Nik Snacks 2018 Top 10 Restaurants in Winston-Salem ~ Nik Snacks

Bite it and write it. That's what I do.


On 12:07 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , , ,    5 comments
My blog is 10 years old. 
The only thing I’ve done for 10 years straight, is be alive. This is very overwhelming. 

Lord, I need a drink.

In order to celebrate, I’m going to tell you a little secret. 

I’m going to tell you my top 10 favorite restaurants in my favorite place in the world. Well, in America. Specifically, North Carolina. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

I tell people,"I wasn't born here, but I was bred here. Lots of bread. I eat it all of the time"

I get messages and texts weekly from friends, acquaintances and followers who want restaurant recommendations in the city. Every single request sends me into a panic because there are so many factors to consider: price range, cuisine, allergies, parking, time of day, night of the week... 

My chest is tightening, just typing this part out. This list is the 100% definitive list of Nik Snacks' absolute favorite restaurants for 2018.

The criterion range from economical to very expensive, quality of service, atmosphere, ease of takeout ordering and online presence (its important to have an updated, easily accessible menu online in 2018). This list is in no particular order. There is no ranking here. My #1 favorite restaurant knows who they are. There’s no need for me to broadcast it here.

It's okay if you don't agree with me. This list is based on personal experiences. It's not okay if you received terrible service in the past and refused to darken their doorstep. This list is more about my experience as a culinary professional and self-proclaimed cosmopolitan hedonist than a curated list based on Trip Advisor, Yelp or Facebook reviews.

Mozelle's: The tomato pie, gourmet meatloaf and shrimp & grits are the three best dishes on the menu. Available year round, these are the most popular dishes and after nearly 10 years of service, the taste has never changed. The shrimp & grits here--bar none--are the best in the Piedmont. Every restaurant that specializes in Southern cuisine has a version and they will tell you its their best seller (I mean, c'mon, it's shrimp--HECK YEAH, it's your bestseller, buddy), but the white cheddar stone-ground grits, the sherry cream sauce and diced proscuitto send me through the roof with each bite.

Graze: Located inside the Marriott hotel, not only does Graze raise the bar and hold it above all other hotels' heads for ridicule, it has changed the game on hotel food. Flatbreads, burgers, blackened catfish, smoked duck...Have you ever seen things like that on a hotel menu? Easter, Mother's Day and Thanksgiving are never lonely in this hotel restaurant because the buffet would put any Bacchanalian celebration to shame. Last, but not least, if you use the hotel valet to park, Graze will validate your ticket. Boom.

West End Cafe: Open for over 30 years, people have been sleeping on how great this West End staple is. It's my place of choice for a quiet dinner with a friend or a low-key date night with my boyfriend. Whether it's lunch or dinner, I always find something new to love here. My go-to is the cook's salad (bascially a chef's salad; you get to add 2 additional "fixins" for free) but at least twice a year the menu changes and the options always blow me away. Fried oysters, tonkatsu ramen, short ribs--oh, yes. But this place also has one of the best Reubens in town. When I think Reuben, I think West End.

Miss Ora's Kitchen: My first time here, I thought my deceased grandmother was in the back giving instructions on how to make her potato salad. I also thought I saw her swishing to the back through the kitchen door. The food here is anointed with the Holy Ghost, I swear. It's not my grandma back there, but it's owner/chef Stephanie Tyson's grandmother--Miss Ora, the inspiration behind the restaurant. Simple menu: 3-piece and a biscuit. That's all you need to get by. And so do I.

The Carving Board: I've been eating here since I was in high school. I always get a chicken salad sandwich on toasted wheat bread with honey mustard (it's very spicy and a little sweet), lettuce, tomato and Swiss cheese. Other things I like: sesame noodle salad, cucumber salad, bowtie pasta (not the Mexican one), egg salad, tuna salad (crunchy bits of Granny Smith Apple, sweet dried cranberries), citrus grilled shrimp (so smoky and sweet) Everything is by-the-pound and you can tell them you "just want a little bit" and you can ask what the prices are. There is no shame in not wanting to pay more than $2-$3 per item for a little taste of a lot of things. Everything is absolutely fresh and always garnished. 

Mayflower (Rural Hall): Every Friday for as long as I can remember, we have fish on Fridays. If we aren't frying it, we're buying it and it's usually from Mayflower.Now that I'm an adult, I have fish on other days, too, usually Thursdays--because it's Popcorn Shrimp Day (it's only $3.99). I prefer this location over the Peter's Creek location. That one hasn't been the same since it burned down years ago and was rebuilt. Even though it's outside of the city, it's the only exception to my list.

Little Richard’s BBQ : I think Lexington Style BBQ is the best barbecue in the world. I'm not here for debates--it's simply my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Little Richard's was the first pork barbecue I ever tasted as a young girl, I think it's best. Whether I get it chopped, sliced on a tray or the big seeded buns or a mess of hushpuppies with the red barbecue slaw, I'm always satisfied with my choices here. And little known fact: the burgers here and good, too! Yes, I know there are other locations, but Country Club is the original and the only one that matters.

Cloverdale Kitchen: When I come here, I'm usually the youngest person in the place and I'm well over 30. I usually eat in if I'm enjoying breakfast and get takeout if I'm having dinner. I don't want anyone to see me tear into the food as if I have no manners or home training. The fried chicken and macaroni and cheese are my favorites. 

Crafted: The Art of the TacoThe kitchen is open and it really is a beautiful space overall. Crafted is quick to tell you that this is a taco joint, NOT a Mexican restaurant. The tacos are eclectic (barbecue pork and macaroni and cheese on a taco? Dude, it's awesome) and there are so many interesting menu items, you have to come back multiple times to get it all in. A Mason jar of crispy bacon, great burgers, fresh chips, chunky guacamole, perfectly diced pico de gallo, and there's even an option to make anything into a rice bowl. I love this place and I'm so happy to have a Crafted family member in my favorite city in the world.

Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar: The commitment to using local products, the extreme attention to detail, the genuine hospitality and the professionalism of every staff member,make we want to come her over and over again. The menu changes every season, there are nightly specials and I've never had a bad meal here. Every dish is beautiful, Instagram-worthy (without a filter) and each bite is a food experience unto itself. My favorite things: TUESDAYS: $1 oysters; WEDNESDAYS-- Three-course prix fixe menu for dinner is only $20.13.


Barrie P. said...

Great list! I have been to most of those places but need to check out Ms. Ora's.

Kimberly Killebrew said...

So many great options, these all sound like they're right up my alley taste-wise!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Happy anniversary to your blog! I'm coming on 8 years---hard to believe!!! And now I'm dying to come to Winston-Salem and eat some shrimp and grits. Great resounce!!!

Lynn (Prema) said...

10 years is awesome!

I really prefer cooking and eating at home - mainly, because I ate out for 25 years - but this list and this frickin-frackin social distancing COVID-19 blankety-blank makes me carve to sit down in a nice restaurant and have a nice meal.
I'll be referencing this list.
Thanks for your good work.
Stay chirpy!

Caroline Mcmahon said...

When the world opens back up I am going to visit every restaurant on this list!