If you've ever tried pimento cheese, red-eye gravy, country ham, Brunswick stew or Calabash seafood, you've probably spent some time in North Carolina. Not everyone in the country knows about our regional specialties, but most people are familiar with these famous foods which also hail from North Carolina...
Mount Olive Pickles: Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc., located at the Corner of Cucumber & Vine in Mount Olive, North Carolina, got its start in 1926, with only a 3,600 square foot building and $19,500 in capital, Mt. Olive has grown to be the best selling brand of pickles in the Southeast, and the second best-selling brand of pickles in the country.
Bojangles' Biscuits: The Bojangles food chain got its start in Charlotte, NC. We Southerners consider their light, buttery made-from-scratch biscuit sandwiches a classic breakfast choice. The biscuits are filled with seasoned sausage, country ham, eggs and cheese and have inspired the copy-cat breakfasts of many other fast food chains.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts: I love the legendary story behind the creation of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. In fact, last year, I wrote an article about them for DineWilmingtonOnline.com, and that article was the most popular article of 2007! Check it out.
Texas Pete Hot Sauce: They fooled you with the name, didn't they? That pistol-packin' hot sauce isn't from Texas; it's from Winston-Salem, NC. Inventor Thad Garner acquired a hand-written barbeque recipe, added hot peppers, vinegar and salt and created Texas Pete. The story goes that Garner originally wanted to call the sauce "Mexican Joe", but Garner's father insisted on all-American name.
Slim Jims: Although this brand is currently owned by ConAgra, it was created by a North Carolinian company called GoodMark Foods. Slim Jims also happen to be one of Pascal's favorite American snacks!
Pepsi: In the summer of 1898, a pharmacist and drugstore owner in New Bern, North Carolina began experimenting with a combination of spices, juices, and syrups in an effort to create a refreshing new drink for his customers. The pharmacist succeeded beyond all expectations; his new beverage was an instant success with the locals, and the rest is Pepsi-Cola history.
Hardee's Hamburgers: Wilber Hardee opened his first namesake restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina in 1960. Five months later he had his first franchisee. Now, his burger chain has spread to become a favorite throughout the Midwestern and Southeastern United States.
Cheerwine: This cherry-flavored soda was invented in 1917 in Salisbury, NC. The company even used the advertising slogan: "It’s a Carolina Thing".
Of course, we hope that someday soon, South 'n France Bon Bons will also make that list of famous foods that got their start here in the Carolinas!