M & K Bar-B-Q, Granite Quarry NC

People frequently ask us where we hear about the restaurants that we visit, and the honest answer is “lots of places,” but we have a great resource when it comes to this state. The North Carolina Barbecue Society features a famous Trail Map with, at present, 23 restaurants on it. At the conclusion of this trip, we’ve now visited 20 of them. I scheduled six new-to-us stops on this drive from their trail, but, and this is no exaggeration, my daughter and I also drove past at least nine other barbecue joints that we could easily have tried. Plus, Our State magazine has a BBQ NC app that will help anybody in the Old North State find something good to eat. Continue reading “M & K Bar-B-Q, Granite Quarry NC”

Bill Spoon’s Barbecue, Charlotte NC (take two)

In February, I took another two-day barbecue tour, and on this one, I spent a little more money than I sometimes do, because I brought my daughter along with me. She’s seventeen, a high school sophomore thinking about her college options. Or, more specifically, her old man’s thinking about her college options while she’s complaining about boys on Snapchat. Anyway, I dragged her along to North Carolina and visited seven new-to-me places and revisited a couple that I wanted to try again. First up was Bill Spoon’s, which Marie and I visited on our honeymoon road trip seven years previously. Continue reading “Bill Spoon’s Barbecue, Charlotte NC (take two)”

Regional Treats in Gastonia NC

And so the question was asked, what should we eat next in Charlotte? Queen City Q was probably the obvious choice, but they’re located right by the local arena, which was hosting a Hornets game that night. The next choice would be a place that I actually visited once before, Kyle Fletcher’s in Gastonia. The girlchild, her older brother, and I had lunch here while passing through on our way to Toronto in 2006 and I would love to try it again. Unfortunately, this restaurant is just insanely popular on Saturday evenings. We were lucky to find a parking place, and after milling with several other guests inside the door, concluded that the hyper three year-old couldn’t wait the 45 minutes-plus that they were quoting, so I took a picture of the sign with the nice sunset behind it and activated Plan C. Continue reading “Regional Treats in Gastonia NC”

Midwood Smokehouse, Charlotte NC

This road trip was the first time that my daughter had been to Charlotte, and it didn’t take her long to begin pestering me for a summer visit. Trouble started when she realized they have 7-11s in this area and she could get a Slurpee in one of seven hundred and eleven flavors – including, I must add, Cheerwine, which is the greatest thing I ever heard of – and so we pulled into a 7-11 in Rock Hill to take advantage of their wonderful $1.73 gasoline and she danced out with an orange and cream Slurpee. Then we drove past Carowinds, a roller coaster-packed amusement park along I-77 and she wondered whether that really tall one might be taller than Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia. It is. Intimidator, which opened four years later, is 32 feet taller, and peaks at 80 mph, compared to Goliath’s 70. Then we drove past what appeared to be a three-story Target on the way to supper and she had her face pressed against the glass. Continue reading “Midwood Smokehouse, Charlotte NC”

Mac’s Speed Shop, Charlotte NC

Longtime readers may recall that, every January, Marie and I take a day trip into the Carolinas. It’s never a very long one, and it usually leaves me complaining about getting to the last place or two long after dark, but it’s become a tradition. I wonder, if we ever do move to Asheville, whether we’ll start a new tradition and go somewhere else every January instead. Continue reading “Mac’s Speed Shop, Charlotte NC”

Grady’s BBQ, Dudley NC

I love running into other barbecue roadtrippers when I’m out eating, and Grady’s BBQ, which is loosely located somewhere close to Dudley and more accurately in the middle of nowhere, is a good drive from any population center and probably requires a road trip to visit. Steve and Gerri Grady opened their barbecue joint in 1986, doing small amounts of business, as you might expect from a middle of nowhere restaurant, but in time, the word got out that these good people were still cooking with wood, they got mentioned in a few books and websites, and now hungry eaters plan their barbecue drives to incorporate a trip here. Continue reading “Grady’s BBQ, Dudley NC”

Chapter 1100: Skylight Inn BBQ, Ayden NC

“Good morning, East Carolina University admissions office. How may I help you?”

“Oh, I sure hope you can. My name’s Grant, from the blog Marie, Let’s Eat! and I’ve got a fifteen year-old daughter and I need for her to attend East Carolina.”

“Well, I’d be happy to send you a catalog–”

“A catalog won’t be good enough. She’s already fallen in love with the University of North Alabama. I need you to send boys.”

“Excuse me?”

“Boys in school colors, yes. Cute boys. And money and clothes. This is urgent. I had lunch at Skylight Inn. It’s about eight hours from my house. I can’t justify going back unless I have business in the area. Best I can figure is that my daughter needs to go to ECU.” Continue reading “Chapter 1100: Skylight Inn BBQ, Ayden NC”