By: Katie Crenshaw
Local mom-and-pop restaurants all have something in common. From their friendly service, the great prices and the quality, homemade food, these are the places where you can encounter your friends, your neighbors and catch up on the latest news in town. You arrive hungry, but leave satisfied, full on that home-town feeling. But maybe best of all, by visiting these establishments, you are supporting our local businesses. The money you spend stays here in our community. Be sure to visit these ten Fayetteville favorites for your next dining experience.
Located on 201 North Eastern Boulevard, the New York Restaurant has been proudly serving
the locals since 1957. The New York Restaurant is small, with just a few tables and booths that generally get crowded for breakfast and lunch. They are famous for serving large breakfasts, easy on the wallet. One of their popular breakfast platters includes two eggs, sausage, grits or fried potatoes, toast and jelly for just $3.39. However, the regulars also come back for their tasty lunch and dinner specials such as Chicken and Pastry, Fried Pork Chops, and Chicken Salad. Nick Drakos, the owner states, “I love everything about Fayetteville. I love the area. I love the people. Fayetteville has been good to me.”
After managing the Annabelle’s Restaurant in Cross Creek Mall for several years, Mary Saucier decided to leave the corporate world and open Marybill’s Café & Elbow Room in 2007 at 801 Elm Street. It is a cozy, sweet, little
restaurant featuring homemade cooking for breakfast and lunch. The Eggs Benedict and Mary’s Omelet made with turkey, spinach and pepper jack cheese are popular among the regulars. However, they are most famous for their amazing made-from-scratch desserts. Mary hand makes a variety of different pies and cakes every week to include Toffee-Turvy Apple pie, Key lime pie, German chocolate dump cake and Carrot cake. You may want to come early in the day because desserts run out fast. Mary states, “We love being in Fayetteville because of the people and the military. It is very important to us to provide good customer service to our customers. We enjoy taking care of them.”
Buddy’s Barb-B-Que, located at 604 Gillespie St, opened in 1945 by Buddy Hayes. In 1991,
his daughter, Janice Bundy, took it over. Janice explains, “I have been working here for over 40 years. We wanted to keep it in the family. My daughters work here also.” Inside its small brick building you will find homemade Southern-style cooking. The barbecue chicken falls right off the bone and the collard greens, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and gravy are delicious classics and sides. “We don’t just serve barbecue,” Janice explains, “We serve breakfast all day. For lunch, we make our hamburgers fresh. We feature daily lunch specials like fried fish, hamburger steak and stewed beef. We also cook several different country vegetables.”
Located at 3708 Ramsey Street, the Rainbow Restaurant opened its doors in 1938 and has been owned and operated by John Kanos and his family for three generations.
“The regulars have been coming here forever. Some of them have grown up with the restaurant. Some regulars come weekly and others come daily; a few even have their special table that they have to eat at.” Thea, John’s wife explains that they once had a customer who would occasionally fly his airplane and land it in the adjacent parking lot just to eat there. The Rainbow Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week for an affordable price. Locals love to eat here for not only the friendly service, but also their delicious daily specials such as the roasted chicken, roasted turkey, beef liver, ribs and seafood. John states, “We love Fayetteville for its culturally diverse people.”
Chris and Helen Kaprantzas opened Jk’s Deli and Family Restaurant in 1980. It is located at
125 Owen Dr. They are well known for serving great breakfasts, lunches and dinners with friendly and fast service. They recently remodeled but the restaurant maintains the comfortable and endearing, charm. Their menu features traditional favorites such as hamburger steak, turkey and dressing and chicken and pastry, but they’ve also added incredibly tasty and authentic Greek dishes including the Gyro Platter, moussaka and pastichio. The manager, Jimmy Diamantopoulos says, “We love our die-hard regulars that have been coming over the years. We love Fayetteville’s diverse crowds from all over the country and we love our military.”
