In January of 2012, my brother Joe and his wife Ruby, Elzia and Carol Hicks, and my wife Janet and I spent a couple of days in New Orleans before embarking on a seven-day Caribbean cruise. Of all the places we ate the one we liked best was a legendary chicken joint called Willie Mae’s Scotch House in the Treme neighborhood.
Ohio never had much of a barbecue heritage and growing up there I had no knowledge of what real barbecue was. I also had no knowledge of the great variety and the forever argument over who has the best. Barbecue to us buckeyes was what you got at a drive-in restaurant and it usually came out of a can, sauce and all.
My first experience with real Carolina ‘cue was at Wilber’s Barbecue in Goldsboro, NC. We spent a week at Atlantic Beach and when we’d talk to people on the beach they’d ask us if we had stopped at Wilber’s for the barbecue. At the end of the week, on the way back to Ohio, we stopped and had a large family style meal of pulled pork, vinegar slaw, potato salad, hush puppies, sweet tea, and banana pudding. For years we went to Atlantic Beach every year and never passed Wilber’s without stopping for a plate. It was my first and to this day, remains my favorite. Matter of fact, there’s a bottle of Wilber’s Eastern Carolina vinegar sauce in our fridge at this moment.
My brother in law Tom Johnson and his daughter Olivia have opened a new business in Chillicothe, Two Roasting Joes & Livy Cakes. Tom has been fresh roasting coffee for ten years and Olivia is a graduate pastry chef. For a number of years, they have been selling their creations online and in area country markets and a number of farmer’s markets during the season. About a year ago they leased a building and began remodeling it in anticipation of opening a coffee shop and retail outlet for coffee and Livy’s baked creations.
I watched the attached video and had no problem whatsoever seeing the parallels and similarities between Mussolini and Hitler as compared to the rise of Donald Trump.
I’m not saying they are a perfect match or that the times are exactly the same. But, I do believe that Trump craves total control, has contempt for intellectuals, fears opposing political parties and ideologies, wouldn’t hesitate to stomp out the free press, curtail free speech, align himself with the military, and wouldn’t turn down an enabling act if offered one.
I don’t live my life in fear of Trump but I do keep aware of how close he comes to walking in the footpaths of Il Duce and the der Führer.
Messing around on YouTube I came across a video about the once thriving fast food chain, Dog ‘n Suds. Around 1970 there were at least three of these drive in restaurants in our part of Ohio. There was one in Greenfield and I believe it was owned by Red Wylie. You could also find them in Hillsboro and Washington Court House and Wylie may have been involved in those too.
I’ve always been a fan of chili dogs and rootbeer and Dog ‘n Suds was a favorite.
Check out this video, it may bring back some memories.
We had lunch yesterday with a couple of my wife’s cousins and their spouses at Beaugard’s Southern Barbecue in Wilmington. Hadn’t been there in a couple of years but Beaugard’s is as good a que as can be found above the Mason-Dixon Line. I didn’t have a column written for today so with the zing of Beaugard’s hot sauce still, on my tongue, I decided to reprise something BBQ related from the past. Here’s an article that was published in the Times-Gazette in 2002.
Barbeque I’ve Known
February 3, 2002
Maybe it’s because I was born in South Carolina but, I never tire of going south. When most folks think of the South visions of magnolias, antebellum homes, pine trees or NASCAR may come to mind. For me, it’s barbeque.
I don’t know how old you have to be to have memories of Howard Johnson restaurants but I certainly qualify. Not sure when I first ate in a HoJo’s but it was probably along the Pennsylvania Turn-Pike during the early 1960s. Howard had the franchise for all the food and fuel services along the pike.
They always had a bright orange roof and were famous for their 28 flavors of ice cream. Mel Brooks based a Blazing Saddles joke on the town of Rock Ridge being occupied by lots of Johnsons, one of which was Howard and his restaurant advertised 1 flavor.
At one time there were 800 HoJos in America and this morning I read that today there’s only two and one of those is about to close its doors. It’s in Bangor, ME and one of the waitresses has been there for fifty-years. It’s the only job she ever had.
The last remaining Howard Johnson’s restaurant will be in Lake George, NY and the owners have no plans to close. They say they’re doing fine and have plans to remodel in the near future.
Oh, the last HoJo I ate in was on the north side of Knoxville, TN in 1978. Janet and I stopped there for a dish of ice cream on our way back from North Carolina. It was across the street from a Cracker Barrel. We walked over and checked out the store and Janet picked up a menu. That evening I had my first ever bowl of CB’s ham ‘n pintos in Corbin, KY. That’s a story for another time.
There are those who have dedicated their lives in search of the best cheeseburger. While my passion isn’t that great I do make a mental note of where I found a great burger.
Jimmy Buffett made a fortune off of his Cheeseburger in Paradise and even more by opening a chain of restaurants by that name. Well, I’ve eaten in a couple of his joints and didn’t think the burger that great.
Of the chains it’s hard to beat Five Guys. I know their fries are house made and I got a feeling they buy good quality beef that’s freshly ground. Haven’t had a bad experience yet.
When it comes to a good cheeseburger, however, we don’t have to travel very far. Within a few minutes driving time from Worley Mill Rd. there’s Doc’s Bainbridge Restaurant. I had a burger there
Just in from CGS’s senior downtown correspondent, Phoenix Hartsworth, Parker’s Pizza will soon close its doors and a few weeks later reopen under new management and with a new name. The restaurant will be known as 4545 Bistro and Pizzeria.
Tracking down rumors on this humid afternoon and gave the owner of Jerry’s Pizza in Chillicothe a call regarding a rumor that they were opening a store in Greenfield.
To my delight the answer was an affirmative. They plan on opening in the building directly next to the post office, plan to offer pizza products and soft drinks, and hope to be open near the beginning of the school year.
I ask if it would be the same product they sell at their original store on Paint Street in Chillicothe and was told, “Yep, it’s the same pizza.”
The question has been raised, can Greenfield support all these restaurants? Well, I don’t know and the market will sort it all out. As you may know, few businesses are more risky than the restaurant business so we’ll just have to see. In the meantime, one more empty storefront in downtown Greenfield will again have life going on inside.
You may know that Greenfield has a new sports bar in the downtown area, Catch 22 Sports Bar. Mark Clyburn is one of the owners and besides a menu of sandwiches and snacks they’re serving a full bar including a selection of bottled and draught beers.
Apparently they are wanting to become a venue for the area music scene and have announced an open mic night on Wednesdays. So, tune up your fiddle and go have some good times.
About the only time I favor drive-thru fast food is when traveling and having to keep a schedule. On our recent drive to Miami and back I took note of what seems to be a bread war between fast food chains. Hardee’s was touting their buns as being fresh baked and several chains, Wendy’s included, were featuring what’s becoming a food fad, the pretzel bun sandwich. Even aboard our cruise ship pretzel breads and bread sticks were served at every meal. Wraps seem to remain popular and McD’s has added several new versions to its menu.
FACTOID: Today there are over 24,000 Mexican restaurants in the United States. In 1970 you couldn’t buy a tortilla in Greenfield, Ohio and almost nobody knew what a nacho was.
For at least ten years I was in search of the world’s best barbecue and have driven countless miles and made countless out-of-the-way trips following up a lead. One of the first times I had Southern BBQ was at Maurice Bessinger’s Piggie Park in Columbia, SC and for a short time it was my standard. Then my brother and sister-in-law turned me on to Wilber’s BBQ (Wilber Shirley) BBQ in Goldsboro, NC.