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Is there any state in the United States more unique than North Carolina?

Uncovering North Carolina famous foods! From its checkered history to its fantastic culture, North Carolina stands out as one of the most memorable states in our union. Today, with an estimated population of over 10 million, North Carolina is the ninth-largest state in the U. S. and continues growth.

North Carolina cuisine has a lot of exciting dishes that are different from those typically eaten in other states. While many types of food can be found here, some uniquely North Carolina foods might surprise people unfamiliar with the state. Here is a list of several unique and iconic dishes and a few side items that make North Carolina cuisine exceptional. These are just some fantastic foods that can only be found in North Carolina.

Whether fried onion burgers or pimento cheese grits, you will indeed find something unique and different to enjoy!


Iconic and unique foods in North Carolina


A staple dish in North Carolina is a barbecue that uses different wood types of meats to smoke them. So, depending on where a person lives in the state, the type of barbecue they enjoy will change from an eastern style that uses a vinegar-based sauce to a western style that uses a thicker tomato and ketchup-based sauce.

Popular side dishes for barbecue include coleslaw, potato salad, beans, and sometimes cornbread.

In the state of North Carolina, barbecue is more than a dish – it is a way of life. Except those who self-identify as “barbecue purists,” most North Carolinians would agree that barbecue encompasses more than just pork.

It is common for North Carolinians to barbecue chicken, beef, shrimp, and other non-pork items. However, it is essential to note that North Carolina’s most popular barbecue dish is pork.

The Debate Between Whole Hog and Pulled Pork

Traditionally, North Carolina’s most popular barbecue dish is whole hog barbecue, though many believe pulled pork is more popular. In North Carolina, people frequently debate the difference between authentic hog barbecue and pulled pork.

There are significant differences between these two barbecue dishes. Typically, the whole hog is the more involved and challenging process, and this is why many people believe that pulled pork is now more popular than complete hog barbecue.

A whole hog barbecue can be defined as a hog that has been slow-cooked over an open flame while the meat is basted with a sauce. The result is tender, succulent meat that falls right off the bone.

Carolina bbq can be served either hot or cold, though traditionally served hot. The meat is placed on a plate and covered with coleslaw; the side dishes can vary, but a traditional North Carolina barbecue meal must include coleslaw.

In contrast, pulled pork is barbecued in chunks rather than as an entire hog, and the cooking process is done at a much faster rate. Thus, the meat does not fall off the bone as quickly because it has not been slow-cooked over an open flame.

The meat is generally shredded rather than cut into pieces, and it may or may not be served with a sauce. The bbq meat is often served on a sandwich, though it can also be a side dish.

North Carolina Famous Food

Central NC BBQ 

Lexington Barbecue, Lexington — www.lexbbq.com

Eastern NC BBQ

Bum’s Restaurant, Ayden — www.bumsrestaurant.net

Western NC BBQ

Buxton Hall Barbeque, Asheville — www.buxtonhall.com


People who don’t live in North Carolina might find this hard to believe, but one place people can get doughnuts here is at Krispy Kreme, which was started in North Carolina by Vernon Rudolph in 1937.

They still have locations throughout the state so that visitors can try their food here and support a local business. Another popular spot is Duck Donuts which serves gourmet doughnuts in various flavors and has locations in Carolina Beach, Wilmington, and Belhaven.

Cheerwine float 

This soft drink is only sold in North Carolina at the Cheerwine Bottling Company. It can be served plain or mixed with vanilla ice cream to make a float which some people think tastes like root beer though they’re different drinks. If you want to try this beverage, you’ll have to stop by one of these two places: Thomasboro, NC, where it’s bottled, and Salisbury, NC, where it’s based out of its headquarters.

Cheerwine Festival, Salisbury NC
Saturday, May 21, 2022 from 12:00 -10:00 p.m.


Chicken-fried steak 

This dish garners a lot of attention due to its name. It’s breaded beef steak deep-fried in oil. In addition to being served with white gravy, it can also be topped with salsa or chili beans and french fries on the side.

