Restaurants on the West End of Winston-Salem
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.
If there’s one thing I discovered in writing about West End restaurants in Winston-Salem, it’s that no one can agree where the West End begins or ends. Some of the West End is still considered downtown. Some of the outliers are grappling to get the attention that their downtown counterparts enjoy, even though many have been in business decades longer.
We’ll start off with what I think is one of the most under-appreciated restaurants in the city with one of the most creative chefs to ever grace the Winston-Salem food scene. And some people adamantly deny that it is in fact, located in the West End, so I might get in trouble for including it. We’re going for it because 1703 Restaurant deserves talking about. As a matter of fact, consider this short blip a preview of a full-length article in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
1703 Restaurant & Catering
1703 Robinhood Rd.
Home to Forsyth County’s Best Chef according to YES! Weekly readers. 1703 has been in business as a restaurant since October 2000. Joe and Molly Curran ran a catering business for several years before finding the Robinhood location. Molly said the catering side still continues to be the bread and butter of their business and that they love being a neighborhood restaurant. “The neighbors are our captive audience,” she said. “We know them and recognize them and we bend over backwards for them because we value their continued business.” Molly also said the creative menu is another reason the neighbors and others keep coming back for more. We vary our menu daily based on the chef’s creativity, which keeps our ideas fresh. Our regulars like it because they can come in for dinner two nights in a row and have a different dining experience both nights. Regardless of what’s on the menu, the level of quality is very high.” Follow Chef Curtis Hackaday’s Instagram (@curtishackaday1703) to gawk at his creations, which will make you want to get a taste of what’s cooking in the 1703 kitchen.
Carmine’s 901 Grill
901 Reynolda Rd.
The second Carmine’s location is the only place you can find Italian in the West End. It’s pretty simple in a very cool looking art deco. You can get lunch for under $10. I haven’t eaten dinner there, only lunch and it was good. Dinner reviews are pretty steady and take out and catering is also available.
The Porch Kitchen & Cantina
840 Mill Works St.
Fun and festive, Claire Calvin’s The Porch has one of the best casual vibes in the city. Your kids can play with books or dinosaurs while you munch chips and wait for your order to arrive. The next-door-neighbor is Hoots Brewing and Roller Bar. Owner Eric Swaim thinks the name says it all. “[The Porch’s] name is very fitting in that it’s comfortable like a porch. It’s easy to forget you’re in a restaurant with the relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and down-home food.”
He’s counting on the appeal to carry over to his co-venture with Calvin as they open Canteen Market & Bistro at 411 Fourth St. in late August.
750 Summit St.
In business for 40 years, Alex’s is famous for its omelets and fans rave about the baklava, which is made fresh. Owner Gigi Ayad, who bought the business eight years ago, said the food is definitely one thing that keeps people coming back as well as the fact that prices have changed very little, but there’s more to it than that.
“We’re a cozy place and we try to provide the best customer service. It makes our customers feel like they’re at home.”
848 W. Fifth St.
Located in the Historic Rosenbacher Home, the beautifully appointed Tart Sweets has adorable cupcakes, delicious macarons, edible cookie dough and coffee drinks. Summerfield resident, Julia Denton always hits up Tart Sweets for a stash of macarons almost every time she comes to Winston-Salem. “They have perfectly macarons in so many great flavors,” she said. “I just love the satisfying crunch followed by perfect buttercream.”
The Old Fourth Street Filling Station
871 W. Fourth St.
The icon is casually known as the “Filling Station.” Former manager Chef Adam Andrews helped make the Filling Station the place that it is and has branched out with several other successful endeavors of his own, (not in the West End) such as Jeffrey Adams on Fourth and most recently Dogwood Hops & Crops and next door, The Trophy Room Bourbon Bar on Trade Street. Looking back, he said consistency is key. “The kitchen staff has had very little turnover,” Andrews said. “Everyone loves the patio. It’s a staple with a lot of regulars. It’s not fine dining nor mom-and-pop. It’s right in the middle and I think that appeals to the majority of Winston-Salem.”
Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro
878 W. Fourth St.
Gosh, it doesn’t get much cuter or more quaint and low-key than Mozelle’s. You almost haven’t lived until you’ve tried the tomato pie. And now, the restaurant, which celebrates 10 years this year, has scored one of the Triad’s best chefs, Jay Pierce. “Before relocating to Winston Salem, as a resident of the other cities in the Triad, I did not understand how special the West End neighborhood was,” Pierce said. “Although Mozelle’s address is on Fourth Street, the vibe could not be farther from downtown and the best dining is al fresco. Tree-lined streets, historic homes and the proximity to both BB&T park and the funky hangouts of Burke Street, allow us to cater to a delightful cross sections of Winston Salem society.” Local chef and blogger Nikki Miller-Ka said, “The classic dishes are consistent and have been since the beginning. The nightly specials feature very fresh, very seasonal items that are one of a kind.”
