Havelock city officials are seeking opinions from residents about the town.

Havelock city officials are seeking opinions from residents about the town. They call it “visioning.”

The goal is to figure out what Havelock residents like, what they don’t like and what they would like to see in the future.

There’s even an online survey residents can take at www.havelocknc.us/community-visioning-survey/.

In response, we at the Havelock News conducted our own little online poll asking what people would like to see most in Havelock. We picked the responses from general comments that were given at the Havelock Community Summit a couple of weeks ago.

Those answering the poll had the option to select from five responses: better roads, better shopping, better restaurants, better parks and other.

Though no one answer got more than 50 percent of the vote among the 117 people who responded to our completely unscientific survey, the one response more people selected than any other was better restaurants, which got 38 percent of the vote.

“We need some real food here, not just McDonald’s and Burger King,” resident Erica Pam told me for a story I wrote on the community summit in last week’s edition.

It is true that Havelock has its share of fast-food restaurants. There’s Bojangles, KFC, Taco Bell and Sonic just to add a few more to Pam’s list.

However, if you visit only fast-food restaurants in Havelock, you’re missing some delicious options. Havelock does have its share of good restaurants, and just because the name on the door doesn’t say Applebee’s or Chili’s or Ruby Tuesday or Olive Garden doesn’t make them any less appetizing.

I will admit the one thing Havelock lacks is a restaurant that offers a wide variety of food in one establishment. We had that once in the Carolina Grill. For whatever reason, it didn’t seem to resonate with residents and it eventually closed, though the one in New Bern is still open.

Most of Havelock’s restaurants are pretty specialized. And Havelock lacks a true upscale establishment, the type that often requires reservations.

Still, Havelock restaurants can cook a pretty good meal. All you have to do is visit one and give it a try.

Give Bayside or Ziggy’s a chance to serve you breakfast. Along with your eggs and bacon, you’ll probably run into someone you know that will catch you up on the latest news of the city.

Of course you’ve got places like Mario’s and Big Apple for pizza and sandwiches. Keg’s offers some pretty good burgers, and don’t forget Double J Texas Barbecue or Joy’s Jerk Shack, which can add a little spice to your life.

If you’re looking for wraps, soups and salads, check out Verduzco’s, which just opened in the Westbrooke Shopping Center, or maybe Our Town Café.

If you’re looking for seafood, Havelock’s got it at Crabby Patty’s.

If you want Mexican, Havelock’s got the two El Cerro restaurants as well as the new La Casa Del Patron.

There are a number of restaurants that serve Asian cuisine, such as Oki’s, China Inn or Pinay’s.

And if you want some after- lunch or after-dinner coffee or dessert, try visiting Cups-n-Cones.

Of course, there are others in Havelock as well, but this was just a sampling of what is available in the city, and all you have to do is look.

You can do your own research, check out reviews, look at advertisements and talk to friends and co-workers to find out which Havelock establishment you would like to visit, but trust me when I say that there are plenty of options if you’re looking for a good restaurant in Havelock.

By visiting these businesses, not only will you be getting a good meal, but also you will be supporting a local restaurant that offers needed employment for local residents.

You’re also not driving 20 minutes to either New Bern or Morehead City to get a meal.

I understand that sometimes you want to hit an Applebee’s or a Ruby Tuesday, and that’s fine. I’ve had very good meals at such places and enjoy my experience there when I dine with them.

But don’t overlook what is right in front of you here in Havelock. You can save a little time, and maybe even a little money, and get a meal that’s just as good and service that is just as special.

Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 444-1999 or at ken.buday@havenews.com.