By Shane Sharp, Contributing Writer
PINEHURST, N.C. Our Pinehurst dining guide tees off with the following restaurant capsules:
Seafood lovers need not apply, if the name didn't give it away. Filets, New York Strips, and Prime Rib are the specialties of the house, but you'll also find healthy portions of lamb chops, chicken, and yes, even seafood. The atmosphere is low key, with white table clothes, low ceilings, but quite casual. Throw on some slacks, or feel free to come in after your round of golf everyone else does. Plenty of repeat business from locals keeps this joint jumping through the year. Entrees range from $12.95 up to $25.99. 672 W. Broad Street, Southern Pines, 910.692.5550.
If you are staying and playing in the Village of Pinehurst, Dugan's Pub is a convenient place to grub up. Just like some of the area golf courses, Dugan's Pub has two totally different sides. Upstairs is the restaurant where formal dining reigns supreme. Downstairs is a good old-fashioned dive bar of sorts, one where you might expect a donnybrook to break out at any minute. Dugan's Pub sets up nice for the man trying to please himself and his better half. After an early morning round, you can head downstairs, quaff a pint of ale, and try one of the best burgers in the Sandhills. Slide back into your golf villa and ask the wife out for a nice dinner upstairs. Hoodwink the barkeep as you walk by and join the motley crew downstairs later that night for darts. Market Square, Pinehurst, (910) 295-3400.
Don't let the location at the Southern Pines Holiday Inn fool you - this is a legitimate townie joint with the home cooking to back it up. Supposedly, all dishes are either prepared or supervised by Mrs. Henning herself, but no one really wants to find out for sure - the food is too good to ask questions. Oh, and the food in question includes rainbow trout, flounder, veal, steaks, oysters, and a locally famous Sunday buffet. U.S. Highway 1, Southern Pines, 910.692.8585.
The Lobster House
When you serve lobster in the middle of North Carolina, you could either be on to something good, or painfully misguided. Fortunately for locals and visitors, it's the former, not the later, for the Lobster House. Everyone from the Sandhills either knows of, or has been to his fine establishment. Plenty of other seafood to hunker down on, if Maine Lobster isn't you bag. Prime rib and steaks are also on the menu, but why order meat at a place with a crustacean in the name? 448 Person St., Fayetteville, 910.485.8866.
The Pinecrest Inn
Simply put, you must eat here. Lots of golfers stay here, but more of them eat here. Breakfast is the specialty, with eggs, fruit, waffles, pancakes and the like. For dinner, the Pinecrest breaks out a couple of formal dinning rooms that can hang with the best in the area. The supper fare is upscale, including button mushroom appetizers, rack of lamb, prime rib and filet mignon. If you are in town alone, the bar is an excellent place to meet like souls and enjoy a pint or two. Dogwood Road, Pinehurst, 910.295.6121.
Not many golfers expect to find good Italian cooking in the Sandhills, but Raffaele's fills a much-need niche for strap on the bib southern Italian cooking. You won't find an encyclopedic menu, but appetizers like the stuffed mushrooms and traditional entrees like spaghetti with Italian sausage or meatballs make it worth a visit. The wine list is borderline extensive, and the wait staff savvy enough to recommend the proper bottle with your meal. Located on the northern end of Southern Pines. 910.692.1952.
Roma Gourmet Italian Restaurant
If Raffaele's is down-home, checkered tablecloth style Italian, then Roma's is upscale anything you want from the entire country Italian. The chef, Giovanni Giannone, hails from Sicily, and will prepare anything your heart and stomach desire. To add to the overwhelming authenticity, Giannone will serenade you with your favorite Italian ballad, as well. Located outside of the Sandhills in Fayetteville. 910.864.1313.
The Squire's Pub
Some local watering holes come to define the very place in which they exist. This is one of them. The Squires Pub is popular with locals, tourists, and Tour Players, when they are in town for tournaments. The atmosphere is English pub meets American golf, and what could be better than that? The food is solid, but there is not a better place to enjoy a pint in all of the Sandhills. More than 40 taps hang from the wall, most from the motherland of England. Located in the heart of Southern Pines. 910.695.1161.
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