West End Cafe
926 W. Fourth St.
Another timeless classic, West End Cafe just celebrated its 37th anniversary. Fun fact, The cafe actually used to be located at the aforementioned Mozelle’s location before moving across Burke Street 21 years ago. We love it for its salads, its incredible Reuben, and the super yummy potato cakes. Ah man, the potato cakes! Get them with all the goods like applesauce and sour cream. Local writer and foodie-about-town, Carroll Leggett, has been a fan for a long time.
“West End Café is a classic neighborhood go-to eatery,” Leggett said. “The food is consistently good and at a reasonable price point. It would be a rare thing for someone in Greensboro to say, ‘Let’s ride over to Winston-Salem for dinner at West End Café.’ But it is not a rare thing for someone in Winston-Salem to say, ‘I don’t feel like cooking. Let’s go to West End for supper.’ You know you can do that, be greeted like family, have a great meal, visit with people you know and not blow the budget.”
Leggett said he loves it at lunch. “I like sitting at the bar. The kitchen sends the food out quickly, the server is attentive, and you can get in and out in a reasonable amount of time. In short, the folks at West End Café have perfected the drill!”
Bernardin’s at the Zevely House
901 W. Fourth St.
The five-star restaurant was already a great success before moving into its historic West End quarters, and now people travel across the Triad and beyond to enjoy a unique, upscale culinary experience. “Bernardin’s at the Zevely House is probably the best restaurant in Winston-Salem,” mixologist John Vavryshko IV said. “Their Kangaroo Tandoori is probably the single best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
The Humble Bee Shoppe
1003 Brookstown Ave.
The name, the shoppe, the owner, Brittany McGee are all so cute, but her desserts are way more than just cute. McGee said it was her dream to take her bakery business and open up a shop and she couldn’t think of any other place to bee. “I really just love all of the local businesses around me,” McGee said. “They’re all supportive and so kind. It’s really nice to be part of downtown without all the hustle bustle.” The macarons are creative and on point, her signature cookies are incredible and now she’s added cookie sammies and savory items as well. And these cake cones? Seriously, cereal milk-soaked cake topped with buttercream. It’s cake, but it’s in an ice cream cone because you only have one life to live so you might as well live it.
905 Burke St.
Sixty-four years! Opened by George Doumas in 1954 and eventually taken over by his sons, Louie and the late Nick, the Lighthouse is obviously considered an institution in Winston-Salem. Local podcaster and blogger Tim Beeman likes Lighthouse because, “It’s like the perfect greasy spoon…Everything you want in such an establishment. From breakfast to dinner, the food is good, sticks to your ribs, and you always leave satisfied. A lot of Winston-Salem/West End history is in there, too. The Doumas family has been part of all that is good in that neighborhood. I love to stop by and have a few sausage, egg and cheese biscuits in the morning and they do a good burger for lunch.”
Burke Street Pizza
1140 Burke St.
OK…It’s getting questionable now if we’re still in the West End, but many people still consider Dave Hillman’s pizza joint West End. When you’re craving local pizza, it’s almost the first place to come to mind. And even if you don’t want to get in your car and go, you know what happens? Burke Street Pizza delivers. Burke Street also has a Robinhood Road location. Local foodie, Jessica Johnson said she loves Burke Street because of the crust. “That pizza oven makes the best crust on any pizza I’ve ever eaten. The pizzas are also huge, and all the ingredients fresh. A lot of people don’t realize they have delicious salads as well.” Hillman is also busy with two other locations on the same street but those are barred from being considered West End. I don’t know. But hat tip to Quiet Pint and the Uncle Buzzy’s Fried Food, which opened last week.
West End Coffeehouse
390 N. Broad St.
This coffeehouse, owned by Jim and Dana Moody, has been such a welcomed addition to the downtown and West End scene that we can’t even imagine what life would be like without its delicious coffee drinks, desserts (now including homemade pie), famous gelato and occasional live music. In what is one of the best locations, Dana loves being right on the edge of West End and seeing downtown from her patio. “I kind of love all the restaurants in the West End. There’s something wonderful and unique about each of them that you can’t find downtown. I love getting salads and burgers from West End Cafe, pizza from Burke Street, breakfast from the Lighthouse, brunch from Mozelle’s, cookie sammies and macarons from Humble Bee. The West End is laid back and more relaxed and has much more a neighborhood feel than downtown.”
Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts.