Try Some Down Home “Carolina Cookin'” at the Best Diners in NC

best-diners-in-nc-belmont lake preserve

Ambiance. Southern hospitality. The friendliest service you can imagine. Comfort food like it was meant to be prepared, served, and eaten. Now that you have chosen to build your family’s new home in Rocky Mount at Belmont Lake Preserve, your prime location puts you in a reasonable distance from all the great sights, sounds, and in this case, tastes of North Carolina. Sure, you hear about the BBQ in NC, likewise, there are many different types of restaurants that you’ll be told are “can’t miss.” However, if you talk to some of the lifelong residents and ask what they consider “good down-home” cooking, you may want to plan out a few weekend mornings here and there and take a journey to try each of the Best Diners in NC.

So, to be clear, these are not your “fancy-schmancy,” “five-star” gourmet stops. Nope, as a matter of fact they are far from it. But with huge portions, big friendly smiles, and some of the most delicious classic dishes for breakfast, lunch or dinners, the Best Diners in NC will not disappoint.

The Best Diners in NC : An Hour or Less from Rocky Mount

The first two entries on our list of Best Diners in NC are both in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Neither one of these is even an hour drive from Belmont lake Preserve, making these more than likely a “repeat performer” once you’ve been able to give them at try.

Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, NC

An absolute classic in every sense of the word starts our list of Best Diners in NC. For starters, Poole’s is located right in the heart of downtown Raleigh, the capital of NC. This Raleigh staple first opened over 75 years ago and still has some of its classic layout. A double horseshoe bar, red leather stool cushions and banquettes along with the menu on the chalkboard changing things up daily give you a glimpse into past, simpler times. 

Oh, and the food…amazing, there have even been a few modern touches added to all the diner classics you could hope for the current chef at Poole’s is multiple time Chef of the Year recipient, Ashley Christiansen.

True Flavors Diner, Durham, NC

Snazzy, yet hearty is how one reviewer described our next entry on st Diners in NCWith a comfortable yet classy layout that gives perfect diner ambience, True Flavors gives a unique twist on many diner classics.

Known throughout the area for its weekend brunch, you have to try a few of the following signature diner classics with True Flavors own “Carolina twist to them. These dishes include: Howling Moon French toast (French toast topped with a moonshine-based sauce), fish and grits, and duck hash.

A Little Over an Hour, But Well Worth the Trip to these Best Diners in NC

While these may take you a little further up the road, rest assured the hour and fifteen to twenty-five-minute drive for these next entries are also well worth the time. High quality taste , service and experiences await at the next two Best Diners in NC. 

MaryBills Cafe & Elbow Room, Fayetteville, NC

While we are introducing you to the Best Diners in NC, anyone local to Fayetteville, would probably send you here. Being commonly referred to as “The Place to Have Breakfast in Fayetteville,” you sort of just have to try the place….right?!?

Well, no one seems to argue the lofty nickname status for breakfast. Likewise, they are legendary locally for such diner classics as their burger and turkey melt sandwiches. So basically, MaryBills is a safe bet for delicious diner fare anytime you stop in.

Elmo’s Diner, Carr Mill, NC

Yes, Elmo’s. Another not-so-far-ride up the way from Rocky Mount. This is the “Cheer’s” of our Best Diners in NC. Why, you ask? Well, the friendly atmosphere and hospitality at Elmo’s makes it feel that “everybody knows your name.” With the local contingent, they usually all do know each other’s name, actually. 

Regardless of the friendly smiles and incredible service, the made from scratch pancakes at Elmo’s are famous in. the area. Consequently, all of the made from scratch rich and hearty meals here are the stuff of legend if you just give them a try.

Just a Little Bit Further Now, But Ohhh So Good!!!

All right, so we have kept it below the 90-minute mark from your new home in Rocky Mount before these final three entries. These Best Diners in NC that follow are not too much further a drive, and from a brunch spot, to omelets and so. much more, you won’t be sorry you took the time for any of these signature NC breakfast stops.

Goody Goody Omelet House, Wilmington, NC

Since 1977, Wilmington natives have known the secret of this entry to the Best Diners in NC. A Sunday morning tradition for those living nearby, even at this distance, you may make Goody Goody a regular stop too.

The “retro” interior leaves you wondering if it still sits as it did when it opened in the late 70’s, and yes, much of it has. But a taste of any of their signature omelets, including the highly recommended Spanish omelets are ones you don’t want to let “time pass by.”

Mary’s Gourmet Diner, Winston-Salem, NC

Am I becoming repetitive by calling the Best Diners in NC that we are documenting each by the word “classic.”? Well, whether that is the case or not, Mary’s when it comes to brunch is, you guessed it, a classic.

Fresh and local produce and foods fuel the unique menu at Mary’s. In addition to all the loved and renowned diner dishes, you also get many communities and otherwise, fun themed events here as well. For example, their recent “Zombie Brunch” “knocked ’em dead” with the great food and atmosphere.

Smith Street Diner, Greensboro, NC

Fun decor, incredible service, and huge portions are all synonymous with our final entry on this Best Diners in NC “tour. Famously touting that they serve breakfast “8 days a week,” safe to say this establishment is ready to serve whenever you are hungry.

Just sit back and enjoy the witty portraits of pigs that make up the decor as you wait. Once the wait is over, regardless of your order its best you brought an appetite, a doggie bag, or maybe both to Smith Street Diner.

Great Food is a Part of NC Culture, Set Your Sights on This Journey to Breakfast Nirvana 

Sure, you are getting accustomed to all things NC. maybe every weekend is not optimum to take an hour or so drive for an amazing breakfast. But as you may be noticing since your move, there is a lot of pride in a lot of things here in North Carolina. While you may not be able to finish this list for a while, it is well worth making the voyage fit into your plans at some point. 

For more information on Belmont lake Preserve and its location in Rocky Mount in respect to all other points across the state, visit the Location section at