Pimento cheese grits

While cheese grits are famous around the south, pimento cheese is not, which seems unusual but tasty. After trying this dish, you might want to try it again because people get hooked on them and won’t stop talking about how delicious they are!

Hatteras style clam juice 

Another North Carolina staple that’s different from other places is clam juice, clam chowder, which can be made in various ways depending on where someone lives. One famous soup people like to eat here is Hatteras style clam chowder, which has clams, potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots mixed in with pepper and thyme. This dish can also be eaten during breakfast by using grits instead of potatoes as the base.


Many who don’t live in North Carolina haven’t heard of this dish of pork liver, salt, pepper, and other spices. It’s often served for breakfast and biscuits or eaten on a sandwich at lunchtime if someone prefers to eat it hot instead of cold. If you try this food, you’ll find that the taste is similar to spam but healthier for you!

Pepsi bbq chicken 

This type of barbecue has its roots in western North Carolina, where people like to eat chicken with coleslaw and french fries on top of it. It’s also common to see someone use lemon pepper instead of traditional salt and pepper in this area. Blend cola into their sauce to make it sweeter than normal barbecue sauce. One popular way people enjoy eating Pepsi bbq chicken is by pouring some onto French fries.

Appalachian Kilt 

Wilted fresh lettuce or leafy greens and spring onions combined with hot bacon grease and crispy bacon pieces.

Apple stack cake

Another unique thing about North Carolina cuisine is its cakes which can be sweet or savory, with one example being apple stack cake. This dish comprises layers of thinly sliced apples, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and streusel topping, often used to make muffins. Fruit cakes are also famous for special occasions such as weddings where people will bake them in molds with fruit inside!


Appalachian tradition is sweet baked dessert.

Not as fussy as pie and juicier than cobbler. But the good news is they are just as effortless and delicious as they sound.


A variety of foods you can find when you live and travel through North Carolina definitely sets it apart from the rest of America, like grabbing a fresh Krispy Kreme and a Cheerwine float.



The name on the location of the 9thAnnual Rocky Mount Paws in the Park event says it all, as ‘Best Friend’s Dog Park’ at 400 East Duke Circle (just minutes from Belmont Lake Preserve) will host a day full of activities focused on you and your furry friends.

This years’ Rocky mount paws in the Park event is scheduled for Saturday, April 13 and will start at 11:00 am and run for three fun-filled hours until 2:00 pm. As it has in its previous 8 years of existence, Rocky Mount Paws in the Park promotes responsibility in pet ownership and the humane treatments of dogs, with a full day of contests and special events.

Once again, returning to the Rocky Mount Paws in the Park event will be a crowd favorite from previous years, the “Dare Devil Dogs.” This is a high energy, exciting stunt show where dogs will perform, catching frisbees and flying discs in acrobatic fashion in an awesome display that all are sure to enjoy. The “Dare Devil Dogs” will perform two entire shows throughout the day’s events.

As has become expected at Rocky Mount Paws in the Park, this year will see many unique events throughout the day. According to the official Facebook event page, each of the  following will also take place on April 14 at Best Friend’s Dog Park:

  • Doggie Treasure/Egg Hunt
  • Pet Fashion Show
  • Art and Photo Booths
  • Vendors and Demonstrations
  • Live Music
  • Food Trucks

In addition to all of this, there will also be reduced price microchipping and rabies shots for your pet on site. For further information on this years’ Rocky Mount Paws in the Park 9thanniversary celebration, visit their Facebook Event page here.


Rocky-Mount-NC-Restaurants-BelmontLake Preserve

Delicious steaks, chops, and like dishes are always popular at “An American Table”

The state of North Carolina has long been known for its wide array of incredible and unique food offerings ” The city of Rocky Mount NC Restaurant can certainly offer up a wide variety of dining options and one of the most unique and delicious experiences you will find state wide is just minutes from the premier North Carolina golf community at Belmont Lake Preserve , at Lou Reda’s” An American Table Restaurant.

