15 Best Restaurants in Clayton, NC

Best Restaurants in Clayton, NC
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One of the best places to live in North Carolina, Clayton, is a town in Johnston County, North Carolina.

Interestingly, the name “Stallings’ Station” stuck to it for three years before it was officially named Clayton since the NC Railroad depot was in Mrs. Sarah Stallings's home.

The first legal brewery in Johnston County, the Deep River Brewing Company, is located in Downtown Clayton and has been making beer since 2013.

Clayton serves most of the iconic foods found in North Carolina, mixing classic Southern cuisine from barbeque to fried chicken with American and international favorites.

It’s no surprise that foodies love living in Clayton.

Here are the best restaurants in Clayton, North Carolina, that you mustn’t miss:

La Cocina

Fish with rice and salad at La Cocina
La Cocina via Yelp.com

For some authentic hometown Mexican cuisine, La Cocina on Shotwell Road is the spot.

This local Mexican chain serves a menu of traditional dishes and margaritas in a casual setting and will have you rubbing your belly with satisfaction.

Their black bean soup is an absolute delight.

The soup is homemade and slowly cooked black beans served with specially cooked, chopped onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, topped with cheese.

Among La Cocina’s house specialties are items that will tickle your tastebuds, including Pollo Hawaiano—a grilled chicken breast topped with grilled pineapple, ham, and cheese served with rice, tomatoes, lettuce, and sour cream.

Pick a drink from their full bar to truly enjoy the essence of Mexican dining.

Manning’s Restaurant

Cobb Salad at Manning’s Restaurant
Manning’s Restaurant via Yelp.com

Manning’s Restaurant on East Main Street is a Southern regional-themed restaurant that combines modern, creative, and traditional Southern-style dishes.

It offers an upscale casual dining experience with exceptional food, drinks, and music.

The restaurant, established in 2014, is set in a century-old building with a rooftop patio and a large dining room.

Manning’s Restaurant is also excellent for weddings, birthday parties, celebrations, and events.

The beer menu has domestic, imported, and draft beer options, while there are red, white, sparkling, and house wines.

You could start with the cajun seared scallops, follow it with Howard’s baby backs, Jennifer’s filet, or Henry’s hand-cut ribeye, and finish with ganache torte or white chocolate banana spring roll.

Venero’s Pizzeria

Pizza at Venero’s Pizzeria
Venero’s Pizzeria via Yelp.com

Venero’s Pizzeria on US-70 BUS started in 1995 and is a go-to place for most locals for some great New York-style pizza and Italian cuisine.

They’re pet-friendly, with an outside patio and a casual atmosphere.

A separate bar area in the back has Direct TV sports packages, live music, and trivia.

You can try Venero’s Pizzeria sampler’s (hot wings, mozzarella sticks, and fried ravioli) while watching soccer on TV.

The linguine pasta with clam sauce has whole clams in white wine, butter, lemon, and garlic or a red marinara sauce.

Try Extreme for an authentic New York-style pizza.

It’s topped with bacon, sausage, ham, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and extra cheese.

Rockin’ Comet Diner

Breakfast at Rockin’ Comet Diner
Rockin’ Comet Diner via Yelp.com

Rockin’ Comet Diner, also known as The Shiny Diner, opened in 1998 and continues to serve quality home-style meals.

Most of their recipes originate from local church cookbooks, and they take pride in their daily Blue Plate specials, homemade cakes, and pies.

This diner on US Highway 70 offers some highly affordable meals.

Their breakfast offerings are perfect for the early birds looking to start their day with a hearty meal.

The Rockin’ Comet sampler is the ultimate breakfast choice.

It comes with two eggs in any style, a sample of country ham, sausage, and bacon, silver dollar pancakes, and your choice of cinnamon apples or applesauce.

It’s served with grits or hashbrowns, toast, or biscuits.

The dinner favorites include old-fashioned meatloaf, country-fried steak, and grilled or fried pork chops.

For dessert, Rockin’ Comet Diner’s house favorites—banana pudding and peach cobbler are absolutely mouth-watering.

Cleveland Draft House

Chicken burger and fries at Cleveland Draft House
Cleveland Draft House via Yelp.com

Cleveland Draft House is a sports bar established in 2014 on Shotwell Road, where locals come for great drinks, fantastic food, and a laid-back, casual dining experience.

With 60-inch plasma screen TVs, pool tables, and 70 choices of ice-cold beer to tap in, it also has a non-smoking family dining space separate from the sports bar.

