Popular foodie website Eater recently named what it called the “South’s 38 Essential Restaurants” — a collection of the region’s best restaurants. Among the restaurants receiving plaudits from the website included two local staples: Chapel Hill’s Crook’s Corner and Durham’s Saltbox Seafood Joint.
Eater’s ranking included restaurants from 11 different states in the Southeast, from Virginia to Florida, and as far west as Louisiana.
Chapel Hill’s Crook’s Corner, which was one of seven North Carolina restaurants to make the list, is lauded as the “birthplace of the modern Southern culinary movement,” by Easter National Restaurant’s Editor Bill Addison.
Crook’s Corner, located at 610 W. Franklin St., is led by chef Bill Smith — who took over from founding chef Bill Neal, who died in 1990. Eater advises readers that “if you eat shrimp and grits at only one restaurant in America” make it Crook’s Corner.
Saltbox Seafood Joint, the small takeaway shack run by chef Ricky Moore on the edge of downtown Durham, joins Crook’s Corner on the list. Saltbox serves seafood that is delivered from the coast every morning, which leads to varying options and prices daily. The small restaurant is known for the long lines that queue up for its food, which Eater describes as “unquestionably worth” the wait.
Saltbox recently announced that it would be expanding from its 205-square-foot shack at 608 N. Mangum St. The restaurant plans to open a second Saltbox in the former Shrimp Boats building at 2637 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.
The Shrimp Boats building will give Saltbox more than seven times the space it currently has and will allow Moore to expand his menu and include indoor and outdoor seating. It is expected open sometime next month.
Other North Carolina restaurants making the grade from Eater were: Raleigh’s Poole’s Diner, Asheville’s Indian restaurant Chai Pani, Davidson’s Kindred Restaurant, chef Vivian Howard’s Kinston restaurant Chef & The Farmer and Ayden’s Skylight Inn.