Shrimp Boat, Gastonia NC

There are seven surviving Shrimp Boat / Boats restaurants from that chain that have continued since it folded into the present day. Previously, this blog has focused pretty exclusively on the two remaining from the 1969 period, as those are in the buildings that appealed to my sense of old restaurant architecture. But the other five shouldn’t be dismissed. They’re all part of one large and fascinating story. Continue reading “Shrimp Boat, Gastonia NC”

R.O.’s Bar-B-Q, Gastonia NC

The whole reason behind our sharing our love of food with you good readers is to celebrate differences and highlight places that just refuse to follow the directives of some corporation five states away from where you’re eating. We love to talk about regional specialties, and things that are important precisely because you can’t get them anywhere else. Continue reading “R.O.’s Bar-B-Q, Gastonia NC”

Sauceman’s BBQ, Charlotte NC

Most of the restaurants that I visited on this trip were older joints. The youngest of them, by many years, was Sauceman’s, which opened in early 2010. This is a restaurant formed by a competition team that surprised me with their tactic. They smoke shoulders, Lexington-style, and serve in the tray option like most of the restaurants in the area do, but they don’t actually offer a Lexington-style sauce to go along with it. They have three: an Eastern NC vinegar-based sauce, a sweet tomato-based sauce like we see a lot of in Georgia, and an Upstate/Piedmont South Carolina mustard-based sauce. Continue reading “Sauceman’s BBQ, Charlotte NC”

Photo Post 17: Vintage Walk-Up Dairy Queen in Charlotte

Let’s say that you’re in Charlotte and are making your way from the Rock Hill area to the celebrated Bar-B-Q King. That’s precisely what we did three years ago, and we drove right past this fun old vintage Dairy Queen and didn’t notice it. Quite some time later, I saw it featured along with several other old Dairy Queens at one of my favorite sites, Chopped Onion. I was amazed and aggravated that something so neat is located within sight of a restaurant that we visited and we missed it. Continue reading “Photo Post 17: Vintage Walk-Up Dairy Queen in Charlotte”

South 21 Drive-In, Charlotte NC

With six stops plus a photo-only post in Charlotte and its surrounding suburbs on this trip, this city is just killing me with all the great restaurants and things to do. I am miles – miles! – from visiting all of the places here that I want to see, and hope that we’ll be back before long. But one thing was certain before anything else, I had to visit the South 21 Drive-In on Independence Boulevard. This location has been around since 1959 and seen off all kinds of competition over the years, including, reportedly, one of those What-a-Burger Drive-Ins as seen in yesterday’s post, which was apparently just down the street. Still family-owned (Maria Housiadas’s father and uncles, named Copsis, opened the place) and loyal to a small company of awesome carhops who’ve been with them for years, they’re said to make some pretty good burgers and the best onion rings money can buy. Continue reading “South 21 Drive-In, Charlotte NC”

What-a-Burger, Mooresville NC

As the road takes us back into the Greater Charlotte area for the final leg of this trip, a couple of thoughts strike me. A couple of points need clarifying, to my mind.

First up, there are three entirely different and separate chains of restaurants with almost the same darn name in the south. The best known, of course, is Whataburger – note the spelling, as one word – the Texas-based chain with the orange and white buildings that stretch into Alabama and Florida, and, briefly, into Georgia. (Two of the three in this state failed; I believe there’s still one in Thomasville.)

There are also, however, two completely unrelated groups of restaurants that call themselves “What-a-Burger” with hyphens. One of these groups of restaurants is based in Virginia, and one in the Carolinas. The original Carolina version started in the city of Concord, just outside the Charlotte perimeter on I-85, and expanded to fifteen stores. Most of them have closed, but the six that remain still have their original numbering proudly posted at each location. Store number 10, in Kannapolis, and number 11, in Mooresville, which I visited, look very, very similar, and very, very beautiful if you love old drive-ins with gorgeous canopies or awnings and Servus-Fone call-boxes. Continue reading “What-a-Burger, Mooresville NC”

Circumnavigating South Carolina – part three

So, I’d enjoyed some pretty good barbecue at the last two places, and made my way north for my next stop. My friends at had suggested that the next place that I needed to visit as I made my way east across the state was 521 BBQ & Grill, just south of the state line in the suburbs of Charlotte, and the best way to get there from Clover was to actually drive across Lake Wylie and get on Charlotte’s perimeter highway, I-485. After I made my way north across the lake, I spotted a strip mall with a Best Buy and gave myself a half-hour break to walk around, get at least a little bit of exercise, and shake my head at the quite ridiculous prices they charge for a USB cord to replace the one that I left at home. I figured it could wait until I got back to Atlanta. Continue reading “Circumnavigating South Carolina – part three”