For appetizers, they have a ginormous pretzel served with a side of beer cheese, among several other options.

The baby back ribs are their signature item.

It’s a plate of tender, fall-off-the-bone baby back pork ribs served with fries and a garnish of cole slaw.

Cleveland Draft House also has some great burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and pitas.

Their razorback burger is the meat lover's delight, with pulled pork, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, and hickory smoked bacon.


A Southern-inspired fast-food chain, Bojangles is known for fried chicken, biscuits, and signature sides.

Aiming to cater to the Cajun tastes of America, they provide amazing Cajun spiced chicken, hot and fluffy homemade buttermilk biscuits, and the best iced tea.

Their menu features salads, biscuits and sandwiches, chicken dinners and boxes, and family and kids’ meals.

The cheddar bo biscuit and sausage gravy biscuit are among their many mouth-watering biscuits.

They have irresistible decadent desserts, like the bo-berry biscuits, cinnamon twist, and sweet potato pie.

Bojangles is located on US Highway 70 West.

Clayton Steakhouse

Steak at Clayton Steakhouse
Clayton Steakhouse via Yelp.com

Clayton Steakhouse on East Main Street is all about chophouse classics and features a salad bar and a self-serve drink station.

Since opening its doors in 2008, it has become a popular spot for locals and visitors.

With superb food at reasonable prices, excellent service, and a cozy ambiance, you’ll experience nothing but an exceptional dining experience.

They offer charbroiled, aged, hand-cut premium sterling silver beef, Norwegian salmon, choice chops, and airway chicken for the ultimate indulgence.

You can choose from 19 selections in their unlimited salad bar.

The crab cake sandwich with roasted red pepper sauce on a brioche roll is one of the Steakhouse specialty sandwiches.

A full bar with top-shelf liquors, fine California wines, and a range of bottle and local craft beer selections is available to complement your meal.

The delectable desserts include Clayton Steakhouse’s famous buttermilk pie, triple chocolate cake, and strawberry cream pie.

Jones Cafe

Fries served at Jones Cafe
Jones Cafe via Yelp.com

Jones Cafe has been a neighborhood landmark since 1958 and is famous for breakfast, burgers, and The Famous Jones Hot Dog.

This hot dog heaven on East Main Street is like Clayton in miniature.

It’s a tasty yet affordable place that is almost like a ritual for most locals, with all the American classics for breakfast and lunch.

From French toast, hotcake, and hash browns for breakfast to smoked sausage dog, bacon cheeseburger, and BLT sandwich for lunch, they also serve grilled honeybuns and apple pies for dessert.

The swarm of regular customers at Jones Cafe is a testament to their popularity.

Although the cafe’s surrounding area has changed over the years, it’s still the place for sublime hot dogs.

Caribbean Delight

Salad at Caribbean Delight
Caribbean Delight via Yelp.com

Caribbean Delight, a family-owned Dominican eatery on US 70 BUS, is just a few blocks from Clayton Community Park.

This restaurant has vibrant, eclectic decor and shaded outdoor seating.

Opened in 2015, Caribbean Delight is one of the most loved places to eat in Clayton for global fair and authentic Dominican food, with recipes passed down for several generations.

The restaurant also serves great empanadas, sandwiches, mofongo, and fish entrees.

The Patacon sandwich will have you drooling over your plate of food.

Fried green plantains are served with your choice of pork, steak, or chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sweet pepper, and their famous home sauce.

For desserts, you can choose from flan, tres leches, rice pudding, and bread pudding—all the classics.

At Caribbean Delight, they offer the most varied, delicious, healthy, and traditional cuisine made with the highest quality ingredients.

Skylines Cafe

Bourbon Pecan Salmon with Asparagus at Skylines Cafe
Skylines Cafe via Yelp.com

Skylines Cafe on US 70 Business Highway West is one of Clayton's best cafes and bars.

Since 2007, Skylines Cafe has had the tagline “Where guests become friends and friends become family,” suiting the service and experience they provide.

A large patio accommodates pets if you’d like to bring them along.

They have an extensive Sunday brunch menu, a kid-friendly menu, plenty of parking, exceptional food at a great value, and friendly service.

On their menu, since day one, is spinach salad tossed in apple poppy seed vinaigrette, Skylines salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, chicken salad lunch made with dill and sour cream, and stuffed chicken served with Dijon parmesan sauce.

The Calamari for dinner starters is a favorite.

It’s lightly battered, flash-fried, and drizzled with balsamic glaze and honey.

