5 Coffee Shops We Love

We sample a lot of foods that deserve the moniker of a #FoodieScore, but as all foodies well know, sometimes you can score with a beverage, too. To recognize some of those drinkable delights, we compiled this list of our favorite coffee shops across the South. From Oxford, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, to our own little corner of North Carolina – here are five places you can satisfy your coffee fix.

Bottletree Bakery

The Bowl of Soul at Bottletree Bakery

BOTTLETREE BAKERY, Oxford, Mississippi—Just off one of our favorite town squares in all of America, there’s more than a bakery awaiting you here. Chances are good you’ll be drawn to the shop’s treat counter first, with its pies and pastries and other confections. But you don’t want to overlook the coffee, especially our favorite, the Bowl of Soul espresso! The spot is also one of the best to get a quick bite to eat in this Southern town that’s home to Ole Miss.

Collins Quarter

Matcha at Collins Quarter

THE COLLINS QUARTER, Savannah, Georgia—There’s a reason you feel like you’ve stepped into a street café in a foreign country when you enter. It’s because the name, the atmosphere and some of the menu items get their inspiration from Australian influences. Right in the heart of a downtown district that oozes with Southern charm and history, this favorite spot offers an assortment of coffees with global flair, along with a full menu and a delicious brunch on the weekends.

Broad River

Latte at Broad River (Photo Credit: @broad_river on Instagram

BROAD RIVER, Boiling Springs, North Carolina—When folks in this small college town refer to “the coffee shop,” this is exactly what they’re referencing. Whether you’re seeking one of a plethora of hot or cold brews, the best cup of hot tea to cure a cold or a tasty pastry for breakfast or a midday treat, you’ll find it all here. And if you’re not in a hurry, there’s plenty of room to relax on a couch or take a table for studying or working.

Frothy Monkey

White Monkey at Frothy Monkey

FROTHY MONKEY, Nashville, Tennessee—You won’t find a ton of room inside this former house, but the packed space is surely an indicator of the popularity of this shop in the city’s 12 South district. In addition to a variety of delicious locally roasted coffees, the place serves up breakfast, brunch, dinner and sweet treats, as well as beer and wine for those so inclined. We love it perhaps most of all for its funky name and the funky little space to match, along with the tasty White Monkey drink!

Camino

Chai Latte at Camino Bakery (Photo Credit: @caminobakery on Instagram)

CAMINO BAKERY, Winston-Salem, North Carolina—We first tried this hip, modern coffee shop after a show at the nearby Hanesbrands Theatre. Its delicious offerings – from well-crafted lattes to baked goods to a variety of wines – make it a perfect stop for any trip through Winston-Salem. We both love its variety of options, the college-town vibe and the beautifully-designed atmosphere.

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#FoodieScore Recommends: Cleveland County (N.C.) Eats!

In Shelby, N.C., for the American Legion World Series baseball tournament? You’re sure to get hungry after all that baseball! Well, Shelby-based blog #FoodieScore’s got you covered with great local recommendations for where to eat while you’re here in Cleveland County, N.C. This list is just a small sampling of our favorite spots, and it is by no means a full list of all the amazing restaurants our county has to offer. We hope you enjoy!

Red Bridges BBQ

BBQ

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, 2000 E. Dixon Blvd., Shelby

Red Bridges is arguably one of the most popular barbecue joints in our area, as it is a two-time national award winner for barbecue. It has won Thrillist’s “Best BBQ in America” March Madness bracket competition, as well as the Garden and Gun Ultimate Barbecue Bracket. We won’t waste any more your time on reading, other than to tell you this barbecue is worth the acclaim.

Alston Bridges Barbecue, 620 E. Grover St., Shelby 

Alston Bridges offers up fast service and fantastic barbecue on the northern side of Shelby. This place has a ton of regulars that you can see filling up the parking lot at all hours of the day. (It is not affiliated with Red Bridges across town.) Its barbecue is more vinegar-based and less sauce-focused, which gives it a completely different flavor and a wonderful texture.

The Flying Pig, 901 College Ave., Shelby/Boiling Springs

Matthew is a huge fan of the barbecue (and the friendly staff!) at Flying Pig. It’s a little more off the beaten path, a true old-fashioned barbecue joint. The Q is delicious and Flying Pig offers three different barbecue sauces for your fancy.

Jammin J's

Pepperoni pizza from Jammin J’s Pizza Factory.