An immediate favorite among Rocky Mount NC Restaurants since opening doors in the Fall of 2013, Lou Reda’s has impressed both the local residents and travelers passing through town on either US Highway 64 or I-95 with what they refer to on their own website as “ a wide variety of tantalizing upscale American cuisine.” The uniqueness of such an incredible array of choices on the brunch, lunch or dinner menus is unparalleled by any other Rocky Mount NC restaurant and combines all of the elements and menu options from your favorite steak houses, seafood restaurants, and comfort food joints.

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A variety of succulent seafood dishes and pastas are a staple of Lou Reda’s menu

Continuously striving to build on a reputation for their commitment to that “one of a kind” dining experience, as well as to set the standard for authentic quality taste and freshness among Rocky Mount NC Restaurant, Lou Reda has spent over two decades in the culinary field and prides himself on every item from sauces to butters being made in house.

The local favorites on the ever-evolving menu at Lou Reda’s is nearly impossible to list with so many popular items and such a wide variety of choices. However, mouth watering items such as the slow cooked brisket and ribs, fresh cut varieties of fish and seafood options, chicken-n-waffles, or a juicy 14 ounce rib eye steak are just a few staples that keep the locals choosing Lou Reda’s as their number one among Rocky Mount NC restaurant. Additionally, they take the Rocky Mount NC Restaurant experience “across the globe” on a weekly basis, changing menu options to represent a different area or ethnicity, possibly offering a Creole-style Cajun menu one week, to be followed by one resembling an Irish or British pub, with maybe more Asian themed dishes the next.

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Lou Reda’s sandwiches and burgers are some of the best in the land!

With an unbelievable variety on their lunch, dinner, and brunch menu, Lou Reda’s: An American Table restaurant is sure to please every appetite at your own personal table, one way or another. They also offer several catering options for all your special events and much like their food menus, boast the widest selection among Rocky Mount NC Restaurant behind the bar also, with an incredible list of “bourbon infused” cocktails, all featuring home made syrups and puree’s used in the drinks.

Lou Reda’s: An American Table is located at 3646 Sunset Boulevard in Rocky Mount, to see their full menu and all the details on what is sure to be your most unique experience among Rocky Mount NC Restaurant, check out their website at www.louredas.com

(Photos Courtesy of Lou Reda’s American Table)

Rocky Mount Monk to Mill Trail

In what would add to the already plentiful active lifestyle options and picturesque scenery of the city, the proposed Rocky Mount Monk to Mill Trail would be a project adding trails and potentially another beautiful city park, linking downtown Rocky Mount to the Rocky Mount Mills site.

The potential addition to the city is detailed at the official City of Rocky Mount website, where it describes the Rocky Mount Monk to Mill Trail, stating, “The Monk to Mill Trail is a conceptual greenway and urban trail project that will serve as a location of experience for cyclists and pedestrians between Downtown Rocky Mount and the Rocky Mount Mills. The Monk to Mill Trail provides a “linear commons” that will weave the fabric of central city living in Rocky Mount. “

Continuing on about the exciting prospect of a greenway and trail linking downtown to the mill site, it reads, “This dynamic platform designed for creativity and active living will be the point of assembly for locals and visitors alike to observe and experience the vibrancy happening along this linear park and throughout downtown. Monk to Mill Trail will be the place for recreation, relaxation, and fellowship.”

The name for the Rocky Mount Monk to Mill Trail would come from a salute of sorts to the city’s rich history in two different areas, with one obviously being the cotton mills and the mill site and the other being its ties to jazz music and legendary musician, Thelonious Monk, who was born in Rocky Mount.

