Best of Sandhills Dining 2021
05 Aug 2021
For our initial year, you voted and we listened when it comes to your favorite places around the Sandhills region. Whether you are a Moore County native or new to the area, use this guide to help you shop, dine, or locate a specific service—do you need a wedding planner, vet clinic, or personal trainer? We know who to call and where to go.
Located in the Village of Pinehurst, Theos Taverna has served the most authentic Greek/Mediterranean cuisine for 28 years. The Dalitsouris family have created the perfect place to enjoy wonderful food and relax in a Mediterranean atmosphere. Let them tempt you with saganaki, humus, calamari, shrimp sandorini, and other delectable appetizers before your meal.
Chapman’s Food & Spirits
Since opening in downtown Southern Pines in 2015, Chapman’s has epitomized the “casual concept” of food and spirits as it serves plenty of American comfort food. The Hamm Burger is one of several imaginative sandwiches, although the regular menu is only part of the story at Chapman’s. Every day they also have specials not on the menu.
Specializing in Vietnamese, Thai and Laotian cuisine, Mai Phi brings traditional Southeast Asian flavors to the Sandhills and greets you with a complimentary crab rangoon when you arrive. The Laotian Sampler serves three and is as tempting as the Vietnamese pho, a rice noodle soup (beef or chicken).
Serving simple, authentic Italian food rooted in family traditions, Jim and Mickey Reale have brought their love of food and rich experiences to the Sandhills with a casual regional Italian eatery that features his grandmother’s recipes. The retail market across the hall in the Pinehurst Theatre Building has grab-and-go lunch options, breads, cheeses,
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant
With more than 10 lunch specials, Maria’s is popular for the midday meal. In the evening, the dinner menu is extensive and includes a variety of chicken and steak dishes as well as tacos, enchiladas. All dinners are served with black beans, refried beans, or deluxe salad.
The premier bakery in the Sandhills is The Bakehouse in Aberdeen. Established in 1948, it is a sixth-generation bakery with Austrian and Spanish roots. Visit and discover what fills the morning air with a scrumptious scent. Marvel at artisan bread, specialty cakes with handmade sugar flowers, European seasonal items, and treats for any event.
Fire destroyed Pik-n-Pig just weeks ago, but the spirit of the owners and loyal customers remains unbroken. A family-run business from pitmaster to servers, it was the place for aviators and other barbecue fans to savor slowly smoked meat cooked over hot coals in the traditional way. Everyone is hoping for a recovery soon.
Mac’s Breakfast Anytime
Mac’s has been the dependable, go-to breakfast spot in the Sandhills for decades. Although the extensive menu and specials-of-the-day board include more than breakfast items, they are the most popular choices. From omelets and other egg dishes to sausage and gravy, Mac’s knows how to start(and end) everyone’s day the right way.
Ronnie’s Chuck Wagon
An old-fashioned hamburger is best eaten in an old-fashioned place. Welcome to Ronnie’s, which has been a favorite of many Sandhills residents since they were children. In this no-frills restaurant that is cash only, the staff is very friendly, and the low prices make it the best burger bargain in the Sandhills.
Form V Chocolates
Form V Chocolates is a hand-crafted and hand-painted, artisan chocolate company specializing in boutique-style bon bons. Each bon bon is hand-painted and decorated. The mastermind behind the company is Scott Hasemeier. Although classically trained in French cuisine, his fascination with the art of chocolates drives him to create the most luxurious chocolate.
White Rabbit Catering
In 1975, Giff Fisher opened The White Rabbit, a private drinking club named for the famous Tennessee saloon at Jack Daniel’s Distillery. He also used that name to grow a catering business. White Rabbit now means his premier catering business that feature his distinctive cooking style that has set the tone for many signature events.
The Roast Office
What to do with an old post office building? My, would Pinehurst founder James Walker Tufts be surprised how people linger for coffee and pastries in what had been ravaged timberland. The inviting atmosphere of The Roast Office also summons you to roam among collectable books whose purchase support the Given Tufts Memorial Library.
“Our best seller is the crab cake entrée made from North Carolina crab meat purveyed from Pamlico Sound. Scott is the only one who knows the recipe. He hand-prepares it all himself. He probably has patted 7,000 to 8,000 since we opened — all by Scott’s hands,” says Karen Margolis, wife of chef Scott.
Born out of a desire to help the women and families forever changed by breast cancer, C.Cups is the first stop in the Sandhills for cupcakes, delicious New York cheesecakes, and cakes for any event. Janell Canino, C.Cups founder, believes in small-batch baking and providing top-quality sweets with no shortcuts.
Vito’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
Proudly serving families in the Sandhills since 1980, Vito’s in Southern Pines offers a great menu and stellar wine selection to anyone seeking an authentic Italian dining experience. It offers the perfect atmosphere for multiple generations to appreciate, and the menu has something to please every member of the family.
Elliott’s on Linden
Since opening Elliott’s on Linden in 2000, Chef Mark Elliott has set the standard for fine dining as he showcases the region’s bounty daily in his restaurant. His staff will treat you like royalty from the moment that you enter. Indulge in hospitable service, fresh ingredients, and beautifully plated meals.