Lindy’s is a quaint little restaurant that opened in 1968 at 3001 Raeford Road. Pete G. Skenteris took it over in 2008. Pete likes having a restaurant in
Fayetteville because, “This is my home. I grew up here. I love the people here.” He features his same original menu with a few added extras. Pete explains, “I have regulars that have been coming since it opened. They like the menu. The menu has been great for all these years. Why would I want to change a good thing?” Lindy’s is open seven days a week serving breakfast all day, lunch and dinner, but the restaurant closes early on Sundays. Customer favorites include the rueben, hamburger steak, spaghetti and their cracker-style crust pizza. Pete states, “It is the same pizza crust recipe used since the first day Lindy’s opened.”
Born and raised in Greece, Thomas Frangakis eventually moved to
Fayetteville and opened Zorba’s Gyro on a Spit at 2919 Raeford Road in 1973. The restaurant has been family-owned and operated ever since. His son, Deno, explains, “I was born and raised here. Fayetteville is my home. The customers are like family. When I go to work, I get to hang out with my friends and my family.”
Regulars keep coming back for the friendly and fast service, great prices and delicious food. “Everyone loves our breakfast, but we have regulars who come for our gyros, spaghetti and pizza.” All of these are homemade. While traditional gyro meat is made from lamb, Zorba’s makes theirs out of beef and cooks it on a spit. They serve the gyro meat on pita with lettuce, tomatoes and a homemade tzatziki sauce which is listed on the menu as sour cream. You can add feta cheese, onions, and Italian dressing. Want to try something sweet? Give an order of their homemade Baklava a try.
The Continental Café is a cute, small restaurant tucked away in the Eutaw Village Shopping
Center at 808 Elm Street. Lynn Prevatte thinks it was originally opened in the 1960’s but can’t be certain. She purchased it with a friend in 1995 and became the sole owner three years later. She says, “I like being in Fayetteville because I have regulars that have become friends and I get to meet new people from the military that are just passing through.” Her customers come for the home-style dining.
“Most of our food is homemade. We make our hamburgers fresh. Our chicken salad and meatloaf are very popular. Our french toast and omelets are delicious.” There are daily desserts, too, that are handmade in the kitchen. The Pig Pickin’ cake is a favorite. They are open Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Breakfast is served until 11:00 a.m. They have daily specials for lunch such as beef liver and onions on Wednesdays and flounder on Fridays.
Fred Chason’s Grandsons originally opened in 1980 in Lumber Bridge by Fred Chason. Not
only locals, but people from all over the state would drive to Chason’s for their Southern-style country buffet. The restaurant would quickly fill up and customers were often waiting for up to an hour in a line that would wrap around the restaurant’s wooden building. But the wait was worth it. The food was good, really good. In 1997, the restaurant closed down after a devastating fire. In 2005, Fred’s grandsons, Matt and Todd and Todd’s wife Sheryl, opened Fred Chason’s Grandsons at 5339 Marracco Drive in Hope Mills. They continued cooking the same items on the buffet as the original Chason’s. Their manager, Rony Hall states, “We have a great reputation. We are located right off I-95 and travelers from all over make this place their stop to eat. We have become a destination.” What do they come for? Hall says, “They love our fried chicken, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and barbecue, but everything is good.”
Hall explains, “The owners treat us like family. They create a good work environment. We love working here.” Because of this, the employees work hard to make the restaurant a great place to eat. Fred Chason’s Grandsons is opened seven days a week for lunch and dinner and they serve breakfast Friday thru Sunday.
Temo Chavez, manager at Mi Casita Mexican restaurant in Tallywood Shopping Center, says
the restaurant that started 16 years ago is always busy, but popular entrees depend on the season. When it’s hot, people order the Mi Casita rice bowl or Burrito Mi Casita, a burrito stuffed with meat, covered in cheese and served alongside rice and beans. When it’s cold, their made-from-scratch chicken soup is the ticket.
“It’s fresh,” Temo says. “We start from scratch, that’s what makes it so good.”
Temo moved to Fayetteville from Washington because his brother was in the military. “Every business in town depends on Fort Bragg,” he said, and he credits Fayetteville for being a good place to raise a family. “It’s a good place to have kids.”
There are lots of places to eat in Fayetteville. The choices are almost endless, but these historic establishments are places to support. We want to keep their stories alive and their doors open so we can meet our neighbors there, so we can keep our community close and so we can know where to go when we experience that hungry feeling in our bellies when we are empty and need to fill it up.