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Interstate Eateries is published by Our State magazine.


I-85


Interstate 85

Backcountry Barbecue

City: 
Linwood
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
88

Location

Backcountry Barbecue
4014 Old Linwood Road
Linwood
(336) 956-1696
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

Backcountry Barbecue is the last Lexington-area barbecue stop if you’re going south on I-85 — and the first one if you’re heading north. First or last, it’s a good stop to make. There’s a big woodpile in the back, and pork shoulders are cooked all day over coals with the heat kept constant using a process developed by owner Doug Cook. It is then kept warm overnight with the help of electric cookers that keep the barbecue from being too moist. The fresh-cooked meat is then pulled from the bone and rough chopped just after the customer places an order—all under the supervision of Tina Brogdon, who has been the manager since 1993.

Hrs: Mon.-Sat., 6 a.m. –9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Directions: 

From I-85

Take Exit 88 (Linwood). Head east on Route 47 (Old Linwood Road) toward Linwood. Go .5 miles.

Our Place Café

City: 
Spencer
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
79

Location

Our Place Café
111 5th Street
Spencer, NC
(704) 636-0036
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

Even if it were not just across the street from the state’s wonderful transportation museum (a must place to visit for every North Carolinian), Our Place would be worth a stop for a hungry traveler. It is a reminder of the eateries where our parents and grandparents ate. Owner-manager Darlene Burnside’s collections of old time signs and soft drink bottles will keep you amused while you wait for one of their famous beefsteak burgers and foot-long hotdogs. Kip Hale, who volunteers at the museum across the street says, “I love the taco salad--the chili makes the difference and they always crush the corn chips for me. The Brunswick stew is popular as well as the corn beef and Swiss cheese sandwich. This place has the old-timey feeling. The waitresses will do anything for me.”

Hrs: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Directions: 

From I-85

Take Exit 79. Follow Andrews St. toward Spencer for 1 mile. Turn L on to N. Salisbury Ave. Go .5 mile and turn R at 5th St.

Richard’s Bar-B-Q

City: 
Salisbury
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
76
B

Location

Richard’s Bar-B-Q
522 N Main St.
Salisbury, NC
(704) 636-9561
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

Owner Richard Moore has been hand chopping barbecue here since 1979 when he became the manager for the former owners. He changed the name when he took over ownership. Barbecue expert Jim Early writes that Richard’s barbecue has “a good smoky pork flavor and deep smoke penetration from the slow roasting.” Richard’s is a local gathering place and I like it for the same reason as Walter Turner, historian at the nearby transportation museum in Spencer, who says he enjoys Richard’s “comfortable, cozy atmosphere with nice booths and waitresses that keep my iced tea glass full.”

Hrs: Mon.-Sat., 6 a.m.-8 p.m.

Directions: 

From I-85
Take Exit 76B and follow East Innes St. (U.S. Hwy. 52) into Salisbury for 1 mile. Turn R on to North Main St. and go .5 miles. Richard’s is on the left.

The Farmhouse

City: 
Salisbury
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
75

Location

The Farmhouse
1602 Jake Alexander Blvd. South
Salisbury, NC
(704) 633-3276
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

Owners Dan and Denise Schindelholz are working hard to give the folks here the kind of country cooking that makes them happy. And they are succeeding. At lunchtime, the Farmhouse is filled with locals who tank up on sweet iced tea and order the meat and two vegetables special. Lots of them, I noticed, pick country ham as their “special” meat. The Farmhouse menu lists nearly 20 vegetables, all prepared from scratch. Desserts are homemade and impossible to resist.

Hrs: Mon.-Thurs. 6a.m.-8pm, Fri-Sat., 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Directions: 

From I-85
Take Exit 75 (Jake Alexander Blvd.). Head southeast on Jake Alexander. (Coming from Greensboro, turn L; from Charlotte, turn R.) Go .5 miles.

Porky’s Bar-B-Q

City: 
China Grove
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
68

Location

Porky’s Bar-B-Q
1309 North Main St.
China Grove, NC
(704) 857-0400
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

Mike Reid, the owner, cooks with wood, and for those who insist on pit-cooked barbecue, it makes a big difference. And, according to Elizabeth Cook, editor of the Salisbury Post, “It’s the only barbecue place I know of around here that offers Carolina-style slaw (red and vinegary) and what I call Virginia slaw (sweet and mayonnaise-based) like I used to get back home in Fredericksburg.” You can’t find Virginia slaw at many other places around here.

Hrs: Mon.-Sat., 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.

Directions: 

From I-85

Southbound: From I-85 take Exit 68 (China-Grove-Rockland – U.S 29 Bypass South). Follow U.S. 29 Bypass South for 1 mile, then take the exit marked NC 152/ US 29 North. Merge immediately on to Madison Road. Go .3 miles. Turn R on to N.C. Hwy. 152/ U.S. Hwy. 29 North. Go .5 mile to a stoplight. Take a hard L on to Main Street. Porky’s is immediately on the right.

Northbound: From I-85 take Exit 68 (China Grove-Rockland). Turn L onto N.C. Hwy. 152/ U.S. Hwy. 29 North. Go 1 mile to a stoplight. Take a hard L onto Main St. Porky’s is immediately on the right.

