So here’s the thing: I think we’ve all realized by this point in quarantine that our hobbies include many “non-essential” businesses. I find myself day-dreaming of going into Home Goods or Marshalls and touching ALL the things that I have no intention of actually buying. Or sipping a nice latte in a window facing Fourth Street. Or of actually stepping foot in a restaurant (*gasp* shocking I know!) and enjoying a nice meal that didn’t come in styrofoam containers. I’m also super bummed that some of our last months in Winston-Salem will be spent safely tucked away in our home instead of checking off our bucket list items. I’ve discovered that Winston-Salem is an undercover foodie city. So to cope with quarantine, I’ve compiled a list of some of the BEST restaurants Winston-Salem has to offer (which you can find me at as soon as they are open again).
Firstly, we have probably the most creative name of the bunch. I mean, the name alone was enough to grab my attention. The menu as described by the owners is “unique, southern-inspired uptown, down-home cooking.” They take classic Southern dishes and put their own spin on them. The menu includes dishes like Southern Fried Chicken (served with horseradish mashed potatoes and peach onion marmalade), Drunken Pork Chops (with apple brandy gravy), Slap Yo’ Mamma Ribs, and my personal favorite, BBQ Shrimp and Grits. Sweet Potatoes was opened on Trade St. in the Arts District downtown in 2003. They are open for lunch and dinner, and Sunday Brunch.
Next, and also located in the Arts District, is, obviously, on the corner of 6th St and Vine St. It was the first wine bar in Winston-Salem. They have wines from around the country and the world, with over 40 options by the glass. Serving American style food, the menu rotates regularly. They offer several small plates, salads, and sandwiches, but their unique entrees are where they shine. My favorite meal I’ve ever had there was the pecan-crusted pork chop (my mouth is watering just thinking about it). The restaurant is closed on Mondays. They serve lunch and dinner, and brunch on the weekends.
Mozelle’s was opened in 2008 on the corner of 4th St. and Brookestown Ave. downtown. Offering locally sourced ingredients from nearby farms, they put a little more upscale twist on your classic Southern food. Real talk: this *may* just be the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had. (I say “may” because shrimp and grits are my weakness and I just don’t want to have definitively pick only one.) It’s made with prosciutto, sweet peppers, sherry cream sauce, and cheese grits, and it is to die for. Their brunch offerings are just as delicious and their “Go Back to Bed Sandwich” (with fried chicken, bacon, and gravy on a croissant) is fabulous. They’re open daily for lunch and dinner (closed in between the two meals) and for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. They also host bi-monthly wine dinners which I plan to check out next.
One of the more fun restaurants in Winston-Salem is the Camel City BBQ Factory. Located downtown on Liberty St., they offer your traditional southern barbecue options. Choices include pulled pork, slow-cooked brisket, barbecue wings, and smoked sausage. They are open daily for lunch and dinner. Downstairs offers casual counter-service and upstairs houses the table-service area. But the fun really starts upstairs past this. CCBF has a full-service bar upstairs and an arcade. Kids and adults alike enjoy games like Skee-Ball, basketball, foosball, as well as classic favorites like Galaga and Pac-Man.
Head down 4th St. until you reach Spring St. where you’ll find our next restaurant in Winston-Salem, Quanto Basta, or QB for short. Boasting more than 200 different wine labels and an authentic Italian feel (it’s family-owned), it’s the best place in the city for fresh pasta. More than 50 of those wines come from right around here in the Yadkin Valley. Be sure to order the stuffed focaccia (it’s got pancetta and mozzarella pesto) and the cannelloni with the asiago cream sauce…YUM! They’re opened daily for dinner starting at 5 pm.
I’m a sucker for a good pizza. The best pizza I’ve ever had was at Via Napoli in EPCOT as Disney World – all their ingredients are straight from Italy. And when you’ve been on your feet all week, sinking your teeth into a good pizza…well, nothing compares! A VERY close second to this is right here in Winston-Salem (I actually don’t know how Will is going to cope with this loss when we move)! Cugino Forno also imports all their ingredients overseas from Italy. They hand-make their dough daily. Their wood-burning pizza ovens fire up a pizza in 90 seconds flat. Fun fact: the oven bottoms are made from volcanic rocks straight from Mount Vesuvius – how cool is that?!
