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Eat Like a Local in Winston-Salem, NC

Wondering where to eat in Winston-Salem? We've got you covered from breakfast to dinner. 

By Kelly Rogers on January 3, 2023

Children play outside at Poppyseed Provisions, Winston Salem, NC.
Eric Waters

Winston-Salem’s food scene is full of Southern classics and surprising twists, overflowing with local flavors crafted by nationally recognized chefs. Here’s how to savor the day, from your morning coffee to a night out.

Winston-Salem, NC, l to r: Kenya Shields & Lauren Ashley eat outdoors at Mellow Mushroom ©Journal Communications/Eric Waters
Eric Waters

Meal Appeal

Come breakfast time, you need your morning coffee. Look no further than BYGood Coffee. BYGood offers a permanent menu as well as a seasonal rotation of drinks. Owners Abbey and Darrell Garner have a clear vision for the atmosphere they’re curating: “It’s a safe haven, a home away from home,” Abbey Garner says.

Another unique element is BYGood’s assortment of Jamaican patties — a surprising offering for a coffee shop but hands-down a local favorite.

If you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with Bobby Boy Bakeshop. They’ve got ’em all: eclairs, croissants, cookies, Danish pastries! Be sure to try the twice-baked almond croissant.

For lunch (or even brunch), stop in at Young Cardinal Cafe, a trendy spot that serves a variety of sweet and savory options.

West End Cafe is another great lunch choice, with its homey feel and a private, serene lily pond. Patrons rave about the pretzel-crusted salmon salad.

“It’s a safe haven, a home away from home.”

Abbey Garner, BYGood Coffee

When dinner rolls around, get ready to feast. Ryan’s Restaurant, which recently celebrated its 45th anniversary, is a Winston-Salem staple. Serving steaks, chops and seafood, its flavor, consistency and atmosphere keep guests coming back for more.

If smaller plates are more your style, you’ve got to check out Six Hundredº. Great for sharing with the table, these small dishes are packed with flavor. Popular favorites include the General Tso burnt ends, coconut shrimp and roasted carrots. Or, if you’re feeling the luck of the Irish, head on over to Finnegan’s Wake, an Irish pub serving traditional fare, salads and sandwiches, burgers, and more — not to mention a wide selection of draft beers.

Winston-Salem, NC, Innovation Quarter, Power Plant patio with Cugino Forno Pizzeria and Incendiary Brewing sharing the seating.
Eric Waters

Desserts and Drinks

When that sugar craving strikes, amazing options abound in Winston-Salem. There is a ridiculous amount of great ice cream options in town, all with their own special twist. Chill Nitro serves up nitrogen ice cream (with an option to add booze if you want).

“The cool thing about liquid nitrogen is it flash freezes it so quickly that it doesn’t have the chance to form ice crystals in the ice cream, so it is a bit creamier than what you might normally get at an ice cream shop,” says Susan Marie Cook, co-owner.

Lucha Libre Ice Cream and Churros is pretty self-explanatory, and honestly, what better combo is there? Then there’s Twin City Sweets, famous for its awesome sundaes. But, of course, if ice cream isn’t your thing, you can never go wrong with doughnuts. Dough-Joe’s is a great choice, with a wide selection of creative cake doughnut flavors.

Winston Salem NC, Tuckers Tap Yard, Angus (owner Heena Patel) visits with Michael McCandless - foreground while yard ranger Dan Brookman talks with Heena Petal - background
Eric Waters

For a night out, you can’t go wrong with Foothills Brewing or Incendiary Brewing Company, both of which offer very welcoming atmospheres and delicious beer. However, if you’ve got a furry friend you want to bring along, there’s one place you must try: Tucker’s Tap Yard. It’s Winston-Salem’s first and only off-leash dog bar, and although it’s relatively new — having opened its doors in August 2022 — it’s already becoming a fast community favorite.

“The feedback has been tremendous,” says founder Cole Parsons. “Our focus is on safety, cleanliness and fun. We want to be a place where ‘pups play, and friends stay.’”

Tucker’s is a membership model with options for daily, monthly and yearly passes.

Producers at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Winston-Salem, NC.
Paige Kwiatek

Shop Till You Drop

If you prefer to dine in, consider picking up ingredients or even a grab-and-go meal from one of Winston-Salem’s many markets. Poppyseed ProvisionsCobblestone Farmers Market (with three locations that operate seasonally) and Acadia Foods are reliable staples. Another one is Buie’s Market, which also offers pickup meals from Delicious by Shereen and LeanBack Soul Food.

If you’d like to learn more about the Winston-Salem, NC, area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Greater Winston-Salem

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