As the leaves begin to change and the air turns crisper, savoring the beauty of fall in downtown Winston-Salem is an absolute delight. The Innovation Quarter, nestled in the heart of this vibrant North Carolina city, offers a selection of restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating options, making it the ideal setting for enjoying the cool autumn breeze while indulging in delicious dishes and seasonal beverages.
Krankies: Community, Coffee, and Culture
- Location: 211 3rd St E, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
- Come for: Coffee, Breakfast, Lunch
A History of Community and Culture
Krankies, a coffee shop in Winston-Salem, has been fostering a sense of community since its beginning in 2003. A place where inclusivity and community-building take center stage, their mission goes beyond taste buds; it’s about contributing to the vibrancy of the communities they serve.
Take a Journey Through Fried Chicken Biscuit History
Biscuits hold a cherished place in Southern cuisine, and Krankies honors this tradition with their Dirty South Biscuit, which is nothing less than a flaky, buttery masterpiece. A standout representation of Krankies’ dedication to storytelling through Southern food, this isn’t merely a fried chicken sandwich; it’s a time machine. With every bite, you’re transported through the rich history of Southern fried chicken biscuits, embarking on a culinary journey that’s worth savoring.
Krankies is a casual restaurant that offers an al fresco dining experience that celebrates fall in Winston-Salem. Krankies boasts two patios that beckon you to embrace the season — an open back patio and a cozy covered side patio provide a picturesque setting. Sit and savor the flavors and the cozy, urban ambiance that Krankies has meticulously crafted.
CoalPit Patio Perfect Pair: Incendiary + Cugino Forno Pizzeria
The Coal Pit patio is a vibrant outdoor oasis with a rich history. Historically serving as the coal storage for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, it has undergone a remarkable transformation, thanks to the Innovation Quarter and Wexford Science and Technology. This redevelopment has breathed new life into the area, promoting community well-being and reinvigorating the city’s downtown.
Incendiary and Cugino Forno Pizzeria share the CoalPit patio, creating a lively hub for various events, from homecoming and wedding photoshoots to fashion shows and live music performances. They welcome artists, pop-ups and musicians, creating a vibrant and diverse community of patrons and artists. The casual ambiance attracts a diverse crowd, from business people meeting over lunch to families celebrating special occasions like baby showers. The patio’s open and public setting means that it remains accessible throughout the year, even during the winter months, so you can enjoy its charm whenever you please.
Crafted Brews for the Season from Incendiary Brewing
- Location: Coal Pit – 486 N Patterson Ave #105, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
- Come for: Happy Hour, Late Night Sips
A Tale of Local Passion and Perseverance
Incendiary Brewing Company’s history is a testament to the passion and perseverance of its founders, Brandon Branscome and John Bacon. Both Winston-Salem natives, their journey began in their shared hometown, first crossing paths at North Forsyth High School and later pursuing business degrees at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Their early attempts at homebrewing in college, first marked by a failed batch of brown ale in 1997, did not deter their spirit. Instead, it laid the foundation for what would become Incendiary Brewing.
Over the years, as the internet made brewing information more accessible, their homebrewing skills improved. They had several additional experiences with homebrewing, each one surpassing the previous. In 2013, the two friends became neighbors, rekindling their love for brewing. Weekends were dedicated to experimenting with brews, leading to several awards and recognitions in homebrew competitions. Their crowning achievement came in 2016 when they secured the top spot in the IPA division of the Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing.
Fueled by their successes and unwavering support from loved ones, their dream of opening a brewery took shape. Fast forward to Labor Day weekend in 2018, Incendiary Brewing Company made its grand debut, quickly establishing itself as a brewing powerhouse with a penchant for exceptional IPAs and robust stouts.
Craft Brews That Define the Season
Incendiary Brewing is renowned for crafting more than just ordinary beers; they brew beverages that encapsulate the essence of Winston-Salem and the ever-changing seasons. For example, “We Only Come Out at Night” is a pumpkin spice brown ale brew perfectly suited to the cool autumn air. Yet, the brewery truly shines with its IPAs, setting a high standard in the world of brewing.
Incendiary Brewing is More than Just a Brewery; it’s a Community Space
Incendiary Brewing goes beyond a traditional brewery, offering a unique community space that celebrates Winston-Salem, especially in the fall. With its rich backstory and noteworthy brews that reflect the seasons, it’s more than just a place to grab a beer.
The brewery boasts a unique outdoor patio in the CoalPit, making it an ideal spot to savor the crisp autumn air while enjoying their craft brews. The welcoming atmosphere and strong community ties make Incendiary Brewing a hidden gem worth exploring, especially when you find yourself in the Innovation Quarter. And here’s a pro tip: you can enhance your experience by bringing in a pizza from neighboring Cugino’s, a local favorite known for its pies.
RUMOR has it: Incendiary Brewing also has a members-only bottle program, the Ember’s Society, which may soon make a comeback!