Pizza & Italian

Jammin J’s Pizza Factory, 1011 Grove St., Shelby

Jammin J’s is our personal favorite for delicious, inexpensive, endless pizza. Did we say endless? Jammin J’s offers buffet pizza with a range of flavors. They’ll ask when you come in what kind you’d like and immediately get it started for you. (Molly always asks for bacon, tomato, mushroom.) A few favorites are fiesta chicken and livermush pizza. (Livermush is a Southern specialty made from similar ingredients as sausage, but it has cornmeal mixed in, so the texture is a little different.) You won’t break the bank at Jammin J’s either, which is another reason it’s one of our favorites.

Pleasant City Wood Fired Grille, 233 S. Lafayette St., Shelby

You usually see wood-fired pizza grilles in larger cities, and they’re usually part of a chain. Not so here. Pleasant City is a local delight that many in our county can’t get enough of. Their pizza and beer game is strong, and it’s a great local hangout.

Toscanos Bistro, 5 E. Marion St., Shelby

If you’re looking for an Italian option, the relatively new Toscano’s is a great pick. Their pita gyros are delicious and fresh, their pizza is amazing, and their pasta plates are quite tasty.

Shelby Cafe

Cheeseburger and fries at Shelby Cafe.

American

Shelby Cafe, 220 S. Lafayette St., Shelby

You can’t come to Shelby without going to the Shelby Café. Their menu says it best: “Home Cooking Since 1922.” One of Molly’s personal favorite dishes: the Mayor’s Special, a pita bread breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese, and livermush.

Snack Shop Family Restaurant, 103 S. Main St., Boiling Springs

A great diner option near Gardner-Webb University, the Snack Shop is a near-daily favorite for many locals in Boiling Springs. They have excellent home-style food, as well as diner food such as burgers, hotdogs, and milkshakes.

238 Cherokee Grill, 222 S. Railroad Ave., Kings Mountain

One of the best restaurants around if you’re looking for something a little more fancy. Cherokee has wonderful steaks, Greek chicken dishes, killer sandwiches, delicious desserts, and more. They also have a well-stocked bar area.

The Local Market, 4629 Fallston Rd., Fallston

If you’re looking for farm to table in Cleveland County, look no further. The Local Market’s burgers and chicken dishes are fabulous, and the locals rave about their cheese curds made from locally-sourced cheese. It’s in an old house, which houses both the restaurant and a gift shop with tons of local goods.

Sweet House Bakery

Coconut Cream Cupcake at Sweet House Bakery

Coffee & Dessert

Sweet House Bakery, 304 E. Kings St., Kings Mountain

Sweet House has a delectable assortment of cupcakes (filled, iced, however you like), cookies, and dessert bars. It’s Molly’s go-to place for dessert anywhere in Cleveland County.

Uptown Sweets & Treats, 221 S. Lafayette St., Shelby

Uptown offers not only cool, refreshing frozen yogurt, they also sell local donuts made by Forest City-based Davis Donuts. We hear they also have some pretty tasty gourmet popcorn, although we haven’t laid our hands on it yet.

Swooger’s, 1016 Shelby Rd., Kings Mountain

Want to enjoy a fantastic, fresh-scooped milkshake in a retro, 1950s-themed diner? Swooger’s is your place. They also have great diner food, including a solid cheeseburger.

Hannah’s Coffee House, 1024 E. Marion St., Shelby

This coffee shop situated in a quiet area of Marion Street is the perfect place for a variety of sweet treats, as well as great coffee. The service is impeccable! You can also pull up a few chairs and play Scrabble if you like.

Broad River Co., 105 S. Main St., Boiling Springs

Over in college-town Boiling Springs, Broad River is everything you can ask for in a coffee shop. It has plenty of space and little nooks for studying, reading, relaxing, listening to music, or hanging with friends. They offer bagels and sweet treats, in addition to coffee and mouthwatering smoothies.

Foodie Travels: Scratch Bakery, Durham, N.C.

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Molly and I are always excited to find a fresh local bakery. When that bakery serves up several kinds of homemade pie, it’s even better.
During a quick stop in Durham, N.C., we visited Scratch, one of those local places that feels almost like it’s set in a different location than it actually is. Scratch offers outdoor seating that has the cafe-style feeling of a European city plaza. But it also provides the desserts and brunch items recognizable in American dining venues.
We went to Scratch for pie, and on the day we visited, the offerings included chocolate, lemon chess, buttermilk sugar, sweet potato, rhubarb and more.
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While all of the options we sampled were delicious, and we sampled about everything but my least favorite flavor of rhubarb, the buttermilk sugar was the most unique. It had a creamy yet light, sweet, buttermilk-flavored filling, with a crunchy layer of sugar right on the crust.
The crust. It was the most flaky, pastry-like crust I’ve had in recent memory on any pie. And pie is our typical dessert of choice anywhere we can eat it, at home or on the road.
Scratch also serves up brunch items like the popular avocado toast and traditional breakfast sandwiches, as well as other pastries, coffees and drinks, and lunch menu choices.
If you visit, don’t expect to park right outside. The section of Orange Street is set up to be a pedestrian walkway. But you can find a variety of half-hour, hour and two-hour parking throughout downtown.
Scratch Bakery
111 W. Orange St., Durham, N.C.
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Foodie Travels: Day Trip to Southern West Virginia

New River Gorge

The allure of West Virginia’s beautiful New River Gorge attracted us to visit. And while the gorgeous outdoor experience left an impression on us, we came home to North Carolina talking just as much about the delicious food we ate.

