Southern Pines, NC: Taking a swing at it
Your mid-week dose of Southern food news
I play golf with discs, better known to non-players as Frisbees, so I can’t pretend to be well-versed in ball golf culture. But I did drive the beverage cart at Starr Pass Golf Club one summer, so I have some idea of golfers’ food-and-drink preferences. And I know that when it comes to the former, they really like Doritos.
In other words, I’ve long held the baseless belief that golfers are the world’s least discerning eaters.
A recent trip to Southern Pines, North Carolina did nothing to dissuade me.
Southern Pines was a shoo-in for this series because the train runs straight through the center of town, with the Amtrak depot doubling as a visitor’s center. Additionally, even though only 16,000 people live in Southern Pines, the surrounding area’s equestrian centers, golf courses, and organized Christmas cheer attract more than 1 million tourists every year.
Having toured the visitor’s center, I’m not sold on Southern Pines, which got its start as a winter health resort. The building houses a collection of historical photos featuring white people exclusively, a fact explained by one of four sentences under the “History” heading of the town’s Wikipedia entry: “As of 1898, it was a sundown town where African Americans were not allowed to reside or conduct business.”
As of 2022, it’s dominated by a cutesy shopping district, featuring several boutiques that look suspiciously like the extensions of multilevel marketing schemes. There’s a good amount of home décor.
Still, perhaps you’ll end up there with your show horse, or a ticket to the 2024 U.S. Open, and want something other than the burgers, wraps, and chicken tenders that form the core of most local menus. (The restaurant scene in Southern Pines is so dismal that the host’s guide in my Airbnb directed me to a nearby pub for lunch, instructing, “Do not get the chicken.”)
Fortunately, you won’t starve. Here’s a rundown of the standouts:
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