There’s never been a better time to visit the bustling capital city of Raleigh, North Carolina. Its dynamic food scene is constantly evolving, from the record-setting Raleigh Beer Garden to world-class barbecue. The City of Oaks is consistently receiving new accolades.

“It’s a great time to be a foodie in Raleigh,” said Malinda Harrell, director of sales at the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. “From reimagined Southern cooking to redefined global flavors, Raleigh has a blossoming food scene home to some of the nation’s most award-winning chefs. Groups will enjoy the world’s largest beer garden, award-winning Pan-Asian cuisine, locally crafted chocolatiers, 300-plus craft breweries and distilleries, and of course, famous North Carolina barbecue. There’s so much waiting to be discovered and experienced on your visit to Raleigh, North Carolina.”

The barbecue debate

Ole Time Barbecue in Raleigh, North Carolina
Ole Time Barbecue, Raleigh, N.C.
Credit: Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau

Publications from all over the world have captured Raleigh’s burgeoning food and beverage scene, including Travel + Leisure, which named the city one of America’s favorite cities for barbecue.

In North Carolina, barbecue is treated differently — it’s taken very seriously, and it’s made from a blend of tradition, religion, art and celebration. There are two styles of North Carolina barbecue: Eastern and Lexington (and there’s a heated debate on which is better). Both styles are pork-based barbecues, but they differ in the cuts of pork used.

For the Eastern style, the whole hog is cooked over wood coals, then the meat is pulled, typically served as a sandwich or plated dish. Lexington style only uses the shoulders and is chopped up and served on a plate.

Eastern style uses a vinegar- and pepper-based sauce, holding the tomato. Lexington style includes ketchup, vinegar and pepper to make up a “red” sauce.  

Situated between both regions, Raleigh draws influences from both sides of this big barbecue debate.

More to love

Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh, North Carolina
Brewery Bhavana, Raleigh, N.C.
Credit: Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau

Barbecue isn’t the only thing Raleigh is known for. With over 25 local craft breweries — one being North Carolina’s first woman-owned brewery — Raleigh’s craft beer scene is unlike any other in the Southeast. Groups can go behind the scenes on tours and meet the creative minds behind each and every pour.

With epic dining spots like Crawford and Son, Morgan Street Food Hall, La Farm Bakery, and Herons at the Umstead Hotel and Spa, Raleigh landed itself as one of the 12 global destinations to travel to in 2017 on Forbes Travel Guide. Raleigh’s restaurant scene is constantly growing and re-imagining both Southern and global flavors, and groups will want to savor every last bite.

Save room for dessert

lucettegrace in Raleigh, North Carolina
Lucettegrace, Raleigh, N.C.
Credit: Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Angus Barn’s award-winning, famous chocolate chess pie is a must for out-of-towners to try, and the perfect end to every meal. Angus Barn Steakhouse is a Raleigh icon serving American-style cuisine, including in-house, aged steaks, homemade desserts, fresh seafood and locally grown vegetables.
  • Lucettegrace’s macarons are a staple in the heart of downtown Raleigh. Try the coffee, raspberry praline, rose, birthday cake and pistachio flavors. Lucettegrace is a celebrated, contemporary patisserie, named after the pastry chef/owner’s two daughters.
  • Chuck’s Burgers’ boozy milkshakes are the best way to cool off on a hot North Carolina day. Try out the Mexican Hot Chocolate with tequila or the Salty Caramel with bourbon. Chuck’s is known for its house-ground, 100% chuck burgers, frites, shakes and hot dogs.
  • The Pit Authentic Barbecue’s banana pudding is a major local favorite. Creamy vanilla pudding is layered with bananas, vanilla wafers and fluffy meringue. Located in Raleigh’s warehouse district, The Pit is known for its legendary barbecue traditions.

For more information, contact the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-849-8499 or check out