The truth is that you can find almost anything that’s really good to eat right in Duplin County. A date night location, or a place for celebrating special occasions? Duplin County has these venues! If you haven’t yet sampled much of this rich variety, I suggest you start exploring and enjoying!
UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Weekend” cameramen have recently joined me in producing reviews of Rose Hill Restaurant, and both The Mad Boar and Sensation Farmhouse Restaurant in Wallace. (These segments will begin airing in late October.)
An increasing number of visitors passing through Duplin County each year can find an agreeable meal no further than a mile or two off the Interstate. And for Duplin’s lifelong residents, they also have plenty of places for a quick, delicious bite as they travel their ordinary paths, carry out their business dealings and grab a convenient meal on workdays.
For example, hungry persons anywhere near Shawn’s Restaurant in Wallace will want to start a great day with one of “Ms. Dorothy’s” legendary breakfasts. Shawn’s serves practically every breakfast meat on the planet, with or without eggs, and not simply varieties of sausage, bacon, and ham, either. I mean smoked sausage, corned beef, steak, salmon, liver pudding and even pork brains. Shawn’s breakfast patrons will all remember both the wonderful hash browns and onions and the oversize pancakes, as I sure did!
Right after Shawn’s breakfast rush dwindles, the awesome country lunch buffet is set out Tuesdays through Fridays until the place closes at 2:00 pm. (Saturday is breakfast only until 11 am.) I’m heading back soon to bury my face in the steak and gravy, barbecued chicken greens and more I’ve heard so much about.
Mik’s, also in Wallace, is an outstanding restaurant packaged as a sports bar. Too many people think mostly of large TV screens, wings and pub munchies. But Mik’s has a menu with depth and imagination, and the prices are really reasonable. The place features hickory smokers, producing pulled pork barbecue, rib, brisket, turkey, chicken breast and smoked salmon entrée plates.
I fondly remember my turkey nacho plate, with diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, onions, “beer cheese,” bacon bits and perfectly pan-steamed broccoli. The turkey is listed “when available.” It’s hickory-smoked, sliced fairly thin and then chopped up more finely in the nachos. ‘Never had anything like it in my travels, honestly… fantastic.
Platters, sandwiches, and appetizers featuring fish and shellfish are terrific. How often do you find hickory-smoked salmon in a nice, hefty portion as a plate, with sides? Not frequently in my experience. I’m glad I was there on the right day, and Mik’s world-class broccoli and mac ‘n cheese made the day even better.
Mik’s offers an expansive bone-in and boneless wing choices with a dozen sauces; a specialty salad that’s a “cucumber wrap,” and a really strong line-up of hefty burgers. The Champ Burger is crowned with mac and cheese and “boom boom” sauce, which also goes great with any food in the place. A barbecue sandwich, smoked salmon tacos and a Cuban sandwich – featuring smoked pork and melted pepper jack cheese – are all hearty and toothsome, as well.
The Filling Station in Kenansville is that most unusual of restaurants…the one that dares close on weekends.
Open Monday – Friday from 6 am to 2 pm, the place is loved for biscuits, “best burgers anywhere around,” chicken salad, authentic eastern fish stew (Fridays only), plate lunches and all sorts of home-style desserts. Customers enjoy The Filling Station during their off-work days only if they stop by during regular business hours to pick up an order of chicken salad for Saturday or Sunday consumption.
For 37 years, the extended family has operated some version of what’s now called Brock’s Service on mostly rural NC 11-903 on the outskirts of Kenansville. Since 1977, it’s been a gas station, convenience store and auto service center.
It was a natural move for David Brock, with a quirky, inexplicable desire to run a restaurant – to also be opening “The Filling Station Cafe” – located right next door to the original location that was built by his father, Buck. The younger Brock helps run the grocery, including pumping gas, even as he’s currently doubling the size of his restaurant.
He decided long ago that we wanted to see his kids grow up and that five very long days was enough of a work week. He has had a life, and his kids have had their Dad. Good for him. I’m spending a lot more time in Duplin County these days for various reasons, and I’m loving getting reacquainted with the culinary scene. What a pleasure!
“2017 was an incredible year for the Tourism Industry in Duplin County as well as across North Carolina. As we promote Duplin County as a destination and great place to visit, we truly appreciate our hotel, restaurant, and attraction partners as well as small businesses that all work together to create the great visitor experiences and results. We look forward to another strong year of growth ahead.” states Amanda Justice, Director of Duplin County Tourism.
The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 400 in Duplin County.
Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Duplin County was $5.15 million.
State tax revenue generated in Duplin County totaled $2.45 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $1.38 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.
“North Carolina is a welcoming state and destination for travelers from across the world, and tourism continues to help drive economic development statewide,” said Secretary Copeland. “Tourism creates jobs and increases state and local tax revenues, growing North Carolina’s economy across all 100 counties.”
These statistics are from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2017,” which can be accessed at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.
Visit NC Executive Director Wit Tuttell added: “The continued growth in visitor spending is great for communities across our entire state. North Carolina’s continued position as the sixth most-visited state in the nation with more than 46 million visitors in 2017 reinforces its status as a premier tourism destination.”
Statewide highlights include:
State tax receipts as a result of visitor spending rose 4.2 percent to nearly $1.2 billion in 2017.
Local tax revenues directly resulting from visitor spending totaled $738.6 million.
The travel and tourism industry directly employees more than 225,700 North Carolinians.
CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACTS:
Amanda Justice, Executive Director of Duplin County Tourism
1. IT’S FREE!
Whoever said the best things in life are free might’ve been talking about the Carolina Strawberry Festival taking place on May 11th and 12th in Wallace. This year’s festival promises to be a jam-packed weekend with outstanding music, entertainment, kids activities, and some great tasting food.
