Smiley’s Lexington BBQ, Lexington NC

So my daughter and I were visiting North Carolina together, and the third stop on our barbecue tour was at one of the ninety-something places in the city of Lexington that specialize in smoked pork. That is only a mild exaggeration. The city of 20,000 people is the home of about twenty different barbecue joints – about one for every thousand residents. This was only my second stop in the city, and I’m aware of a simple walking tour that takes in five of them. Just have cash handy if you try it; many of these places do not take plastic. Smiley’s also stands apart from most in town because it’s open on Sunday; very few of the others are. Continue reading “Smiley’s Lexington BBQ, Lexington NC”

Bar-B-Q Center, Lexington NC

Here’s another silly reason why this circumnavigation was unlike the three previous ones. On those outings, the best meal of the trip – the life-affirming, revealing, “this is better than I was expecting” visit to a legendary old place – came halfway through the jaunt, roughly at the furthest point from Atlanta. Those were Brick Pit in Mobile, Scott’s BBQ in Hemingway, and Brooks Barbecue in Muscle Shoals. However, the high point this time out came at my fourth stop, Lexington’s Bar-B-Q Center. This was an astonishing little meal. Continue reading “Bar-B-Q Center, Lexington NC”

Lexington Barbecue, Lexington NC

As I drove toward Lexington, home of the legendary Lexington Barbecue, I had a feeling that, even with an early afternoon arrival, I’d find a pretty good crowd. Yet I was still quite surprised to find their lot much more than full. I parked along with ten or eleven other cars on the side of the road beneath the lot and began trudging up the hill. This place was more popular than I imagined! Or, well, you know, they may have let their regulars know that today would be a good day to be on TV:

Oh! No wonder there was such a mob! Continue reading “Lexington Barbecue, Lexington NC”

City Barbeque, Lexington KY

It’s not accurate to say that our dining out on this trip went off without a hitch. We hit every restaurant that we hoped to visit but one: the Tolly-Ho in Lexington. The plan had been to visit the Explorium Children’s Museum in that city on the way home, but first, we got a later start than we thought, since our visit to Jungle Jim’s was such an adventure. Then, as we crawled down the street in that city we were directed down, through bumper-to-bumper traffic, we saw that the Explorium didn’t have a dedicated parking lot, and all the surface lots were a steep $15-20 to park! Hideous traffic, very high parking charges, and twenty thousand people walking around in blue and gray… yes, that’s right, I forgot to check the sports schedules of the cities we’d be visiting. Continue reading “City Barbeque, Lexington KY”

Parkette Drive In, Lexington KY

In the previous chapter, I explained that when the children and I made our first stop on the trip to Dayton to join Marie, my daughter ate very lightly. This is because we watched the segment of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where Guy Fieri visited Lexington’s Parkette Drive In and she decided that she really wanted to indulge here. Regular readers may recall that she has, in her mercurial teenage way, gone back and forth over whether she actually enjoys fried chicken or not. The segment sold her on the idea. Continue reading “Parkette Drive In, Lexington KY”