Stomachs have long memories, it turns out.
Five-for-$1 hot dogs, eggs with double yolks, bologna sandwiches, Greek spaghetti, a giant bull mascot, lunches after church, roller-skating waitresses and much more.
We invited readers to share memories of their favorite restaurants of of yesteryear.
And we got hundreds of replies, ranging from lists of businesses to descriptions of favorite dishes to long essays.
Readers were eager to share their favorites, mostly focusing on restaurants that no longer exist. Some also pointed to long-standing favorites that are still around, and a few mentioned restaurants in other towns and cities.
But the focus here is on Winston-Salem restaurants.
Here are some those restaurants and memories.
The Chuck Wagon
Denise Zink says “My uncle Buddy was one of the short-order cooks and he made the best sausage, egg, tomato and mayo sandwich on toast. They had the best mashed potatoes, which were homemade, peeled and cooked on-site. Great desserts, some were homemade. Everyone always bragged about the Salisbury steak. Let’s just sum it up by saying everything was great.”
Her mother was a waitress at the Stratford Road location, and several family members worked it and the Reynolda Road location, which her uncle Robert Burcham ran.
Jack Hutchins writes that it was “one of our ‘go to’ places when I was a paramedic in the ‘70s and ‘80s.”
“Best country style steak sandwich,” writes Kim Minor.
“And banana pudding!” adds Terry Woodall Ramsbotham.
“I lived near there and probably had four lunches a week,” writes Lisa Kirby. “I was there the day they closed, right up to when she locked the door for the last time.”
Becky Price used to go there all the time in the early 1970s, before it was torn down to make way for the shops and offices there now. “Waitresses used to go to all tables and serve,” she recalls. “They worked together and all shared tips. Awesome service.”
Her family went there a lot of Sundays after church. “It is where I learned to really love steak,” having particularly fond memories of their teriyaki steak.
“Loved me some Mr. Steak,” says Bobby Wilson.
Diane Ciofalo Eshelman writes that “before liquor by the drink was legal, they had mixed wine drinks. One was called ‘Vino Colada.’ There was another one I can’t remember. That was so cool at the time. I also loved their teriyaki steak.”
Charlie Lovett fondly recalls their Continental sandwich.
Staley’s Charcoal Steakhouse
Several people pointed out this Winston-Salem institution, known for many years for its giant bull statue mascot.
One of our favorite reminiscences comes from Rebecca McNeely, who would always go there when her grandparents visited.
“If we heard they were coming to town, we knew where we were headed,” she writes. “We didn’t have to ask. For a big family birthday or after a middle school band concert or just because it was a Tuesday and they were in town, we’d head to Staley’s.
“I was completely terrified of the big bull outside and would always come at the front door from the left side, where the large ‘ball’ water fountain was. I would shield the bull from my vision and duck in under the black awning, escaping that huge animal every time. I can still hear the sound the red tufted seats would make as you would slide into them and see the old-school heat lamps that hung over the service line from the kitchen.
“My grandmother would immediately order at least one relish tray and announce down the table that ‘no one else touch the radishes’ when they came to the table on the cold pewter trays, as those were her favorite. She needn’t have worried — who liked the radishes anyway? I can still see the salad dressing caddy coming around the table and the dish of butter mints at the cash register, where my grandfather would settle the bill and where I would stand to plot my bolt back to the car past the bull.
“My grandparents have been gone for years, and I still think about those dinners every single time I patronize or pass Fratellis now. And luckily, at nearly 40 years old, I’m no longer scared of that giant bull.”
Roland Bennett’s Lunch
Kathy Frye Williams writes that she loved their steak sandwich. Debbie Burton says her family ate there every Saturday night, adding “Great food!”
Michael King adds to the praise for the “best steak sandwiches anywhere, as well as great hot dogs.”
John S. Foltz recalls they were “open all hours to take care of R.J.R. employees,” and he particularly loved their chicken salad sandwich and toasted apple pie.
When we solicited responses on social media about favorite Winston-Salem restaurants of the …
Konnoak Grill/Konnoak Restaurant
Foltz also compliments Konnoak Grill, saying it had “great plate lunches, but I loved the toasted hot dogs.”
Cathy Sneed Cornette says she has “super fond memories” of the restaurant, particularly the hot dogs and chocolate milk.
“As far as I remember, that was the first place I ever ate a hot dog and fries,” writes Steve Childress. “I couldn’t get enough.”
