Renowned for classic specialties like succulent eggs benedict, made-to-order omelets, house-made pastries, smoked salmon and decadent cheese blintzes, the Carolina Hotel’s palatial breakfast buffet at the Pinehurst Resort is an opulent and unforgettable step back in time that has long set the standard for Sandhills dining.
These days, however, The Carolina is far from alone when it comes to memorable dining across the Home of American Golf. During the past few decades, in fact, the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area has morphed into a food and beverage paradise. How far-reaching and varied are the area offerings, you ask? Well, let’s take a run through the alphabet and show you what we mean.
A. Ashten’s (Southern Pines) – This popular restaurant and pub has served up delicious food, from “farm to fork,” since 1997, incorporating numerous local producers. Cozy, elegant setting, plus a pub with tapas & TVs. The foundation of their dishes arrives at their backdoor daily from the harvest brought by area farmers.
B. Bell Tree Tavern (Southern Pines) — A classic “tavern of yester-year” that’s been named one of “America’s Great Bourbon Bars.” Cocktails are an art form at the Bell Tree, but stick around for a post-round meal from the kitchen’s selections of “fare with flair,” including Finnegan’s Fish & Chips, Olivia’s Southern Charm Shrimp & Grits, and Chandler’s Smoked Chicken. Another local “B” favorite: Betsy’s Crepes, where Betsy Markey has fueled up golfers for more than a decade in the heart of downtown Southern Pines.
C. Chapman’s Food & Spirits (Southern Pines) — “Chef Driven” American fare provided the area a build-your-own experience restaurant concept, derived from the friendship and business partnership between Kitty Hopkins and Chef Peter Hamm. Chef specialty features are offered daily. Other local favorites under the letter “C” are Chef Warren’s in Southern Pines and Cagle’s Diner in Robbins.
D. Drum & Quill Cocktails & Kitchen (Pinehurst) —Proprietor Kevin Drum named his village establishment after his famous father, legendary golf writer and Emmy-nominated broadcaster, Bob Drum. Drum’s legacy is an ideal spot to cozy up with a pint and enjoy a bite to eat. Of course, be sure not to miss another “D” Village icon, Dugan’s Pub.
E. Elliott’s on Linden (Pinehurst) — Since debuting “EOL” in 2000, Owner/Chef Mark Elliott and his team have grown and continually showcased the region’s bounty in his restaurants and at events across the Sandhills. EOL has a wide selection of beer and global wines, along with refined, imaginative dishes made with local ingredients and excellent service.
F. Full Moon Oyster Bar (Southern Pines) – “Great shots” take on an entirely new meaning at Full Moon, where oyster “shooters” rule. Start with Moon Rockers, oysters baked on the half shell and stuffed with creamy spinach – Rockefeller never had it so good. Graduate to Fresh Tidewater Sea Scallops, seasoned and steamed to perfection, or try the Low Country Shrimp Boil – be sure to ask for extra napkins. Other outstanding “F” selections are Fusion 195 aka 195 American Fusion in Southern Pines and First Watch in Aberdeen.
G. Grinders and Gravy (Southern Pines) — Some of the area’s best Italian offerings, not to mention their legendary Meatball Grinder and Italian Roast Beef, as well as a selection of equally popular Rustic Tomato Pies. Order at the window and enjoy your meal al fresco at one of the outside tables. Another outstanding “G” representative is Grape Leaf Bistro in Southern Pines.
H. The House of Fish Seafood Restaurant (Aberdeen) — The brainchild of owner Danny Hayes is renowned locally and beyond for its fresh, made-to-order seafood. Wonderful food, attentive service, and a fun atmosphere — all at a reasonable price. One bite and you’ll be hooked. Another “H” spot to try is HomeGrown in Vass, which serves up yummy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I. Ironwood (Southern Pines) – A visually stunning, contemporary art-infused dining room is complemented by seasonal dining with the freshest seafood, locally farmed produce, and deft chef’s touch at this local stalwart. Follow the classic Wedge Salad with house-made Blue Cheese dressing with a dynamite Tomahawk Pork Chop, hand-cut Ribeye, or Lump Crab Cakes – a hole in one to be sure.
