Sip, Savor, & Shop in Downtown Clayton, North Carolina 

A street at sunset in downtown Clayton

Should your travels bring you along I-95 through North Carolina, don’t miss the chance to explore the hidden gem that is Clayton. It is a beautiful town in Johnston County, affectionately known as JoCo to those in the know, just minutes east of Raleigh.  

Dine at Scott Crawford’s casual concept, Crawford Cookshop. A James Beard five-time nominee and NCRLA’s 2023 Restaurateur of the Year, Crawford has brought his signature “superstar” style to an approachable menu right on Main Street in Downtown Clayton. With simple and delicious dishes that change as ingredients are in-season, Cookshop is a dining experience you can enjoy over and over again.  

A drink being torched at Revival in Clayton, North Carolina

From chef-driven restaurants to casual cafes serving unique regional food items, Clayton’s food scene is for the adventurous and refined foodie. Enjoy a local favorite, the Brightleaf red hot dog, at family-owned Jones Cafe. Johnston County’s many farms, and agricultural history, mean chefs can source locally and serve up seasonal menus. Every Saturday morning of the year attend the Clayton Farm & Community Market just off Main St. for fresh produce and products. 

Swinging sculpture on the Clayton sculpture trail.

Explore the craft beverage scene on the Beer, Wine and Shine Trail. Stop by Deep River Brewing in Clayton for a line-up of beers made from local ingredients; there’s a style for everyone. Visit a second stop on the Beer, Wine and Shine Trail just around the corner from Deep River, InStill Distillery. Take a nightlife crawl in Downtown Clayton starting at vintage, jazz cocktail lounge Revival 1869; right next door is brand new Fare Game, an arcade, bar, and pizza kitchen. You can also visit First Street Tavern, The Cardnial Bar, and LaDiDa Wine Bar. 

Downtown Clayton also has a walkable sculpture trail with art pieces that change annually. Explore a variety of attractions, attend festivals, discover unique local boutiques, meet some good people, and experience Clayton’s emerging food scene, always served with a generous helping of true Southern hospitality. 

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  • Travis
    June 10, 2024 at 11:42 pm

    The best downtown isn’t mentioned? Mannings. Ask the readers.