Best Restaurants in Kinston, NC

Queen St. Deli in Kinston, NC.
Queen St. Deli in Kinston, NC.

Variety is the spice of life, and that includes restaurants – especially in Kinston-Lenoir County, where restaurants range from fine dining to more casual places.

Chef & the Farmer

Former New York caterers  Ben Knight and Vivian Howard moved to eastern North Carolina in 2004 because Vivian's parents lived here. The couple decided to open a restaurant, and eventually chose downtown Kinston, where the 70-seat Chef & the Farmer opened in 2006. Vivian, a chef, describes the restaurant as having a rustic urban vibe with new Southern cuisine. She buys fresh produce and meats from a network of small farmers, and changes the menu weekly, serving items such as kale and navel orange salad, rice-crusted catfish, bourbon-braised pork shoulder lasagna, and Painted Hills 20-ounce ribeyes.

Queen Street Deli

The delicatessen and bakery on South Queen Street in Kinston is known for its healthy food offerings. The menu features preservative-free, homemade panini, cookies, soups and cakes. Breakfast items include granola, oatmeal, muffins, wheatberry bread and several flavored coffees, while main course selections at Queen Street Deli are eight different sandwiches, eight different panini and three salads. There is also a wide selection of non-traditional soups.

Tokyo Kinston

This restaurant on West Vernon Avenue is regarded as one of the top Asian dining spots in Lenoir County. It is known for its fresh sushi with several menu options, and has perhaps the best miso soup in all of eastern North Carolina. Tokyo Kinston also takes great pride in its customer service.

Bellini's Pizza & Grill Italian Restaurant

Bellini's provides an upscale, relaxing environment that is family friendly. Its menu includes appetizers, salads, soups and main courses. Calamari, bruschetta and mussels are among the appetizer choices, soups range from New England clam chowder to seafood bisque, and baked pastas, ravioli, tortellini, sandwiches and pizzas round out the menu. An Italian lunch buffet is served Tuesday through Friday.

King's BBQ

The King brothers opened King's BBQ Restaurant in 1947 and a few years later developed an addictive apple cider vinegar sauce that the King family has used ever since. Today, King's continues the legacy of serving the finest Eastern North Carolina style BBQ and southern food. The main restaurant, on East New Bern Road, has seating for more than 800. In the 1990s King's went nationwide with King's Oink Express, which allows hungry customers to order BBQ and have it shipped anywhere in the country within 48 hours.

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