Dining

 

Best Steak

Beefeater’s

Beef + eat = Beefeater’s. If math had been this simple in college, we might be hot-shot financiers by now. Regardless, we know value and we know quality, and that’s why Beefeater’s took the top spot for best steak. 672 SW Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 692-5550 • www.beefeatersofsouthernpines.com

2. Southern Prime
3. Ironwood Cafe

 


 

Best Farm to Table Restaurant

195 American Fusion Cuisine

195 American Fusion restaurant sets a high standard for others to follow in culinary excellence. Executive Chef Prem Nath prefers to cook with organic ingredients using skills he learned alongside Bobby Flay in New York City. 195 Bell Ave, Southern Pines • (910) 692-7110 • www.195americanfusion.com

2. Ashten’s
3. Elliott’s on Linden

 


 

Best Guilty Appetizer (and where you can get it)

Pik-N-Pig’s Fried Pickles and Chapman’s Lobsta Fries (tie)

Look, we only have so much room in this publication, and it’d be unfair to the other 161 categories to write everything we’d like to say about Pik-N-Pig’s Fried Pickles in Carthage and the Lobsta Fries at Chapman’s in Southern Pines. Voters clearly couldn’t choose a clear winner because both are amazingly delicious and completely riddled with guilt. Not that that’s going to stop us. Pik-N-Pig: 194 Gilliam McConnell Rd, Carthage • (910) 947-7591 • www.pik-n-pig.com; Chapman’s: 157 E New Hampshire Ave, Southern Pines • (910) 246-0497 • www.chapmansfoodandspirits.com

2. Ashten’s Reuben Egg Rolls
3. Casa Mexicana Queso Dip

 


 

Best Place to Get Mexican Food

San Felipe

Tucked into a strip shopping center on U.S. 1, it might be easy to overlook San Felipe, but there’s no overlooking its full menu of Mexican classics and its awesome selection of burritos and quesadillas. We’re partial to the lunchtime flautas and fajitas. It’s always more food than you can eat. 1840 N Sandhills Blvd, Aberdeen • (910) 693-2979 • www.sanfelipenc.com

2. Maria’s
3. La Poblanita

 


 

Best Hot Dog

Chuck Wagon

Sometimes we need a little help from fellow reviewers, as was the case here. And, as one said, “Don’t count calories here or judge a book by its cover. This place offers anything from burgers, hotdogs, fries, chili cheese fries, milkshakes, fish fillets, fried okra/squash/pickles, grilled cheese, etc. Overall- It’s dirt cheap, greasy/unhealthy, but delicious.” 306 Monroe St, Carthage • (910) 947-5435

2. The Ice Cream Parlor
3. Cook Out

 


 

Best Place to Get a Frozen Treat

The Ice Cream Parlor

Look, it’s called the Ice Cream Parlor. Sure you can order sandwiches, wolf down the hot dog of the day and catch all the locals stuffing their faces. But front and center of it all is the cold case with loads of interesting flavors, including a few seasonal favorites specially made nearby. 176 NW Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 692-7273

2. Ben’s Ice Cream
3. Purple Penguin

 


 

Best Vegan/Vegetarian Food

Nature’s Own Market

Savory flavors are not the provenance of meat alone. At Nature’s Own, you can dive into the California Open Face (avocado, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes with cheddar house-made herb aioli on a Spelt English muffin) or go for the Vegetarian Dream. That’s built with Avocado, Black Bean Corn Salsa, Spinach, Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, Cheddar Cheese & Tempeh on Sourdough. Or take a friend and get both! 195 Bell Ave, Southern Pines • (910) 692-3811 • www.naturesowninc.com

2. 195 American Fusion Cuisine
3. Betsy’s Crepes

 


 

Best Wings that’ll make you want to get your fingers dirty

Buffalo Wild Wings

Get the napkins ready. That is, unless of course you’re not worried about licking those fingers in front of everyone and letting them know just how good those wings are. Sure, you can order plenty of other things — Good Heavens, you could even get a salad! — but it’s not called Buffalo Wild Salads. 1640 US-1, Southern Pines • (910) 684-8005 • www.buffalowildwings.com