An editorial/opinion piece which ran recently in The Rocky Mount Telegram,  spoke of these ties and recognizing the city’s history in offering a vote of support for the Rocky Mount Monk to Mill Trail and its tip of the cap to its storied past. “Other cities with more resources would love to be known as Monk’s hometown.” The Telegram opinion piece went on to voice its support, saying, “Monk’s pioneering music is still celebrated and loved by jazz scholars and aficionados all over the world. The idea to tie Monk Park to the Rocky Mount Brewmill is a creative means of linking past and future in entertainment and recreation. A trail would beckon to music fans, fitness buffs, craft beer enthusiasts and many more tourists.”

Further details of the proposed Rocky Mount Monk to Mill Trail including renderings of the proposed trail and greenway and the park among other information can be seen at rockymountnc.gov.

Rocky Mount Downtown Community Facility

Working towards an idea that originally surfaced among city council members as far back as the 1940’s and brought back to the council chambers again in the mid 1970’s and 1990’s, the possibility of a Rocky Mount Downtown Community Facility (RMDCF) with an emphasis on hosting incoming sporting events among other activities could stand to bring an economic impact of an estimated $264 million spending dollars to the city with in ten years of its doors opening.

Detailed and referred to at the City of Rocky Mount’s official website as a “conceptual indoor sports destination” that would be located only minutes from your new home at Belmont Lake Preserve, in the heart of downtown Rocky Mount, rockymountnc.gov goes on to explain the proposed facility would be “unlike any sporting event center in eastern North Carolina.”

Continuing to explain what would set the Rocky Mount Downtown Community Facility apart from any similar in Eastern NC, the website noted it would be “unique in that it not only caters to sporting tournaments, but also has the capacity to accommodate a multitude of other occasions. The piece went on to promote the idea, noting, “This space is ideal for use by both locals and visitors alike, and will set Downtown Rocky Mount apart as the perfect destination location of experience for people of all ages and interests.”

Despite the planning stages obviously taking some time and since the concept has been brought back about by the council, there have obviously been some questions raised by Rocky Mount residents, the “Frequently Asked Questions” section devoted to the concept of a Rocky Mount Downtown Community Facility would point towards a very promising economic effect that the new facility could have on the city.

While the document does state that the Rocky Mount Downtown Community Facility would require several subsidies in its first few operating years ($872,000 in year one, $682,000 in years two and year three $264,000), the anticipated generated revenue and jobs locally would seem to counteract these and then some.

“In its first year, the projected operating revenue will be $1,646,552. By year 10, the projected revenue is $5,938,327, “ the document states. Equally as promising as that statement would be the section addressing the potential new jobs created by a Rocky Mount Downtown Community Facility. “The Downtown Community Facility would create 50 new jobs from the ongoing operations, plus 200 construction jobs. A general manager at the facility would make approximately $90,000 annually. A marketing director would generate $70,000 to $80,000 per year. There are also other high skilled positions that would be available. “

On top of these figures the anticipated economic impact of $264 million in new spending in the city over 10 years, coupled with several other high profile announcements recently of economic development in Rocky Mount and the surrounding community it would seem that things are looking bright for the future of the a Rocky Mount Downtown Community Facility and the entire city as a whole.

To view the information at the City of Rocky Mount’s website on the Rocky Mount Downtown Community Facility, visit rockymountnc.gov.

(Photo Credit: City of Rocky Mount)


Normally held on the first Friday evening of each month, the December 1 installment of First Friday at the Imperial Centre will carry a Christmas theme, featuring activities for the whole family, just minutes from your new home at the Belmont Lake Preserve NC golf community in all sections of the downtown Rocky Mount arts center.The Imperial Centre website listed the following special activities that will be taking place on the December 1 First Friday at the Imperial Centre in addition to the lighting of the Imperial Centre Christmas tree, a visit from Santa Claus for the kids, and carriage rides and bounce houses in the courtyard where there has been a forecast for “snow,” to get all in the mood of the season.

