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Eating on I-95 Between DC and Jacksonville, FL

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I'm going to be in Brunswick, GA, for 2 nights next week, arriving in Jacksonville around dinner time Monday. I think I'm pretty set for recommendations near Brunswick (definitely hitting up B&J's in Darien!) but was wondering if anyone had any dinner recommendations for my drive from Jacksonville to Brunswick (about an hour north) not too far off I-95. I checked out Amelia Island (The Salty Pelican) on a prior trip and liked it, but as I recall that was a bit of a detour from I-95. I might consider stopping at Amelia Island for lunch on my drive back to Jacksonville on Wednesday, but on Monday I think I'd rather not stray too far from the highway for dinner since I'm going to want to get settled in my hotel.

Is anyone familiar with St. Mary's, GA? It seems close to I-95 and they have some seafood restaurants. I'd be more inclined toward seafood than barbecue but would be open to barbecue or any other recommendations as well.

Thanks!

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On 6/12/2016 at 8:02 AM, Marty L. said:

Fried shrimp at B&J's in Darien, GA.

On 6/12/2016 at 4:00 PM, johnb said:

+1 on B&J.

I went to B&J's tonight -- the fried shrimp was delicious! I also loved my server. He was so friendly and nice and steered me away from the pound of shrimp (I told him I had no concept of how many shrimp were in a pound versus a half pound), which I probably could've eaten, but I would've been stuffed to the gills and wouldn't have had room for the banana pudding (also recommended by my server), which was just the sweet ending to the meal that I wanted.

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On 6/13/2016 at 2:19 PM, Tweaked said:

For Eastern Carolina BBQ, your best bet for a short side trip is Parker's BBQ in Wilson, NC.  It's about a 10 minute detour off I-95.  Solid BBQ and fried chicken.

Another frequent stop off for us is the Davis Travel Center Stony Creek, VA, about 15 minutes south of where the I-95 & I-295 merge after Richmond.  The convenience store has an excellent selection of junk food and car snacks.  Plus a Starbucks.  And a video game arcade. 

Parker's BBQ was so so and the cole slaw was strangely a bright pinkish color, but the fried chicken was tasty. 

Davis Travel Center was a welcome stop as we traveled back on Sunday and NC didn't do too well with the snow and ice. 

Craig's New York Style Deli in Santee, SC had good sandwiches and soups for a change of pace from bad fast food a long the way. 

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On 6/6/2016 at 9:31 PM, Steve R. said:

Not great but quirky - Steffens in Kingsland, Ga (basically a down home southern diner) & Fullers Southern Food (buffet) in Fayetteville, NC.  Both listed on TripAdvisor or their own web sites.

Above average but worth it if you're in town - Caprice Bistro in Wilmington, NC.  The owner used to own Bruxelles in NYC (W. Village) quite a few years ago & is running a French bistro that I'd be going to regularly if it were anywhere near me.

Check out who's playing at Tin Pan in Richmond, Va.  The burgers there (ok, I think they have good salads too) are above average & it's a music venue that I wish we still had in NYC.

Another year, another trek down 95.  Three nights on the road last week, staying one day ahead of the lousy weather.  First night we ate at a very good place in Richmond, Va. called Acacia.  Recommended by a long time virtual acquaintance from eGullet who lives in Richmond, this was a place that'd be on our regular rotation if it was anywhere near us.  Nice concise wine list too.  The 2nd night was in Florence, SC, chosen because we love Florence, Italy & we do things that way.  In Florence, I found Tubb's, located in a converted gas station.  It's a very informal place that does fish/seafood very well & is loaded with locals.  A great road stop.  Our 3rd meal was in St Augustine, Fl., where our friends who live there recommended a newish place (8mos.?) called Preserved.  It was located in a beautiful old house, converted nicely to a restaurant.  Midpriced, not pretentious & serving excellent upscale food.  Highly recommended.

