Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on November 22, 2023.
From historic barbecue joints to places offering upscale dining, there are some amazing restaurants in Greenville. At least that’s what we’ve found while exploring this awesome more-than-a-college-town.
Thankfully, we took notes and are happy to guide you through these great places to eat in Greenville. We’ll also cover its surroundings in Pitt County, exploring the towns of Winterville, Farmville, and Ayden.
Hopefully, you don’t come into this guide too hungry because there’s plenty to eat in Pirate Country!
Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in the Greenville area and are wondering, “What are the best restaurants near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!
Restaurants in Greenville, NC
This article will tell you where to find the best barbecue and best restaurants in Greenville NC, as well as elsewhere in Pitt County.
If you’re searching for something specific in this guide, we’ve organized things into the following sections (Categories in Bold followed by Subcategories):
- Eastern-Style Barbecue Quick Guide
- Greenville Barbecue
- Winterville Barbecue
- Ayden Barbecue
- Bonus Challenge (Pitt County Brews and Cues Trail)
- Greenville Restaurants (Beyond Barbecue)
- Breakfast in Greenville (Coffee, Too!)
- Greenville Lunch and Dinner Options
- Non-Barbecue Restaurants in Farmville and Winterville
Eastern-Style Barbecue Quick Guide
Before we get into our favorite restaurants in Greenville, we want to offer a quick refresher on Eastern-style barbecue.
Why? Because Pitt County is where you will find the highest concentration of Eastern-style barbecue pits and wood-smoked whole hog.
But what exactly is Eastern-style North Carolina barbecue? Simply put, it’s whole hog and vinegar-based.
Except it really isn’t all that simple. The pigs of Pitt County are all smoked with love and years of pitmasters perfecting their techniques.
We cover Eastern-style ‘cue in more detail inside our guide to North Carolina barbecue.
751 B’s Barbecue Rd, Greenville, NC
Sitting on the corner of aptly named Barbecue Road in Greenville, B’s Barbecue is a North Carolina legend. The tiny blue building has a take-and-go window and a seating area.
Wood-smoked long and slow, you’ll pick up a whiskey bottle to pour your vinegar sauce on the meat.
And those hush puppies? They come in stick form and are one of a kind to North Carolina barbecue.
When B’s runs out of food, they close up shop. So make sure to come early if you have your heart set on barbecue!
Three Greenville Locations
- 3109 S Memorial Dr, Greenville, NC
- 2020 Greenville Blvd SE, Greenville, NC
- 1801 East Arlington Blvd, Greenville, NC
Starting in Wilson but also beloved in Greenville, Parker’s Barbecue is an iconic whole hog barbecue restaurant. After the success of the original Wilson location, the Parkers opened the first of three additional restaurants in Greenville.
Known for their quick service, perfectly fried chicken, and servers donning old-school white paper hats, Parker’s is a must-eat spot in Greenville!
We’ll move away from Greenville and explore the rest of Pitt County’s barbecue scenes. The first stop is Winterville.
Sam Jones BBQ
715 W Fire Tower Rd, Greenville, NC
If there were an iconic representation of North Carolina barbecue, Sam Jones would be that hero.
His family has been wood-smoking whole hogs since Skylight Inn opened in 1947. Today, Sam runs both Sam Jones BBQ and Skylight Inn.
While Skylight Inn remains the same old-fashioned barbecue joint that has earned national acclaim, Sam wanted to open a restaurant that offered more than pork.
You’ll find Spare Ribs, catfish bites, and even mac n’ cheese at his Winterville restaurant. The pork is the same at both restaurants, so expect to get that burst of flavor and crunchy cracklings in each bite.
Skylight Inn Barbecue
4618 Lee St, Greenville, NC
Featured in National Geographic in 1979 as the best barbecue in the United States, Skylight Inn is the one barbecue restaurant near Greenville where you must eat.
These pits even won a James Beard award in 2003 and continue to produce the perfect combination of smoked, juicy pork and crispy pork skin.
Personally, that last bit is what makes Skylight Inn stand out. If you haven’t visited yet, we promise a barbecue tray here is one meal you will remember for the rest of your life.
Bum’s BBQ Restaurant
566 3rd St, Greenville, NC
Home cooking but with that smoky flavor is what you’ll find at Bum’s, which was the first commercial barbecue establishment in the nation.
The barbecue is incredible, and the vegetables and sides are also made with that same attention to detail. And DO NOT skip on the banana pudding!
Bonus Challenge (Pitt County Brews and Cues Trail)
If you want a fun challenge, the Pitt County Brews and Cues Trail will take you through these five incredible and historic eastern barbecue restaurants. You can also explore five innovative breweries, too, because this area’s barbecue and beer pair very nicely.
More Restaurants in Greenville (Beyond Barbecue)
There are more places to eat in Greenville, NC, beyond barbecue. If you want a break from the whole hog, these incredible places to eat are worth further investigation!
Breakfast in Greenville (Coffee, Too!)
For breakfast in Uptown Greenville, we have some delicious options! Quick and delicious breakfast and lunch options can be found at The Scullery alongside beautiful artwork, all created by the owner.
If you are looking for a fine cup of coffee, then Blackbeard Coffee Roasters is where you can find small-batch and delicious coffee.
New to the Greenville restaurant scene is Molly’s Community Café. They serve simple yet good quality food in a cute atmosphere.
And when you just don’t feel like leaving the house, Smashed Waffles can deliver a quilted pig to your door!
Greenville Lunch and Dinner Options
There are so many incredible lunch and dinner restaurants in Greenville that it is sometimes hard to choose your next meal.
From the farm-to-table restaurants like Starlight Cafe & Farm or Ford + Shep (don’t forget SoCo Farm & Food!) to more casual upscale eats like Dickinson Avenue Public House, it quickly becomes clear that Greenville is a foodie-friendly town!
Or, if you are willing to try something with a kick, head to Villa Verda for some authentic Dominican plates.
Non-Barbecue Restaurants in Farmville and Winterville
If you are searching for somewhere to eat outside Uptown Greenville, there are options in Farmville and Winterville!
Ready to Dig Into Greenville NC’s Best Restaurants?
Legendary barbecue and farm-to-table upscale dining are just some of the amazing highlights you’ll find when searching for the best restaurants in Greenville. All of the people behind these local businesses pour their hearts into providing delicious food and enjoyable experiences.
So if you’re in the area and hungry, support them. Grab some takeout or sit down for some of the finest meals you’ll find in North Carolina.