June 28, 2016

Vit Goal Tofu

Text and photos by Evan Hatch Vit Goal Tofu Restaurant is elusive. The restaurant is situated around two corners, up a hidden drive, at the end of a nondescript strip mall, hidden behind a Big Lots that is difficult to access. Though centrally located minutes from I-40, near the crossroads of NC 54 and Hwy 55 in Durham, Vit Goal is a difficult destination to reach on the first try. However, the journey, and … [Read more...]

El Restaurante Ixtapa

Text and images by Sol Weiner On a recent lunch break, fellow NC FOLKer Evan Hatch insisted that we go to El Restaurante Ixtapa in downtown Hillsborough. I’ve been hearing friends talk for months about Ixtapa’s no-frills combination of surf-and-turf options typical of Guerrero-style Mexican food. As Latino migration to North Carolina continues to grow, more and more states and regions in Latin America are being … [Read more...]

The Great Pumpkin Diaries

Text by Frances Dowell. Images by Randi Byrd. 240 lbs of gypsum, 80 lbs of lime, 50 lbs of kelp meal, 50 lbs of very well-aged chicken manure, and 30 lbs of bone meal went into the patch today. —Randi Byrd’s Facebook page, March 19, 2016   Every year Randi Byrd prepares the soil, chooses her seeds, and sets out to grow North Carolina’s biggest pumpkin. Randi is Community Engagement Coordinator … [Read more...]

Saltbox Seafood Joint

Text and photos by Monique LaBorde I’ve visited Saltbox Seafood Joint three times in the past year, but I only recently made it there in time to eat. Saltbox opens at 11am and cooks seafood until they run out, which is usually around 5 p.m. On a busy day, Saltbox can run out of their seafood supply after the lunch rush. Every morning for three years, the small stand in Durham’s Little Five Points … [Read more...]

The Pit

The Pit BBQ in Durham, across from the famed Motorco, is part of the new Durham--a Durham of renovation and reinvention. The Pit is the perfect example of a business taking the traditions of a city steeped in Southern history, and presenting them with a modern aesthetic to a new generation. The Pit is gleaming inside, with shiny hardwood floors and tables, and a ceiling-high glass divider with a frosted pig … [Read more...]

Allen and Son Bar-B-Que

Text and Photos by Lauren Fulcher and Monique Laborde In the big cities of NC, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the south. Especially in college towns like Chapel Hill, it’s hard to find authentic southern cooking. If you drive out though just a few miles from Franklin Street, there’s a little place called Allen & Son BBQ that is famous for keeping North Carolina food traditions alive. On the drive to … [Read more...]

The Art of Making Pupusas

by Joy Salyers There was so much to share from our visit to Manny's Universal Cafe in Greensboro that we had to make two blog posts about it! Last week Evan Hatch told you about the owners, Manny and Margarita, and the amazing food we ate (and ate, and ate). This week, we have a special treat for you -- a pupusa-making lesson! Evan, you see, is the consummate fieldworker. Even while we were eating, he was … [Read more...]

Manny’s Universal Cafe

by Evan Hatch The Southside neighborhood in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, stands as a prime example of successful urban revitalization.  Historic homes line the landscape, interspersed with historic businesses and combined commercial/residential properties. Urban planning experts often cite Southside as an example of renewal done right. A 2003 winner of the National Planning Award for Implementation from … [Read more...]

Smokey’s BBQ Shack

by Evan Hatch One Wednesday, after a North Carolina Folklife Institute Board of Directors meeting, a great hunger announced its presence. I wanted barbecue.  When asked of a good local spot, President André Nabors replied, “Smokey’s.” Mr. Nabors was only working under assumption - he’d not yet had Smokey’s BBQ. But when I asked its location, his answer convinced me to try it. “It’s on the right down Chapel … [Read more...]

Keeping the Business in the Family

by Ray Linville A nondescript building on a rural road is not the typical place where I stop for food. In Rennert, a town of fewer than 400 residents in Robeson County, I found “E.&H. Bar.B.Q. Hut” painted on a faded, decades-old Coca-Cola sign on a whitewashed structure that marked my destination. Although another sign in a window where walk-up customers once were served says, “No Trespassing,” a window … [Read more...]