A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

[caption id="attachment_150882" align="alignright" width="235"] Kimber Roché was named the 2021 North Carolina Main Street Champion for her work in Goldsboro.[/caption] The streetwear boutique that Kimber Roché and her brothers Derek

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

[caption id="attachment_150882" align="alignright" width="235"] Kimber Roché was named the 2021 North Carolina Main Street Champion for her work in Goldsboro.[/caption] The streetwear boutique that Kimber Roché and her brothers Derek

A Guide to Downtown Goldsboro

Kimber Roché was named the 2021 North Carolina Main Street Champion for her work in Goldsboro. photograph by Charles Harris

The streetwear boutique that Kimber Roché and her brothers Derek and Joshua own in downtown Goldsboro is a tribute to their family and their hometown. Inside RYE-Always Fresh, one wall is covered with newspaper clippings featuring town and family history, including Wilbur L. Rye, her grandfather, who was a well-known butcher in the area. Nods to Rye are present throughout the store: A glass butcher display case holds the latest high-end sneakers, and the checkout counter resembles one you might find in an old-school grocery store. “The concept of the shop was built around our family heritage,” Roché says. “We love to express style and fashion through art, history, and music.”

Roché was named the 2021 North Carolina Main Street Champion for her work with Goldsboro’s Downtown Merchants Association. “It’s a very vibrant downtown because of the arts, the history, and the diverse cultures,” she says, “but we still have that small-town feel.” While she and some of her siblings have moved away from time to time, they keep coming back. “We’ve all traveled; we’ve all been to big cities,” Roché says. “But our parents always taught us, ‘Remember where you came from, and remember your roots.’ This is our hometown, and we want to give back to the community that we were raised in.”



The Picket Fence. Theresa and Henry Stevens offer their own line of handmade, 100 percent soy candles and goat’s milk soap; farmhouse decor; olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and homemade barbecue sauce; live-edge maple, mahogany, and black walnut charcuterie and cutting boards; and custom dining room tables that Henry makes in the back. (Check out the flower boxes at Brisas Latin Cuisine — Henry made those, too.)

Pick up some new kicks and clothes at RYE-Always Fresh. photographs by Charles Harris

RYE-Always Fresh. Roché’s brothers Derek and Joshua combined their skills as a celebrity stylist and an artist, respectively, to open their dream store in 2018. “They wanted to bring something new and different to their hometown,” Roché says, “and boy, did they.” Inspired by the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, the shop is a curated collection of premium brands, vintage and designer clothes and shoes, plus RYE’s own brands designed by Derek.

Fat Cat Music & Sound. For the musicians and musician wannabes, this store offers acoustic and electric guitars, instrument repairs, band rentals, and music lessons. Whether you’re an aspiring rocker or a battle-ready blues-jammer, Fat Cat Music & Sound has got the right gear.

Cry Freedom Missions Shoppe. The retail branch of Cry Freedom Missions — a local nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of human trafficking — uses all of the store’s proceeds for outreach, shelter, and other organizational functions while giving survivors the opportunity to engage in meaningful work. “Every purchase that you make has purpose,” Roché says. “And the products are beautiful — they have the best earrings.”

Carolina Pine Country Store. This furniture store specializes in paint, general finishes, and home decor. Whether you’re looking to buy a farmhouse-style cabinet or are working on building your own, the Carolina Pine Country Store will help you make the most of your space. The shop also carries hand-poured candles, herbal teas, seed packages, and other odds and ends.

Uniquely R’s and The Gladstone. Housed in the historic Gidden’s Jewelry Store, this downtown gift shop sells antiques, accessories, and oddities. After shopping, order a French press coffee at The Gladstone, a Parisian speakeasy located in the back room.



Barrique. Barrique — the French word for “wine barrel” — is an upscale restaurant and bar. Downstairs, a wine cellar offers a world of options for customers to take home or to drink with their steak or pasta dishes. Upstairs, at the 18th Amendment Lounge, a pre-Prohibition-inspired drink menu features barrel-aged whiskeys and craft cocktails.

