Our Story


Our Story

Big Ed’s Restaurant was first founded in 1958 by “Big Ed” Watkins, a native of Wake County. His family’s farm produced tobacco and other crops. It was on the homestead where Big Ed developed the original recipes used in his restaurants; he would assist his mother in the kitchen, preparing meals for the farm’s staff.

After various successful restaurants in other Raleigh locations, Big Ed opened in Downtown’s City Market in 1989, which was done in conjunction with the city of Raleigh’s revitalization project.

In January 2006, Big Ed retired and the restaurant was bought by Sam & Lynn Hobgood, both of whom remain active owners today. Through the years, Big Ed’s City Market developed a home in Downtown Raleigh, and remains a central part of City Market to this day.

The skyline has evolved, as has the community, but Big Ed’s City Market continues to serve North Carolina country cookin’ classics, almost 30 years after its Downtown conception. We are proud to be a longstanding member of the Downtown community.

In summer 2015, the Big Ed’s team took on a new challenge in opening a second location, Big Ed’s North, that serves the same great country cookin’. Located at Quail Corners Shopping Center in North Raleigh, the Big Ed’s North team is immensely grateful for the community that has surrounded it.

Big Ed’s Garner opening in 2019. Being a unique place of its own, an All-American city, Garner is a special place that we are thrilled to be a part of. We love being in Garner, North Raleigh, and Downtown Raleigh, serving the best country cookin’ around at each of our locations!

Wherever it is you may join us, we hope that you have a wonderful experience, full of southern hospitality, joy, and laughter.