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7 Iconic Food Brands Born in North Carolina

North Carolina is known for its rich history, beautiful scenery and delicious food. But did you know that some of the world’s most iconic products also originated in the Tar Heel State? Here are seven famous products and food places that you may not know were born in North Carolina:


In New Bern, a local pharmacist named Caleb Bradham concocted a unique beverage that would soon become one of the world’s most beloved soft drinks – Pepsi-Cola. Initially called “Brad’s Drink,” this refreshing concoction was carefully crafted using a blend of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, kola nuts, nutmeg and a few secret ingredients. On August 28, 1898, Bradham decided to give his drink a more catchy name, settling on “Pepsi-Cola.”

Inspired by the word “dyspepsia,” meaning indigestion, Bradham believed that his creation was not just a thirst quencher but a “healthy” cola that could aid digestion. With the growing popularity and demand for his Pepsi-Cola syrup, Bradham established the Pepsi-Cola Company in late 1902, becoming its first president. As the business flourished, “Pepsi-Cola” was officially trademarked on June 16, 1903, marking the beginning of a global cola empire.

Texas Pete

Texas Pete is a well-known hot sauce that hails from North Carolina. This vinegar-based concoction blends chili peppers, garlic, spices and salt to create a fiery kick. Despite its Texan moniker, Texas Pete is produced in Winston-Salem. With its base of cayenne and red peppers, Texas Pete delivers a zesty and flavorful spice that enhances various dishes.

In 1929, Sam Garner, the proprietor of a barbecue stand called the Dixie Pig, concocted a recipe for his signature hot sauce. Garner and his sons tirelessly experimented with different chili peppers and spices to achieve the ideal balance of flavor and heat. The name “Texas Pete” was suggested by a marketing advisor who wanted to capture the spirit of the Wild West.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme, the company behind those irresistible glazed doughnuts, has been an American favorite for over 80 years. Founded in Winston-Salem in 1937, Krispy Kreme has spread its doughnut goodness worldwide, winning hearts with its signature hot and glazed treats. But beyond the catchy name and mouthwatering goodies lies a fascinating history brimming with creativity, community spirit, and a deep commitment to quality.

The tale of Krispy Kreme starts with Vernon Rudolph, a man with a knack for baking and a firm belief in the power of a perfect doughnut. In 1933, Rudolph landed a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a New Orleans chef. Passionate about sharing this culinary gem with the world, he opened a modest doughnut shop named Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation in Winston-Salem.

Cook Out

Cook Out is a fast-food chain that was founded in Greensboro in 1987. The company is known for its grilled chicken sandwiches, hushpuppies and milkshakes.

The fast-food restaurant Cook Out originated in Greensboro in 1989. The first location was opened by Maurice Jennings, who had previously worked in the restaurant industry for many years. The restaurant was initially called Cook-Out Burgers, but the name was changed to Cook Out in 1996.


Bojangles’ was founded by Jack Reynolds and Richard Thomas in Charlotte. The pair opened the first Bojangles restaurant on East Independence Boulevard in Charlotte on October 30, 1977. The restaurant was an instant success, and Thomas and Reynolds quickly began expanding the chain. The restaurant was named after Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, an African American tap dancer and actor famous in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mount Olive Pickles

Mount Olive Pickles has a long history of producing high-quality pickles. The company has won numerous product awards, including the Gold Medal in the National Pickle Packing Competition. The pickle company is based in Mount Olive. It was founded in 1926 by Baxter Finley and is one of the largest pickle producers in the United States. The company offers various pickle products, including dill pickles, sweet pickles, bread and butter pickles, Kosher dill pickles and spicy pickles. They also offer a variety of other products, such as pickle juice, pickled peppers and pickled onions.


Cheerwine was created in 1917 by L.D. Peeler, a pharmacist in Salisbury. Peeler was looking for a new way to use black cherry syrup, which was a popular flavoring at the time. He experimented with different recipes and ultimately came up with the formula for Cheerwine. The drink was originally called “Cherrywine,” but the name was changed to Cheerwine in 1926. Cheerwine is a popular drink in the Southern United States, and it is often referred to as the “nectar of the Tar Heel State.”

These are just a few of the many famous products and food places that originated in North Carolina. The state is home to a diverse range of businesses and industries, and it continues to be a source of innovation and creativity.

Source: WRAL News