Order the perfect breakfast spread at B&G Grill. photograph by Charles Harris

B&G Grill. “You walk in, and everybody knows your name,” Roché says of this mom-and-pop diner, which was founded by the late Grace and Bruce “Bowser” Rains in 1977 and is now owned by their son, Bruce (above right, with his son Holt). “You can come any day between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., and this huge parking lot will be packed.”

Thai Garden. The owner of this authentic Thai restaurant, Janet Jassari, used to be the chef for the royal family of Thailand. Now, she serves traditional Thai dishes made with herbs from her organic garden. “If you go and visit her, she’ll greet you with a tangerine,” Roché says. “In Thailand, they often greet people with a tangerine or an orange or a piece of candy.”

At Brisas Latin Cuisine, try the Brisas Churrasco — skirt steak with chimichurri, plantains, and rice. photograph by Charles Harris

Brisas Latin Cuisine. At his Caribbean restaurant, owner Dumas Brea checks on every table, asking customers if they’re enjoying their meals — from the Tropical Salmon, topped with sweet pineapple-and-mango chutney, to tostones rellenos, fried green plantains topped with your choice of meat.

Gypsy Bean Coffee Shop. This quaint coffee shop offers an array of signature drinks, ranging from the German chocolate latte to the Traveler, a frappuccino with flavors of toasted marshmallow, macadamia nuts, and white chocolate. On warmer days, pick up a cold brew coffee or a handmade smoothie. Locals know Gypsy Bean Coffee Shop as a community hub where friends gather to enjoy a midday pick-me-up and students come to sip and study.



Goldsboro Brew Works. This veteran-owned and -operated brewery features 30 taps, a bottle shop, a dog-friendly back patio, and an arcade, making it a popular hangout for families. The 1913 building still has its original exposed brick walls, pressed-tin ceiling, and concrete floors.

Paint & Play. This urban painting studio offers opportunities for beginner artists and professional painters. Starting from a pre-sketched canvas, staff will guide visitors in the painting process, helping them duplicate a chosen image from a gallery of hundreds. Paint & Play can be reserved for parties and offers take-home painting kits for creatives who don’t want to set the brush down.

Discover local history at the Wayne County Museum. photograph by Charles Harris

Wayne County Museum. The 1927 women’s club building, also a former USO location, now houses a museum filled with rotating and permanent exhibits on Wayne County’s history. “These two ladies are keeping history alive in Wayne County,” Roché says of Executive Director Jennifer Kuykendall and Assistant Director Anna Mitchell.

Arts Council of Wayne County. The Arts Council of Wayne County hosts year-round exhibits through two rotating galleries that showcase vibrant paintings, pottery, and paper crafts. Visitors can purchase local artists’ work in the council’s retail store, the Art Market, and sign up for art and music classes.

At Well Travelled Beer, order a cold brew and strike up a conversation. photographs by Charles Harris

Well Travelled Beer. Roché and her family go camping in the North Carolina mountains every year, and this veteran-owned bottle shop and bar in Goldsboro — with more than 500 beers on offer — reminds her of that feeling. “You just get a cool vibe when you go in there, kind of artsy, outdoorsy, laid-back,” she says.

Paramount Theater. This historical theater is a venue for live plays and revival films. Originally built in 1882 as a performance space for vaudeville shows, the Paramount Theater was ravaged by a fire in 2005 and then later rebuilt in 2008. Mark your calendars: May performances include the Goldsboro Ballet’s Spring Recital and the Artistry in Motion Performing Arts Center’s Annual Dance Showcase.

This story was published on Mar 15, 2022

Katie King

Katie King is a managing editor at Our State.

Rachel Malmin

Rachel Malmin is a spring 2022 editorial intern at Our State.