“All these years later, I can still remember the sight, smell and taste of their delicious hot dogs,” Deb Vrsansky writes.
Charles Poteat says “great food. Ate there for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Sam Solomon says the eggs were always double yolks, and loved the “Tenderloin M&M” (‘mater and mayo). “It was Keto before its time, and great sweet tea,” he writes.
Candy Jenkins Pitts says that she never heard of it before she worked with the police department. “First time I went, I was hooked,” she writes. “Best bologna sandwich I ever ate.”
Kyle M. Edwards, on the other hand, says that this restaurant had the “best damn bologna sandwich in the United States.”
Charles Bennett shared a photo on Facebook of a token from this restaurant, which offered curb service 24 hours a day, offering 10 cents off a 50-cent purchase.
Rainbow News & Café
Nancy Lide says the chicken salad there was the best.
Legare Thackston says Rainbow News was “a lovely Sunday morning pit stop for croissants and New York Times.”
Steve’s Italia Ristaurante
“The absolute best cheesecake ever made!!!” exclaimed Dreisa Jordan Sherrill.
“I loved their Greek Spaghetti,” writes Judith Ann Thomas Rotruck. “Daddy liked taking us there on Friday nights.”
The Rose & Thistle
Thackston writes that it “holds a special place in my heart. Their eggplant was wonderful ,and I ate a lot of pizza there. We’d meet up next door at Shrock’s for a couple of beers and go eat at the Rose.”
Kimberly Jordan writes that she loved their cucumber sandwich.
Another longtime establishment that’s still around, this one got multiple endorsements.
“Still going strong!” says Jayne Gordon Cannon.
Jane Ellis Harris worked there in high school and had particularly fond memories of the scratch-made manicotti. Harley Smith says it has the “best pizza ever,” and Judith Ann Thomas Rotruck says she still loves it and both the manicotti and pizza!”
Regina Collins Hoover was one of several readers who expressed their love for Char’s, which some may not realize still has several locations in the Piedmont Triad area.
“Loved me some Char’s,” she writes. “They had the best cheeseburgers ever! My little skinny butt would get two every
time I went, and nary a drop was ever wasted.”
Rebecca Shepard says she wishes she had a picture of this Mexican restaurant, off Healey Drive, and Judith Tuttle recalled going there with her Spanish class.
“I adored Los Amigos and would go often in the mid-1990s when I worked nearby,” writes Anna Shugart Pender. “I especially remember the salsa, the albondigas soup and the puffy cheese quesadillas. Their food was so unique and unlike any other I had ever had. I remember the owner was so nice and said that most of the menu was from his mother’s recipes.”
Sharon Moser also said she loved their puffy cheese quesadillas.
“Best tenderloin biscuit in town,” writes Donald Branch Sr.
Deb Vrsansky described it as a “Blast from the past!”
And Ronnie Blackburn says “That’s where I fell in love with country style steak!”
Several readers brought up this restaurant, which was in the Thruway Shopping Center, and one particular feature kept getting praise.
“That salad bar!” writes Cathyrn Howard Morse. Martha Low described it as the “best salad bar ever” and Angie Stewart Moorefield described it as the “best salad bar in the history of salad bars.”
Dill Pickle Restaurant
“I never ate there before working at the police department,” writes Candy Jenkins Pitts, “but it quickly became a once-a-week place for me. Great grilled chicken sandwich. Good salads.”
Judith Ann Thomas Rotruck praised their shredded lettuce salad with tuna salad and says she went there many times while working at Integon for 20 years.
Lisa Kirby was impressed that “the guy memorized all the orders, never wrote them down.”
Another restaurant Rotruck fondly remembers, which she writes was a “great hang-out for Mineral Springs Bulldogs! My dad and I would go there on Sunday evenings and get a BOX of hot dogs and hamburgers! So fun. So good.”
Pastor Roy Ledbetter writes that they had “wonderful hot dogs and milkshakes,” and that Kermit Williams went from there to Waughtown Street to found Kermit’s Hot Dog House. “That’s why they are so good,” he writes.
Rotruck also compliments the still-running Carriage House, and “those great shredded lettuce salads! So good!”
Brent Weavil adds, “They’ve had great food for years.”
Sandra Shugart praised this lunch counter “for hot dogs and Pepsi,” and Dreisa Jordan Sherrill said “and the Cherry Smash was to die for!”
Bell Brothers / Bell and Sons Cafeteria
“Great home cooking at a reasonable price,” writes Monica Schamel. “Went there when I was in grad school at Wake in the ‘70s.”
