It’s almost Valentine’s Day, foodies, when even the most begrudging partner puts on their big kid pants and heads out to romance their significant other. This is the one night most people do it up. But this year, we’re bringing you a list of the not so usual suspects. Places you can go and have just as memorable a time as if you’ve dropped a Benjamin or two at the finest eatery in the city.

Small Batch Burger, 241 W. 5th St, Winston-Salem & 2760 Highway 68 S. Unit 237, High Point

Let’s take it back to the ‘50s with a beautiful burger, fries and a milkshake. The shakes are so big you’ll be forced to share it with your beloved and maybe two other beloveds. Small Batch doesn’t look anything close to a diner or the ‘50s though. It’s practically cosmopolitan. What a fun, casual night you can have and then you can take an evening stroll to burn off those calories. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you I think fries are hot. Plus at Small Batch, Thursday is “pint night.”

The Library Bar at Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar, 450 N. Spring St., Winston-Salem

My favorite bar in all the lands, as I like to say. The sexy Library Bar is newly renovated and expanded with plenty of luxurious seating, opulent lighting and a warm cozy fireplace. You can order your entrée here, but I might suggest a selection of appetizers and one of there beautifully crafted cocktails. From Thursday through Sunday, Spring House will offer a specially designed St. Valentine’s Day menu to give you plenty of choices to linger over.

For all you pizza lovers:

Mission Pizza, 707 N. Trade St., Winston-Salem 

Mozzarella Fellas, 336 Summit Square Blvd., Winston-Salem

Owner Peyton Smith will be the first to tell you that pizza Napoletana is a sexy food, what with roaring thousand-degree Vulcan oven, all the fresh toppings, and the light and chewy crust. Mission Pizza Napoletana is intimate small, not necessarily intimate quiet, but it’s a fun and enjoyable date spot for sure.  It’d make a really great first date spot, if you’re crazy enough to do that on Valentine’s Day. For a bit more fancy schmancy to your typical pizza place, Mozzarella Fellas is offering a Valentine’s Prix Fixe menu $55 per person.

They promise the menu will be sure to satisfy even the pickiest of dates. If you just want delicious pizza, you can order off the regular menu.  Reservations are required “to ensure that you get home early, wink-wink.” RSVP by email, info@mozzarellafellas.com

For the Sushi Lover

In Winston-Salem, there’s Mizu Japanese Restaurant, 3374 Robinhood Rd., Winston-Salem, where there’s actually a sushi roll called the Sweetheart Roll. And it’s expertly rolled and shaped with tuna into a pretty little heart. It features spicy tuna crunchy inside and fresh tuna on top. It’s one of my favorite rolls ever at my favorite sushi place in Winston-Salem. In Greensboro and High Point, US Sushi has a Valentine Roll that also features tuna.

I’ll Make You Breakfast

(or buy you breakfast, anyway)

Who says you have to have dinner on Valentine’s Day?  Any number of our wonderful breakfast establishments in the Triad fit the breakfast for whatever meal bill, but we really do love Breakfast Queen Mary’s Gourmet Diner, 723 N. Trade St., Winston-Salem or Scrambled Southern Diner, 2417 Spring Garden St., Greensboro, where you can get luscious pancakes all piled high with a number of finely crafted ingredients, eggs, bacon, biscuits, grits. Then you can go home and take a nap….together.

Tea for Two on 2/14

The Flour Box Tea Room & Cafe in Old Salem, 137 West Street, SW, Winston-Salem, is doing the regular full tea service ($18/person), but owner Ulyana Kay will have love-themed desserts. If you’re feeling bubbly, there will be Prosecco. Reservations for tea are always recommended.

Desserts for Dinner

It’s only one day a year, y’all.

Order a nice dessert like a brownie or cookie from West End Coffeehouse, Black Mountain Chocolate (both also serve gelato) or at Twin City Hive or Camino Bakery, which stay open later. In Greensboro, Cheesecakes by Alex’s cheesecake could get you all four food groups in one “meal.” Get your fill of macarons from The Humblebee Shoppe or Tart Sweets. Valentine’s Day already is about love, so you can throw caution to the wind and show yourselves some love and enjoy your “just desserts,” literally. This day only, promise?

The “I Don’t Need No Man” on Valentine’s Day

Enjoy “Galentine’s Day” at Fiddling Fish in the Big Winston Warehouse on Trade Street.  I feel you eye-rolling over there, but sometimes “girls just wanna have fun,” as Black Mountain Chocolate’s Marissa Joyce exclaims. Enjoy a “chick flick” movie by A/perture. A brews and snacks package will be available for purchase.  Load up before with truffles, macarons and all the chocolate from Black Mountain Chocolate, just across the way. Canteen Market & Bistro, 411 W. 4th St., Winston-Salem, is doing a Galentine’s Day Rosè & Raw Bar happy hour as well as a Prix Fixe Menu (reservations accepted for 6:30 and 8:30 pm) .

Valentine’s Day for a Cause

Providence Restaurant, 5790 University Pkwy, Winston-Salem. Pick a night, Feb. 14, 15, 16 and your meal supports Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. It’s $75 per couple with a pretty incredible menu and complimentary Champagne.  See the Facebook page for details and for the link for tickets. The Porch Kitchen and Cantina & Alma Mexicana, both in Winston-Salem, will be donating 10 percent of their sales the entire day to the Parkinson’s Foundation – they will be selling items off of their usual lunch and dinner menu as well as offering Valentine’s Dinner specials

Eat your heart out, foodies!

Kristi Maier is a food writer, blogger and cheerleader for all things local who even enjoys cooking in her kitchen, though her kidlets seldom appreciate her efforts.

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