2. Hickory Tavern
3. Kickback Jack’s

 


 

Best Family Friendly Restaurant

Pik-N-Pig

Located across the runway of Gilliam-McConnell Airfield in Carthage, the Pik-N-Pig is a relaxed country casual place frequented by pilots who will come from all over just to drop in for a lunch of barbecue and a slice of Coca Cola cake for dessert. Don’t be surprised sometimes if you see a squadron of Army helicopters drop in also. Hey, they like barbecue too. 194 Gilliam McConnell Rd, Carthage • (910) 947-7591 • www.pik-n-pig.com

2. Cracker Barrel
3. The Ice Cream Parlor

 


 

Best Burger

Chapman’s Food and Spirits and Cook Out (tie)

Two very different burgers, yet both are delicious treats. Chapman’s “Hamm Burger” is a mixture of ground chuck, short rib and beef brisket. Then it gets dressed up with caramelized onions, pork belly, gorgonzola spread and served on a brioche bun. Cookout’s burger isn’t nearly as fancy, but late at night when a burger and shake are in need, they’re your friend indeed. Chapman’s: 157 E New Hampshire Ave, Southern Pines • (910) 246-0497 • www.chapmansfoodandspirits.com; Cookout: 11000 US-15, Southern Pines • www.cookout.com

2. Double Eagle Grill and Bar
3. The Bakehouse

 


 

Best Place to Get Your Taco Fix

Maria’s

Anyone can do a taco, so the separator is in the flavor of the ingredients stuffed inside that corn shell. Maria’s has delicious freshness, including a generous flavor of cilantro and lime. 211 Central Park Ave A, Pinehurst • (910) 215-8010 • www.mariasmexicanpinehurst.com

2. San Felipe
3. La Poblanita

 


 

Best Place to Get a Cup of Java

Swank

Swank has a living-room quality to it. Comfy places to sit, pillows, artwork on the walls. It’s got a drop-in vibe all its own and if you like what you see of all the artwork and other items around you, well, they’re for sale too. Especially popular after the latest yoga session next door breaks up. 232 NW Broad St, Southern Pines (910) 692-8068

2. Java Bean Plantation
3. Starbucks

 


 

Favorite Place to go Do-Nuts!

Granny’s Old Fashioned Doughnuts

You’ve got to hand it to the old girl — new donut places keep coming to town and Granny’s keeps its place as No. 1 in the polls and in our stomachs. That square white box at the office first thing in the morning means this day is going to get off to a sweet start. 201 Johnson St, Aberdeen • (910) 944-9401

2. Dunkin Donuts
3. The Bakehouse

 


 

Best Food Truck

Stacks Cheddar Truck

There are few comfort foods more universal than grilled cheese, but the crew inside the Stacks truck takes the concept to a whole different level. And the grilled brussels sprouts? Eating your vegetables was never this good when mom cooked them. The truck is all over town but hangs out regularly at Southern Pines Brewing. Check it out for Taco Tuesday. (910) 527-3711 • www.stackscheddartruck.com

2. One Nine Drive
3. The Market Place

 


 

Best Place to Get Sunday Brunch

Betsy’s Crepes

We’re sure that owner Betsy Markey wishes every day were Sunday. Her place at the corner of West Pennsylvania Avenue and Broad Street is packed virtually from the moment the latch opens on the door in the morning. Savory crepes and steaming mugs of coffee carry the day. 127 SW Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 246-2406 • www.betsyscrepes.com

2. Ironwood Cafe
3. Mid Pines

 


 

Best Dinner Splurge

Ironwood Cafe

Everything on the menu is amazing, and the wait staff is among the most knowledgeable and talented in town, and you can’t beat a beautiful evening on the patio. But what we really want to say — and you just have to trust us here — is that you haven’t had a memorable meal at Ironwood until you’ve had the Chilean Sea Bass. 2176 Midland Rd, Southern Pines • (910) 255-0000 • www.ironwoodpinehurst.com

