Dear readers, I have been remiss. In all my years writing about North Carolina food, traveling around the state stuffing my face, and touting places like Durham and Asheville as culinary meccas, I have neglected a gem of a city. Winston-Salem is a mere hour and a half from the Triangle and has a lively and delicious food scene that deserves attention! The hubby and I recently spent two days in Winston-Salem, here are some of the highlights:
Ollie’s Bakery - located right next to my hotel, this was our first stop. A bakery in the European tradition, Ollie’s is a feast for the eyes, nose, and, most of all, palette. We grabbed a chai latte (to warm us up on our planned walk around downtown) and a scone each. I went for the cheddar spinach, which was so substantial I didn’t even finish the whole thing. It made a great snack later that night! My husband went with a pear scone, and the little bit I managed to pry away from him as he devoured it was delicious. Ollie’s offered a full line of coffees and teas, a myriad of pastries and other goodies, and a large selection of artisan breads. I wish all of my mornings could start at Ollies! (300 S. Marshall St, closed Mondays)
Hello Spinach Cheddar Scone, you will do quite nicely
6th and Vine – a wine bar after my own heart. We are dedicated regulars at Six Plates here in Durham, so it was only fitting that we ended up at a wine bar for dinner Sunday night. With many restaurants closed on Sundays, 6th and Vine seemed like the place to be! Luckily for us Sundays were also half-off bottle night, so we treated ourselves to a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon as we enjoyed our meals. I had the fried green tomato napoleon, because, why the hell not? It was fried. It had cheese. All was right with the world. Leland ordered the grilled chicken harvest salad, added some fried goat cheese rounds, and was in heaven. The atmosphere was bubbly and energetic without being too loud, and our server was great. If I lived in Winston-Salem I would quickly become a regular at 6th and Vine. (209 W. 6th Street, closed Mondays)
I don’t like to use flash in restaurants, but rest assured this fried green tomato napoleon was delicious
Foothills Brewing – there was no chance I was going to leave Winston-Salem without visiting Foothills. Their Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout is legendary; its rated a 92 by Beer Advocate and folks line up around the block (literally) when its released each winter. I’ve been lucky enough to have one encounter with Sexual Chocolate, and I enjoy many of their other beers, so I was excited to stop by their brewpub in downtown Winston-Salem for lunch with Casey Hough, Marketing & Media Manager for Visit Winston-Salem. In a true testament to our marriage, Leland and I both settled on the Cuban Pork Sandwich and the tasting flight. Here is where the meal got interesting; where I was expecting small tastes of Foothills various brews instead arrived seven half-pints! At $7.99 for a flight of seven beers I couldn’t argue, but seeing as we were headed out to a winery after lunch I had to take it easy. The Seeing Double IPA was one of my favorites, but I would encourage anyone visiting for the first time to just go ahead and commit to the flight! The sandwich was no slouch either! (638 W. Fourth Street, open everyday 11am-2am)
Holy flight of beers Batman!
Camino Bakery - My husband only stayed one night so I was on my own for dinner on night two, which unfortunately for me happened to be a Monday. Many restaurants are closed on Mondays (as someone who works in the restaurant industry this is a practice I wholeheartedly support) and besides, I wasn’t sure my stomach could handle another big meal after a marathon morning and afternoon of eating and drinking. Camino Bakery had been recommended to me as a place to check out, and oh what a recommendation. I wandered in around 8pm and opted for a demi-baguette, hunk of brie, and a drip coffee. Simple food yet absolutely satisfying. Camino offers Krankies coffee, delicious baked goods and sandwiches, and a selection of wines and craft beers. Sunday through Thursday you can order the La Boheme Special; 2 glasses of their featured wine, a demi-baguette, and a hunk of cheese, all for only $12.95! Camino Bakery seemed to me to be the hub of downtown life, with everyone from students and creative types to professionals and families coming and going throughout my evening there. If you need a place to sit and collect your thoughts as you plan out the next steps of your Winston-Salem visit, or are just in the mood for a damn good cup of coffee, I urge you to stop in at Camino!
Dinner for one
Tate’s Craft Cocktails - named by Imbibe Magazine as one of the 100 Best Places to Drink in the South, Tate’s Craft Cocktails is located right in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem. I met up with a friend from college for a nightcap and on his suggestion we found ourselves belly up at the bar at Tate’s. One look at the menu and I knew what I wanted – the Grog Cabin. A drink of bacon-infused bourbon, Grade B maple syrup, lemon, and bitters, not only was the Grog Cabin the perfect drink to end my day, and stay, in Winston-Salem, but it also came with MINI WAFFLE GARNISHES. I mean, c’mon! It practically screamed my name. Tate’s was the perfect mix of high-end cocktail and laid-back dive bar, although my friend warned that on weekend nights it can fill to the brim with students from nearby Wake Forest University. My advice? Hit up Tate’s on a Monday night and start your week off right. (279 W. Fourth Street, closed Sundays)
The Grog Cabin is something I must recreate at home
Reynolda House – Lest you think all I did was eat and drink my way through Winston-Salem, we also stopped by Reynolda House Museum of American Art, housed in the former home of tobacco baron R.J. Reynolds and his wife Katharine Smith Reynolds. In addition to admission to the museum (we were lucky enough to catch the Romare Bearden exhibit) your ticket allows you entry into the house itself. Much like at Biltmore Estate, you are allowed to tour the house to see what life was like for the Reynolds family and their staff. The house is chock full of incredible works of American art on top of the Reynolds family artifacts, and the entire property is well worth a visit. (2250 Reynolda Road, closed Mondays)
I'm Matt. I love food. I love to grow it, cook it, eat it, learn about it, write about it, and talk about it. I believe that there are few things more important in life than what we put into our bodies. I believe food should be healthy for body, mind, and planet.
Once, while I was living in Ecuador, I ate some roast guinea pig from a street vendor. It was one of the best experiences and worst stomach aches of my life.