Grits—a Southern staple made of ground corn—are often served often at greasy-spoon joints with a pat of butter and sometimes some cheese. But they also dot the menus of nationally acclaimed restaurants, receiving high visibility from outlets including the Food Network.
The effort put into this staple is apparent.
“We put a lot of love into our grits by following our recipe to the T and using high-quality ingredients such as cream, unsalted butter and white cheddar cheese," said Brent Fuller, Flying Biscuit brand leader. "Just try them once and we have a feeling you will be back for more!”
Here’s where to find the simple and the elegant.
The Flipside Cafe
Flipside's pimento cheese shows up on several dishes across the restaurant’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch menus. The Carolina grits do, too. But when the two meet on a plate listed in the “small bites” category, there’s nothing small about the flavor of the grits and cheese mixed in with bacon jam. The Anson Mills grits are prepared by bringing water to a boil and adding a pound of butter. Grits are slowly whisked—in addition to Parmesan and sharp cheddar—then finished off with a quart of cream, salt and pepper.
Bistro La Bon
Bistro La Bon on Central Avenue offers brunch on Saturday and Sunday. There, you’ll find coarse-ground Asiago cheese grits that are dense and hearty. They’re available a la carte on Saturdays and on the brunch buffet on Sundays. The toothsome grits are an ideal contrast to the light and fluffy omelets, which are served on Saturdays.
At this Cotswold neighborhood spot, grits pour out of the kitchen all day. They arrive on breakfast-anytime platters, as a side to scrambled eggs or omelets. But they also cozy up to racks of ribs and burgers. Eddie’s offers plain, cheddar and Parmesan varieties. The signature Parmesan grits begin with a base of onion, garlic, thyme and basil. White wine, butter, chicken stock, heavy cream, salt, pepper, cayenne and grated Parmesan round out the bold side dish that customers order from open to close.
Mert's Heart and Soul
Mert's Famous Soul Rolls may have been featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives," but don't sleep on its stone-ground goodness. The grits are covered with popcorn shrimp, onion, tomato and brown sauce in "Shrimp & Grits w/Toasted Foccacia Bread," or pair the organic yellow grits as a brunch side to items such as fried catfish and chicken breast quarters.
Named the best brunch spot by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, one of the restaurant's stars is the "Low Country Shrimp & Grits" which matches stone ground grits with jumbo shrimp, spinach andouille sausage, sweet onions and tasso gravy.
A haven of Southern tradition, the menu may change seasonally, but the grits aren't going anywhere. The goat cheese grits are a favorite and share the spotlight in Tupelo's shrimp and grits dish.
This New Orleans-style restaurant and bar offers up live jazz seven nights a week, but we're trumpeting the way the staff handles grits. Find it as a side or a star in its own right on the entrée and brunch menu (shrimp and grits) alongside andouille sausage and Creole sauce.
The Flying Biscuit Café
If it isn't broke there's no reason to fix it.
“A Flying Biscuit staple, our creamy dreamy white cheddar grit recipe has not changed in 25 years. We have converted many people that say, 'I don’t like grits' into saying 'Wow, I am a fan'” said Fuller.
The award-winning "Shrimp and Grits" is a featured favorite on the menu covered with blackened shrimp and roasted red pepper tomato sauce.
Jake's Good Eats
On Jake's eclectic menu, the South rises deliciously with its "Low Country Shrimp and Grits." Goat cheese grit cakes are the base for sauteed shrimp, cherry tomatoes and red onions before being smothered country ham gravy—and love.
These stellar, creamy grits take a backseat to nothing on the menu inside the unassuming yellow building on Thomas Avenue. They star in the "Breakfast Bowl" and " Down Home Breakfast," and act as entrée sides when not being featured with shrimp, sauteed spinach, andouille sausage and diced tomatoes.