Gary’s Bar-B-Que

City: 
China Grove
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
68

Location

Gary’s Bar-B-Que
620 U.S. Hwy. 29 North
China Grove, NC
620 U.S. Hwy. 29 North
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

WARNING: GOOGLE MAPS LOCATES GARY'S INCORRECTLY. BE CAREFUL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS BELOW.

Directions: 

From I-85

Southbound: Take Exit 68 (China Grove-Rockland 51; U.S. Hwy. 29-Bypass South). Go 1.5 miles.

Northbound: Take Exit 68 (China Grove-Rockland 51; N.C. Hwy. 152). Turn L, and go .5 miles. TurnR onto Madison Road following signs to U.S. Hwy. 29 Bypass/U.S. Hwy. 601 South. Go .5 miles.

Townhouse II Restaurant

City: 
Kannapolis
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
58

Location

Townhouse II Restaurant
1870 South Main St.
Kannapolis, NC
(704) 938-8220
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

Be ready to eat. As one of their customers, Beth Snead, told me, “You had better be careful when you make your order. If you ask for the ‘large’ plate and eat it all, you will be so full that you are just going to want to crawl under your desk and die when you get back to work.” When I stopped by, it was the middle of the afternoon. People were coming in, filling the place up. I wondered why they were here at that hour. Janie Hall, the owner, explained that they were eating an early supper. They have to eat early if they want supper with Janie because closes at 6 p.m. Why so early? Well, to open at 5 a.m. she has to get up at 1 a.m. If you had to get up that early , you would need to go home and get some rest, too. One caution. When you pull up to Townhouse II, you will see a sign beside the restaurant featuring a scantily clad woman. But don’t look for any such entertainment inside.

Directions: 

From I-85

Take Exit 58 (Concord-Kannapolis). Take the Concord-U.S. Hwy. 29 South ramp. Continue for .5 miles to U.S. Hwy. 29A (South Main St.). Turn R, and go 2 miles.

The Old Hickory House Restaurant

City: 
Charlotte
Highway: 
I-85
Highway: 
I-77
Exit: 
45
A

Location

The Old Hickory House Restaurant
6538 North Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
(704) 596-8014
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

The Old Hickory House Restaurant Charlotte The Old Hickory House Restaurant is a step back in time to when North Tryon Street was the main road between Charlotte and Richmond, Virginia. Members of the Carter family have been running the place for almost 50 years, and it is not much different today. Long time owners and brothers, Bob and Gene Carter died a few years ago, but their sons, Kevin (Bob’s son) and David (Gene’s son), are running it just the way their dads did. I always enjoy watching and smelling the meat cooking on a brick oven inside the restaurant. You’ll probably enjoy the chopped red barbecue in heavy tomato sauce. Old Hickory House style is something different, more like what you would find out West. The restaurant has a Western look, too. Wooden paneling and a rustic look let you know this place has been around a long time. If you want a taste of history, ask Kevin or David. One of them is almost always on board, ready to talk.

Directions: 

From I-85

Southbound: Take Exit 45A (Harris Blvd.), and go almost 1 mile to North Tryon St. (U.S. Hwy. 29). Turn R, and go 2 miles. Make a U-turn at the stoplight to get back to the restaurant.

Northbound: Take Exit 43 (N.C. Hwy. 49 and U.S. Hwy. 29). Go .5 miles, and then take N.C. Hwy. 49 / U.S. Hwy. 29 exit. Bare L, onto Mineral Springs Road. Go about 500 yards to North Tryon St.; turn R, and go .5 miles.

Hillbilly’s Barbeque and Steaks

City: 
Lowell
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
23

Location

Hillbilly’s Barbeque and Steaks
720 McAdenville Road
Lowell , NC
(704) 824-8838
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

Hillbilly’s Barbeque used to be one of the favorite places for folks who worked at Pharr Yarns in nearby McAdenville. Those Boston butts are still cooking over hickory wood coals inside, and the aroma is worth the price of the meal. The barbecue is a combination of Lexington style and eastern North Carolina — with a tomato-based sauce that has a touch of vinegar. I found the combination tasty.

Hrs: Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sun., 11 p.m.-3 p.m.

Directions: 

From I-85

Take Exit 23 (Lowell-McAdenville). Hillbilly’s is at the intersection.

Kyle Fletcher's BBQ & Catering

City: 
Gastonia
Highway: 
I-85
Exit: 
22

Location

Kyle Fletcher's BBQ & Catering
4507 Wilkinson Blvd
Gastonia, NC
(704) 824-1956
See map: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, MapQuest

Kyle Fletcher says he got his start cooking when a friend needed barbecue for a wedding reception. Twelve years ago, he leased the building that formerly housed Bland’s Barbecue and revamped it for his “charcoal and hickory” method of cooking. I’ve heard some people just drive by to enjoy the smells that come from his old time cooking. As for the “Eastern vs. Lexington” controversy, Kyle says, “I don’t put nuthin’ on my meat—except hickory and charcoal smoke. That way they’ve got an option to put whatever sauce they want on my barbecue.” Lots of local people agree with Kyle, and sometimes you’ll find them lined up to enjoy the generous and reasonably price wood favored servings.

Hrs: Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Directions: 

From I-85 Take Exit 22 toward Cramerton/Lowell. Turn L on to S. Main St. Go .3 mile and turn L on to Wilkinson Blvd. Go .4 mile. Kyle’s is on the left. You will have to make a U-turn at Westover St to reach it.

Interstate Eateries is published by Our State magazine.

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