J. Jaya’s Indian Cuisine (Southern Pines) — An authentic Indian restaurant. Three years after opening their takeout-only location, Ekambaram Elamaran (Maran, for short) and Jayarani Elamaran expanded to dine-in service. Not an overwhelming menu; rather, one that focuses on simple and delicious daily specials. They also have a food truck that regularly appears around the Sandhills.
K. Kickback Jack’s (Southern Pines) — Local sports bar chain serving tasty steak, seafood and pub grub in a lively, contemporary setting. The perfect place to cheer on your favorite sports teams, and enjoy a great time with family and friends. More than 50 large-screen, high-definition TVs. Another “K” favorite is The Kitchen at Nature’s Own in the Natural Foods Market in Southern Pines.
L. Lisi Italian (Pinehurst) — Simple, authentic Italian food rooted in family and served fresh in the old theater building in the Village. Owner Jim Reale (with his wife, Mickey) grew up in the kitchens of his grandparents, Vincenzo & Letizia “Lisi” Reale. Hours of gardening, canning and the final preparation of so many incredible dishes from her recipes now grace this casual, regional eatery that truly embraces the community. Another memorable “L” representative is The Leadmine Whiskey Bar and Kitchen in Southern Pines.
M. Mason’s Restaurant & Grocery (Aberdeen) – Culinary Institute of America trained chef and owner Brian Hainley serves up traditional regional favorites with an updated twist, featuring contemporary southern comfort food. Morning golfers can savor scratch-made buttermilk biscuits and gravy, served here as a “flight” — each split biscuit with different gravy to sample. Locals love the Train Wreck, Nashville hot chicken, served on a split biscuit with cheese, smoky bacon, and sausage gravy. They serve lunch here, as well as take-away and a selection of grocery items. Another “M” we love? Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in Pinehurst.
N. New York Deli (Pinehurst) — Dedicated to bringing a little slice of the Big Apple straight to the Sandhills since 1993. Sandwiches, bagels, and pizza — just like in New York City. Focused on convenience, the Deli’s dishes may be ordered ahead of time or pick something up on site, and be in and out within 10 minutes. Either way you’ll be enjoying hot, fresh food, with products straight from the city itself. Brand New! Neko Thai & Sushi in the Village of Pinehurst takes over the old Ten-Ya space, but a new twist on Asian favorites.
O. O’Donnell’s Pub (Southern Pines) — Visit and relax with one of the craft beers or fine spirits offered at this welcoming pub known to its regulars as simply, “OD’s.” The “home of the proper pint” and “one of the least expensive pours in town” also features one of the most inviting outside patio areas to enjoy on a sunny day. Other fun weekly events include Trivia Tuesday and Live Band Karaoke.
P. Pinehurst Brewing Company (Pinehurst) — One of the area’s most recent additions stands a pleasant walk from Pinehurst Resort & Country Club on the site of the long-ago shuttered Village Power House. Today, the building features a 10-barrel microbrewery. An observation platform overlooking the brewhouse is a focal point of the taproom, while a bar, a beer garden and an all-seasons patio complement the dining room.
Q. Que (Throughout the Sandhills) — Moore County offers plenty of viable options for some tasty barbecue. Stubbs & Son BBQ in Carthage, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Southern Pines and Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q in Southern Pines, just to name a few. Of course, one of the area’s most renowned, the Pik n Pig in Carthage, recently suffered a massive fire. Thankfully no one was injured and we are thrilled to hear they are planning to rebuild this Sandhills classic!
R. Ronnie’s Chuckwagon (Carthage) — This humble burger, hotdog and sandwich shack is more than a roadside drive up with great service and freshly prepared daily specials. Fried Okra, Corn Dog Nuggets, Buffalo Hot Wings and homemade Banana Pudding are just a few items that make Ronnie’s a go to for golfers in the know. Be sure to check their daily specials board. Some other popular “R” spots are the Ryder Cup Lounge at Pinehurst Resort and Roast Farm to Table Sandwich Market in Carthage. How about Railroad Deli in Vass? It’s well worth the short drive off highway 1.
