Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dixie Belle's Has Moved

Dixie Belle's old location was in a shopping center just off US 64 in Cary. They've moved a little west to 1001 Davis Drive at Old Jenks Road, just north of US 64. Their web-site is a little funky now, but the menu looks the same. I have to drop by to see how the new place is.

1001 Davis Drive, Davis Drive Village, Apex, 1001 Davis Drive, Davis Drive Village, Apex,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hawg Wild in Cary has Closed

Hawg Wild Smoke House and Grill in Cary has closed. They've replaced their web site with an good-bye message which really makes a statement about the state of the economy and its effect on small business. It is worth the read at

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recommended - Bud's Barbecue, Cumnock NC

Address - 817 Cumnock Road, Sanford NC Map
Style - Sit-down Restaurant

Cumnock is a typical small NC town. The town is the center of an old mining district with multiple historic and a few current mines in the area. You can find a map of the mines in a small county park just north of town which surrounds an early twentieth century camelback truss bridge. When you go to Cumnock for the barbecue, the Deep River Bridge is worth your time. Bud's Barbecue is certainly worth your time.

Bud's is in a small building that does not stand out, except that there are virtually no commercial buildings in town. The interior is classic NC barbecue joint. Posted on the wall is a Best Barbecue in Lee County award. There are maybe dozen tables.

My lunch was a plate of chopped barbecue ( no sliced barbecue, here ) with hushpuppies, lima beans and fried squash. The barbecue was excellent with a nice scattering of red pepper and a mild vinegar sauce. I experimented with the table sauces. Both the vinegar sauce and molasses sauce were nicely defined and complemented the meat in their own way. The hushpuppies and lima beans were freshly made. These were what I expect in a good Southern restaurant. The fried squash was one of the best sides I have ever had in a Southern restaurant. The sliced yellow squash were lightly fried with a minimum of breading and oil. Overall, one of the best meals I have had in a barbecue joint in a long time.

There are other options on the menu. I would love to try more of the sides and maybe get to the non-barbecue after a couple of dozen visits.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Acceptable - Smokey's BBQ Shack - Morrisville

Address - 10800 Chapel Hill Rd, Morrisville, NC Map
Style - Counter-service sit-down restaurant Web-site

The building was originally a barbecue restaurant, but for many years it was the Deli Box, a lunchtime spot for RTP denizens. As the Deli Box, they only served unsweetened tea. If you asked for sweet tea, they would tell you to go down to Davis Barbecue, a couple of miles down the road in Morrisville proper. The Deli Box served good sandwiches, which you could eat out on the picnic tables by the pond out back. Later, it became Rub's Smokehouse, a barbecue joint with promise. A tiff between the partner's caused Rub's to close in 2007. It was reopened by a few of the partners as Smokey's BBQ Shack. I could see no difference between Rub's and Smokey's. The restaurant and menu have not changed.

I had the pork barbecue sandwich basket. With the sandwich came hush puppies and one side, which I chose to be potato salad. The pork had flavor. It was nicely browned with a few dry bits. This is worth coming back for. The sides were average. The potato salad had a little personality, but nothing special. The serving of hush puppies was skimpy and nothing special.

The quirkiest thing about the building are the bathrooms. There is no sink in the bathroom, just a hand sanitizer. Instead, there is a sink in the hall outside, which adjoins the main dining area. I do not remember this from when it was the Deli Box, but we always ate out back.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Barbecue Joint Is Moving

According to the Independent Weekly Online , the Barbecue Joint on Weaver Dairy Road in Chapel Hill is moving to the Village Plaza Center into the storefront vacated by Branch's Book Store a couple of years ago. Since the bookstore only sold coffee and pastries, the premises needs significant remodeling to add a full kitchen. The Barbecue Joint has always been one of my favorite bbq joints. They're going to have more seating at the new place. Lunch at the current location is always crowded while school was open, because of the proximity to East Chapel High School. The new location will not have that problem, but the high school crowd will miss the place. Expect a new review when it opens in September.


Chowhound is one of the best dining forums around. I've been using it as a source for barbecue news, information and links for some time now. Anybody interested in restaurants and eating should try it out.

Bon's in University Square is Closed - Again

Bon's Home Cookin' has lost its lease from University Square and closed June 29th. She hopes to reopen somewhere, but there is no news of when or where. I never did eat at the University Square location, but had an acceptable meal at the old Carrboro location. Bon is the daughter of Chapel Hill restaurant legend Mama Dip.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Acceptable - Bar B Q King, Charlotte

Address - 2900 Wilkinson Blvd
Style - Drive-in Web-site

Bar B Q King was featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It fits in the last two categories. You order food via a speaker attached to the tray table hanging from the menu. It takes me back to old A&W drive-ins I grew up with, much more so than the modern Sonic Drive-in. The place is ancient, as are the car-hops that serve your food. There's a carryout window, if you don't want to eat in your car.

