Dining in Kinston, North Carolina

There is something for every taste in Kinston, NC when it comes to food.  There is the always popular Chef and Farmer which brings tourists from all over to taste Chef Vivian popular recipes. Vivian Knight is known for her popular PBS TV show A Chef’s Life and her series of cookbooks.  While on a hosted trip to Kinston, with my friend Rose Hammitt, and a group of travel writers Kathleen, Carla, Peter and Lara got a chance to dine at the Chef and the Farmer along with a variety of places.

Our first night brought us to Ginger 108, a restaurant that offers a great meshing of east and west. Chef Khymi provided Rose, Peter, Kathleen and Sandy Landis of the Kinston Arts Council and me with a great lineup for the group. Check out my blog Ginger 108 for details of our great meal!

Breakfast the first morning after our stay at the Mother Earth Motor Lodge was provided by the Hawk’s Nest & General Store.  They provided great ham and sausage egg biscuits along with the best cinnamon roll I think I’ve ever had.  It was warm gooey and yum! Peter said he had stopped here on his first day and was already hooked on the cinnamon rolls.

Our first full day in Kinston was Mother’s Day and we were treated to an amazing lunch buffet by Olivia’s Catering. While the hall is just open on special occasions, Olivia’s Catering caters meals and they host events year round.  Olivia’s provided us with wonderful down home food. We had a choice of chicken, corn or roast beef.  The potatoes and gravy and macaroni and cheese were wonderful.  We were offered a great choice of desserts and I loved the banana pudding selection. Much to my delight I found banana pudding seems to be a southern staple!

Our second evening in Kinston we had our choice of places to dine and being a pizza buff Rose and I along with Kathleen and Carla decided to try Sugar Hill Pizzeria.  Being Mother’s Day, the place was packed but we quickly got a salad, pizza with a selection of what we wanted on half. Carla, a vegetarian was very appreciative of the fresh vegetable choices and she and Kathleen shared a delicious cannoli with me and it was awesome.  On our last morning, Sugar Hill provided breakfast pizzas to us at the Mother Earth Motor Lodge and it was as just good as what we sampled on Sunday night.

Monday morning for breakfast we went to Lovicks and we were honored with a sign out front to greet us.  Celebrating 75 years in business, Lovicks is still owned by the same family today and still offering up wonderful selections.  We ordered typical breakfast fare and we all enjoyed the quality of the food, the sausage in particular was amazing.  We all had a chance to try their brand burger the dough burger which the owner compared to a meatloaf sandwich. This is a burger they perfected to stretch a meal during the Great Depression.

The whole gang went to lunch at the famous King’s Restaurant which is a household name in the Kinston area.  They are famous for their pulled pork and while I had a taste, I went for the chicken pastry which was a lot like chicken and noodles.  We all got a chance to try their amazing hush puppies and I sampled the best bourbon pecan pie I ever remember tasting. The owner Joe Hargitt started making these pies for Christmas along with a chocolate chip one. They were so popular he now offers them year round.  They also brought out banana pudding. Everything was homemade and it’s is easy to see why they are famous in Lenoir County and beyond.

We ended our Kinston. Culinary tour with supper at the Chef and the Farmer and had a wonderful array of appetizers, many I had never tried like collard green chips, strawberry bacon pizza and pickle bread with carrot butter, yum! Rose and I both loved our goat cheese strawberry salad with freshly picked fruit and the steak we both choose, best of all though we split butterscotch chocolate pudding.  We didn’t leave a bite!

These are only a small segment of the wonderful choices this town has to offer.  Other writers tried different selections and the one theme that came from all the reviews was that the food is authentic, tasty and memorable.

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  1. Jan Parson

    Hi Cindy,
    So happy that you loved our food! Come back any time! We will always have place set at the table for you!

    1. Cindy

      Everything was wonderful, thanks!

  2. Jackie elmore

    It was a pleasure to meet all of you. So glad you enjoyed your stay and your pizza!!!
    Sugar hill y’all!!

  3. Steve Lovick

    Alwaya a trreat to visit with out of town folks, thanks for coming by.

    1. Cindy

      Thanks for having us, and thank you for the sign greeting us to Kinston!

  4. Judy Johnson, Hawk's Nest Café

    It was a pleasure to be serve you while you were in town. Hope you will come back to see us!

    1. Cindy

      We loved your food and I would gain ten pounds on your cinnamon rolls quickly if I lived there. They are amazing.

  5. Sara Smith

    Thank you for dining with us! We enjoyed reading your interesting account of your tour of Kinston. Come back anytime – there’s aways something good in Kinston.