S. SoPies NY-style Pizzeria (Southern Pines) – Bellisimo! A true slice of New York here in the Sandhills since 1991, SoPies has some of the region’s best pizza. Nonna’s is just like your own grandma would make if she were Italian — a thin style Sicilian pie with garlic butter, mozzarella cheese, and homemade Marinara. Calzones, subs, and white pies are all on the menu here at this authentic Italian haunt. Other favorite “S” destinations are Scott’s Table and the Sly Fox Pub, both in Southern Pines.
T. Theos Taverna (Pinehurst) — Intimate, white-tablecloth Mediterranean and Greek eatery with fireplaces, a courtyard, patio and bar. Owned and operated for nearly three decades by the Dalitsouris family, whose authentic Greek/Mediterranean cuisine was influenced by their hometown of Sparta, Greece. This Village staple has been featured in Golf Digest, Sports Illustrated and Our State magazines, among others. Another popular, local “T” offering is Thai Orchid in Aberdeen.
U. Uncle Axel’s Detroit Pizza (Southern Pines) — Owned by Aaron Hunter and Josiah Fast, and delivering pies that spare no toppings from their kitchen to your door. Piled high with gourmet toppings, all of their pizzas are baked fresh-to-order weekly, and available hot-out-the-kitchen for curbside pick-up. Chef Axel goes by the title “Pizza Czar.” Hope you’re hungry.
V. Villager Deli (Pinehurst) — Reasonably priced and downhome breakfasts feature fresh daily quiches, breakfast casserole, avocado toast, eggs to order, huge pancakes, waffles, homemade biscuits and muffins, grits, and country ham. Pet friendly with comfortable outdoor seating in the center of the quaint Village since 1982. Courteous, attentive and prompt service. Breakfast and lunch only. Plenty of other tempting “V” selections in the Sandhills, including Vito’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Southern Pines, Villaggio Ristorante & Bar in Pinehurst and Valenti’s Italian Restaurant in Vass.
W. The Workshop Tavern (Aberdeen) — A newcomer to the culinary scene here, Workshop Tavern is garnering rave reviews for their fresh salads, sandwiches, and signature cocktails … Blackberry Mezcal Mule anyone? Specials to look for are their tasty Prime Rib dinners with Asiago potatoes and jumbo asparagus and Seared Ahi Tuna. Another memorable “W” eatery in the Sandhills is Wolcott’s in Southern Pines. Or, if visiting the potters in Seagrove, the Westmoore Family Restaurant is a good place to fill up!
X. Xtra Special: Sandhill’s Women’s Exchange (Pinehurst) —One of Moore County’s best-kept secrets, now proudly embarking on a century of giving, with the continued mission: To help people help themselves. Wonderful food, atmosphere and people at the log cabin Cafe, all at affordable prices. Katrina’s whole wonderful quiches are also available for purchase and the equally unique gift shop has something for everyone.
Y. Yum Yum Chocolates (West End) — Delicious dessert that is worth every bite. Tempt your taste buds with these irresistible mini cakes. Freshly baked every day, their products are made with the finest ingredients to make sure you’ll relish every bite. Yum Yum also offers different flavors of cakes to complement any of the area’s scrumptious meals. Can generally be found at Hallmark and The Corner Store.
Z. Zayka Indian Cuisine (Southern Pines) — Come discover the true essence of Indian spices. Located, believe it or not, inside the Days Inn Hotel and offering an exquisite combination of Indian flavors, with their unique fusion of traditional Indian spices. The menu offers variety of dishes each cooked with authentic ingredients, with appropriate garnishing and sides. The emphasis on fresh and diverse vegetables and sauces is key to elevating the flavors. An exciting selection of cocktails, wine and beer can also be enjoyed from the bar.
See a full list of all dining options in the Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen area here.