“The fried chicken and turkey and dressing were outstanding,” writes Andy Avram.
“When I worked Forsyth County Health Department, the men in our office ate there every day,” writes Jean Zook.
Shakeys Pizza Parlor
“Shakeys was fun,” writes Jules GiGi Poole. “Had a few birthdays there!”
(I did too, several times. That's me on the left in the photo above.)
Dena E. Terry recalls that she “used to go and stand and watch them make pizza and eat.”
Lesley Swartz recalls their player piano.
David Gurley says it was “my favorite place as a kid. Loved when Dad would take us. Then it turned into Mr. Butlers. We’d always go Friday night after the high school football games.”
Harley Smith recalls eating supper there on breaks from work.
Jerry Gregory adds “we used to go to races at Bowman Gray, and when it was over, we would stop by Ernie’s and eat pizza, and it was so good. They cut the pizza in squares!”
Duffie Dawn Mazzeo says she misses Ernie Shaw’s, as well as Viv’s Grill with its steam table, especially the macaroni and cheese.
Martha Lo writes about their “chicken mushroom crepe magnificence, with an orchid on the plate.”
Lisa Johnson Auman says the “crepes were out of this world. I’ve tried crepe restaurants in other cities, and none has ever compared.” She also recalls that they had “beautiful salads and long skinny breadsticks. The atmosphere was so quaint. You felt like you were in a little French bistro in Paris.”
Sheila Shore Tutterow adds, “l loved this place.”
J.S. Pulliam’s Barbeque
Richard Boyd says this Winston-Salem landmark, still going strong, was a family tradition.
His dad went there when he was a kid, and his parents went there when they were dating, with his dad sometimes getting into hot-dog-eating contests.
Boyd has continued to go since he was a kid, and says to this day, he enjoys sitting on the tree stumps outside the restaurant while dining.
Boyd also fondly remembers this downtown restaurant, which stayed open extra late in the early days of the Heavy Rebel Weekender music festival, giving out-of-towners a place to get a hearty meal after partying late into the night.
In the day, Town Steak House No. 2 was THE restaurant for everything — meals with friends or…
Town Steak House
Another long-standing institution that multiple readers named as a favorite.
Many simply named it without getting into the specifics of what they liked there, but Amanda Davis writes that she “loved their shredded salads, and their steaks were delicious. We ate there sometimes after church.” Bonnie Hunter Cashion was another fan of “those delicious shredded salads!”
Pitts also cites this restaurant, saying “their teriyaki chicken was amazing. The guys own Pacific Rim food truck these days, so I hit that when I’m craving that teriyaki chicken.”
Wendy Freeman Davis recalls this pizza parlor, and particular a design feature.
“It had a fountain with multicolored lights that we’d throw pennies in,” she writes. Kent Kane adds, “loved their pizza, and the sopapillas were to die for.”
Pat Lortie fondly recalls this drive-in restaurant with roller-skating waitresses.
John Allred recalls when he was in the Navy and coming home on on leave, he’d go to the Triangle Drive-In.
Four Seasons Drive-In
“Best souvlaki in town,” Kane writes. And Vicki Duncan Terry liked their sandwich in a basket or burger in a basket options, and “those little pizzas, yum yum!!!”
Patricia Sheppard Merritt fondly recalls the Northside shopping center location of this local chain, which still exists beside Publix grocery store. Carmen Greene also liked it.
“Awesome popcorn shrimp,” Harley Smith writes of this restaurant in Southside. And Mike Shoaf fondly recalls “all-you-can-eat bone-in trout. That was some good eating!”
I recall their stuffed flounder being a favorite.
The Clipper/The Steamboat/The Show Boat
Several readers reminisced about a stream of seafood restaurants that came and went along Peters Creek Parkway over the years. Mark Helms writes that he loved The Clipper, and Larry Cheek recalled that it looked like the front of a steamboat.
Western Sizzlin/Bonanza/Western Steer
There were also a number of steakhouses of note in that same area along Peters Creek Parkway. A personal favorite when I was a kid was Western Sizzlin, and especially the all-you-can-eat beef rib night.
Here are more reminiscences
- Akron Drive Restaurant: Cathy Lawson asked if this restaurant came up.
- Biscuit House: "Man, I loved their gravy biscuits," writes Jennifer Lynn Harris, "especially when I was pregnant in 1999-2000."