Cugino Forno Pizzeria: A Neapolitan Highlight of Winston-Salem’s Al Fresco Dining Scene
- Location: Coal Pit – 486 N Patterson Ave #115, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
- Come for: Lunch, Happy Hour, Dinner
The Cugino Forno Story
Cugino Forno, which translates to “cousin oven,” is the brainchild of three cousins, Joseph, Yilmaz & Adam, who share a deep-rooted passion for signature Italian classics, specifically authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. From a small town in Turkey, their culinary journey began when they decided to master the art of Neapolitan pizza. This pursuit led them to the bustling pizzaiolo scene in Naples, Italy, where they honed their craft, soaked up Italian culture and learned the importance of quality ingredients.
After years of research and an extensive road trip through the southeastern United States, the cousins opened their first location in Greensboro in 2017. The response was overwhelming, and in 2019, they expanded to downtown Winston-Salem, in the Innovation Quarter. Today, Cugino Forno boasts 5 restaurant locations across North Carolina and 1 restaurant location in Maryland, a testament to the authentic flavors they bring to their loyal patrons.
A Taste of Italy, Right in Winston Salem’s iQ
Cugino Forno’s mission is to bring a piece of Italy to your table without the need for a passport. Their commitment to quality and authenticity plays a crucial role in achieving this goal. Importing nearly 80% of their ingredients from Italy’s finest sources, including tomatoes from the Mt. Vesuvius region and olive oil, results in a flavor that truly stands out in the city.
At Cugino Forno Pizzeria, it’s not just about a meal; it’s about immersing yourself in an authentic Neapolitan culinary experience. What distinguishes them is their dedication to the traditional Neapolitan pizza-making process, complete with ovens imported from Naples with stones from Mt. Vesuvius. This ensures that your experience is not only flavorful, but genuinely Italian.
The Patio Experience
Cugino Forno Pizzeria’s outdoor patio in the CoalPit also offers a unique patio atmosphere. The casual restaurants’ patio provides a serene backdrop for savoring Cugino’s Neapolitan pizza. Whether you’re looking for a date night, a family gathering or a casual lunch, the patio at Cugino Forno adds an extra layer of charm to your experience, making it the perfect setting for creating memories with friends and family.
The Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden: A Gourmet Burger Lover’s Paradise
- Location: 450 N Patterson Ave, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
- Come for: Lunch, Happy Hour, Dinner
From Textiles to Gourmet Burgers by way of Pizza
About 60 miles southwest of Winston-Salem lies the town of Mooresville steeped in history and once dominated by a colossal textile mill. This is where Michael Bay embarked on a transformative journey for over a decade to renovate the worn-out mill into a thriving space.
Amid the cacophony of hammers and saws the people made it clear to Michael: they wanted a pizzeria.
Inspired by this vision, Michael ventured across Italy to master the art of pizza-making and even attended pizza school. Soon after opening, Alino Pizzeria began to flourish as one of Mooresville’s most popular restaurants and its loyal patrons began asking for more culinary options, specifically burgers. Naturally Michael, ever the enthusiast, set out on a nationwide exploration to find and sample the finest burgers, eventually leading to the establishment of the first Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden in Mooresville.
The decision to open another location in Winston-Salem was driven by a combination of serendipity and a deep appreciation for the city’s unique charm. Michael, enamored by the city’s rich history and captivated by the echoes of the RJ Reynolds tobacco plant warehouses, saw an opportunity to create a European-style café where patrons could leisurely watch the streets outside. It felt like the right fit for Michael.
Savoring Specialty Burgers & Culinary Delights at Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden
The star of the show at Barcelona is, of course, their award-winning burgers. These hand-pressed and perfectly grilled burgers are sure to please your palate. To complement your burger, you can pair it with a choice of fries: truffle, regular, or sweet potatoes. They also offer an extensive wine list or cold draft beers, including a variety of local craft beers, IPAs, stouts, lagers, and pale ales, making it a perfect destination for diverse palettes.
So if you’re not in the mood for a burger, don’t worry. Barcelona also offers a mouthwatering rotisserie chicken, prepared with their own special spice blend. The tender, roasted, hormone- and antibiotic-free chickens make great family meals and are available in whole, half and quarter sizes.
They also offer a go-to classic – their 100% nitrate-free beef hotdog. Try with fries and a pint of tap beer, to create a perfect combination of flavors. The Boar’s Head uncured beef frankfurters come in a natural casing and are nitrate-free, with ketchup, mustard and relish on the side.
Serene Outdoor Dining Experience Options
While burgers and hot dogs might suggest otherwise, Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden’s outdoor patios are surrounded by lush plantings, providing a relaxed atmosphere. You can enjoy your meal while in the warmth of the sun or under the stars, making it an ideal spot for both casual outings and special occasions. The combination of delicious food, an extensive selection of craft beers and a picturesque outdoor setting make Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden a must-visit destination in Winston-Salem.