2. Beefeater’s
3. Southern Prime

 


 

Best Place to Get Lunch

Sweet Basil

It’s hard to believe one of Southern Pines’ most popular spots for lunch is only open four hours a day Tuesday through Saturday. And since lunch is what Sweet Basil does, they do it quite well. Try the Hot Vegetarian or the Quesadilla Acapulco. Yum. 134 NW Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 693-1487

2. Chick Fil A
3. Betsy’s Crepes

 


 

Best Late Night Eats

Cook Out

It’s clear from the voters that when they were thinking of late-night nourishment, they were thinking more about something quick, satisfying and a bit on the greasy side. There’s nothing fancy about Cookout, but late at night, fancy isn’t necessary. 11000 US-15, Southern Pines • www.cookout.com

2. So Pies
3. Chapman’s Food and Spirits

 


 

Best Restaurant to Eat At on a Monday (Who’s Open?)

Chapman’s Food and Spirits

The specials are special, and the rest of the menu is top-notch. And if you’re looking for a quiet corner for an early-week meal, Chapman’s has those too. It’s a warm, neighborhood-style eatery that will leave you unworried about the next four days of work. 157 E New Hampshire Ave, Southern Pines • (910) 246-0497 • www.chapmansfoodandspirits.com

2. Beefeater’s
3. Ironwood Cafe

 


 

Best Restaurant That’s Worth the Drive

Pik-N-Pig

Even by Carthage standards, it’s a bit out of the way. But then when you’re parked beside a landing strip, it’s a good bet you’re not going to be right off the highway. And hey, if pilots will fly in from Virginia and South Carolina, you can make a measly ol’ drive, right? 194 Gilliam McConnell Rd, Carthage • (910) 947-7591 • www.pik-n-pig.com

2. Valenti’s
3. Elliott’s

 


 

Best New Restaurant (opened in 2016 or 17)

Chapman’s Food and Spirits

This space on West New Hampshire has been popular for restaurants, and most recently served German fare. The brainchild of owners Kitty Hopkins and Peter Chapman Hamm, Chapman’s is the newest. It’s a casually comfortable restaurant that doesn’t try to get too fancy and offers great value for the quality. 157 E New Hampshire Ave, Southern Pines • (910) 246-0497 • www.chapmansfoodandspirits.com

2. Char Bar 7
3. Double Eagle Grill and Bar

 


 

Best Place to Get Baked Goods

The Bakehouse

Not everything Pastry chef and owner Martin Brunner serves at The Bakehouse is as intricate and artistic as his seasonal gingerbread houses and other creations, but they sure do taste that way. Inside, the family’s Austrian and Spanish roots shine through in sweet fashion. 120 N Poplar St, Aberdeen • (910) 944-9204 • www.thebakehouse.biz

2. C Cups Cupcakery
3. Broad Street Bakery

 


 

Best Place to Have Good Food Every Time

Chapman’s Food and Spirits

If you read the other entries in this issue in which Chapman’s came in first place, then you understand that we don’t have much to say here. Except maybe “yum.” 157 E New Hampshire Ave, Southern Pines • (910) 246-0497 • www.chapmansfoodandspirits.com

2. Beefeater’s
3. Pik-N-Pig

 


 

Best Ice Cream

The Ice Cream Parlor

As a youngster in Southern Pines, Anthony Parks would take money he earned from his dad and go to the Ice Cream Parlor and spend it on ice cream and quarters for the video games. He owns the Parlor today but still loves the ice cream. You can get your standard chocolate and vanilla, but try the homemade blueberry and peach when it’s in season. There’s 24 flavors in all, so everyone’s a winner. 176 NW Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 692-7273

2. Ben’s Ice Cream
3. Cold Stone Creamery

 


