2 S. Governors Ave., Dover, 674-4772
Miss Mary Carter, the grande dame of Dover soul food, swears there is no great secret behind the longevity of her Carter’s Restaurant, which opened its doors in 1970.
Consistency, cleanliness and the deft touch that only develops from years of practice are what make her fried chicken, chitterlings and from-scratch sweet potato pie the stuff of legend around central
The North Carolina native says the modest, 20-seat Carter’s is just “an ordinary little place” that’s happened to satisfy generations of regulars. Fried chicken and chitterlings (segments of a pig’s small intestines) are cleaned thoroughly and thoughtfully, seasoned gently and cooked by Miss Carter’s unfailing internal clock. “I just have the right touch, I guess,” she says.
The chicken and whiting fillets are battered in a secret mixture and deep-fried— “Everyone I fix it for likes it,” Carter says—and the chitterlings are washed, rinsed and blanched until they’re just right.
“I just cook here as if I was cooking it at home,” she says. “I was taught by watching my grandparents, but I learned this mostly myself. When you’ve had eight children, you learn how to cook.”