Country-Fried Steak, Braised Goat, and Fresh Fish: Here Are Some of the Best Black-Owned Restaurants in NC

The spread at Zweli's Kitchen & Catering in Durham, thought one the only full-service, authentic Zimbabwean restaurant in the United States. (Image via Zweli's Instagram)

By Max Millington

June 16, 2021

From Mama Dip’s to Boss Hog’s, we wanted to show off not just the depth and deliciousness of North Carolina’s restaurants, but the diversity. 

Warmer weather and longer days usually means more time to travel, explore, and try different cuisines. We already know where we like to chow down in our neighborhood, but what about in other parts of the state? 

At Cardinal & Pine, we wanted to highlight not only the quality of the offerings in North Carolina, but also the diversity of our restaurateurs. Which is why we’ve pulled together this list of some of our favorite Black-owned restaurants in North Carolina, with highlights like the fried green tomatoes at Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill and Boss Hog’s pork BBQ basket in Sherrills Ford.

Dig in.

Cuzzo’s Cuisine – Charlotte

Red velvet waffles? Lobster mac and cheese? Say no more. Check out Cuzzo’s Cuisine in the Queen City. Founded by first cousins Andarrio Johnson & Anglee Brown, Cuzzo’s speciality is Southern fare. Some of the highlights of their menu, in addition to the lobster mac, include the fried shrimp, and strawberry banana pudding!

The fried chicken and red velvet waffles at Cuzzo’s in Charlotte. (Image via Cuzzo)

Mama Dip’s – Chapel Hill

Known for great family-style dining, Mama Dip’s was founded in 1976 by the late Mildred Council, the granddaughter of an enslaved person who became one of Chapel Hill’s most iconic restaurant owners. Council’s two cookbooks have been praised by some of the most famous chefs and food writers in the world. 

Zweli’s Kitchen – Durham

Thought to be the first and only full-service, authentic Zimbabwean restaurant in the United States, Zweli’s provides a unique blend of food and culture. Zweli’s offers the rarest of flavors with familiar and unfamiliar food (we’re eyeing the fried plantains, braised goat, and Dovi shrimp), a blended accommodation of dietary preferences, and lots of space for events. You can also eyeball the staff making magic in their open kitchen. Since Zweli Williams started the company in 2016, it’s quickly gained traction throughout the Triangle.

Catch – Wilmington

Looking for some good seafood during your beach trip? Check out Catch on Market Street in Wilmington. Owner and Chef Keith Rhodes, a contestant on season 9 of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, opened Catch 15 years ago because of his passion for North Carolina seafood. The menu includes Cajun-crusted North Carolina oysters, shrimp and grits, lobster tail and land fare such as roasted duck and a black angus NY steak.

Cam’s Coffee Creations – Winston-Salem

Started in 2018 by then 9-year-old Camden Myers, Cam’s Coffee Creations claims to offer the best coffee in Winston-Salem. However, there’s more to Myers’ little coffee shop. The business trains and employs students with special needs and donates some of their profits to local causes. CCC sells both coffee and tea as well as merchandise and baked goods in tandem with Bespoke Confections. 

Boss Hog – Sherrills Ford

Get your BBQ on at Boss Hog, located just less than 10 miles from Lake Norman. Like most BBQ in North Carolina, Hog’s menu is plentiful — country-fried steak, shrimp po-boys, and even bologna sandwiches! — which makes it the perfect place to chow down after a day on the lake.


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