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Though Kevin and I definitely miss the ever-growing abundance of the Atlanta food scene (some nights, I would kill to be able to head over to Buford Highway for some Korean barbecue), Winston-Salem isn’t without a few gems of its own. Aside from some of our more mainstream favorites (Milner’s, Mooney’s, La Botana, The Basil Leaf Thai and Sushi, etc.), there are also a handful of excellent dive restaurants we’ve stumbled upon during our year-plus in the area.
This post is lovingly dedicated to those oh-so-tasty holes in the wall:
1. Yeh Mon: This Caribbean restaurant is within walking distance of our house, and it’s most definitely a dive. Housed in an impressively international small strip mall, Yeh Mon boasts a fake plant-laden interior (see below) as well as some legitimately delicious grub. Speaking from experience, their fried plantains are incredible, as are both the curried and jerk chicken dishes, and I also recommend the homemade ginger soda. I haven’t given the curried goat a try yet, but am interested in checking it out at some point.
(I will say, based on my visits to the restaurant, customer service isn’t a value at Yeh Mon, so don’t expect too many smiles from the wait staff. Still, the food is very much worth it. And, hey — you can always go the takeout route to mostly avoid the personal interaction issue if you want.)
2. Las Estrellas: I was introduced to this restaurant (which appears to be a former-Pizza Hut-turned-Mexican-restaurant) by a co-worker, and it really is delicious Mexican food. Their taco selection is impressive (I especially recommend the fish tacos and the carnitas tacos) and the homemade chips are thick and consistently taste fresh. Unlike Yeh Mon, I’ve always received great, friendly service at Las Estrellas.
3. Rose’s Deli: Rose’s Deli actually has a website, differentiating itself from the previous two restaurants on this list. I still feel like it definitively belongs in the “dive” category, though. After all, it shares a strip mall with a Citgo gas station. The food, though, is solid. My picks include the Italian or the black bean burger (and fries are always a must, of course).
4. Little Richard’s BBQ: Okay, so Little Richard’s has a handful of locations, which might mean it can’t technically be classified as a “dive” restaurant. But Kevin is convinced that it does indeed qualify because, according to him, any place that decorates its walls with old tobacco advertising should definitely count. So I’m going with it. Give the coarse chopped barbecue with hush puppies and barbecue slaw a try for an authentic Lexington barbecue experience. (Oh, and Little Richard’s is cash only, so for those of you who never have actual dollars on you — like me — be sure to plan accordingly.)
5. Skippy’s Hot Dogs: A hot dog on a pretzel roll? With a side of hand-cut French fries? Don’t mind if I do. Skippy’s was the brainchild of a Pennsylvania native who was disappointed in the lack of soft pretzel availability in North Carolina. He decided to do something about it, and Winston-Salem is better for it. My personal fave is the Chicago dog with mustard, onion, sweet relish, dill pickle, tomato, banana peppers, and celery salt. Yum! (This place is tiny and popular, so if you go during lunch be prepared to wait in line. It’s worth it, though — I promise!)
Fellow Winston-Salemites: What other delectable dives do I need to check out here in town?