The I-95 exit-by-exit eating guide
You'll never have a bad meal between Virginia and South Carolina again
After Tony Stallings bought his uncle’s grill, he took it to a charity event in Bennettsville, South Carolina, where a truck driver buddy of his just shook his head at the setup.
“Wow, man,” Stallings remembers him saying. “Why you ain’t over by the truck stop? You know truck drivers are always looking for decent food: They don’t want to always have to go in places like Arby’s or Burger King or McDonald’s.”
Them and everyone else.
Stallings in late 2020 took his friend’s suggestion, arranging what he calls a co-op in the vacant lot alongside the Love’s Travel Stop in Dillon, South Carolina: He sells ribs, half chickens, and turkey wings; another guy sells Caribbean plates, and a third guy sells fruit from his farm. “Drivers really appreciate a homecooked meal,” he says.
Such personal food is frustratingly hard to find at most exits, which are dominated by megachains peddling defrosted chicken nuggets and jumbo cups of soda. Yet for travelers who know where to look, there are still plenty of independent restaurant along the interstate offering satisfying meals and glimpses into the regional culture inspiring them.
Of course, it’s rarely convenient to conduct that kind of research once you’re on the road, which is why The Food Section has compiled a comprehensive guide to eating within three miles of every Interstate 95 exit from Petersburg, Virginia (where it crosses Interstate 85) to Florence, South Carolina (where it meets Interstate 20), a 270-mile span of the nation’s busiest highway.
It’s important to stress that this guide was developed specifically for Interstate 95 travel, which means it shouldn’t be mistaken for a listing of the best restaurants in every town on the route. Instead, it’s designed for drivers who want to eat well while staying on relatively tight schedules.
In other words, these are not restaurants around which to build trips: These are restaurants meant to enhance the trip you’re already taking.
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