This natural food market has been bringing healthy food and supplements to the Sandhills for 25 years. It has a large selection of vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. Enjoy juices, smoothies, soups, and sandwiches at its juice bar. Anyone with special dietary needs will appreciate its natural sugar substitutes and large selection of gluten-free foods.
The Ice Cream Parlor
Located in the heart of Southern Pines, The Ice Cream Parlor Restaurant has been the place to meet and enjoy adventurous homemade ice cream flavors since 1976. Old-fashioned floats, sodas, and malts are prefect alone as a treat or as a complement for its famous Dog of the Day specials. Even vegan ice creams are available.
Sweet Basil Café
The perfect locale for a delicious lunch is this popular eatery in downtown Southern Pines. For a midday meal, choose among several signature salads, distinctive sandwiches on rustic breads, and other specialties. Breads are freshly made and baked each morning by John Davis, chef and owner.
Villaggio Ristorante & Bar
Since it opened a few months ago, Villaggio Ristorante & Bar in the heart of historic Pinehurst has more than surpassed the expectations of savvy locals and out-of-town guests who want to enjoy an exquisite, fine-dining experience. The large outdoor patio is the ideal scene for dining and weekend music.
Inside this health-friendly business, it’s all about fresh, organic, and natural products. The first organic, natural food market in this area, it has offered organic produce, dairy, meats, locally grown products and other natural, healthy foods since it was established in 1987. Change your diet and lifestyle with Nature’s Own as the start.
The perfect place to enjoy Ironwood’s seasonal menu that combines the signature flavors of the South with local and international ingredients is outside among towering North Carolina pines. The patio offers a taste of true Southern hospitality with al fresco dining under old southern magnolias and features a stunning fire-enhanced fountain.
Serving authentic hand-tossed New York pizza with creative toppings, this low-key, counter-serve outlet prepares fresh dough and homemade sauce daily on premise with only fresh ingredients. Family-owned and operated, SoPies uses its Old World recipes to make your dining experience memorable. Appetizers such as mozzarella sticks and garlic knots are too tempting.
Full Moon Oyster Bar
This popular watering hole and seafood restaurant has the best seafood anywhere. It offers fresh oysters and other shellfish delights prepared raw or steamed to preserve the salty good freshness everyone loves. Order a half or whole peck of raw oysters, which are served with house-made slaw and steamed potatoes.
Ashten’s Restaurant & Pub
Designed to be comfortable yet elegant like an old English manor house, Ashten’s is where you should plan your next date night. Choose between the casually elegant dining room or a cozy pub area. Set the mood for an unforgettable experience of love with one of Ashten’s signature cocktails, such as Ashtini or 52 Thoroughbred.
The signature salads at CharBar No. 7 are exceptional, but the build-your-own salads let you create exactly what you want. Start with lettuce (a choice of six). Then add six ingredients. Choose from fruits, vegetables, cheese, and protein. Add something tasty, crunchy, or nutty. Finally, top with your favorite dressing.
In a French-inspired neighborhood bistro where you can watch the chef at work in the open kitchen, amazing seafood choices are featured on the menu that changes daily and varies with the availability of seasonal products. Seafood entrees may include such specialties as pan-seared N.C. amberjack, sauteed Australian barramundi, or Cajun-dusted diver scallops and jumbo shrimp.
With a rustic and charming ambiance, Southern Prime has the impeccable service to match its elegant atmosphere. Steaks chargrilled at 1,400 degrees entice the new clientele. What brings them back is service unpassed in the Sandhills. Whether it's a night with friends or a celebration, every dinner is memorable and each visit is a special occasion.
“The best seller is prime rib, closely followed by the ribeye,” says Tammy Waterbury, who has owned and operated Beefeaters since 2011. For ambitious appetites, a cowboy steak — a 16-ounce bone-in ribeye — is alluring as is a porterhouse that weighs in at 24 ounces. State cattlemen have presented the “Best Steak in North Carolina” award
Make the weekend extra special where Sunday brunch is extraordinary. Before ordering, relax with your bachelorette crew or close friends with specials that include a champagne-charged mimosa or morning glory. Irish whiskey French toast tops the breakfast choices, but chicken and waffles are enticing. Both compete with lunch options such as the Ironwood kebab.
In just over a year, Fish Co. in Southern Pines has created a loyal following for its distinctive sushi. The reason: its amazingly fresh fish. It’s flown in overnight from Hawaii, which is fresher and quicker than can be obtained from the East Coast. Its supplier is the only direct distributor of more than 14 species of sashimi-grade fish.
Hennings Taste of India
On a meatless diet? The list of vegetable entrees at Hennings is almost endless. Specialties that feature spinach, eggplant, green peas, chickpeas, lentils, black and red beans, cauliflower, potato, okra, and other vegetables are just as tempting to carnivores as well. Several vegetable appetizers also can start the meal on the flavorsome path.
Vito’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
As amazing as the Italian food is at Vito’s, even more remarkable is the wine list. Hundreds of bottles are kept in the temperature-controlled cellar under the dining area. Guests are invited to speak with Vito personally about their favorite wine and vineyards and to ask him about his personal favorites.