On TV, the emphasis was on the barbecue chicken, which is slathered with sauce and then deep fried, but I had to try the pork. I was on a roadtrip, so I wanted a light lunch. I orderd a pork barbecue sandwich, hushpuppies and a milkshake. The pork was a little bland, but adding a little dip made it a nice eat. The hushpuppies were large and heavy, so I ended up eating just a couple with lunch and took the rest along on the trip as a snack. The milkshake was homemade and well worth ordering.

It's a good stop for the nostalgia, and second for the food.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rub' Smokehouse Has Reopened as Smokey's Barbecue Shack

Rub's Smokehouse in Morrisville closed in August 2007 due to an irreconcilable business disagreement between the partners. Some of the partners reopened the restaurant in December 2007 as Smokey's Barbecue Shack. I'm going to have to check the restaurant out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Recommended - Holy Smokes, Raleigh

Address - 335 Tryon Road, Raleigh NC Map
Style - Counter service, Sit-down Restaurant Website

Holy Smokes is a a caterer/carry out operation which is inside a restaurant. You order the food at the counter in carry out quantities. If you want to carry out, you get the food in a bag. If you want to eat in, you get the carry out containers on a tray, along with a drink and eat in the restaurant. Everything is ala carte, in 5 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, etc, containers.

The restaurant is really neat. It is a shiny diner, probably a replica, with an embossed ceiling and neon tubes running along the ceiling. The booths are thickly upholstered with vintage vinyl. I love this place.

The food is fabulous. You pick out your sides at the beginning of the counter. These include the usual suspects, including potato salad, fried okra, hushpuppies, banana pudding. You then move along to the cutter, who serves your meat. He cuts brisket and ribs on order. Meats include North Carolina chopped pork, Texas chooped beef, beef short ribs, St Louis style pork ribs, smoked turkey breast, pork loin, smoked sausage and chicken.

The pork barbecue is traditional eastern style with a good smoke flavor and character. The beef brisket is made with a thick peppery rub. I had an end piece with a good chunk of the rub, which I loved. The sides were fine. I found the hushpuppies to be a little heavy for the downeast style.

Other customers who were in there at lunch time would order lunch on the tray and also meat to take home for dinner. I'd recommend either chopped meat for lunch and brisket or ribs for dinner.

Update: Holy Smokes has now closed.

Taste of Country in Warsaw and Wilmington Are No More

According to the web and Google satellite photos, Wheeler's Taste of Country restaurants in Wilmington and between Warsaw and Turkey are not more. The Warsaw building has been bulldozed and is now part of a cornfield. The Wilimington name has been transfered to a cafe in a new location without the country barbecue. These traditional country restaurants had a killer buffet, with pig pickin' and seafood. I miss the desserts already.

Friday, April 18, 2008

McCall's in Clayton Reopens with First Responders Meal

The McCall's BBQ and Seafood heavily damaged by a plane crash last year is reopening Wednesday, April 23. The restaurant had a pre-opening celebration, where it honored First Responders, including EMS, police and fire fighters. During the meal, the fire department received an alarm on its pagers, so they had to leave the free meal behind, alarms blaring.

The management promised that the restaurant would reopen and it did. This is a happy conclusion to this incident that was covered in the blog.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Allen & Son in Esquire Magazine

Allen & Son has been featured in The Best Sandwiches in America in the February Esquire magazine and on the web.

"Chopped Pork
Allen & Son Barbeque, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Famous among the vinegar-based smoke pits of North Carolina for its tart, smoky sandwiches. The owner, Keith Allen, still splits his own hickory in the backyard, fueling the fires that cook your meat."

A Disappointment - White Swan, Smithfield

Address - Hwy 301 South, Smithfield NC Map
Style - Sit-down Restaurant Website

White Swan has been around Smithfield for decades. This is the central location, a group of buildings that contains a small bbq restaurant open for lunch, a separate steak restaurant that is open for dinner, the smokers and the catering offices.

The web-site has a full lunch and dinner menu, but there was no sign of it in the restaurant. There was a single card menu with a few entries. These includes a barbecue sandwich, chicken and ribs. Since the only option to try the barbecue was to get a sandwich with hushpuppies and tea, that's the way I went. It is hard to judge barbecue from one sandwich, but it at least was edible. The hushpuppies were edible, but I have to reserve judgment for later.

White Swan lists six locations, including two in the immediate Smithfield area. These two are in gas stations, so obviously the barbecue is made at the main location and brought over. If I get to one of the White Swan's with a full menu, I'll do a full review then.