The Carolina Strawberry Festival is organized by a proud group of community leaders in the Town of Wallace. The festival kicks off on Friday, May 11th from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and continues on Saturday, May 12th from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The festival is a rain or shine event.
If you’ve never visited, Wallace is located just 40 minutes from Wilmington, Jacksonville, Clinton, and Goldsboro, and is as quaint as a postcard with a charming restored historic downtown district.
2. GREAT MUSIC
The excitement begins Friday night with the Strawberry Jam! The Band of Oz, a regional band that’s been dominating the beach music scene for 30 years, will be the big attraction. The Johnson Boys open the show at 6 p.m. followed by The Band of Oz at 7:30 p.m. You’ll want to bring your lawn chair so you’ll be comfortable all evening long. The Festival’s Beer and Wine Garden will be open all evening.
To round out the Festival, the band All My Rowdy Friends, a premier Hank Williams Jr. tribute band, and Chocolate Chip & Company from Myrtle Beach will take over the stage on Saturday night!
3. 5K RUN & 1K FUN RUN
Saturday, May 12, kicks off at 8 a.m. with the Carolina Strawberry Festival 5K Run and a 1K Fun Run/Walk for Stroke Awareness. The race is co-sponsored by Vidant Duplin Hospital. Runners should gather at the Wallace Train Depot, 206 SE Railroad Street for the start of the race. For more information on the races, please call Curt Simpson at 910-290-2194.
4. LITTLE MISS STRAWBERRY PAGEANT
Festival-goers will have a blast with amusement park rides, two cook-offs (one for strawberry recipes and one for BBQ), craft vendors, a Beer & Wine Garden, food tents, a classic car show, and of course the weekend wouldn’t be complete without the Miss Strawberry Pageant where little girls from Duplin County up to 8 years old participate.
5. THE WALLACE DEPOT MODEL TRAIN
The Thomas Edgerton Model Train Room in the Wallace Depot will be open as a special treat for kids of all ages on Saturday. The new interactive exhibit will be up and running for visitors. Bring your crew to the front of the Depot — through the entrance on Boney Street. Local history and train enthusiasts will be on hand to answer questions.
A great selection of food vendors will be there so everyone can taste all the flavors! Enjoy Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Ice Cream, Deep Fried Berries, and fresh-picked strawberries for sale from Cottle Farms.
We hope you plan to cut loose and enjoy everything planned at this year’s Carolina Strawberry Festival.
It’s Springtime and Duplin County is blooming with our Festivals and Events! Here is the season’s line-up:
A Taste of Duplin & More
Friday, April 20th – 5 PM to 8:30 PM
Duplin County Events Center, Kenansville
This event highlights everything that makes Duplin County a great place to live and visit. A Taste of Duplin & More is designed to promote Duplin County businesses and the Events Center as local tourism destinations.
Take time out of your hectic schedule to remember what makes Duplin County a great place to call home. Local restaurants will be offering samples as well as wine tastings courtesy of Duplin Winery and Country Squire. Enjoy making your voice heard by voting in the People’s Choice Award. Additional vendors include Duplin County museums, ready to whisk you back in time to witness the county’s historic legacy, the creators of our local festivals, craftsmen, makers, vendors and much MORE.
Saturday, April 21st – 10 AM to 6 PM
Warsaw’s Memorial Park
Come out and get to know Warsaw! Tap your toes to some great live music and enjoy wine from Duplin Winery and the Country Squire or check out the Coastal Beverage beer truck.
Enjoy the horse-drawn wagon rides, working mule demonstrations, new and vintage farm equipment, pony rides, vehicle displays, NCBBQ plates, a pork cook-off including an award presentation, and more activities for kids. The Warsaw Police Department Community Involvement Trailer will be serving some goodies as long as they last!
Carolina Strawberry Festival
Friday, May 11th – 6 PM to 11 PM and Saturday, May 12th – 11 AM to 10:30 PM
The Carolina Strawberry Festival is an annual event in Downtown Wallace. Both Friday and Saturday nights will include live music and entertainment including The Johnson Boys, Band of Oz, Train Wreck, and the Barefoot Gypsies and others. Enjoy dancing, a beer & wine garden, food and craft vendors, a BBQ cook-off, kids activities, locally grown strawberries and more! Thanks to Thurman Parker Photography for the festival photos and Hope G. Smith for the festival art!
Heritage Day at Liberty Hall
Saturday, May 19th – 11 AM to 4 PM
Liberty Hall in Kenansville
This event takes place on the grounds of Liberty Hall, the restored Greek Revival home of the Kenan Family, one of the most prominent in North Carolina “back then”. It is a great opportunity for people of all ages and history buffs to learn about Duplin County local heritage and the skills that people from the 1800’s had that they called, “daily life.”
Are you visiting our area? Visit our website and check out our Suggested Tours, Wineries, and Things to Do! We look forward to seeing you in Duplin County!
Join us for one day of awesome bluegrass music outdoors in Kenansville, NC at the Duplin County Events Center on Saturday, March 24th from 11AM to 7PM.
The Blue, Brew, & Que Festival will feature some of the best Bluegrass Music, NC Craft Breweries, and Bar-B-Que around. Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and have your ID to receive your commemorative glass.
Enjoy the sounds of Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Band, The Malpass Brothers, VW Boys, Lonesome River Band and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. We’ve got some great North Carolina breweries and our Duplin County wineries participating that you won’t want to miss!
Get an early bird discount! Purchase your tickets in advance. We love our military members – check out the special ticket price!