I’m not certain that’s only because we’re foodies. The area surrounding Fayetteville, W.Va., offers a broad menu through a deep roster of restaurants for a small town. Food must have factored into Fayetteville earning several honors as one of America’s “coolest small town” designees in the past decade.

I will go ahead and divulge that there are more restaurants we didn’t try in a single day in West Virginia’s southern mountains than what we did experience. There’s Pies & Pints, a well-known pizza and craft beer spot. There’s Vandal’s Kitchen, a delightful-looking take on Southern cooking. And there’s Gumbo’s, a cajun and creole option. Oh, and the temptation also includes West Virginia-based Tudor’s Biscuit World. Just look them up online and let your mouth start watering if you’re a biscuit and Southern food lover.

Those restaurants didn’t make our one-day cut in what was an extremely hard choice during a short visit. (Also keep in mind that as a travel tip we often surround our meals at delicious local restaurants with snacks from home and cheap breakfasts or lunches in between.) But we urge you to consider them if you travel U.S. 19 through Fayetteville. Here’s more about where we did eat, with a little bit about what we liked most at those spots.

Cathedral Cafe

Cathedral Cafe

This coffee shop, cafe and book store is located in an old historic church right on the main street through town. The building’s past and the eatery’s present offerings were what drew me to it during an online search of Fayetteville dining spots.

During our visit, we shared brunch for a nice light meal between a long drive and a hike to Long Point for a breathtaking view of the famed New River Gorge Bridge.

For drinks, we shared an Almond Joy iced coffee (which was so strong but also tasty) and an iced tea, which was less sweet than we’re used to in the Carolinas.

Since we were already past the breakfast menu, we decided to share a pair of appetizers: the chips and salsa and the salmon pita pizza. The chips were nice and salty and warm, and the salsa had a nice homemade feel that offered a tasty mix of restaurant-style and chunky.

The pita pizza was the star of the show here. A nice warm pita was topped with vegetable cream cheese, fresh salmon, greens and incredibly flavorful capers.

We made a good choice as the meal didn’t weigh us down on our long gorge hike, and we spent less than $20 combined for enough to fill us with energy for our hike. And, although the books were difficult to access with seating so close to them, we enjoyed the atmosphere in the Cathedral Cafe. The place even offers a small store upstairs.

Pita Pizza

Secret Sandwich Society

Photos of the most notable American presidents line the walls. A delicious American diner smell fills the air. A line of people stretches out the door throughout the afternoon and evening.

Secret Sandwich Society is not so secret, and that’s a good thing. This place has perfected the customer service end of the waiting list. Not only do they put your name on a Yelp list and then text you when your table is ready, they also offer a lounge upstairs that offers drinks (including sodas), music and a variety of seating where you can stay cool (or warm in the right season) while you rest and await your meal. We were very pleased with our accommodations during a 45-minute wait that started with our arrival around 4:45 p.m. By the way, that wait had stretched to an hour and a half by the time we finished our meal around 6:30 p.m.

When you make your way downstairs, you can sit inside or outside on the porch. If it’s hot, I absolutely recommend a table indoors.

Secret Sandwich burger

The menu is just what you’d expect from the name: sandwiches. But these sandwiches all come with a special blend of toppings, a home on a delicious fresh-baked bread and a unique name to boot. The burgers all have a tasty blend of well-seasoned beef that carries a signature name. The juicy chicken, roast beef and other meat options are accompanied by yummy toppings and the names of American presidents and other national and international leaders from the past.

Bring an appetite here, which is not difficult to do with all of the outdoor adventure sports in the area, because there’s plenty to eat. Along with our sandwiches, we enjoyed seasoned fries and our Cokes from the lounge. To top off the meal, we split a piece of Key Lime Pie, which I will remember for its very flavorful cashew Graham cracker crust.

This place was a hit for us, to the tune of what is probably one of my 10 or 15 favorite burgers in the southeast. And we were very pleased with the value for the $30 we paid.

Secret Sandwich Society

For more about the adventures awaiting you in Fayetteville, W.Va., click here.