Six Hundred°: Where Culinary Art Meets Fall Magic
- Location: 450 North Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC, 27101
- Come for: Lunch, Happy Hour, Dinner
A Culinary Gem in the Innovation Quarter
Six Hundred° is a premium full-service restaurant, offering fine dining while boasting a rich culinary history. Owned by Travis Meyers and Ryan Oberle, and led by the talented Chef Todd Marten, this upscale establishment in the heart of Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter is an unparalleled dining experience, perfect for your next date night.
The name “600 Degrees” pays homage to the temperature at which wood in a fire produces embers. This restaurant, with its live-fire kitchens, has a strong foundation in Southern culinary traditions, and is dedicated to preparing regional dishes using local ingredients and are renowned for their dedication to using quality ingredients. Under the guidance of Head Chef Travis Meyers, the team brings the soulful scents of the South to life by burning oak and hickory coals, infusing each dish with a distinctive flavor.
Culinary Excellence Rooted in the Seasons
Exploring Six Hundred°, we discovered the true essence of this establishment—the food. Chef Todd Marten leads the kitchen team in crafting and curating a menu that reflects the changing seasons, ensuring that every plate features seasonal fresh food and the most flavorful ingredients.
Offering rare dishes, seasonal ingredients and a fine dining ambiance, Six Hundred° is the ideal destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in Winston-Salem’s culinary culture.
A Patio Oasis with a Scenic View
The Six Hundred° patio gives a scenic view of Bailey Park. This outdoor setting, adorned with red umbrellas, issues an atmosphere that is perfect for romantic date nights, professional business meetings and special celebrations. Six Hundred° extends a warm welcome to all with a commitment to creating lasting memories.
PRO TIP: To secure a table, reservations are highly recommended, for outdoor seating or inside the dining room.
Fair Witness – The Perfect Fusion of Grit, Elegance, and the iQ
- Location: 290 4th St E, Winston-Salem, NC 27101
- Come for: Happy Hour, Late Night Sips
A Blend of Grit and Elegance
Fair Witness is an extraordinary establishment thanks to the dynamic partnership of owners Blake and Tim. Together, they’ve curated a unique fusion of gritty elegance. It’s a place of luxury with a wild and inviting side, creating an unmatched experience in Winston-Salem.
At Fair Witness, the environment is all about inclusivity. There’s no air of pretentiousness; it’s a space dedicated to savoring the moment, the company and the flavors. The diverse menu offers an array of options, from meticulously crafted high-end cocktails to affordable $3 beers and is backed by friendly service. Unless you are a bully or a dracula, you are welcome at Fair Witness.
Fall Flavors in Al Fresco Luxury
Fair Witness’s outdoor patio seamlessly bridges the gap between casual and upscale, creating an ideal setting for al fresco dining. An atmosphere of elegance with a touch of gritty charm. In this open-air setting, guests can enjoy seasonal sips, like the Chamoygarita—a refreshing take on the classic margarita infused with the distinct sweet, spicy and tangy notes of chamoy.
Owner Blake’s commitment to sustainability is also evident in the garden, featuring sand made from his smashed recycled glass, highlighting the establishment’s commitment to casual environmentalism.
A Neighborhood Hub with Diverse Offerings
Fair Witness is a hub for the community, offering a range of events, including popups, chess club gatherings, music performances, local artists and even D&D board game adventures. It has successfully rekindled the social culture that coffee shops once provided, making Fair Witness a neighborhood bar that promotes social interaction and intellectual stimulation. With its diverse events and fun atmosphere, it’s a place where the community comes together.
Book Readings: Thought-Provoking Gatherings
For those seeking intellectual nourishment alongside their libations, Fair Witness hosts thought-provoking book readings where two authors are invited to share their work the last Thursday of each month at 7pm. These events are designed to inspire, empower and stimulate the mind while patrons enjoy the cozy, casual and welcoming environment.
Savoring Fall in Winston-Salem: A Culinary Journey Through the Innovation Quarter’s Best Restaurants
These Winston-Salem restaurants not only serve exceptional food but also celebrate community and culture to create memorable fall experiences.
- Krankies, with its “Dirty South Biscuit,” preserves culinary heritage while fostering inclusivity.
- Incendiary Brewing transforms into a unique community space, inviting you to relish craft brews and the autumn air.
- Cugino Forno Pizzeria transports you to Italy through Neapolitan delights in an outdoor patio setting.
- Barcelona Burger & Beer Garden delights with its award-winning specialty burgers, and
- Six Hundred° provides upscale dining in a serene outdoor atmosphere. Lastly,
- Fair Witness combines gritty elegance with al fresco luxury and acts as a neighborhood hub for diverse events.
This fall, try a culinary adventure and embrace community and create cherished memories with colleagues, friends and family while exploring your new favorite restaurants in Winston-Salem.