Down Eats: Hawk’s Nest Cafe and General Store in Kinston

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – If you’re looking for a restaurant with history, insanely good food, a fresh bakery and great prices, you may want to check out Hawk’s Nest Cafe in Kinston.

It’s one of the few places that still has an original lunch counter inside. In fact, the lunch counter at Hawk’s Nest was used for Civil Rights sit-ins back in the 1960’s.

But what drew WNCT to the place was the food — really, really, really good food at that.

If you’re heading there for breakfast, we highly recommend the Russell Omelette, named after Russell Rhodes, the CEO of Neuse Sports Shop. It weighs in at just under one pound.

“Marinated grilled chicken breast, pork patty sausage, turkey sausage, smoked sausage and hickory smoked bacon,” said chef  Paul Mixner when describing what goes in the omelette. That, of course, mixed with three eggs and a lot of cheese.

The high protein, low carb diet allowed Rhodes to lose more than 80 pounds. It’s a big hit with some of the Down East Wood Ducks players.

“So the guys hitting the home runs are eating the Russell Omelette,” asked WNCT’s Josh Birch. “Pretty much, pretty much,” said Mixner.

If you’re heading to the Hawk’s Nest for lunch or dinner, you’ve got to try the Lexington Burger, inspired by Lexington, NC. It’s a half pound burger, topped off with homemade pulled pork and drenched in Hawk’s Nest award winning BBQ sauce.

Lexington is famous for their mix of vinegar-based and sweet barbecue. So Hawk’s Nest mixes their sweet BBQ sauce with the Eastern North Carolina vinegar-based sauce for the burger.

“I’m a big burger fan but that takes the cake, and the sauce with that,” said our Josh Birch.

And don’t forget the full scale bakery they’ve got going at Hawk’s Nest, led by owner Judy Johnson.

“I was a computer programmer for 25 years,” said Johnson, who now is a magician in the kitchen.

From homemade cookies and muffins, to insanely good cinnamon buns.

“They are delicious. She makes them from scratch,” said Rosetta Cox, who recommended we check out Hawk’s Nest. “You know you can’t beat a baker who does things from scratch.”

To learn more about Hawk’s Nest, click here.

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