Southern barbecue joint. Here, classic Carolina ‘cue shares the menu with new-school creations shot through with Asian flavors. “There is nothing that I do not love about this,” exclaimed Guy Fieri when he tucked into the Chaobao Taco. Opt for this dish and you’ll get a steamed bun stuffed with succulent pulled pork that’s slathered with hoisin sauce and topped with a housemade coleslaw.
Special Dishes: Chaobao Taco, Improper Charcuterie
Bang Bang Burgers
2001 E 7th Street, Suite D, Charlotte, NC 28204
Phone: (704) 375-4505
The crowds pack in for the impeccable patties that Chef-Owner Joseph Huang turns out at his burger joint. Huang makes all his patties with Black Angus beef sourced from renowned butcher Pat LaFrieda, then dresses them up with a dazzling array of toppings. One popular pick is a Southern-tinged burger featuring a simply seasoned patty smothered with housemade pimento cheese and topped with fried pickles (which Guy Fieri deemed “the kicker,” when he stopped in for a bite).
Special Dishes: Pimento Burger, Fried Sweet Potato Brie Burger
Papi Queso Food Truck
Roaming Food Truck, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 579-1779
Locals track down this roaming food truck for a taste of the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches turned out by owner Brian Stockholm. “You’re a small food truck, but you’re getting all cheffy on it,” Guy Fieri declared after stepping inside. He raved about the Pig Mac sandwich composed of cheddar cheese slices layered between bechamel mac and cheese, caramelized bourbon onions and pulled pork that’s been rubbed with a slew of spices. A squirt of espresso barbecue sauce completes the creation.
Special Dishes Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
JJ’s Red Hots
1514 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: (980) 225-8880
JJ’s Red Hots is one food establishment that has gone entirely to the dogs … hot dogs, that is. Owner Jonathan Luther draws the crowds with his menu of hot dogs and sausages that can be customized with a slew of toppings. He makes the joint’s traditional Austrian-style sausages from scratch, using an 85/15 blend of pork butt and chuck. “That’s legit,” Guy Fieri declared after tucking into a spice-laden, cheese-laced sausage loaded with sauerkraut, pickled onions and mustard.
Special Dishes Housemade Sausage, Chili Cheese Coney
Mert’s Heart and Soul
214 N College Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 342-4222
Guy Fieri couldn’t visit North Carolina without getting a taste of low-country cooking, so he made a beeline for this down-home Southern restaurant. He tried the Soul Roll, an egg roll wrap that comes stuffed with adobo-laced collard greens, black-eyed peas, seasoned rice and diced fried chicken. “This is a soul food missile pop … with everything combined in one easy-to-eat bite,” he declared of the dish.
Special Dishes: Soul Roll, Shrimp and Grits
South 21 Drive-in
3101 E Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28205
Phone: (704) 377-4509
Since 1955, South 21 Drive-In has been serving more than 20,000 meals a month to Charlotte, N.C., locals; so Guy Fieri had to check them out. He’s glad he did for their classic American burgers and shakes, including the Super Boy, a signature double burger with scratch-made chili and tangy slaw.
Special Dishes: Super Boy (Burger with Two Patties, Coleslaw and Chili), Fish O Burger, Onion Rings, Golden Southern Fried Chicken
1220 Thomas Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205
Phone: (704) 344-0343
Walking into Dish feels like walking into someone’s grandmother’s house. It’s warm and casual and you get the feeling you’re going to be taken care of. Come for classic Southern comfort food like fried green tomatoes or chicken and biscuits, a Guy Fieri favorite.
Special Dishes: Chicken and Dumplings, Salmon Patties, Shrimp and Grits
The Tin Kitchen Food Truck
900 W Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 750-0477
This mobile food truck serves top-notch tacos and fusion dishes like buffalo-style cauliflower tacos.
Special Dishes: Pork Belly Tacos, Buffalo Cauliflower Sliders
Pinky’s Westside Grill
1600 W Morehead Street, Charlotte 28208
Phone: (704) 332-0402
A converted auto repair shop, this casual restaurant serves towering burgers, snappy dogs and not-too-healthy salads topped with popcorn chicken and fried buffalo shrimp.
Special Dishes: Triple “G” Burger, Corn Dog Shrimp
Intermezzo Pizzeria and Cafe
1427 E 10th Street, Charlotte, NC 28204
Phone: (704) 347-2626
This pizzeria sets its menu apart with a selection of traditional Serbian dishes, including Piroska, a Balkan-style stuffed pizza. Another standout is the grilled fungi option. Inspired by the foraged mushrooms the owners’ mother used to prepare, this earthy pie is scattered with grilled portobello, shiitake, oyster and button mushrooms over mozzarella before being finished with fragrant basil.