- Bernie's Lunch: Sherry Lee Lawson and Carla Montgomery liked this Liberty Street restaurant, and Mark Helms added that he loved their tenderloin biscuit.
- Darryl's: Another chain that got several votes.
- Farmers Dairy Bar: Annette Pardue (whose dad was the manager) and Lisa Kirby mentioned this one. "Ate at the Old Salem one in college," Kirby writes.
- G&M Restaurant: Mark Casey Milestone writes that this restaurant "made a really good tenderloin biscuit," and recalled one time he was there when "one fellow rushed in the door and ordered a large onion sandwich TO GO!"
- The Grotto: Cindy Roberts Davis recalled this Reynolda Manor restaurant and its pizza.
- Hall's Café: Jack Leo mentioned this Waughtown Street restaurant, which he says had the best country-style steak.
- Howard Johnson's: Jerry W. Martin mentioned this restaurant on Stratford Road, and Lisa Kirby added "for ice cream!"
- Kermit's Hot Dog House: Pat Lortie and Gayle Burchette were among the readers who pointed to this, another restaurant that is still running strong.
- Kozy Grill: "Had good hot dogs, five for a dollar," Bobby Everhart writes about this diner, which was on Waughtown Street.
- K&W Cafeteria: Mark Richards writes about the long-running regional chain's downtown location, and Amy Dunphy also mentioned K&W as a favorite.
- Libby Hill's Seafood: Several readers cited this popular chain restaurant, including Carmen Greene, who says she was a waitress at the North Point location in the 1980s.
- Lighthouse Restaurant: Several readers mentioned this Burke Street restaurant, which closed during the pandemic.
- Little Pep: Rotruck praises the "good hamburgers" at this restaurant, and Sandy Gallins writes that it was her dad's restaurant.
- Mary's Gourmet Diner: "Mary's only recently closed," wrote Kim Campbell. "But I miss it already."
- Morris Service: Rotruck also praised this restaurant for its "toasted cream cheese and olive sandwiches. Perfection!" She also loved their swiss on rye.
- Mr. Dunderbak's Restaurant & Pub: Several readers fondly remembered this Hanes Mall restaurant that served German food. "Best steakhouse ever!" writes Deb Vrsansky.
- Nick's Grill: Several readers reminisced about this Greek-style family restaurant and its friendly staff.
- Peter Pan: Several readers mentioned this restaurant, which was near Old Salem. "An easy walk from Salem," writes Lisa Kirby. "It got classied up, but I can't remember what it became."
- P.B.'s Takeout: Another of the fondly-regarded hot dog places, this one is still around, and also makes darned good chicken wings.
- Penelope's: Legare Thackston writes this was "another sweet restaurant with lots of memories, and Lou Ann Pacula took care of everyone."
- Royal Coach Restaurant: Janet Masencup Carithers and Dorothy Lambert recalled this Rural Hall restaurant. Carithers shared a photo on Facebook of Royal Coach advertising that it was open on Thanksgiving Day.
- Ryan's Restaurant: "What about a favorite from the past that's still kickin'?" asks Kelly Livengood Seaver.
- Schiano's Pizza: Rotruck writes that this pizza parlor in Hanes Mall "had the BEST pizza ever!"
- Sherwood Forest Restaurant: "Great diner food," writes Terry Woodall Ramsbotham.
- Sherwood BBQ: "Sherwood BBQ and those biscuits..." writes Amy Lytle Einstein.
- Skippy's Hot Dogs: "Best hot dog and bun in town," wrote Kim Campbell.
- Ranch O: Frank Cachia and David Swaim complimented the staff at this restaurant.
- Shoney's: Cindy Robinson Heiderscheit and Barbara Bailey Ellis both mentioned this restaurant chain, where they worked their first jobs when they were 15.
- Simos Barbecue: "To die for," writes Thomas Wayne Underwood, who was also a fan of Paul Myers BBQ.
- The Station: Barbara Queen Tucker pointed out this restaurant on University Parkway, and Pastor Roy Ledbetter added "Loved The Station. I still make their Greek marinade for meats. YUM."
- Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips: Jim Gaggetta has fond memories of this seafood restaurant chain that his parents ran.
- Tom's Drive In: Lynn Angel Vernon recalled their "yummy ice cream cones."
- The Wagon Wheel: Faye Carmichael Calder, whose family ran it, and Janice Westmoreland pointed to the great food and family atmosphere at this diner.
- Zorba's: Alissa Leinbach Henley cited this one as a favorite.