We hope you’re making plans to attend the 24-hour grand opening of the Nature Research Center at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, the weekend of April 20, and while you’re in the area take some time to taste some of the area’s stellar culinary delights. In honor of the 24-hour opening here are 24 Signature Dishes the Raleigh area is known for. If you have your own suggestions that should have made the list, be sure to tell us here, on Facebook or Twitter.

  1. Chocolate Chess Pie at the Angus Barn. This simple southern sweet is famous from coast-to-coast and has won numerous national awards.
  2. Macaroni and Cheese from Poole’s Diner. When you walk into Poole’s Diner, there is no doubt that you’ll see most tables with an order of this classic comfort food.
  3. Fried Chicken and Waffles at Beasley’s Chicken + Honey. Chicken and waffles may sound like an odd combination, but you don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve tried Chef Ashley Christensen’s version.
  4. The Dirty South at Chuck’s. This is one of the best burgers you will ever eat topped with chili, crispy onions, local cheese, slaw and mustard. Be prepared to get messy.
  5. Crack Fries at Market Restaurant. Hand-cut fries tossed in truffle oil and sprinkled with asiago cheese. Need we say more, we guarantee you’ll be addicted.
  6. Steamed Oysters at Shucker’s Oyster Bar and Grill. Shuck your own bucket at this local hotspot in Wake Forest.
  7. Barbecue from Clyde Cooper’ s BBQ. This Raleigh institution has been serving Carolina-style pork barbecue since 1938.
  8. The Beaufort Bar from Escazu Chocolate. This traditional bean-to-bar chocolate-maker is well known for this dark chocolate and sea salt--a perfect combination of sweet and salty.
  9. Pancakes at Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant. These pancakes are as big as hubcaps and made from pound-cake batter. It’s a good idea to start with just one.
  10.  Hot Dogs at the Roast Grill. The sign says “Hot Weiners,” and that’s all this 72-year-old restaurant serves. Hot dogs are grill-blackened and Southern-style, and don’t ask for ketchup, it isn’t available!
  11. Shrimp Hushpuppies from Peak City Bar and Grill. Shrimp mixed with hushpuppy batter is a favorite at this downtown Apex restaurant.
  12. Eclectic fare at Knightdale Seafood & BBQ. Known for its home-style cooking and oyster bar, they also serve unique dishes like alligator tail and ostrich burgers.
  13. Malai Chicken Tikka at Saffron Restaurant. Located in Morrisville, Saffron’s award-winning chef offers diners a gourmet Indian dining experience.
  14. Baked Goat Cheese Salad at Cattails Restaurant. This gourmet restaurant serves upscale cuisine overlooking Five County Stadium, home to the Single-A Carolina Mudcats baseball team.
  15. Meat-and-Three at Toot-N-Tell Family Restaurant. This Garner landmark is the real deal serving traditional southern fare including a Meat-and-Three plate.
  16. Chicken Schnitzel from Klara’s. This traditional chicken dish is just one of the authentic Czech dishes served in the heart of downtown Cary.
  17. Smokehouse Ribs at Aviator Brewing Smokehouse. St. Louis pork ribs marinated in Aviator Brewing Company’s Hot Rod Red. Served with two sides OR one of their very own microbrews.
  18. Cupcake from the Cupcake Shoppe. Offering 12-15 specialty flavors daily, there’s no doubt that you’ll satisfy your sweet tooth.
  19. Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish at 18 Seaboard. Chef / owner Jason Smith grew up in Raleigh, and this signature dish is served with a country ham grit cake and tomato relish.
  20. Pimento Cheese at Side Street Café. Mama’s creamy, sharp pimento cheese on your choice of bread is the perfect choice for lunch.
  21. Grilled Cheese at Rockwell’s American Grill. You don’t always need soup to accompany a grilled cheese in Cary.
  22. Sushi at Mura. Mura in North Hills provides the backdrop for some of the best sushi in town, both traditional and specialty rolls.
  23. Klausie’s Pizza Food Truck. Food trucks don’t have a brick-and-mortar location so you have to know when and where they’ll be, but following Klausie’s on social media to find out where you can find a slice is well worth the effort.
  24. The Raleigh Times Burger. Rated one of the best burgers in Raleigh by numerous local and national publications.