Questions to ask a food writer


by Eric Ginsburg

Making plans for lunch now follows a predictable narrative in my life: I ask where the other person wants to eat, tBnno which they reply, “I dunno. You’re the food guy.”

And that’s just fine — I’m able to eat exactly what I want, and for their part, the other person never seems dissatisfied with my choice.

The pattern isn’t restricted to people I have plans with; friends frequently ask for food advice for dates, dinner parties or run food-related inquiries past me.

And I love being an arbiter on the subject — as long as the question is specific enough, I’ll do my best to provide an answer.

Here are a handful of recent food-themed questions people have posed to me, with more verbose responses on my part for your benefit.

Who do you think has the best pizza in Greensboro, as far as flavor wise and menu options?

As with most food advice questions posed to me, this text from my college friend Dante in Greensboro required some clarification. What sort of pizza, pray tell, are we talking about here? For classic, New York-style ’za, I like Pizzeria L’Italiano downtown — it’s delicious and often overlooked, but I fell in love on repeat trips with my friend Jorge, a New York native. My overall fave is (duh) Sticks & Stones, but that’s a whole ’nother category. Winston-Salem-based Burke Street Pizza, another favorite, has a Greensboro location I hadn’t tried, so this weekend we spun out there and affirmed its rightful place on the list.

Hops Burger Bar or Big Burger Spot? We’re heading to Greensboro for the ACC swim finals tonight and want to grab a bite first.

When my friend Ryan, who lives in Winston-Salem, shot me this message, I spoke from my stomach — Hops. I’m honestly not a huge burger guy, but I loved Hops instantly. Plus, I know Ryan likes beer (he might own a brewery, NBD). I warned that lines wouldn’t be as big a problem at Big Burger Spot, but his mid-afternoon scheduling made it seem easy. Wrong. Should’ve gone to Banh Mi Saigon for those deliciously cheap sandwiches, his initial back-up plan.

What’s your best suggestion for a low-key date restaurant in Winston? She’s a vegetarian.

For some reason my mind went quickly to Mozelle’s Southern bistro on the northwest side of downtown Winston-Salem. My friend wanted a nice, quiet spot, and Mozelle’s isn’t as costly as go-to spots like the Honey Pot. But when I looked at the menu later, it isn’t super veg-friendly; good thing I suggested Mission Pizza Napoletana as a back up, where there are more vegetarian options but the mood is livelier. Knowing the two were early on in dating and likely preferred not to run into anyone pushed the less central Mozelle’s higher on my list. I offered up Thai food too, generally a safe bet for vegetarians.

Do you know about Feast Portland? We should do a Feast GSO.

I’d never heard of this, but when I looked it up, I realized my friend Tim could be onto something. The group’s website isn’t super helpful, but it does explain that the Oregon festival is made up of more than 30 events at various locations and benefits Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon and a No Kid Hungry campaign. Given our terrifyingly high food insecurity and food hardship rates around here, we need every idea like this we can get. Tim is now, in all likelihood, moving to Winston-Salem, so maybe he’ll get it going there instead.

I have a group of people who worked together 30 years ago who want a little get-together. There will probably be 8-10 of us. Can you think of a moderately priced restaurant that might have a small meeting room?

My mind jumped to Gia, an upscale restaurant and bar on the northwest side of Greensboro with three small side rooms that can be reserved. My favorite is set up like a library. Knowing that Allen — who asked — and his former colleagues wanted something relatively affordable yet didn’t want to compromise on style, Gia seemed like an obvious fit for a venue that also has a small room. (Had they been in Winston, Meridian would’ve been my first inclination, though for both cities I can’t say I know of too many private rooms.)

Where should we eat? Chili’s?

“Ummm Emily?” I texted back. “I think we need to kick you out of the band.”

For whatever reason my friend Emily went on a Chili’s kick a little while back, and for all I know she still is but I shamed her enough that she doesn’t bring it up to me. We’d planned to grab an early dinner along with our friend Bethany, and since they were coming from the Wake Forest University area (and we’d already repeatedly been to the delicious and proximate Golden India), I suggested we hit up Tequila Mexican. I’d never been, but it turned out to be a good call. Generally that sort of experimentation pays off, though once in a while I hate myself for it. Lucky for you, I’m out surveying every week to find the best unsung spots to save you that trouble.

I have been on the hunt for a legit Chinese restaurant in Greensboro since I came back from China in 2008. I’m looking for like barely-dead-whole-fish-on-a-plate levels of authentic… I can’t find anything like what my coworkers would take me to in Beijing.

When I’m craving Chinese food, I actually want those super Americanized dishes you can find at great dives like the spot next to Food Lion in Greensboro’s Glenwood neighborhood. Or I’m going for dumplings at May Way in Winston-Salem’s Reynolda Village. But for authentic Chinese, try Apple China in the little food court to the left of Super G Mart. It was so authentic (or maybe I should say “actually Chinese”) that my inexperienced palate couldn’t handle it. But I’m told it’s definitely legit.


This is just a small sampling of the food questions I receive. Have a (specific!) inquiry of your own? Send it to and I’ll do my best to answer it.