Fuller's BBQ in Lumberton, NC (off I-95)
Fuller's BBQ may have the best buffet spread in the entire southeast.
Run by a Lumbee family, the buffet spread groans with southern delicacies. Meats range from to the expected crowd pleasers such as fried chicken, bbq and fried seafood (fish and shellfish) to the surprising (chitlins, fried chicken gizzards and livers and liver pudding). It's hard to know what to select but don't pass over the tantalizingly light fried oysters.
The vegetable selection is also overwhelming and tasty. A full range of farmers market beans and peas(limas, broad, navy, field, black-eyed, to name a few) complement the leafy greens such as cabbage and collards. Corn, mashed potatoes, okra and candied yams are also available.
While you can get biscuits with your meal, I have always passed over them in favor of the addictive johnny cakes, those crispy fried circles of corn meal. You can top them with a little molasses which is provided at each table for this purpose.
Save room for the dessert tray, which includes banana pudding, red velvet cake, and carrot cake among the selections.
There is also a salad bar but let's face it, with this kind of selection, who is going to mess with that?
Generally, I avoid cafeterias as the food tends to be uninspired, institutional and unappetizing. Fuller's shows what you can achieve in this genre when a commitment to high quality keeps the food fresh and the rapid turnover ensures that each dish remains enticing.
Went to Fuller's off Brent's recommendation. The Q was pretty darn good actually. Little bits of brown throughout. Tasted somewhat smoky. I assume they're not a log burning establishment.
Great chittlins, really great gizzards & hearts. Biscuits were quite good, too, especially with the molasses they put on the table. What a spread! I'll stop again when I'm down that way.
Adding to an otherwise excellent review.....
The seafood is usually brought out at 4 pm so don't expect it at lunch (as a rule) -- Sunday may be different.
Much of the veggies are grown in their own gardens.
Some of the best chitlins I have ever tasted.
I, too, have had a bad experience there, but usually it is excellent. I have probably eaten there 10 times.
There is another Fuller's at exit 49 in Fayetteville. Same folks, same food.
Well if Brent liked it I must have gone on an off night. I'll give them another try but my first (and only)visit was exactly opposite of Brent's description.
OT comment...about a 1/2 mile further down the road (away from I-95) is one of the biggest Ag Supply stores I've ever visited. For the other farmer types out there.
re: Michael B
I've been there twice for Sunday brunch while returning from the beach and have had a good experience both times. They were very busy with the after Church crowd so everything was freshly prepared.
Generally, I don't like buffets as the longer the food hangs around....
It may be that they don't get the crowds at dinner or during the week to provide the same quality or selection as the Sunday brunch.
re: Brent Kulman
That may be the problem. I stopped in on an evening in the middle of the week. Six o'clock? on a Wednesday or Thursday and it was really terrible. Dried crusts on half the items and the fried stuff was swimmining in grease.
Well reviewed though. Next time I'm going to ask to look before sitting down.
It got the second worst review (by me) of all the listings in the NC BBQ book being promoted by Public TV. Flip's in Wilmington is God awful. Worst Q I have ever seen or tasted. Inedible but the BEST looking waitress I've ever seen in any restaurant.
re: michael b
I really don't view Fuller's as a BBQ restaurant, despite the name. The first time I went, I did sample the Q, and it was not memorable. On this latest visit, I stuck to fried chicken, oysters, and gizzards as well as the johnny cakes. The chitlin's and liver pudding were also good, but that might not be to everybody's taste.
When the fried stuff comes right out of the fryer, it can't be beat. At the Sunday brunch, the food turns over so fast that it was all fresh. If fried food hangs around for a while, forget it. Apparently, that may be a problem when they are not busy. Oh well.