Clayton, North Carolina is a small but vibrant town that boasts a diverse culinary scene. From classic American diners to trendy gastropubs, Clayton has something for everyone. This humble town in Johnston County could perhaps please your taste buds, thanks to the numerous dining options accessible in virtually every corner of the town.

If you are planning a vacation there and wondering where you can explore the best meals for the day, the list is long. Therefore, to help you this blog intends to take you through the best restaurants in Clayton, North Carolina.

So, ready, set, go!

1. Manning’s Restaurant

Located in the heart of downtown Clayton, Manning’s boasts a nice, welcoming ambience.

Started in 2014, this restaurant quickly garnered the attention of people with its sumptuous food. The use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients in recipes is the secret that makes this restaurant food lovers paradise. 

Southern classics including fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and country ham are the stars of Manning’s menu. They also have a complete bar with a wide selection of wines to pick from. Additionally, Manning’s also has an exotic Southern theme-based setting, with indoor and outdoor dining options.


2. Vinson’s Pub and Eatery

Vinson’s is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike and has a casual, laid-back atmosphere. The restaurant serves a wide selection of pub-style food, such as burgers, wings, and sandwiches, as well as a variety of craft beers, cocktails, and other drinks. They also have TVs throughout the restaurant, making it a great spot to watch a game or catch up with friends.

What more could one ask than friendly service, quick service, and wonderful food, this is only what makes Vinson a great spot to dine out.


3. Boulevard West 

Coffee shop? Bar? Or a Bagel shop? You speak, and this restaurant is.

Located in a historic building in downtown Clayton, Boulevard West serves a mix of American and Italian cuisine. Boulevard West is an upscale restaurant which is an oasis for coffee lovers. The restaurant also specializes in a number of breakfast/lunch dishes like seafood linguine, filet mignon, and chicken parmesan. They also have an extensive wine list, with over 200 bottles to choose from.


4. Clayton Steakhouse 

Do you want to eat some delicious fresh steaks and seafood?

If so, Clayton Steakhouse is the only place to satiate your cravings. This classic steakhouse with a casual and welcoming ambience serves a variety of steaks ranging from ribeye to filet mignon. You may also get delicious fish, pasta, and other foods here.

They also have a full bar and a large selection of beers and wines to provide you with a fully immersive dining experience.

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5. La Cucina Italiana

Want to enjoy a taste of Italy right here in Clayton, NC? If you nodded, then just go straight to La Cucina Italiana. 

It is a family-owned restaurant specializing in authentic Italian cuisine. La Cucina Italiana creates all of its pasta in-house, tickling your taste buds with unique flavors. Besides pasta and pizza, the restaurant also serves a variety of other dishes such as lasagna, gnocchi, and chicken fajitas. They also have a selection of Italian wines to pair with their cuisine, ensuring you a satisfying culinary experience.

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6. Clayton General Store Cafe

This charming cafe is located in a historic building and serves breakfast and lunch. They offer a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, and other dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. They also have a small market area where you can purchase items like local honey, jams, and handmade pottery.

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7. Jones Cafe 

Jones Cafe is a popular spot for Southern comfort food and is known for its yummy flavor-filled hotdogs. The other classic dishes that are must-try here include fried chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese. They also have a variety of homemade desserts, such as banana pudding and peach cobbler. 

Great folks and great food are what make up this cafe, so make sure to visit here to immerse yourself in flavors.


8. Clayton’s Cafe


Clayton’s Cafe is a family-owned restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch, with a focus on comfort food like biscuits, pancakes, salads, and sandwiches. Since its inception in 1994, Clayton’s Cafe has been deemed the premier eatery of the downtown Yarmouth neighborhood and take-home dinners. No matter if you want a delectable breakfast, specialty coffee, or a tasty lunch, Clayton’s Café is ready to serve.


9. Venero’s Pizzeria

If you’ve been yearning for Italian for a while, Venero’s Pizza is a good place to start. It began operations in 1995 and has been running smoothly till today. The casual atmosphere and pet-friendly policies of this pizza place make it one of the most special choices for everyone. 

The hallmark flavors of this restaurant include New York-style pizza and Italian cuisine. You can also enjoy fried ravioli, hot wings, and mozzarella sticks as side dishes.


10. Rockin’ Comet Diner 

A diner is where you get homely meals and that’s the policy followed by this eating joint. The Rockin’ Comet, which began in 1998, is a place where you may come for breakfast and start the day with yummy delicacies. 

Plenty of meals in this diner are inspired by the cookbooks of local churches. They are known around the town for their delicious pies, blue plate special meals, and homemade cakes. The food would make you feel like you’re not away from home. Furthermore, this diner has a laid-back vibe and courteous staff to make you feel relaxed as if you are right at home.

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11. Cleveland Draft House

A big shout-out to all sports lovers out there!!

This sports bar on Shotwell Road in Clayton, NC boasts 60-inch plasma screen TVs to keep you up to date on the sports world, as well as dedicated pool tables to keep the sports fan in you alive. Introduced to the public in 2014 and since then, it has been one of the places where people come to chill and cool off. The draft house is known among the population for its finger-licking meals, cheery drinks, and casual dining experience. There are around 70 types of ice-cold beers that you can enjoy, a pool table to play some games with your friends, and a big plasma screen to enjoy sports. The place has some delicious appetizers like ginormous pretzels and beer cheese that would increase your hunger for the main course!

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12. Bojangles

This fast-food chain restaurant on US Highway 70 West serves southern-inspired food. The place is known for its delicious signature sides, biscuits, and fried chicken. Who can say no to them? Bojangles is also inspired by the Cajun flavors and has introduced iced tea, hot buttermilk biscuits, and Cajun chicken. There are plenty of heartwarming desserts as well including sweet potato pie, bo-berry biscuits, and cinnamon twist.


13. Caribbean Delight

This is a family-owned restaurant that is known for its authentic Dominican flavors offered every day through recipes that have been in their family for generations. Apart from food, the Caribbean Delight is loved by people for its outdoor seating, impressive décor, and vibrant color scheme. 

Visit here to share wonderful meals such as fish appetizers, sandwiches, empanadas, and mofongo with your friends and family members. You can also taste their fried plantains with your choice of meat, served with Caribbean Delight’s signature sauce.


14. Sak’s Deli

This is one of the most appreciated delis in Clayton, North Carolina. It is known to bring the flavors of the North through deli sandwiches and humble hospitality. The meal that would linger on your taste buds for days is their Sweet Chili Philly served with sweet chili sauce. Another meal that has left everyone impressed is the buffalo chicken sandwich. 

If you love to indulge in meat-loaded food then this place is for you. Here you’d get spicy Italian meals with Genoa salami, capicola, and pepperoni. They also provide grilled cheese, bacon cheese fries, fries, chicken tenders, macaroni salad, and a variety of other side dishes. And, even better, you may enjoy all of these pleasures without paying a fortune.

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So, if you are heading to the town of Clayton and wondering where you’ll eat some good food, explore the options listed above. Each place serves something unique and would leave you craving for more. These iconic eateries are sought after for a reason, so just go ahead and explore them. 

Enjoy the different flavors of North Carolina and go home with lots of memories!