Where Southern Flavor and Hospitality Meet
The beauty of traveling is that it gives you the chance to try a lot of new things, and food is no exception. North Carolina is, of course, known for barbecue, and there are two types: Eastern and Piedmont. (Don’t even think about debating which one is better with the locals.) You'll see pimento cheese on a lot of menus, as well. Of course, there is much more to the local cuisine. Pass on the chain restaurants and try something new. In Halifax County, you have a variety of options to please your palate.
These are some of our favorite spots where you can enjoy classic southern flavors and hospitality. Just make sure you arrive hungry – portions tend to be generous! But don’t forget to save room for dessert!
Second Street Lunch
Mom and pop restaurants are always a sure bet, and Second Street Lunch is no exception. This Roanoke Rapids spot is owned and operated by the Haislip family and has been a local favorite since 1949. Eating here gives you a feeling of nostalgia since things haven’t changed much over the years. Enjoy diner-style meals in a small, hometown atmosphere. Don’t be fooled by the name – Second Street Lunch serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The hamburgers, hot dogs, slaw, and chili are popular choices, as are the hearty breakfasts.
For great steaks, a nice ambience, and excellent service, head to Haggerty’s Steakhouse in Roanoke Rapids. Owners John and Lisa Haggerty are dedicated to offering a terrific dining experience. You can choose to dine inside the restaurant or out on the patio, weather permitting. Enjoy the soup and salad bar and a ribeye cooked to order. If steaks are not your thing, you can also order seafood, chops, or chicken, as well as smaller portion meals. Haggerty’s also offers a good selection of beers and other drinks. The desserts are pretty special, too.
Looking for classic North Carolina barbecue? You have a lot of options, but Ralph’s in Weldon is considered among the best in eastern North Carolina. It all started when founder Ralph Woodruff opened a barbecue joint in the area in 1941. The business has stayed in the family ever since. Ralph’s offers a full buffet of home-cooked southern favorites, including the much-loved barbecue with spicy, vinegary sauce. Pulled pork and ribs are your best bet. The Brunswick stew is one of Ralph’s specialties, made the same way for 70 years. If seafood is more your style, you can find it here. The side dishes are chock full of southern flavor, too. For the perfect finish to your meal, order a slice of pie or homemade banana pudding.
The Hen & The Hog
If you enjoy farm-to-table dining, head to The Hen & The Hog. This Halifax eatery locally sources its food, and its dishes are inspired by local flavors. The restaurant’s founder, Glenn Patterson Wilson, was inspired by English pubs but also wanted the space to reflect local history and tradition. The Hen & The Hog serves lunch Tuesday through Friday, a casual dinner menu on Thursday evenings, and a fine dining menu on Friday and Saturday evenings. The ambience is stylishly casual. Reservations are recommended.
The Mill Coffee & Eatery
If you’re looking for a cozy, relaxed breakfast or lunch spot with great coffee and free wi-fi, The Mill Coffee & Eatery in Roanoke Rapids is a great place to stop. This restaurant opened in late 2020 and pays homage to the history of the area’s textile industry. The menu offers a variety of pastries, bagels, soups, salads, and sandwiches in addition to coffee, tea, milkshakes, and freshly squeezed fruit -ades. The Mill’s mission is to employ individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities while providing a friendly atmosphere for patrons.
Gloria’s Bottom of the Barrel
Looking for some country soul food? This Enfield restaurant serves hearty meals at reasonable prices from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Try the Barrel Platter for breakfast with eggs, meat, hash browns, and grits. If you’re looking for lunch or an early dinner, you can choose lunch plates with a main dish and two sides, daily specials, or burgers and sandwiches. Just save room for a slice of cake!
Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts
Did you know Halifax County is one of the largest peanut producing areas in North Carolina? The soil and climate are ideal for growing peanuts. If you want a tasty souvenir or need to buy some gifts, be sure to stop by the family-owned Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts in Enfield, which is operated by A&B Milling Company. The company was first established as a feed, seed, and fertilizer store in 1945 but has since evolved into a peanut business. Aunt Ruby’s produces high-quality Virginia-style peanuts, which are meatier and lower in fat. Then they shell and process the peanuts for national distribution. Not only will you find a variety of peanuts, but you can buy other varieties of nuts and some sweet treats like chocolates and brittle, too.