Eastern North Carolina Eating, The Literary Way

There are hundreds of reasons to celebrate Georgann Eubanks’ third and last in her “Literary Trails of the North Carolina” series.

Follow her travels in the just released “Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina,” and you will have the most enjoyable and efficient survey of authors and literary connections in that region.

But one of my favorite parts of her books are the descriptions of the places where literary-connected people eat.

Here are some of those eateries.

In Raleigh, Eubanks remembers the old Ballantine’s Cafeteria as the hangout for the writers. The K&W Cafeteria has taken its place, at least for some. Kim Church set her short story “Cafeteria Lady” there. “She checks my drinking glass. ‘Sweetened?’ she asked, in case I want refills.”

Jill McCorkle recommends Candy Sue’s Café at 111 West Third Street in her hometown of Lumberton.

Melvin’s, on West Broad Street in Elizabethtown, “is a hot dog and hamburger stand that has been beloved by travelers and townspeople since 1938.”

Calabash, just north of the South Carolina border, is a Mecca for seafood fans. Eubanks recommends Ella’s and Seafood Hut as “the most authentic, according to locals” and Inlet View Bar and Grill in nearby Shallotte “if you are in town between Thursday and Sunday”.

The popular barbecue and seafood restaurant in Newton Grove, Eddie’s Café, is a part of Eric Martin’s first novel, “Luck.”

Eubanks suggests stops at “two of Goldsboro’s most famous eateries – Wilber’s Barbecue and McCall’s BBQ and Seafood Restaurant.”

Bestselling author Nicholas Sparks and his family often eat at Baker’s Kitchen, 227 Middle Street, New Bern. Eubanks recommends their French toast.

In Morehead City, a short walk from the wonderful bookstore named (not after me) DeeGee’s Gifts and Books at 508 East Evans Street, you can grab a bite at the famous Sanitary Fish Market and restaurant or at Captain Bill’s Waterfront Restaurant.

In Weldon near Roanoke Rapids, Eubanks reminds us that travelers coming from north of the Mason Dixon line “have their first chance at down-home North Carolina seafood and barbecue at Ralph’s – an establishment operated by the same family for more than six decades.”

Poet Cherryl Floyd-Miller gives a “rhythmic appraisal of the beverage of choice at Ralph’s and in her family’s household” in her poem “The Way of (Carolina) Tea.” Here is a short excerpt:

“Tea – juice we could afford.
Bags of caffeine, boiled them twice.
Southern sake mama poured
tea into tupperware gourds.”

In Jackson, Northampton County’s county seat, which is connected to author Mebane Holoman Burgwyn, Eubanks suggests the Embassy Café at 124 W. Jefferson, “where town folk trade stories and fill up on fresh seasonal vegetables and various delectable treatments of chicken and pork.”

In Duck, Eubanks tells us about Paper Canoe, a restaurant that is popular with locals, and “which sometimes serves – what else? – barbecued duck.”

The Sunny Side Oyster Bar at 1102 Washington Street in Williamston was described by two authors, Lucia Peel Powe in her book “Roanoke Rock Muddle,” and Bland Simpson in his travelogue “Into the Sound Country.”

According to Eubanks, “this one-of-a-kind restaurant serves only steamed oysters, shrimp, clams, and crab legs. The sole side dish on the menu is steamed broccoli with cheese sauce (unless saltines and beer qualify as sides). Sunny Side nearly closed in 1991, but devoted patrons came to the rescue. It is open in the months that contain the letter R.”

In Edenton, Eubanks recommends Edenton Coffeehouse, Bakery and Café, a used bookstore and a good place to get breakfast or lunch.

In Washington, N.C., Eubanks quotes poet John Hoppenthaler about his favorite place to eat. “A quick stop at Food Lion for beer & whole wheat buns, then Hog Heaven for pints of barbecue, baked beans, & slaw.” Check it out at 1969 West Fifth Street.

D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage at www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch.

Next week’s (April 28, May 2) guest is Georgann Eubanks author of “Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina: A Guidebook.”

The third and final volume of the “Literary Trails of North Carolina” series establishes Georgann Eubanks as the master guide to our state’s literary history. She has already taken us to Murphy and now in “Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina: A Guidebook,” she takes us from Raleigh through the Coastal Plain all the way to Manteo.

The program will also air at Wednesday May 1 at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4). In addition, airing at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on UNC-MX will be a classic Bookwatch program featuring Sheila Kay Adams author of “My Old True Love.”

A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.


Autumn reading suggestions from North Carolina Bookwatch

It is reading time again.
So, courtesy of UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch, I have some autumn reading (and early Christmas gift) suggestions for your consideration.
Charles Frazier’s new book “Nightwoods” will be on this Sunday’s New York Times best seller list for the second week in a row. “Nightwoods” may not be the same kind of blockbuster that his “Cold Mountain” became, but it is off to a solid start sales wise. “Nightwoods” is set in Frazier’s beloved North Carolina mountains. With engaging characters and a story line of suspense and surprise, this short book could become a favorite. Because it is compact it opens the doors for a wider audience to become acquainted with Frazier’s magnificent gifts. I am betting that many people who did not finish “Cold Mountain” or “Thirteen Moons” will, through “Nightwoods,” become new members of Frazier’s fan club. You can visit with Frazier on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch this weekend: Friday, October 21, at 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 23, at 5 p.m.
A new book by a New Bern resident will almost certainly be at or near the top of The New York Times list by the end of October. Nicholas Sparks’s “The Best of Me” is the kind of love story Sparks knows how to tell so well. Set in Oriental, a small town and sailing center on the Pamlico Sound, two high school lovers come back to their hometown twenty years after their last parting. As usual, Sparks makes the romantic sparks fly.  (Oct. 28 and 30)
Andrea Reusing recently won a James Beard award for her complex cooking skills. She owns the acclaimed Chapel Hill restaurant, Lantern, where her amazing Asian-inspired dishes require expert preparation. Nevertheless, her book “Cooking In The Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes” is designed for us normal people who want to cook simple seasonal foods for our families. Using clear language she tells her readers how and when to shop for foods in season. Using the same direct instructions she guides them in the simple steps of preparing those foods. (Nov. 4 and 6)
Jane Borden’s “I Totally Meant to Do That” is a humorous memoir of a young college graduate from Greensboro making her way in a less than friendly but highly addictive New York City. This book should be required reading for every young North Carolinian considering a move to the Big Apple and for the North Carolina parents of any child now living there. (Nov. 11 and 13)
UNC-Wilmington’s Clyde Edgerton’s latest book, “Night Train,” takes us back to a segregated North Carolina town of the mid-sixties. Two teen-aged boys, one white and one black, share a passion for music. The white boy wants to be another James Brown, but the laws and customs of his society make it very hard for his relationship with his black friend to continue. Edgerton explores some of the same themes that the novel and recent movie “The Help” brought to a wider audience. (Nov. 18 and 20)
Thanks to an author who lives in Chapel Hill we can read an up-to-date 007 mystery featuring a James Bond revised for modern times. The author is Jeffrey Deaver, already a very popular and best selling author of a host of thriller novels. The estate of Ian Fleming, the original author of the James Bond series, commissioned Deaver to write the new book, “Carte Blanche.” It is set in current times. Do not worry about James Bond’s age. Today, the original Bond would be about 90 years old, but Deaver’s Bond was born in 1979 and served in Afghanistan. He reminds us of the original Bond, but he is a brand new model. (Nov. 25 and 27)
Enjoy the books and tune in Bookwatch this fall.