In the Childrens’ Museum at First Friday at the Imperial Centre will be:

  • Free admission featuring new exhibit, Ocean Bound
  • Chris “JuggleBoy” Fowler – magic and juggling program at 6:30
  • Kid’s activities
  • Rocky Mount Wildlife Rehabbers
  • Planetarium Show: Season of Light at 7 pm
  • Lasershow: Laser Holiday  at 8 pm
  • Braswell Memorial Pop-Up Library
  • Meet naturalist, Tom Stutz

In the Arts Center at First Friday at the Imperial Centre will be:

  • Live Music
  • Photo Booth
  • Gallery Sketching
  • Craft
  • Hot Cocoa & Cookies

The Imperial Centre is located at 270 Gay Street in Rocky Mount. For more information on First Friday at the Imperial Centre and all their fun upcoming family friendly events, go to imperialcentre.org and for more information on all the great happening around Rocky Mount and happenings surrounding Belmont Lake Preserve check out our news blog here.

Great Places in North Carolina

The American Planning Association (APA) recently recognized the City of Rocky Mount and continued their revitalization and beautification efforts to downtown, which is just a few minutes from your new home at Belmont Lake Preserve, making them one of only six communities statewide to receive a Great Places in North Carolina award for Main Street.

The city’s efforts to add to the already beautiful and historic downtown area was the basis for their receiving of the Great Places in North Carolina recognition, as Rocky Mount was honored in the “Professional’s Category,” with Main Street being recognized with the 2016 “Great Main Street In-the-Making Award.”

This honor marks the first time that the city of Rocky Mount has been bestowed one of the prestigious Great Places in North Carolina awards, which first were handed out to municipalities by the American Planning Association in 2012. The APA spoke of the six communities (including Rocky Mount) in the announcement of this years’ winners on their website, stating, “These communities represent some of the best planning efforts in North Carolina, and serve as models for visioning, partnerships, and collaboration.” Rocky Mount was recognized and actually received the award at an event held this summer during “Town Hall Day,” which was held in Raleigh.

The Great Places in North Carolina program was initially created five years ago as a way to honor the great communities across the state and the hard working people who have gone above and beyond to make them even greater. The APA website further explains the program and their reason for starting the program, noting, “North Carolina is full of amazing places that make this state a wonderful place to live, bring important money and jobs into our economy, and keep our communities thriving. Many people work hard to create, sustain, and improve these places, including citizens, planners, business leaders, and elected officials. This is a chance for everyone to celebrate together!”

To read more about Rocky Mount’s Main Street gaining recognition and the Great Places in North Carolina program, visit apa-nc.org.

Bark for Life of Nash County

For all of the dog lovers and those who just would like to lend a hand to a great cause under the roof of your new home at Belmont Lake Preserve can head out to the Rocky Mount Dog Park on Saturday, November 5 and take part in Bark for Life of Nash County, and event organized by the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Much like their successful, Relay for Life program has raised millions of dollars across the United States to help save lives and for research on those who have been unfortunately stricken with cancer, Bark for Life of Nash County is a noncompetitive walk event to help with this great cause. Bring your favorite “furry friend” out to Rocky Mount Dog Park, located 480 North Lee Street in Rocky Mount at and start the day with the walk and enjoy the rest of the day with contests, games, and other demonstrations you and your dog can partake in together.

Welcoming those who are unfamiliar with the Relay for Life program or Bark for Life, the American Cancer Society explains the goal of this incredible program on their website, saying, “By supporting Bark For Life, you help the American Cancer Society save lives, and that helps us move closer to our ultimate goal of a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”

There is still time to help out with Bark for Life of Nash County as a sponsor if interested, as the generosity of the surrounding communities at these events is truly what helps to save live as the ACS also explains, “The success of the American Cancer Society’s Bark For Life depends on individuals, teams, and, of course, the generous support of our sponsors. Our lifesaving work in the fight against cancer would not be possible without the generosity of sponsoring businesses and community organizations.”

