Music is on the menu at Greenville area cafés

By Bridgette A. Lacy

GK Café & Catering

Bridgette Lacy (center) poses with Gail Phelps (left) and Kaye Roberts at GK Cafe.
Bridgette Lacy (center) poses with Gail Phelps (left) and Kaye Roberts at GK Cafe.

Gail Phelps and Kaye Roberts, the owners of GK Café & Catering, play gospel music all the time at their restaurant known for its “Southern home cooking with flair.”

The sisters, who come from a large family in Creswell, N.C., always loved to cook and saw a business opportunity to work together when Roberts moved back to North Carolina from Connecticut.

Phelps worked 30 years as a registered nurse and ran a cake-making business on the side.

Rogers already was working in the catering division of an Outer Banks restaurant. The two were thrilled to open their own place.

The sun-soaked café is warm and inviting with its gold and black décor. The café has designated specials each day. “Sunday is the busiest day of the week,” Phelps says. That’s when folks come ready for a choice of sirloin beef strips, roasted turkey, fried or barbecue chicken, green beans, rice and yams.

Customer favorites include fried chicken, the red velvet cake and gooey “cheese and macaroni.”

Melissa J. Haithcox-Dennis says “G and K is some of the best soul food east of I-95. The staff is pleasant and the food is fresh and seasoned well. They have been wonderful in putting the soul in soul food.”

Sometimes you may even spot a real church singer in GKs. Grammy-nominated gospel singer Troy Sneed, known for his hit, “Lay it Down,” has bowed his head in prayer and eaten at the family-owned restaurant.

The sisters play the music of Sneed, Kirk Franklin, and Rocky Mount’s Luther Barnes. “The gospel music is our way of sharing who we are without preaching,” says Phelps. “It’s our subtle way of spreading the word.”

It’s working.

If You Go

GK Café & Catering

3197 E 10th St., Greenville, NC

Gold Post Cafe

Fish and fries from the Gold Post Cafe
Fish from the Gold Post Cafe

Arthur Wallace serves up plenty of fun, fried fish and music at The Gold Post Cafe. He converted a house into a restaurant with plenty of cozy nooks and crannies inside and outside. The Gold Post has a private room and a courtyard for folks to gather and have a good time. The photographs and posters of Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis and John Lennon make you feel right at home.

The restaurant specializes in seafood, three types of fish and shrimp. “We serve whiting, trout and tilapia. Fish is our thing,” Wallace says.

In addition, The Gold Post serves a Saturday breakfast buffet complete with gospel music.

Beatrice Henderson, a Winterville resident and wife of Pitt County NAACP Chapter President Calvin Henderson, likes to have meetings there.

When Wallace was remodeling, she asked him to make a little space off to the side for small private meetings for 10 to 15 people. The plaque above the entrance of the room with the sheer brown curtains reads: The Bea Room.

“We meet there for breakfast often,” she says. Other times, she goes to the café and waits while her husband conducts business nearby. “I’ve gone there and sat in the swing on the front porch on a nice day, watching people go by,” she says. “It’s nice and quiet.”

It is clear from the ambience that Wallace is a music lover. One framed poster reads: “Where words fail music speaks.”

Once a month, Wallace hosts a Supper Club featuring live music. Kinston trumpeter Dick Knight has performed at The Gold Post. The Supper Club caters to the 45-year-old and above crowd, looking to get their groove on.

“When we do those shows, all the men in there got beards, women wearing wigs. We play oldies but goodies. We come out and line dance, some shag and swing. Then we go home, take our medicine, and go to sleep and get ready for church on Sunday morning,” he said.

If You Go

The Gold Post Café

804 W. Fifth St., Greenville, NC

More Greenville area restaurants

Cinnamon Indian Cuisine

419 Evans St.,Greenville, NC
Located across from Emerge this is an excellent, mid-price North Carolina South Asian restaurant.

If you are heading south from Greenville on Highway 11 to Ayden you might want to explore the following barbecue restaurants that are local favorites.

Skylight Inn Barbecue

4618 S Lee St., Ayden, NC
This is one of North Carolina’s most famous barbecue restaurants. Also known as Pete Jones’, the Skylight serves whole-hog, wood-fire-pit-cooked barbecue, along with cole slaw, cornbread, and sweet tea.

Bum’s Restaurant

556 Third St.,  Ayden, NC
Bums also features wood-fire-pit cooked barbecue and vegetables from local farmers. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You don’t want to miss the banana pudding!