Okay, I tried to upload the December 2011 version of the NC Firearms Law (pdf) but the uploader on this sight is Re-t-arded and not user friendly or I am an idiot. You can get the latest version at www.ncdoj.com. The version in the previous post is the 2010 version, and for what we talked about, the law has not changed...yet.
Section III Possessing and Carrying Firearms, Part E, #2 Assemblies and Establishments (page 25 pdf.)
"North Carolina law also prohibits any person carrying a gun, rifle, or pistol into any assembly where a fee has been charged for admission or into any establishment where alcohol beverages are both sold and consumed..." No distinction between open or carrying concealed in this statute. Exceptions are listed, but even current military is limited and essentially LEOs are exempted.
When my friends and I saw you today OCing in the Mexican Rest., we instinctively looked for a badge. If there is no badge, like in this case, we try to make contact. We strive to introduce ourselves and let them know we open carry too (where legal) and to show our support. More than once I have come upon someone new to OC and knowing that others support the practice goes a long way. Being this was a restaurant that serves and consumes alcohol our interest was piqued.
Glad you had yet to find out the hard way. Unfortunately LEO Organizations are not up on all the Laws and confusing information can sometimes be handed down. Having lunch with a LEO in such a place carrying a firearm, is not exempted and therefore (IMO) he too was breaking the law by not enforcing it.
If you can get the time, spend it going through the NC section of this forum. A lot of us have learned much in here and shared experiences really help. As well, periodically, those that open carry meet up in groups at various locations (where legal) to educate and help those perhaps get past their first time open carrying.
One other thing, NC Open Carry has created a flyer called the "NC Flyer." It is a two page flyer that covers all the highlights of open carry and NC Gun Laws. I am, for the life of me, unable to find a downloadable version even in the sticky note thread (updated for the December 1st changes). Perhaps some of the more skilled posters could attach it in a response.