The opening ceremony for Bark for Life of Nash County begins at 9:00 a.m. and the day’s activities will run until 1:00 p.m. For further details on Bark for Life of Nash County, visit the American Cancer Society events page at acsevents.org. For specific questions or more information on the event you can also contact Bennita Dunham by phone at 252-314-5740 or via email at [email protected].

North Carolina golf communities

With high praise and accolades from some of the most respected golf publications in the nation,  and the name of one of the country’s most accredited course designers, David Johnson, attached to its beautiful 18 hole layout in Rocky Mount NC, the Belmont Lake Golf Club right here on site at Belmont Lake Preserve is truly a “masterpiece” among North Carolina golf communities just outside your front door.

The pro shop at the BLP Golf Clubhouse has all your needs to go out and hit 18

The pro shop at the BLP Golf Clubhouse has all your needs to go out and hit 18

With a classic setup featuring a front-nine out and back-nine in routing, the spectacular course design of David Johnson was selected by the North Carolina Golf Panel as one of the state’s “Top 100 You Can Play” among North Carolina golf communities. In addition, with its great blend of variety and contrasts taking you from holes that play through scenic woodlands, as well as several that do not, where the wind and weather conditions will come into play, the Belmont Lake Golf Club was named in 2012 as one of the top ten North Carolina golf communities to play in Eastern NC.

Boasting an array of hole lengths, doglegs to either side, and greens which are both large and small, the course has drawn rave reviews for its overall balance from golfers of all skill sets. Making for an enjoyable round regardless of a players handicap, the strategic design of the course offers up the challenging demands of an advanced player from the back tees, which greatly lessen for the more inexperienced players that are teeing off from the front. Examples of this see many holes where when teeing off from the back tees, cross-bunkers or forced carries will come into play, where as many of these hazards are not a factor for those hitting from the front tee area.

North Carolina golf communities

Special events for golfers both young and old take place at Belmont Lake Golf Club regularly

Course designer, David Johnson’s website praises this gem among North Carolina golf communities saying, “The Belmont Lake Golf Club course is a masterpiece… the course takes full advantage of the gently rolling terrain in offering a unique golfing experience.” Speaking further to the playability of the course for those with any skill set, from beginner to pro, the site concluded, “Belmont Lake Golf Club is a challenging, fair test of golf that provides interest, variety and excitement for players of all abilities.”

To learn more about the spectacular 18-hole Belmont Lake Golf Club, including membership information, upcoming events, and so much more visit belmontlakegolfclub.com.


Taking a cue from the success of a similar Rocky Mount Community Event, “Paws in the Park,” the city’s Parks and Recreation Department invite pet owners and their dogs to be a part of the first ever “Splash Bark,” being held just up the street from your new home at Belmont Lake Preserve NC golf community at Sunset Spray Park on Sunday, September 18.

This unique Rocky Mount Community Event will feature many fun activities for you to enjoy with your dog throughout the three-hour festivities. These would include many of your favorite Sunset Park activities that you’ve come to love over the years, including taking a ride through the park on the train, circling around the carousel, and of course cooling off while splashing around with “man’s best friend” in the spray park.

This very special day for a pet and his owner begins at 2:00 pm. and wraps up at 5:00. Upon arrival to this Rocky Mount Community Event at Sunset Park it is asked that you and your pet enter through the concessions building. Also, for obvious safety precautions, a proof of your dogs’ rabies vaccination is required for entry. Your dog will be required to be on a leash in all areas of Sunset Park except for the spray park area, where they are free to splash and frolic at this Rocky Mount Community Event, “leash-free.”

In discussing the first ever “Splash Bark” event recently with the Rocky Mount Telegram, Event Organizer Alex Langley said, “We have a vibrant and excited dog lovers’ population in our community.” Langley continued, “Events like this enable us to provide increased activities for our four legged friends and their owners.”

For further information on “Splash Bark,” or any other upcoming Rocky Mount Community Event, visit the “Splash Bark” Facebook Event page or contact Alex Langley at [email protected].