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Are there any restaurants in this area like those featured on the Food Network’s ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’?

Judy Royal

UPDATE:¬†Click here for our latest list of spots suitable for Guy Fieri’s Food Network show, compiled with the help of readers’ comments on Facebook.


You know the places. You’ll hear them described as “greasy spoon,” “hole in the wall,” “local favorite” or “mom-and-pop.” They’re those one-of-a-kind eateries that are unlike anything anywhere else. You crave them. You take out-of-town friends to them. You miss them when you’re away.

The Wilmington area has no shortage of restaurants that would make Guy Fieri proud. Check out some of these local diners, drive-ins and dives that I’ve found through research and my own experiences, and look for more on them in an upcoming Budget Bites column. (Notice that most of them are so hole-in-the-wall they don’t even have a Web site?):

Ruth’s Kitchen, 6790 Market St., Wilmington [Map this]

Ezzell’s Breakfast House, 2115 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Merritt’s Burger House, 2338 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Dixie Grill, 116 Market St., Wilmington [Map this]

Salt Works, 6301 Oleander Drive, Wilmington [Map this]

Salt Works II, 4001 Wrightsville Ave., Wilmington [Map this]

White Front Breakfast House, 1518 Market St., Wilmington [Map this]

Jimbo’s Breakfast & Lunch House, 1529 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Goody Goody Omelet House, 3817 Market St., Wilmington [Map this]

A&G Barbecue & Chicken, 800 S. Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach [Map this]

Granny’s Country Kitchen, 1310 S. Lake Park Blvd., Carolina Beach [Map this]

Gulf Stream Restaurant, 78 Myrtle Ave., Carolina Beach [Map this]

French’s Classic Burgers, 6142 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Sunrise Pancake House, 10008 Beach Drive S.W., Calabash [Map this]

Big Nell’s Pit Stop, 6828 Beach Drive S.W., Ocean Isle Beach [Map this]

Paul’s Place Famous Hot Dogs, 11725 U.S. Highway 117 South, Rocky Point [Map this]

Jackson’s Big Oak Barbecue, 920 S. Kerr Ave., Wilmington [Map this]

Sawmill Restaurant, 5611 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Big D’s Philly Cheese, 6648 Gordon Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Pender’s Cafe, 205 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this]

Scoop Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop, 365 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this] (The Cotton Exchange)

Parchies Barbeque, 1120 Princess St., Wilmington [Map this]

Frontier Food-To-Go, 2633 Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Causeway Cafe, 114 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach [Map this]

I’m sure there are others, so feel free to add your favorites and suggestions below.

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9 Responses to “ Are there any restaurants in this area like those featured on the Food Network’s ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’?”

  1. On August 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm anonymous wrote:

    I do not think this list can be complete without adding Chris’s Restaurant on 17th Street. Great place to eat with nice family atmosphere!

  2. On August 30, 2009 at 7:56 pm rich wrote:

    Don’t forget about Temptations!

  3. On September 25, 2009 at 3:40 pm J.T. Kobelt wrote:

    I am enjoying this series very much. There is so much more to life than large fast-food chains. I would like to draw your attention to Winnie’s Tavern on Burnett Boulevard as an exemplary candidate for your series. People come in from near and far for the “Best Homemade Burger in Wilmington” . Actually they have very good lunch and dinner menu

    You can eat in of course and wash everything down with cold beer ( Winnie’s is one of the oldest beer-joints in Wilmington and just reeks atmosphere – well maybe just reeks lol) or ice tee if WSN give you hard time bout it. They also have a strong take-out crowd, with nurses coming from as far away as NHRMC to pick up their lunch and bring t back.

    And of course you will want to say high to a living legend while you are there – manager Jiggs Skipper. If he can’t get you to smile no one can!!

    All and all- this place fits right in with your theme.

    It’s at 1995 Burnett Blvd on the edge of Sunset Park.


    PS I must tell you I am a little biased. I am a regular fixture there on $2 beer days….lol

  4. On August 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm Wayne wrote:

    Is Winnie’s at 1995 Burnett Blvd. as stated above, or is it actually at 1895 Burnett Blvd.?

  5. On August 10, 2010 at 3:28 pm Judy Royal wrote:

    Online references say 1895 Burnett Blvd.

  6. On September 24, 2010 at 8:30 am jack wrote:

    What diners, drive-ins, and dives is looking for is places that serve unusal stuff. Not very interesting to show restaurants that sell burgers and fries every week. Carolina bar-b-que places may be more of a regional food that normally would make it, but it has been done to death. Unusal placess that dont sell the same generic fare or have unique history(Like Micheal Jordan working at Whitey’s) are what they are looking for.

  7. On November 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm Darrell Sheldon wrote:

    I cannot believe that Sahara on Market street has not been mentioned here, It Rocks!!!

  8. On December 7, 2010 at 10:32 am guest wrote:

    Tazys is the best!!

  9. On February 29, 2012 at 7:02 am Carolyn Atkinson wrote:

    If “Mom and Pop” restaurants are to be listed then I wish you would add mine…The Flying Pi Kitchen. We have only been open a year but we have a very devoted following and I guarantee our food is unique.

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