We had lunch yesterday with a couple of Janet’s cousins and their spouses at Beaugard’s Southern Barbecue in Wilmington. Hadn’t been there in couple of years but Beaugard’s is as good a cue as can be found above the Mason-Dixon Line. I didn’t have a column written for today so with the zing of Beaugard’s hot sauce still on my tongue I decided to reprise something BBQ related from the past. Here’s an article that was published in the Times Gazette in 2002.
Barbeque I’ve Known
February 3, 2002
Maybe it’s because I was born in South Carolina but, I never tire of going south. When most folks think of the South visions of magnolias, antebellum homes, pine trees or NASCAR may come to mind. For me, it’s barbeque.
McDONALDS: After a trial in 500 of its restaurants McD’s is planning on bringing table service to its remaining 14,000 domestic locations. Don’t know if a waitress will take your order but your order will be delivered to you.
I don’t know how old you have to be to have memories of Howard Johnson restaurants but I certainly qualify. Not sure when I first ate in a HoJo’s but it was probably along the Pennsylvania Turn-Pike during the early 1960s. Howard had the franchise for all the food and fuel services along the pike.
They always had a bright orange roof and were famous for their 28 flavors of ice cream. Mel Brooks based a Blazing Saddles joke on the town of Rock Ridge being occupied by lots of Johnsons, one of which was Howard and his restaurant advertised 1 flavor.
At one time there were 800 HoJos in America and this morning I read that today there’s only two and one of those is about to close its doors. It’s in Bangor, ME and one of the waitresses has been there for fifty-years. It’s the only job she ever had.
The last remaining Howard Johnson’s restaurant will be in Lake George, NY and the owners have no plans to close. They say they’re doing fine and have plans to remodel in the near future.
Oh, the last HoJo I ate in was on the north side of Knoxville, TN in 1978. Janet and I stopped there for a dish of ice cream on our way back from North Carolina. It was across the street from a Cracker Barrel. We walked over and checked out the store and Janet picked up a menu. That evening I had my first ever bowl of CB’s ham ‘n pintos in Corbin, KY. That’s a story for another time.
There are those who have dedicated their lives in search of the best cheeseburger. While my passion isn’t that great I do make a mental note of where I found a great burger.
Jimmy Buffett made a fortune off of his Cheeseburger in Paradise and even more by opening a chain of restaurants by that name. Well, I’ve eaten in a couple of his joints and didn’t think the burger that great.
Of the chains it’s hard to beat Five Guys. I know their fries are house made and I got a feeling they buy good quality beef that’s freshly ground. Haven’t had a bad experience yet.
When it comes to a good cheeseburger, however, we don’t have to travel very far. Within a few minutes driving time from Worley Mill Rd. there’s Doc’s Bainbridge Restaurant. I had a burger there
Just in from CGS’s senior downtown correspondent, Phoenix Hartsworth, Parker’s Pizza will soon close its doors and a few weeks later reopen under new management and with a new name. The restaurant will be known as 4545 Bistro and Pizzeria.
Tracking down rumors on this humid afternoon and gave the owner of Jerry’s Pizza in Chillicothe a call regarding a rumor that they were opening a store in Greenfield.
To my delight the answer was an affirmative. They plan on opening in the building directly next to the post office, plan to offer pizza products and soft drinks, and hope to be open near the beginning of the school year.
I ask if it would be the same product they sell at their original store on Paint Street in Chillicothe and was told, “Yep, it’s the same pizza.”
The question has been raised, can Greenfield support all these restaurants? Well, I don’t know and the market will sort it all out. As you may know, few businesses are more risky than the restaurant business so we’ll just have to see. In the meantime, one more empty storefront in downtown Greenfield will again have life going on inside.
You may know that Greenfield has a new sports bar in the downtown area, Catch 22 Sports Bar. Mark Clyburn is one of the owners and besides a menu of sandwiches and snacks they’re serving a full bar including a selection of bottled and draught beers.
Apparently they are wanting to become a venue for the area music scene and have announced an open mic night on Wednesdays. So, tune up your fiddle and go have some good times.
