Did you know that the Tarheel state is famous, not only for the Blue Ridge Parkway, its coastal beaches, its professional sports teams, or the Biltmore Estate, but for its food legacy too?


If you’ve ever doused your scrambled eggs in Texas Pete hot sauce or bitten into a delectable, hot, glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut — you can thank North Carolina for your tingling tastebuds.

Check out our list of famous foods that call North Carolina their birthplace:

  • Pepsi - Pepsi-Cola was created in the late 1890s in New Bern by pharmacist Caleb Bradham. Now a global company with several brands under its umbrella after merging with Frito-Lay, it’s famous for commercials like this one. But Pepsi will always call North Carolina home — in fact you can visit the iconic Pepsi Store in New Bern.
  • Krispy Kreme - In 1937, Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a New Orleans French chef and began making doughnuts by the dozen in a rented building in what is now historic Old Salem in Winston-Salem. The doughnut chain’s mission is to “touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme.” If you’ve ever stopped for a quick dozen while the Hot Sign is on, I’m sure you’d agree: mission accomplished.
  • Texas Pete - In 1929, a financially struggling family with seven children was trying to make ends meet. They opened a restaurant that didn’t survive, but the sauce did! Here’s the legend of how the North Carolina sauce took on a Texas name.
  • Mt. Olive - Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc., is located at the Corner of Cucumber and Vine in Mount Olive. That may sound like something out of a storybook, but it’s true. From a modest beginning in 1926, Mt. Olive has grown to manufacture the best-selling brand of pickles, peppers and relishes in the U.S — what a big dill!
  • Cheerwine - Even a sugar shortage during WWI couldn’t stop LD Peeler from creating this effervescent soft drink in 1917 in Salisbury. The family-owned company is now run by Peeler’s great grandson.
  • Bojangles’ - Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n’ Biscuits launched in Charlotte in 1977. In 2011, it opened its 500th restaurant. Everyone knows that when you’re in North Carolina, it’s Bo Time!

North Carolina (and the South in general) is well known for its tasty yet indulgent cuisine. It’s important to note that here at the Coalition we advocate for your physical and fiscal health and maintaining a healthy diet is a part of that. While we caution against a routine diet that is chock full of fried chicken and soda, we admit that we enjoy a flaky biscuit or a cold Cheerwine every now and then. Cheers to you, North Carolina — you sure do know how make both our mouths and stomachs happy.

What’s your favorite famous North Carolina food? Did we fail to include your pick on our list? Let us know here in comments or share your thoughts on Facebook.

How to Take Action

Our Coalition is only as strong as our advocates. Grassroots support is how we effect change. Take Action for lower healthcare costs.

Take Action