My very favorite pizza is the Napoletana (it’s got Italian sausage, sweet red peppers, cipollini onions, and Bufala mozzarella). For dessert, they’ve got Italian favorites like cannolis and gelato. They’re located in the Bailey Power Plant (no, I didn’t change the name to mine, it’s really called this!) on the corner of 5th St and Chestnut. They’re open daily until 9 pm, or sooner if all the dough is gone so don’t wait on this!
On the main page of their website, Crafted states “We are not a Mexican restaurant. We are a taco joint.” And boy, are they correct! Using fresh local ingredients, they put a twist on your traditional tacos and take them to the next level. Have you ever had BBQ on a taco?? My favorite taco is called the Big Truck and has pulled pork, mac n’ cheese, tobacco onions, scallions, and bacon BBQ sauce. It. Is. Incredible. They use all sorts of quirky ingredients you wouldn’t normally find on a taco, like kimchi, pineapple fried rice, and Bulgogi short ribs. The original Crafted is located in nearby Greensboro with the Winston-Salem location on Liberty St. They are closed on Mondays and opened otherwise for lunch and dinner.
P.S. If tacos aren’t your thing… 1)… are you okay?? and 2) they also have great burgers, my favorite being the Smoked Goat Burger with goat cheese, bacon, and pepper jelly.
What originally started as a local nano-brewery in 2014 has since expanded to include a restaurant. First off, the beer is awesome. They focus on brewing unique beers – including a chipotle peanut butter porter. Located on the corner of 5th St. and Cherry, you can choose to sit on the brewery side or on the dining room side. All beer and all menu items are available to order on either side. Also closed Mondays (which seems to be a theme in WS), they are opened daily for lunch and dinner. The menu offers bar food and snacks, but their burgers are their specialty. For a while, the adjoining restaurant was called “Burger Batch.” My favorite is the Figgy Piggy with balsamic fig jam, grilled onions, goat cheese, and bacon. Make sure you save room for dessert though. They’re also known for their massive milkshakes.
“Cin cin” (pronounced “chin chin”) is Italian for “cheers!” This Winston-Salem restaurant is one of the most distinctively themed. Stepping through the door is like being transported back to the 1920s Prohibition era. They specialize in “gourmet burgers, speakeasy cocktails, and boozy milkshakes.” Their cocktail list includes act Prohibition recipes, like Giggle Water, Bees Knees, and Hanky Panky, as well as a nod to WS, like West End and Twin City Smash. Their burgers, along with their milkshakes, are massive. Milkshakes include alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
I’ll be honest. I know this is a burger joint. But the hidden gem lies in the Flappers Chicken and Waffles. I had never had this before and was very hesitant about the combination, but this dish won me over. It’s possibly the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. Located on 1st St. near Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, they’re open daily for lunch and dinner, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
The Porch was one of the first restaurants in Winston-Salem I ever tried after moving here. Located in the old West End Mill Works building, it’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. In fact, we loved it so much that we forgot to even branch out and try new places for a good while…oops! Described as the “freshest, most innovative Tex-Mex-olina fare,” the Porch delivers a consistently excellent twist on Tex-Mex food. I’ve never had anything less than stellar from their specials menu and their margaritas are killer. They also offer bake-at-home family-style meals. They’re open daily and offer brunch on Sundays.
Don’t Sleep on These Winston-Salem Restaurants:
Mooney’s Mediterranean Cafe
Mooney’s offers a mix of traditional Lebanese dishes with some modern American interpretations. They offer pitas with hummus, lamb, beef, and chicken and also offer many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. This cafe makes a great choice for a quick bite downtown.
Krankies may be one of the most under-wraps good restaurants in Winston-Salem. What started as a coffee brewing company turned into a full-service bar and restaurant. They are open for breakfast and lunch, with small plates available in the evenings. They do offer dinners for special occasions, like wine or beer dinners. Their chicken biscuit is probably the best in the city (for lunch, the chicken sandwich is just as good too). The bar is also very reasonably priced. They are located just down the street from Bailey Power Plant on 3rd St.
Winston-Salem has a ton of restaurants. But they also have an incredibly active food truck scene. There’s usually a truck parked in Bailey Park on any given day, and many can be found at local breweries like Wise Man Brewing or Foothills Tasting Room. Some of my favorites include Taqueria Luciano’s, Camel City Grill, Al-Falah Halal Food, Zeko’s To Go, and Food Freaks. Stay tuned for a future post with more details!
Like I said. Restaurants in Winston-Salem are awesome. And this list isn’t even close to all of them. Here’s hoping quarantine lifts soon and we can enjoy these soon! What do you think – did I miss anything? Let me know your WS favorites in the comments!