About the only time I favor drive-thru fast food is when traveling and having to keep a schedule. On our recent drive to Miami and back I took note of what seems to be a bread war between fast food chains. Hardee’s was touting their buns as being fresh baked and several chains, Wendy’s included, were featuring what’s becoming a food fad, the pretzel bun sandwich. Even aboard our cruise ship pretzel breads and bread sticks were served at every meal. Wraps seem to remain popular and McD’s has added several new versions to its menu.
For at least ten years I was in search of the world’s best barbecue and have driven countless miles and made countless out-of-the-way trips following up a lead. One of the first times I had Southern BBQ was at Maurice Bessinger’s Piggie Park in Columbia, SC and for a short time it was my standard. Then my brother and sister-in-law turned me on to Wilber’s BBQ (Wilber Shirley) BBQ in Goldsboro, NC.
What a difference a corner can make. If you’re in New Orleans and you decide to have a meal on the corner of St. Peter’s and Jackson Square in the French Quarter you may or may not be happy. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a corner restaurant to have lunch in, where there’s little chance of disappointment, you may want to stop at the corner of St. Ann’s and North Tonti in the Treme neighborhood.
The French Quarter option is The Corner Oyster Bar and my grandson and I had supper there recently. I debated between boiled crawdads or shrimp and went for the shrimp. Cyrus picked chicken wings. While he was satisfied with the wings I could tell that they probably came from a freezer. Being within spittin’ distance of the Gulf I was pretty sure the shrimp would be perfect. What I was delivered, however, was a half pound of dead cold shrimp still bearing their heads (not a problem) and veins (problem). Furthermore, they had been boiled so long the flesh had become tough and stringy. The only good thing I can say is their cocktail sauce was great.
In recent times much has been said about increasing the minimum wage. The conservative talking mouths have loudly proclaimed that doing such would be a job killer. Well, in spite of what all the Fox News hired guns say, there is a growing body of evidence that money can still be made while treating employees decently.
Here’s an example of a Detroit hamburger restaurant, Moo Cluck Moo, that pays every employee a minimum of $31,000 a year while selling burgers for less than McDonald’s gets for its Big Mac. Oh, and they’re making a nice profit in the bargain. Forbe’s magazine recently reported that if the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour the cost of a Big Mac would increase by an insignificant sum. Another economist argued there would be no increase because the Big D would have to stay competitive.
Whatever the truth there is no question that corporate profits are at all time highs while working people’s incomes are on a roller coaster to hell.
My brother and his wife are relocating to Florida from North Carolina and offered my children some surplus furniture. So, my daughter Kris and I rented a large U-Haul trailer and headed south and east to Beaufort, North Carolina. She took a couple of vacation days and our intentions were simple, get the furniture and spend some time along the hopefully warm and sunny coast. I planned to fish while she walked the beaches searching for shells.
The Wednesday drive to Beaufort was warm enough but the skies were very overcast. We even encountered the remains of the winter snowfall in the mountains of West Virginia. The day’s highlight was stopping at Wilber’s BBQ in Goldsboro, NC for a small to go sampler. Our family has faithfully been stopping at Wilber’s since 1983 and consider it to be the best in the universe.
On Thursday morning, after loading the trailer, the plan was to drive over to Harker’s Island for a look-see followed by the afternoon at Emerald Isle at the tip of Bogue Island. On the way to Harker’s I noticed a sign for the ferry at Cedar Island that runs to Ocracoke Island. Couple of years ago we had a house rented on Ocracoke but had to cancel when the place was hit by hurricane Irene. I suggested to Kris we change plans and take the ferry to Ocracoke and then return home via the Outer Banks and Interstate 64. Her face lit up like a flashlight at the idea.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Fat Tuesday is the last day of Mardi Gras and marks a period of indulgence before the fast leading up to Easter. Well, last evening a goodly number of area residents indulged a bid at Three Spoons Diner for a special meal of New Orléans classic dishes, a special King Cake, a few BYOB adult beverages, and an eclectic choice of background music that included Dixieland Jazz, Cajun Zydeco, Voodoo Soul, and traditional deep South blues.