REVIEW: Fincastle’s Diner – Greensboro

We have all had a restaurant that has been in close proximity to where we live that we don’t eat enough even though their food is delicious. For me, that place is Fincastle’s Diner in downtown Greensboro. I worked in downtown Greensboro for three and a half years and never ate there until about two weeks ago. I had take out while at work one day but it was cold and kind of gross by the time it came back to the office so I don’t consider that eating there. I had always heard great things but I never really ventured that far down Elm Street while at work.

Luckily, my friends, Alex and Jackie, invited me along to eat with them on a Friday about two or three weeks ago and they had picked Fincastle’s. Fincastle’s Diner is probably most known for its burgers and their singing waiter named Jaybird but one thing that stood out to me was the New Orleans influence on the restaurant’s menu and atmosphere. I had just come back from a long weekend down in New Orleans so I decided to stick with the burgers and would come back to try some of their New Orleans cuisine like po’boys and jambalaya the next time that I come back.

Fried pickles are something that probably got a huge boost in sales after J-Woww and Snookie ordered them during their road trip through the South on the season premiere of the second season of Jersey Shore when Snookie proclaimed them to be “a life-changing experience”. I’m sure a lot of people are hesitant to order fried pickles because they sounds like something that you would order at the state fair but these little things are amazing especially if you order them at Fincastle’s in Greensboro.

The fried pickles at Fincastle’s are covered in a tangy batter and then deep fried to a crisp accompanied with a side of ranch similar to Ham’s style (that means it is awesome). One order of fried pickles is massive and will feed the whole table. If you order it solo, you will be hard pressed to finish it. I definitely recommend ordering these guys if you go to Fincastle’s.

As I have written before, one great thing about living in North Carolina is the presence of Cheerwine, a cherry-flavored soda made in Salisbury, at many local restaurants. I have drank Cheerwine in almost every way they serve it (bottled, canned, fountain, ice cream, Slushie…didn’t try the Krispy Kreme’s Cheerwine doughnut though) and I have to say that Cheerwine is best served from either a glass bottle or from the fountain in pebble ice.

I ordered a bottled Cheerwine which came with the combo that I ordered and the waiter presented it to me like a bottle of wine and then twisted the top off like it was an art. It was by far the most impressive presentation of any soft drink that I have ever had only making the experience at Fincastle’s that much better.

I ordered the Delta Burger which has apple smoked bacon, pimento cheese, fried green tomato, lettuce and a remoulade sauce on Anna Mae Breads‘ sourdough roll. This burger is pretty much what I would make if someone gave me a list of every ingredient that I could put on a burger and told me to make myself a burger. I hit the burger with a little too much of my camera’s flash so it came out a little bright so my apologies for the shoddy picture.

At Fincastle’s, the burgers don’t start out in patties. They use what the smash burger technique which is when they create a ball out of the ground beef, place it on the grill and then smash it with a spatula so it cooked throughout. I tend to prefer a burger patty because it doesn’t fall together as easily. However, the burger that I had at Fincastle’s held together fairly well even with all of the ingredients that were on it. I was impressed with the structure of it.

Alex ordered the Fall Burger which is baby Swiss, red onion compote, herb roasted tomato and rosemary-infused ketchup on Anna Mae Breads’ sourdough roll. He didn’t get a combo so his burger looked a little lonely on the big ass plate. You would think they would serve it on a smaller plate or  He said that it was one of the better burgers that he has ever had at a restaurant. He mentioned that the red onion compote was a nice sweet addition and the rosemary-infused ketchup  added a different flavor that he wasn’t used to when eating a burger. I tasted the rosemary-infused ketchup and it was potent but that is just what rosemary does.

Jackie ordered the Magnolia Burger which is Muenster cheese, onion straws, lettuce, tomato, apple smoked bacon and comeback sauce (a spicy Mississippi condiment) on Anna Mae Breads’ sourdough roll.  The combination of toppings on this burger sounding amazing and I came very close to ordering it. The onion straws were a lighter, less breaded version of tobacco onions that Jackie said were delicious. She got the sweet potato fries on the side which were great (I stole a few…). The fries were thick enough so you could actually taste the sweet potato inside them as opposed to other versions that I’ve tried which are so skinny that the grease cooks the taste out of them.

Fincastle’s Diner recently received the Best Lunch award in Yes! Weekly’s Best of the Triad 2011 awards which is voted on by the readers which I think is deserved. Eating at Fincastle’s is an experience with a cool downtown atmosphere and a waiter who will serenade you with R&B and Stax classics. It is a fun place to eat and the food is great. Make sure that you head downtown to check out Fincastle’s on your next trip to Greensboro.

Fincastles Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I am the founding blogger of Eat It, North Carolina. I started Eat It, North Carolina because I am always looking for awesome, local restaurants in different places around North Carolina but have never been able to find one place on the Internet that lists them. I'm a recent graduate from East Carolina University & currently live in Greensboro. I like all types of food but am a sucker for Chinese and greasy spoons.
Charlie Brinson
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