The beer-battered zucchini wedges served with sriracha aioli and the pecan-crusted Swai (sauteed and baked with pecan panko crust with tequila lime sauce) are other popular dishes here.

Sak’s Deli

Buffalo Chicken sandwich with fries at Sak’s Deli
Sak’s Deli via Yelp.com

One of the best delis in town, Sak’s Deli, established in 2014, specializes in bringing the North to the South with special deli sandwiches and Southern hospitality.

Located on Gulley Drive, they value consistency to serve the best for the best.

One to tickle your tastebuds is Sweet Chili Philly with sweet chili sauce.

Their Buffalo chicken sandwich (grilled chicken breast with Buffalo sauce, peppers, onions, and your choice of cheese) is a meal on its own.

If you like a meat-loaded handheld, pick the spicy Italian with capicola, Genoa salami, pepperoni, and your choice of cheese.

Sak’s Deli offers delicious sides of bacon cheese fry, grilled cheese, chicken tenders, pasta salad, fries, and more.

Tavern 42

Alfredo at Tavern 42
Tavern 42 via Yelp.com

Tavern 42 on Oleander Drive is the perfect spot in Clayton for some delicious food, cold beer, and friendly faces.

Since 2016, Tavern 42 has attracted huge crowds daily for its excellent American food, special games, and live music.

It’s also ideal for watching your favorite sport on TV with a bottle of beer in your hand.

The T42 loaded fries topped with pulled pork, bacon, mozzarella, green onions, slaw, and ranch dressing is an excellent starter for a game night.

For a filling meal, the Big Daddy Burger served with certified Angus beef, topped with onions, bacon, and Swiss sauteed mushrooms on a potato bun, is a perfect choice.

Keeping with the American love for pizza, they also offer a wide range of specialty pizzas and brick oven ones.

Anthony’s LaPiazza

Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza at Anthony’s LaPiazza
Anthony’s LaPiazza via Yelp.com

With Italian roots, New York style, and Colorado charm, Anthony’s LaPiazza has been growing since 1984 on US-70 BUS.

Their popular items include the cheesesteak sub lunch and spaghetti with meatballs.

Among the New York-style brick oven pizzas, the white pie lunch with no red sauce, ricotta and mozzarella, and garlic differs from the usual pizzas.

Anthony’s LaPiazza’s lunch menu includes appetizers, salad, pasta, subs, rolls, stromboli, calzone, Chicago-style stuffed pie, New York-style brick oven pizza, Sicilian pizza, and Sicilian pies.

You can find salads, pasta, entrees, parmigiana, and seafood on the dinner menu.

They also have a children’s menu for lunch and dinner.

If you’re fond of seafood, try their Zuppa di Pesce—calamari, mussels, and clams, sauteed in white or red wine, garlic sauce, and served over linguine or penne.

Fiesta Mexicana

Delicious meal at Fiesta Mexicana
Fiesta Mexicana via Yelp.com

If you’re craving authentic Mexican food in Clayton, look no further than Fiesta Mexicana on Town Center Boulevard.

It’s home-style Mexican food served from a strip-mall outpost with rustic hacienda-style decor.

With prompt and friendly service, exceptional food, and lunch specials, they’ve established themselves as “The Mexican Restaurant of Choice.”

Vegetarians will be delighted with their vegetarian combination dinners and quesadilla.

Try the chef’s Ranchero special from their special dinners—it’ll more than fill you up.

It comes with two tender rib-eye steaks, grilled onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes served with one chicken enchilada, beans, and your choice of tortillas (flour or corn).

Finish your meal at Fiesta Mexicana with choco volcano or Xango desserts.

Revival 1869

Beverages served at Revival 1869
Revival 1869 via Yelp.com

A whiskey lover's paradise, Revival 1869 on East Main Street is a sophisticated whiskey and craft cocktail bar and lounge with an ever-expanding library wall of over 300 whiskies and spirits from all over the world.

You can enjoy some live jazz if you visit on a Thursday or Saturday night.

They have seasonally changing house-invented cocktails and many classics.

They have small, shareable plates like a world-class charcuterie board made with locally and internationally sourced cured meats and artisan cheeses to go with your drink.

Revival 1869 also features a selection of syrups made with natural ingredients to enjoy with your drinks.

Final Thoughts

Clayton offers a variety of eateries to dine for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a quick bite.

Spend quality time with your family, hang out with your friends, or watch a game with some good booze and bites at any of these places.

The best restaurants in Clayton, North Carolina will have you returning for more.

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