NC cafes and coffee shops that are just a little bit weird

"Mootilda," the star of the show at "The Cow Cafe" in New Bern, NC. This eastern NC cafe is dedicated to its cow branding. (Photo via The Cow Cafe on Facebook)

By Leah Sherrell

December 7, 2023

Dinosaurs, cows, and double-decker buses: Some of these NC cafes are cozy, some are minimalist, and some are just a little bit bizarre.

Sometimes, when you’re trying to pick a destination, you want something you’ll remember. We had that in mind when we picked this list of NC cafes and coffee shops that are—how should we put it?—unique.

Read More: The 12 Best Christmas Tree Farms and Light Displays in NC

We’ve got dino cafes, some serious devotion to cow puns, cafes on wheels, and one Charlotte destination that puts the overstimulation in stimulation.

Read on for 5 NC coffee shops that are just a little bit weird.

Hidden Grounds Coffee


Hidden Grounds Coffee is a jungle oasis in the historic district of downtown Wilmington.

The founders opened the backyard coffee shop this year and decided to go in a unique direction when it came time to choose their mascot.

Instead of tigers, toucans, or your average jungle-roaming animal, they decided the Tyrannosaurus Rex was the perfect representation of this funky and fun caffeine destination.

You’re greeted here by tiny statues of prehistoric reptiles, egg-shaped chairs, and cups with a cowboy riding a T-Rex. The holiday menu even features the Tree-Rex– a triple shot of espresso with peppermint cold-foam and white mocha.

Double D’s Coffee and Desserts


A play on words if we’ve ever heard one, Double D’s is a coffee shop inside a bright red double decker bus in downtown Asheville.

The cash-only establishment is a place for all ages to enjoy serving a range of caffeinated drinks, milkshakes, and smoothies. There’s free wifi for students who need to study, or those looking to enjoy a few hours out of the house.

Patrons who like holiday season drinks will enjoy the Peppermint Bark Mocha which combines white chocolate, dark chocolate, peppermint, and espresso.

The Cow Cafe

New Bern

The Cow Cafe is a diner rather than a coffee spot, and we have to admire their dedication to branding.

From cow-patterned wallpaper, cow-themed trinkets, and a menu filled with names like “Grandmoos Chicken Salad” and “Gourtmoo Wraps,” they are the animal-themed eatery to visit in New Bern (or “Moo Bern” as they like to call it).

Coffee lovers will find a basic cup of coffee on the menu, but will also appreciate a large menu of cheekily named ice cream flavors.

Rude Awakening


The name may not sound like your average cozy coffee shop, but Rude Awakening in downtown Fayetteville is one way community members are preserving the neighborhood.

Founders Molly and Bruce Arnold bought the space in the 1990s when the building was scheduled for demolition. In 1999, they opened the coffee shop and continue serving the community coffee flights, vegan cookies, and seasonally flavored truffles.

Amelie’s French Bakery


What could be weird about a French bakery– is that not what they’re known for? Well… in this case the France-themed bakery and coffee shop takes their decoration to the extreme. Bright blue and white striped wallpaper, extravagant paintings, fancy light fixtures, and checkerboard floors, Amelie’s is a place of sensory stimulation.

Those looking for the perfect blend of extravagance and delicious flavors will find it in raspberry tarts, brunch favorites, and coffee ranging from the simple to the seasonal.


  • Leah Sherrell

    Leah Sherrell is a multimedia reporter for Cardinal & Pine. A graduate of UNC-Wilmington, she's a resident of Kernersville with a background in video production and communication. Leah uses many forms of media to explore the multifaceted lifestyles and cultures present in North Carolina.


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