Founded by husband-and-wife team Michael and Betsy, the Clayton Steakhouse bursts with fresh carnivorous cuts of meat, savory salads, and homemade delicacies all served passionately and attentively within its homey confines. Dinner patrons can head straight for the meat highway with a house-seasoned signature rib-eye steak ($18.95 for 8-ounce; $27.95 for 16-ounce), or doff a grilled beret at the French-cut chicken breast ($14.95), with all entrees granting access to the salad bar and one side. Or opt for a loaded baked potato entree packed with a plethora of veggies, bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives, plus a visit to the 19-ingredient salad bar ($9.95). Keep hungry youngsters from composing rumbling-belly melodies with the kids'-size mac 'n' cheese served with french fries ($3.95), or reward them for their harmonic handiwork with a Betsy-crafted dessert, such as buttermilk pie ($4.89), triple chocolate cake ($4.89), or sweet-tooth-satisfying sorbet ($3.75).
Conceived by Knightsdale native and seafood connoisseur Annette Brown, A' Nets Katch hauls in a vast assortment of deep-sea delicacies cooked in-store or packaged for at-home preparation. The shop’s display case brims with more than 25 types of ocean-fresh fare, from crab legs and oysters to pink-hued salmon fillets and broiled krakens. Annette’s signature dishes include such maritime favorites as marinated-fish tacos, low-country boils, and pan-seared, almond-crusted fillets of mahi-mahi. In addition to its artfully arranged seafood displays, A' Nets Katch stocks an array of amenities to assist with at-home preparation, including tartar sauce, coolers, and wooden peg legs.
For the hibachi chefs at Mitchikia Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi, playing with their food is a requirement. Over the heat of the traditional teppanyaki grills, their knives slice through seared steaks and shrimp, sending food flying with spatulas and catapults made of carrot sticks. In addition to the entertaining hibachi dinners, the kitchen prepares a host of Japanese-influenced dishes, in addition to freshly constructed maki rolls and sushi.
The chefs at Draft Carolina Burgers & Beers craft specialty burgers out of high-grade, local beef, boasting an extensive array of chuck cylinders alongside salads, sandwiches, and shareable appetizers. Every day, grass-fed Angus beef is ground in-house, eventually transforming into finger-bound feasts such as the Southern Lovin', a burger topped with fried green tomatoes, Holly Grove Farms goat cheese, bacon, and balsamic. Thanks to their partnership with the Mash House Brewery, Draft Carolina's bartenders decant ice-cold brews such as the Mash House blonde and the Mash House IPA, which won the 2001 Great American Beer Festival medal for Hoppy Hour IPA. Billiards and shuffleboard make ideal after-dinner entertainment, and a casual, welcoming atmosphere greets diners inhabiting all points of the monocle-to-jorts fanciness scale.
For hours, the smoke gently rolls over racks of ribs, chicken, and brisket, tenderizing the meat until it's ready to pull apart without any effort. The chefs at The Prime Smokehouse do this every day, barbecuing meats in the Texas tradition of slow-smoking over hickory wood. Co-owner Ed Wiley III learned this style of barbecue from his father, whom he revered for his "kitchen wizardry." As a further homage to his dad, a saxophonist who toured the Chitlin' Circuit, Ed and his team book live jazz every Friday and Saturday night.