Special Dishes: Piroska, Grilled Fungi Pizza
300 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: (704) 332-6507
In a historic house a mother-daughter team prepares sensational seasonal New American dishes and homey desserts like a rotating ice cream sandwich.
Special Dishes: Lamb Ragout, Ice Cream Sandwich
2501 Central Ave, Charlotte 28205
Unlikely flavors come together for awesome dishes at this Charlotte seafood spot, which specializes in tacos like Szechuan-style salmon and blackened tuna.
Special Dishes: Blackened Tuna Tacos, Seafood Creole
Pit Road Bar & Grill
2330 Tipton Drive, Charlotte, NC 28206
Phone: (704) 377-3278
Set inside a Go-Kart Track, this casual restaurant serves crowd-pleasing dishes like wings, loaded fries and the Hot Lap, a sandwich packed with spicy chicken, jalapeno crema and cheese.
Special Dishes: Moon Pie Burger, Hot Lap Sandwich
Outer Banks Brewing Station
600 South Croatan Hwy, Kill Devils Hill, NC 27948
Phone: (252) 449-2739
This pub is committed to lessening its carbon footprint and not only sources local seafood and produce but also generates its own power using a wind turbine. Guy Fieri was impressed by the shrimp and grits with redeye gravy and sweet potato chips. Locals enjoy a handcrafted beer with their meal.
Special Dishes: Shrimp and Grits, Handcrafted Beer
Jake’s Good Eats
12721 Albemarle Road, Charlotte, NC 28227
Phone: (704) 545-4741
Brothers Jake and Gordon Stegall converted an old gas station into the local favorite for twists on Southern cooking. Guy Fieri’s favorite, blackened flounder with country ham grit cakes, was an out-of-bounds winner. But locals savor the super tasty venison quesadillas.
Special Dishes: Maple-Glazed Pork Chop, Venison Quesadilla
Penguin Drive-In (Closed)
1921 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte 28205
Phone: (704) 375-1925
Most people enjoy some french fries or onion rings with a burger, but how about fried pickles? The regulars at the Penguin in North Carolina can’t get enough of them. Head Chef Greg Auten makes his corn dogs from scratch, and Guy got addicted to his pimento grilled cheese.
Special Dishes: Fried Pickles, Corn Dogs, Pimento Grilled Cheese
2900 Wilkinson Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28208
Phone: (704) 399-8344
What flows through the river of Flavortown? Guy Fieri says it’s the Bar-B-Q Chicken at Bar-B-Q King. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate and Triple D, he chows down on their chicken that’s been fried and then dunked in their famous barbecue sauce. It’s nothing short of a tried-and-true recipe from 1959.
Special Dishes: Pulled Pork, BBQ Chicken, Southern Fried Chicken
Landmark Restaurant Diner
4429 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205
Phone: (704) 532-1153
Landmark Restaurant Diner may be a Greek family restaurant, but the menu spans the globe, from the American Turkey Tom-Tom (“Thanksgiving on a plate”) to the Italian tiramisu (one of just 230 baked goods). Of course, they’ve got Greek too — Guy Fieri could eat the spanakopita not once, but 36 more times.
Special Dishes: Boiled Whole Turkey, Split Pea Soup
Cabo Fish Taco
3201 N Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28205
Phone: (704) 332-8868
Even though Cabo Fish Taco calls North Carolina home, its tacos take a cue from Baja, California, as well as from south of the border. Guy Fieri visited Cabo looking for a new twist on the SoCal favorite and he found it in Flavortown with Cabo’s Southern-style mango barbecue fish tacos.
Special Dishes: Fish Tacos, Mango BBQ Mahi Mahi Tacos
3014 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959
Phone: (252) 441-7299
At this surfer hangout, grill master Richard Welch is dishing out “ridiculous” Caribbean-inspired dishes. Guy Fieri thought that the habanero jelly gave the jerk-seasoned pork chops just the right amount of spice and sweetness. The wet jerk-seasoned chicken with pineapple chutney was “off the hook.”
Special Dishes: Jerk-seasoned Pork Chops, Jerk-seasoned Chicken
The Black Pelican Oceanfront Restaurant
3848 N Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
Phone: (252) 261-3171
Located on the beachfront, this is where the locals know to come for fresh locally caught seafood. The Wanchese fisherman’s risotto with scallops and shrimp had Guy Fieri lickin’ his chops. This eatery is also known for its juicy citrus rosemary brine chicken with smoked gouda mash potatoes.
Special Dishes: Wanchese Fisherman’s Risotto, Citrus Rosemary Brine Chicken