Locally owned restaurants appeal to residents and visitors alike
There’s no denying that locally owned restaurants have had a major impact on Wilkes County, not just on the economy but because they appeal to residents and provide plenty for tourists to enjoy. From home cooking and great North Carolina barbecue to more exotic options like terrific Thai cuisine, there’s something for all appetites.
If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, start with West Coast Wings and Pizza , with locations in North Wilkesboro and Miller’s Creek. Best known for bone-in or boneless wings, made fresh daily, the restaurant also offers plenty of terrific appetizers, including jalapeno poppers, West Coast-style pizza, and a good selection of burgers and sandwiches.
Talia Espresso (on Main Street in Wilkesboro, with a drive-through on Highway 421) does gorgeous Mediterranean-inspired lunches with an emphasis on fresh and sustainable foods. Owners Jim and Kathy Kozak started the restaurant in 2005 with a focus on coffee, and the drink menu here still can’t be topped, with its espresso, cappuccino, rich smoothies and more.
The Dispensary Restaurant & Pub, set in the old Baum Drug building downtown, showcases craft and microbrews for beer lovers while offering daily lunch and dinner specials centered around old-school pub food, such as specialty burgers, sandwiches and pizza. If you want to watch the game or play a bit of pool, this is your spot.
Cagney’s Kitchen is tailor-made as a family dining spot. A North Carolina micro-chain, the menu is filled with homestyle versions of American favorites, including burgers, pasta, Mexican and Greek entrees. There’s also a good children’s menu.
Hadley’s Quality Country Cooking masters the home-cooking genre for the public. Daily menus mean plenty of variety, but expect the place to be packed for chicken and dumplings on Thursdays.
The Glendale Springs Inn and Restaurant sets a high bar with its beautiful setting and elegant atmosphere. Perfect for a night out, the menu offers artisan cheeses, salads and entrees featuring seafood, steaks and free-range poultry. Luxe bed and breakfast service is available.
TenTen Thai adds a touch of Asia to the options, with traditional Thai dishes served in a gracious setting. The plating and presentation are lovely, and the food flavorful.
Brushy Mountain Smokehouse and Creamery gives diners the best of all worlds with delicious hickory-smoked pulled pork as the entrée, heftier meals like prime rib, a lighter salad bar and creamy homemade ice cream in dozens of luscious flavors. Meanwhile, Tipton’s Bar-B-Que serves its own take on the North Carolina specialty, as well as huge original burgers and steaks. If you’re a meat lover, these restaurants aim to please your palate.
Franchise Giving Back
Even eating at local McDonald’s franchises helps the community here, thanks to the efforts of Heather and Patrick Joyner, who own multiple McDonald’s locations in Wilkes County. Salem Shannon, who handles their community outreach, says their active participation in the community includes special McTeachers Nights giving parents, teachers and administrators from elementary schools an opportunity to interact, while a portion of the night’s sales and special events earn the schools extra money (each school gets one night per semester). Additionally, they aid schools through coupon and prize donations for student recognition like Terrific Kids, and by providing live Ronald McDonald performances on appropriate themes like friendship. They also support the Y and the Red Cross.