 

Best Casual Dining Restaurant

Chapman’s

We haven’t tried walking in with our pajamas still on, but it’s perfectly OK if you’re in shorts and flip flops or skirt and heels. You’ll find couples eating a post-yoga salad alongside a table of four poring over spreadsheets. 157 E New Hampshire Ave, Southern Pines • (910) 246-0497 • www.chapmansfoodandspirits.com

2. Pik-N-Pig
3. Curt’s Cucina

 


 

Best Breakfast Spot

Betsy’s Crepes

Sure, you could get a simple bagel with a schmear of cream cheese or eggs with bacon, but, um, why? Some of Betsy’s faves are better for lunch or dessert but you can’t go wrong at breakfast with the Popeye crepe or, even better, the Deja Vu. You’ll find asparagus and goat cheese tucked into that latter one. And the coffee’s always fresh. 127 SW Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 246-2406 • www.betsyscrepes.com

2. Sizzlin Steak or Eggs
3. Mac’s Breakfast Anytime

 


 

Best Chalkboard Menu

Betsy’s Crepes

One of the best things about the Southern Pines restaurants downtown is their creativity not just in the kitchen but also out on the sidewalk. A little chalk and black slate goes a long way to bring in the hungry crowds. 127 SW Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 246-2406 • www.betsyscrepes.com

2. Chapman’s Food and Spirits
3. The Ice Cream Parlor

 


 

Best Restaurant Server (and where they work)

Frank Zaccherio/Curt’s Cucina

Originally from New York, a northerner with southern charm. Very personable, knowledgable, friendly and makes you feel like your are the only table in the restaurant. 515 SE Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 725-1868 • www.curtscucina.com

2. Courtney/Beefeater’s
3. Ironwood Cafe

 


 

Most Creative Chef (Name & Restaurant)

Curt Shelvey, Curt’s Cucina

When the book “Best Chefs America” came out four years ago, Curt was one of three local chefs included. He was nominated for inclusion by Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse. That says more about Curt’s chops than we ever could. Curt’s Cucina never lacks for a crowd. 515 SE Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 725-1868 • www.curtscucina.com

2. Prem Nath, 195 American Fusion Cuisine
3. W
arren Lewis, Chef Warren’s

 


 

Best Sushi

Susa Sushi

Tucked out of the way on Turner Street in Aberdeen in the Staples shopping center, Susa is a favorite stop for a quick lunch or grabbing a selection to take home for dinner. Their menu far exceeds most other places, and the artistry that is sushi is so good, it’s almost a shame to eat it. But eat it — and enjoy it — we do. 280 Turner St, Southern Pines • (910) 692-5923

2. Red Bowl
3. Ten-Ya

 


 

Best Cheesesteak Sub

Steve’s Pizza and Subs

You start with the chopped slices of steak, drop on some provolone, add in a healthy helping of onions and peppers, mayo, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and some of Steve’s special sauce. Make sure you take some extra napkins — like, a box. 506 Monroe St, Carthage • (910) 947-1099

2. Jersey Mike’s
3. Lil Dino’s

 


 

Best Pizza

Vito’s

You don’t stay in business for 37 years as an Italian restaurant if you make a crummy pizza. Vito’s in Southern Pines was serving up the pie long before many of the other pizza places came to town. Fresh ingredients spread liberally across the pizza — and if you hang out in the main dining room you’ll see them spinning your dough right there in front of you. 615 SE Broad St, Southern Pines • (910) 692-7815 • www.vitosnc.com

2. So Pies
3. Zerillo’s

 


 

Best Dining/Culinary Tour

Elliott’s on Linden

Chef and owner Mark Elliott has been demonstrating his skill at pairing various tastes and being unafraid to try new culinary techniques. The end result is usually packed dining rooms and rave reviews. 905 Linden Rd , Pinehurst • (910) 215-0775 • www.elliottsonlinden.com

2. Chef Warren’s
3. Chapman’s Food and Spirits