As a side note, both Acacia & Preserved hit all the now trendy locally sourced, every ingredient listed, notes required to compete for the business of self declared "foodies".  I'm always concerned that these type of menus, listing dishes with multiple ingredients, will result in overwrought food by chefs who think that throwing together various "interesting" things is, of itself, going to result in "innovative" cuisine.  It hardly, if ever, does & I generally come away annoyed.  Not the case in either of these places.  Ingredients are well thought out to create well integrated tasty dishes.  Nice.

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On 6/6/2016 at 9:31 PM, Steve R. said:

Not great but quirky - Steffens in Kingsland, Ga (basically a down home southern diner)

I went to Steffen's the last time I was in SE Georgia in September based on this recommendation -- thank you! I agree with the quirky down home southern diner description. I enjoyed my fried pickles and patty melt. Because I love biscuits I also ordered a side thinking they'd be amazing, but I ended up being disappointed that they were very dense and hockey puck-esque. Still worth the detour maybe 10 minutes off I-95.

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On 6/14/2016 at 6:34 PM, arldiner said:

Both Parker's and Wilber's are solid and you can't go wrong with either, but at that point you're also pretty close to the best Eastern NC pork bbq period, which is at Grady's. It's a bit farther off 95, probably about a 45-minute total detour, but I would drive 3 hours out of my way for Grady's.

When I first went there, I also tried Wilber's and the Skylight Inn on the same trip. Both were incredible. The first bite I had of Grady's pork bbq, I instantly knew this was a whole other level entirely. I hadn't even thought there was a higher level, but somehow Grady's hits it. Also great fried chicken and solid sides and hush puppies (but you're going for the pork bbq).

We made it to Grady’s on Saturday and this pretty much sums up the place to a tee. The fried chicken really is excellent but the pork, with a bit more crackling mixed in, would be perfect.

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Has anyone made it to B's BBQ, which is also in the Greenville, NC area.  So it's definitely a side trip commitment off the I-95.

The one time I tried to go they were closed.  With no phone or website, you can't check to see if they are open, so you have to trust the 10am-2pm hours (closed Sunday & Monday) but once they are out of food they close.  Sometimes they run out by noon.  I had a bad feeling when I rolled past and the parking lot was empty (apparently they are also closed between Christmas and New Year's, at least they were went I drove by.)

The other new-ish place to try in the Greenville area is Sam Jones BBQ, scion of the Skylight Inn Jones family.  It's a larger sit-down restaurant style bbq place, as compared to Grady's and B's, which are your older style shacks on the side of the road type places (meant in a loving way of course)

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We were looking for something non-BBQ on our drive north from Charleston, and made a stop at Oscar's Restaurant in Roanoke Rapids, NC. It's a few miles off of I-95, so a definite detour, but as a traditional southern diner it is generally worth it (particularly in comparison to fast food and fast casual chains on that route).

The bowl of Brunswick stew was a gargantuan portion, and was satisfying comfort food. The fried chicken was good, but perhaps I should have looked more closely at the specials menu; one of Saturday's was a fried chicken livers dinner, and clearly the thigh and drumstick were fried in the same oil as the chicken livers, based on flavor. This wasn't horrible, if you like chicken livers (which I do), but it certainly didn't provide the clean fried chicken flavor I'd expected. The cornbread was great, as were the hush puppies. Dessert was a piece of carrot cake and a piece of chocolate cake (because why not follow up lots of fried food with big slices of cake from a diner?).

As we ate it was abundantly clear that this place is an important resource for the local community--a number of people stopped in to get their dinner, or to pick up cartons of the Brunswick stew, maybe for the next day. Excluding us everybody there were regulars. Service was fine, nothing special. I walked away thinking that we must have stood out as clearly not from around those parts, but the cashier treated our son to a blow-pop on the way out the door--a nice touch that made his dinner and thus ours.

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I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Online reports:  Wilber's BBQ in Goldsboro, NC is closed.

I can't find independent news sources to verify, but photos posted online from the scene do not look promising.

Goldsboro Daily News also reporting, they can't confirm if its a permanent or temporary closure.

Wilber’s Barbecue, one of NC’s iconic BBQ restaurants, has closed Myrtle Beach Online

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